In mid-December, Kansas Pregame contacted 6-Man football coaches in an effort to name a second annual Top 6 team of seniors for 6-Man football in Kansas.
This is the second of six individual player profiles highlighting the Top 6 selections released in no particular order:
Roberto Loya, Offensive Utility/DB/KR, 5-6, 165, Golden Plains
Golden Plains entered 2021 coming off of a 5-3 season and second straight third place finish in the 6-Man playoff bracket, but graduated much of the talent that helped them achieve such success.
The Bulldogs did have one carry-over impact player, however, in senior Roberto Loya, and the dynamic multi-positioned weapon was quick to accept the leadership role.
“Roberto was our most experienced returner coming into the season having started games since his freshman year,” head coach Travis Smith said. “He was a leader by example and was very vocal as well. He did a good job of firing the team up when we’re down. We did not have a successful season, but Roberto continued to excel despite how our season ended.”
Finishing the year just 2-6, Golden Plains didn’t achieve the success they hoped for, but that didn’t mean their senior leader didn’t shine.
Loya recorded 1,227 yards rushing with eight touchdowns, along with 418 passing yards for eight more scores. He also returned four kickoffs to the house and defensively consistently found himself around the ball, tallying 72 tackles.
“What was unique about Roberto is that I could have played him anywhere on the field and he would have excelled at it,” Smith said. “I needed him to wear many hats during the season and he did so without hesitation. He was, in my opinion, one of the most versatile 6-Man football players this season.”
Loya comes from a physically gifted gene pool - his brother Rojelio was a 6-Man Top 6 honoree before graduating from Golden Plains last year - and credits much of his knowledge and skill surrounding the game to those family roots.
“I think just starting young, my parents really helped me out through all this football stuff, as well as my brother, by making sure I’m not too small or weak, to help me out with just staying motivated and I feel my family’s athletic background helped out, too, from my mom and my dad.”
Loya plans to attend North Central Kansas Technical College in Hays after he finishes up his senior year and even though his final season didn’t go as well as the two years prior, he still looks back fondly.
“I think our biggest challenge was just so many new people to the sport and also mental and sometimes physical toughness,” Loya said. “I think we could have still worked on those things, but we got better as a team by showing one another we are there for each other and also how to take a hit.”