Last season in picking our player of the year it was a pretty clear cut process. Three finalists emerged, Chris McGaha of Moon Valley, Austin Martin of Mt. Ridge and Travis Dixon of Hamilton. When the voting was tabulated, Dixon came away as the 2004 player of the year. 2005 was a little tougher and deliberation went up to the last game of the season and beyond. This year's finalist are Marcus Richmond of Dobson, Adam Beauchamp of Bradshaw Mountain, TJ Campbell of Sunnyslope, Kenton Thomas of Greenway and Anthony Llanos of North Canyon.
The 2005 voting saw numerous players get consideration. Marcus Richmond of Dobson received attention. As the primary offensive option on his team, Richmond faced defenses designed to stop him. Even with this, the Washington State bound RB put together a monster season rushing for 1,900 yards. In a five game run during midseason, Richmond averaged 267 yards a game. Another RB who performed night in and night out with the D stacked against him was Adam Beauchamp of Bradshaw Mountain. Beauchamp averaged over 200 yards a game and nine yards a carry for the season.
In the versatility category, Sunnyslope's TJ Campbell and Kenton Thomas of Greenway did everything for their teams. Campbell had an astounding eighty receptions, averaged over six yards a carry, handled kickoff and punt returns and for good measure had six picks on defense. Not to be outdone, Thomas had over 2,500 yards and twenty-nine TDs from scrimmage, averaging over eleven yards a carry and twenty yards a reception.
Any of the above players would make a worthy recipient, but after much debate between the 24-7 staff, Anthony Llanos of North Canyon came out as the 2005 24-7 Football.com Player of the Year. Llanos was indispensable for the 5AII champs all the way to the final game, playing tightend, fullback and linebacker. Most importantly, Llanos had the uncanny knack of making the big play on either side of the ball when his team most needed it. In the 5A II semifinal Llanos blocked two kicks to preserve a 35 to 34 win over Ironwood. In the championship win over Centennial, Llanos powered the Rattlers to the title with 220 rushing yards, many of those yards came on big runs as the Rattlers asserted themselves in the second half to get the win. On defense, Llanos registered over 130 tackles, recovered three fumbles, had two picks and scored three times. It would be difficult to believe that Rattlers could have made their run to the championship had it not been for the multiple talents of Llanos.
24-7 would like to congratulate Anthony, this year's finalist and all the players and coaches who once again brought a great season of prep football to the state. We look forward to continuing our coverage in 2006.