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SPFBA athletes enjoy standout seasons

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  • (L-R): Salina Central quarterback Parker Kavanagh, Salina South defensive lineman Kayson Dietz and Concordia running back/linebacker Keyan Miller are just a few of the Sharp Performance Football Academy athletes who have enjoyed standout performances on the gridiron this season.
    (L-R): Salina Central quarterback Parker Kavanagh, Salina South defensive lineman Kayson Dietz and Concordia running back/linebacker Keyan Miller are just a few of the Sharp Performance Football Academy athletes who have enjoyed standout performances on the gridiron this season.

Athletes across Kansas have utilized the immersive football training experience at Sharp Performance to complement the coaching and weight room instruction provided by their respective high school programs. The Sharp Performance Football Academy has a roster of distinguished alumni, including current college standouts Josh Rivas (Hutchinson High, K-State), Hunter Kier (Washington County High, Butler Community College, Abilene Christian), Kaden Davis (Ellsworth High, Butler Community College, Northwest Missouri State), Taylon Peters (Salina Central, Washburn) and many, many more.

Here is a look at just a few SP FBA athletes who enjoyed standout seasons this fall.

Parker Kavanagh, QB, Salina Central, Sr.

Senior quarterback Parker Kavanagh fought hard to keep Salina Central in their second round playoff game against Wichita Northwest, throwing three touchdowns in the first half, and going into the break down 27-21. Central ultimately saw their season come to a close with a 66-21 loss, ending a six-game Mustang winning streak and improving to 7-3 after a 1-8 finish last fall.

“He has great command and understanding for what we want to do offensively,” head coach Mark Sandbo said. “Our ability to reel off six in a row has a lot to do with his play within our pass game and our read run game. He has made some really good decisions and many terrific throws.”

Kavanagh tallied 219 passing yards for three touchdowns and an interception, along with 33 yards rushing on eight carries in the loss to a Northwest team that made the last three 5A state title games.

His 2021 statistics puts him among the top dual-threat QBs in 5A. He completed 113 of 209 pass attempts for 1,694 yards and 18 touchdowns with just five interceptions, to go with 601 rushing yards on 109 carries for six more scores. He finished his junior campaign with 2,007 yards passing with 16 TDs and a 55 percent completion rate.

Kavanagh's 3,868 yards passing and 34 passing TDs leave him the career leader at Salina Central in both categories ahead of Trey Dallas and his older brother Jackson.

Despite going 1-8 a season ago, Central engineered a huge turnaround, largely behind the dual-threat ability of Kavanagh.

“Parker and Taylon Peters are two offensive guys since I have been here who have accounted for 2,000 plus yards individually within a season,” Sandbo said. “I would say being in any statistical category with Taylon is good company for any Mustang.”

The emergence of new offensive linemen, a two-headed monster of Kenyon McMillan and Micah Moore in the backfield and the consistency of wideouts Hayden Vidricksen and Logan Losey, along with a vastly improved defense all played a role in the Mustangs' improvement.

Kavanagh currently holds offers from Dodge City, Highland and Benedictine with interest from multiple Division II and FCS programs.

Noah Khokhar, QB/RB/Slot, Hutchinson, Jr.

Junior running back Noah Kohkar was one of the most flexible players in Kansas high school football this season, not to mention among the fastest, with 4.3 hand-times in the 40 at more than one Sharp Performance event this summer.

After starting the season at quarterback and passing for 312 yards and two touchdowns, Kohkar was moved to slot in Week 6, where he went on to catch 23 passes for 373 yards and three touchdowns, averaging 16.2 yards per reception.

Kohkar also ran the ball 84 times for 634 yards and seven more scores, further displaying his big play ability at a 7.5 yard per carry clip.

“Noah is a dangerous player in space,” said Salthawk head coach Mike Vernon. “He can play in the backfield or be split out at wide receiver. There were several games where teams started anchoring him to keep the ball out of his hands. I believe that is the ultimate compliment of his game. Opposing coaches want the ball out of his hands.”

The Salthawks finished the season 4-5, with a hard fought 31-28 loss in their first round playoff exit against 7-3 Bishop Carroll.

Kayson Graham, LB, Salina Central, Sr.

Salina Central’s Kayson Graham was another important piece to Central turning around their fortunes from a year ago, going from 1-8 in 2020 to 7-3 this season.

The 6-foot, 215 pound linebacker tallied 65 tackles, forced a fumble and recorded a tackle-for-loss this season.

