Simone Award Caps Huge Year for 2014 RB
Blue Springs High School is one of the premiere programs in the Show Me State, producing gaudy win-loss records and college prospects almost every year. Entering the 2012 season, the Wildcats were projected as one of the best teams in the Kansas City area and a challenger for the Missouri Class 6 state title. Three months later, junior running back Dalvin Warmack has a state championship ring on the way, 2,279 rushing yards and 45 total touchdowns to his credit, and the title of "most outstanding high school football player in Kansas City" as the winner of the 2012 Thomas A. Simone Memorial Football Award. People saw the state championship coming. Warmack becoming the best player in Kansas City? Not so much. "I've known about the award since the seventh grade, playing for the Necco Raiders," Warmack says proudly. "I knew the words, and I played with Tommy's number on my jersey for four years." Tommy Simone was tragically struck and killed by an automobile in 1983. He was 12 years old, and played for the Raiders. In winning the 30th Simone Award, Warmack becomes only the second junior ever to win the award. He is also the first former Raider to hoist the giant trophy, having learned the importance of the four words inscribed on the front, "Love, Friendship, Courage, Champions." "It still hasn't hit me yet," he says, trailing off. "The state championship, any of it. It's still unbelievable." Voted on by area high school football coaches and media members, the results of the Simone Awards ballot are kept secret until the presentation, and the event is held at the award winner's school. When Blue Springs Head Coach Kelly Donahoe learned of the results, he employed Warmack's family to help keep them a surprise. "The day before, Coach Donahoe told me he thought it was going to one of the other finalists," Warmack says. "That night, my mom took my phone so she could get me the new iPhone 5. I should have put it together!" "We headed to school to pick up Coach, and we were going to the front of the school. That was when I knew." Warmack was shocked, but that quickly gave way to another reaction. "My stomach just dropped, because I knew I had to give a speech!" As one of the largest high schools in Missouri, literally thousands of people had packed the gym at Blue Springs. Students, teammates, top players and coaches from around the area, and former winners all came to honor the 5-foot-9, 177-pound running back. "It was unbelievable," he says, shaking his head. "Just knowing everyone was there to celebrate. I felt like it was not just to celebrate my accomplishments, but ours as a team. Everybody was proud of you. It was really special." Having known the Simone family since junior high, the Simone Award holds added significance for Warmack. It has been a goal of his for years. "It's kind of like a fantasy, a fair tale," he says, shaking his head. "It's really crazy. I looked up to guys like (former winners) Nathan Scheelhaase and Bubba Starling. If you had asked me in seventh or eighth grade if I thought I would ever win it, I'd laugh." Interest has started to build on the recruiting front since the junior claimed Kansas City's top high school honor. "Reggie Mitchell, the KU running backs coach, he came up and visited our school and wanted to invite me to a junior day," Warmack says. "I got an invite to the junior day at Illinois, and I'm pretty sure I'm going to get a junior day invite to Iowa, too. And I've been hearing a little bit more of Kansas State." "Schools are definitely talking to me a little bit more, but I still get a little overlooked because of my size."
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