NewsRadio 840 WHAS and KPGFootball’s Big School (Class 4A, 5A, & 6A) All-State Football Team @1776Bank @minguabeefjerky @sfitz_840whas

Big School All-State Football Team (Classes 4A, 5A, & 6A)
Editor's Note: Last year, for the first time in Kentucky history, NewsRadio 840 WHAS and KPGFootball configured and published a small and large school All-State Football Team. This year, we believe we will be adding a new, Kentucky-wide, corporate sponsor. To refresh everyone's recollection, here was last year's 4A, 5A, & 6A All-State Football team!

NewsRadio 840WHAS and KPGFootball selects the Class 4A, 5A, & 6A, Big School All-State Football team

No all-state team is complete. Every all-state team has glaring omissions. One just can’t possibly get them all. We have divided up our All-State team into Small School and Big School divisions. The Small School is the 1A, 2A, & 3A team and the Big School is the 4A, 5A, & 6A team. Without any more fanfare, this is our “Big School All-State Football Team.” Congratulations to those players selected. To the worthy players we missed, we’re truly sorry; we did our best.

HB Lyon, Scouting Director, KPGFootball

Reveal Show on News Radio 840 WHASLink

Friday Night Fletch's Big School 
Coach of the Year: Mark Spader, Bowling Green High
Offensive Player of the Year: Jack James, QB, Paducah Tilghman
Defensive Player of the Year: JT Haskins, Jr., Bryan Station (Lex.)

Big School, All-State  FootballTeam

The Offense

The Boys toting the Mail…

RB, Bryan Station (Lex.), Kalen “Jaws” Washington, ’25, Washington was a guy out of middle school who you figured would figure prominently in the Defenders’ offensive plans as soon as he found the field. Washington gained 1,311-yards and scored 16-TDs over the ground, as a junior, and helped lead his team to a Semi-state Title and a State Runner-up in Kentucky’s largest classification (6A). Washington led the Defenders in scoring and he has two other All-Staters in the lineup with him in JT Haskins, Jr. and Trenton Cutwright. 

Photo of Hampton: Alan Warren @

RB, Owensboro Senior High, Evan Hampton, Hampton gained 1,552-yards in only 145-carries (10.70-per carry). Hampton scored 25-rushing TDs and led the team with 44-receptions for 527-yards and another pair of scores. Hampton was the team’s leading scorer with 163-points, nailing his only attempted PAT.  

RB, Boyle County, Avery Bodner, ’24, this cat, and I do mean “cat,” could have made this team as an ATH as easily as a RB. Bodner was a truly multi-faceted threat out of the Rebel backfield. Bodner ran for 1,274-yards on 151-carries with 22-rushing TDs, caught 29-passes for 378-yards and 4-scores. Bodner scored on a “scoop and score,” defensively, and converted a pair of two-pointers on his way to logging 166-points (11.1 per game). Defensively, Bodner forced two fumbles, recovered two fumbles, picked a pass, resisted 87-tackles, 15-TFLs, with 7-QB sacks. As good of a RB as he undoubtedly was, he could have made this All-State team on either side of the ball, or as an ATH. Guess that is what put him in the thick of the “Mr. Football” race, huh? 

Bodner was so good as a multi-phase performer he was nominated for Kentucky's "Mr. Football..."

RB, Taylor County, Peyton Smith, ’25, Peyton Smith gained 1,538-yards on 165-carries, scoring 21-rushing TDs. Peyton led the team in scoring with 150-points, tallying points rushing (21), on a kick return, and registering nine (9)-two point conversions. 

RB, North Laurel, Ethan Gregory, ’24, The Gregory kid really balled out and, in turn, the Jaguars had one of its stronger teams in ’23 (8-5, Regional Runners-up). Gregory rushed for close to 1,500-yards (1,475) in 223-carries, scored 10-rushing TDs, caught a TD, and led his ball club in scoring with 66-points. 

FB, Scott County, Jacob Fryman, ’24, like Calil McNary on the Small School All-State team, Fryman is the definitive player at the FB post for his level of competition. Fryman gained 836-yards rushing, with 17-rushing TDs, while leading the Scott County team in scoring with 102-points. He is a punishing lead-blocker in power run sets. Just an anvil of a down hill guy.

Pro-style, drop-back types

QB, Male High, Kolter Smith, ’24, Smith was among the more unexpected surprises of the season. Smith completed 143 of his 214-passing attempts for 2,447-yards and 34-TDs while being intercepted a measly five (5) times. Smith led Male to an 11-2 mark, the highest RPI in Class 6A, and fell short to 6A semi-finalist, Frederick Douglass, by a razor thin, one-point margin in the regional championship game. 

QB, Paducah Tilghman, Jack James, ’24, James completed 255 of his 375-passing attempts for 4,019-yards and 56-TDs to 6-INTs. James ran for another 6-scores in leading the “Blue Tornado” to a 13-1 mark. James leaves Paducah its all-time passing leader and passing touchdowns leader, surpassing Hunter Cantwell (HFC, CAL).