“Kayson absolutely, to me, epitomizes the rich tradition of inside linebacker play here at Salina Central,” Sandbo said. “An all-league performer for us last year as a junior he has certainly lived up to that standard. He is fast to process, physical, and extremely committed to our program.” 

With a 325 pound bench, 385 pound squat, and 305 clean, Graham is clearly powerful, but his quickness is more than adequate with personal bests of 4.37 seconds in the pro agility drill, 30.5 inches in the vertical jump and 4.85 seconds in the 40.

“Our defense has been extremely physical and great against the run,” Sandbo said. “Kayson has been a major contributor in that effort which has allowed us to have the success we have had as a defense and a team.”

Graham currently holds offers from NAIA schools Avila University, Ottawa University, Clarke University, Carthage College and Kansas Wesleyan.

Kayson Dietz, DL, Salina South, Sr. 

Salina South’s Kayson Dietz is a tough obstacle for any opposing offense to overcome. The 6-1, 290 pound defensive lineman was a bright spot for the Cougars in an otherwise difficult season.

“Kayson had a monster year for us and in multiple games made it impossible for teams to run the ball between the tackles,” said coach Sam Sellers. “He plays with such a high motor, it’s a lot of fun to see a kid that big playing sidelin-to-sideline. He’s an FCS level player in my opinion, the big schools are scared off by the fact he is only 6-foot. He plays so much bigger than that though. He has incredibly long arms and huge hands.”

Dietz finished his senior season with 56 total tackles, 43 of them solo, along with 15 tackles-for-loss, two sacks, and two forced fumbles.

Dietz currently only holds an offer from Benedictine, but has the interest of multiple schools, and anticipates more will come his way. Also one of the top 285 pound wrestlers in Kansas, Dietz is optimistic as he enters the season healthy and motivated.

Keyan Miller, RB, Concordia, Sr.

Concordia’s Keyan Miller had another big game last Friday, helping to defeat a previously unbeated Riley County team 30-14, avenging a blow-out loss to the Falcons just three weeks earlier. Miller’s 21 carries for 191 yards and a touchdown gave him an average of 9.1 yards per carry, almost a first down every time he carried the ball. The Panthers improved to 8-2 with the victory and host Andale in the 3A quarterfinals this week.

Miller became the second all-time leading rusher in Panther history during the game, with 3,314 yards in his career.

The four-year varsity back has punctuated a steady career in the backfield with a dominant senior campaign, gaining 1,683 yards on 182 carries for 23 touchdowns, a spectacular 9.1 yards per carry. Miller is also one of the Panthers' top defenders with 50 total tackles on the season including seven for loss. The versatile linebacker now has 185 tackles in his career.

“I think a big part of Keyan’s success this year has been how hard he works,” head coach Jordan Echer said. “He’s one of the hardest workers I have been around as a head coach, assistant coach, or player. He’s played much more physical this year, which I think is in part because he was willing to be selfless last year and play fullback for us. He’s done a great job making sure that the guys around him get credit for his success this year, not just our offensive line, but our tight ends and wing backs as well.”

The Panthers boast a big and experienced offensive line headlined by seniors Dalton Owen and Shelby Giersch. Friday night the group faces their biggest test of the season in two-time defending state champions Andale with a berth in the state semifinals on the line.

Miller, who is also one of state's top wrestlers and track athletes, plans to play college football after high school and currently holds offers from multiple NAIA schools with interest from several MIAA schools as well.

Luke Wilson, WR, Larned, Sr.

Larned’s Luke Wilson was a major asset on both sides of the ball during his senior campaign.

Offensively, the 6-1, 175 pound receiver caught 27 balls for 476 yards, despite having to work through some bumps early on.

“Luke had an issue with some drops and fumbles early,” head coach Tad Remy said. “He also was really dealing with a pretty severe sprained ankle, but from week four on he really started playing good football, and really became by far our best big play threat. He did a nice job fighting through some adversity and getting it figured out to have a really strong season.”

Wilson was also a key piece of the Larned defensive backfield recording 17 tackles, a forced fumble, and an interception on the defensive side of the ball.

Wilson currently holds offers from Concordia University-Nebraska, Bethany, Ottawa, Sterling, and Kansas Wesleyan

Sharp Performance Football Academy

These are just a few of the numerous athletes who saw results in working with the SPFBA. Through position specific drills, speed and agility work, nutrition consultation and recruiting support, SPFBA uses a holistic approach to maximize the physical and mental abilities of athletes and drive post-high school football scholarship opportunities.

Could you be the next standout alum of the SPFBA? To find out more visit, call or text (785) 347-8171 or email