Jack James is the all time program leader in passing yards and TDs at Tilghman High

QB, South Warren, Bryce Button, QB, Button completed 189 of his 290-passing attempts for 3,274-yards and 38-TDs against 5-thrown picks. Button, though not considered a “runner,” still was third on the team in rushing and scored 7-times on the ground. Nothing particularly “flashy” about Button, he just wins, competes, and gets the job done.

Dual-threat guys

QB, Bowling Green, Deuce Bailey, ’25, Bailey completed 224 of his 323-passing attempts for 3,316-yards and 40-TDs against only four (4) picks. Bailey scored 8-TDs rushing. More important than any of the above, the junior signal caller led the Purples to a 5A championship, the second for veteran coach, Mark Spader.

QB, Boyle County, Sage Dawson, ’24, Dawson completed 137 of his 194-passing attempts for 2,509-yards and 29-TD passes against only 5-picks. He rushed for another 4-scores over the ground and led his team to a 15-0 mark and its fourth, consecutive 4A championship. He was named the District’s POY and the Classification’s POY. 

The pass-catchers…

WR, Cooper High, Isaiah Johnson, ’25, Johnson caught 76-passes for 1,372-yards and 21-TDs. 

WR, Male High, Max Gainey, ’24, Gainey is thought to be among the elite athletes playing football today in the entire KHSAA regardless of classification. Gainey caught 57-balls this season for 1,019-yards and 20-TDs. Gainey scored a pair of rushing TDs, returned a pair of punts, and housed a kick on his way to tallying 150-points.

WR, North Hardin, Shaun Boykins, ’24, North had a really taxing year and one riddled with controversy. However, that doesn’t have anything to do with Boykins and the year he enjoyed. In only 9-games, Boykins had 84-receptions for 1,291-yards, averaged 15.4 yards a reception and scored 16-TDs. Boykins led the team in scoring and appears committed to play football for Coach Brohm at the University of Louisville.

Boykins caught 84-balls for over 1,200 receiving yards and 16 TDs in only nine games...

WR, South Warren, Bailey Shoemaker, ’24, Shoemaker caught 57-balls for 1,130-yards receiving and 11-TDs. Bailey was second on the team in scoring and, at 6’0,” 180-pounds with a 3.6 GPA, figures to fit in lots of places on the next level. 

TE, Covington Catholic, Willie Rodriguez, ’24, Rodriguez caught 29-passes for 488-yards and 12-TDs for the Colonels in Blue. Rodriguez was third on the team in scoring and played a little defense, registering 48-tackles, 3-TFLs, 3-QB sacks, 1-FF, and 1-FR. At 6’4,” 240-pounds, the Alexandria, KY prospect is built exactly like how college recruiters want to see their TEs. That would explain his being committed to UK, wouldn’t it?

Calling the Hogs…

OL, Male High, Isaac “Spike” Sowells, 6’3,” 285-pounds ’25, “Spike,” as he is called, is an offensive center and the best at that position in the entire Bluegrass. Sowells is the son of a former Big Ten OL (Indiana). With Sowells anchoring its front, the Bulldogs scored 501-points, rushed for 1,820-yards, and passed for 2,464-yards. The team scored 30-rushing TDs and 34-TDs passing. That is called a balanced attack. Sowells is being courted by over a dozen, FBS-level programs. 

OL, Owensboro Senior High, Jak Lindsey, 6’5,” 300, ’24, Lindsey is headed to Southern Illinois to become a Saluki. We think that appropriate as a “Saluki” is a sporting hound and Lindsey is ALL DAWG! Behind this massive lineman, the Red Devils scored 562-points, rushed for 3,058-yards, scored 53 rushing TDs, threw for 2,218-yards with 23-passing TDs. The team made the 5A semis and featured a 1,500-yard ground gainer in Evan Hampton. This guy will be missed.

OL, duPont Manual High, David “Pancake” Pellman, 6’3,” 285-pounds ’26, they call him “Pancake Pellman” and it isn’t for purposes of alliteration. The Crimsons scored 422-points this season, rushing for 1,634-yards and passing for 2,885-yards. The Crimsons scored 27-TDs passing and another 26-TDs the old fashioned way…by EARNING them. This is the youngest kid on this front. Wait until he finishes out his frame. Oh man…

OL, Taylor County, Hayes Johnson, 6’5,” 295-pounds, UK commitment, ’24, Taylor County went 9-3, scored 387-points, rushed for 2,782-yards, passed for a thousand yards, scored 9-TDs passing, and scored 38-TDs rushing. 

Guillaume is a KHSAA, heavy weight wrestling champion and committed to Southern Illinois for football...

OL, Carter Guillaume, St. Xavier High, 6’2,” 260-pounds, ’24, Guillaume has played center clear out to tackle along Kevin Wallace’s front and anywhere he has been deployed he has come through. Guillaume is the premier interior offensive lineman in Kentucky, and its premier heavyweight wrestler. That all just seems to fit. The Tigers, from St. Xavier, gained 2,103-rushing yards in ’23 to go along with 1,928 yards passing. Fairly balanced attack we would note.

Hard to pigeon-hole, these are the Athletes…

ATH, Bryan Station (Lex.), Trenton Cutwright, ’24, Cutwirght was straight filthy this season for the Defenders. Cutwright threw for 1,915-yards and 23-TDs, ran for 749-yards and 9-scores, and was fourth on the team in offensive scoring. This kid is a rangy, long, athlete whose next level days may be spent at safety in the defensive backfield or even split out wide or working the slot. Either way, this guy was just too good to not have on this team.

We just call him “Q.” Recruiters call him “constantly.”

ATH, Boyle County, Montavin Quisenberry, ’25, Quisenberry is the “poster child” for an athlete. Quisenberry ran for 18-scores, scored 12-TD’s receiving, returned three (3) punts, 2-KOs on his way to registering 210-points on the board for his team in its 15-games. Just Quisenberry was worth 14-points a ball game. Quisenberry had over 50-tackles, 4-TFLs, and 2-INTs on the defensive side of the football. He was both a true and lethal, three-phase, performer.

ATH, Trinity High (Lou.), Jeremiah Lynn, ’25, Lynn caught 58-passes for 1,050-yards and 14-TDs in helping lead his team to a 6A title, the program’s 28th. In addition to his 14-TD passes, he also converted a pair of two-pointers, on special teams, making him a two-phase contributor. That is a rarity in 6A, particularly at a place like Trinity, and why he made this team as an athlete.

ATH, Trinity High (Lou.), Clinton Sansbury, ’24, Sansbury could have made this team as a RB with his 210-carries and 1,244-yards, but just acknowledging his prowess at RB short-shrifts his other considerable contributions. Like Lynn, Sansbury is a multi-phase contributor to the bottom line. Sansbury scored 25-rushing TDs, caught a TD pass, and intermittently played an important role in the return game. He led the team in scoring with 156-points, or 10.4-points per ball game.

The Defense

The Defensive Line…The “Dirty Hands” Dudes…

DE, Franklin County, Johnathan Griffin, ’24, Griffin had 86-tackles, 37-TFLs, 23-QB sacks, and 1-FR. The most lethal, active, and productive pass rusher in the commonwealth of Kentucky this year. With Clack (Ballard) and he at the end spots, good luck throwing the football.

DL, Cooper High, Austin Alexander, ’25, Alexander, the nephew of Shaun Alexander, registered 81-tackles, 8-TFLs, and 19-QB sacks. Alexander forced a pair of fumbles and recovered a pair of fumbles. The athletic DE also picked a pass and returned it 75-yards. On offense, where he easily could have made this team as a TE, Alexander caught 67-passes for 1,138-yards and 19-TDs. How about that for an athlete? 

DL, Corbin High, Jerod Smith, ’24, at one time it was thought the Smith brothers, who are twins, were headed to Michigan. We are hoping they stay home and UK seems a likely destination. Jerod registered 90-tackles, 20-TFLs, 9-QB sacks, 1-FF, 2-FRs one of which was a 40-yard “scoop and score.” 

DE, Ballard High (Lou.), Mikel Clack, DE, ’24, Clack registered 135-tackles, 18-TFLs, 16-QB sacks, 1-FF, and an INT he took 25-yards back for a score. He helped lead his team to a 10-4 finish and a semi-state appearance where they very narrowly lost to finalist, Bryan Station (24-21).

The linebackers…

LB, Corbin, Jacob Smith, ’24, Jacob is one-half of the “Smith Brothers,” a near legendary pair of twins in the KHSAA both playing for Corbin. Both of these guys looked headed to Michigan but UK has come in and made a strong push and who knows where this one ends. Jacob Smith registered 103-tackles, 5-TFLs, 4-QB sacks, 3-FFs, 2-FRs, 2-INTs this season. This guy is an elite talent. 

LB, Dixie Heights, Branch Rice, ’24, Rice had 181-tackles, 32.5-TFLs, 2-FFs, 2-FRs, and 13-QB-sacks. Rice is 6’3,” weighs 227-pounds, and this isn’t his first rodeo on the All-State circuit. He is rated the top linebacker in KY by On3 and the number 3 linebacker according to Prep Red Zone.

LB, Perry County Central, Hunter “The Hazard Hell-Cat” Griffie, ’24, Hunter Griffie was nicknamed “The Hazard Hell-Cat” way back in middle school. Since entering high school, he has done nothing but earn that Nomme de guerre. Griffie had 93-tackles, 4-TFLs, 1-sack, 2-FFs, and a FR. He was a punishing lead blocker as a FB on offense, hitting would-be tacklers so violently it made spectators wince. 

"The Hazard Hell-Cat" is a nickname given Griffie in middle school; Griffie spent his career in HS earning it...

LB, Graves County, Jacob Sutton, ’24, This guy was a DE in Graves County’s scheme but there isn’t a ton of difference between a DE and an OLB in many defense you see at the high school level. Sutton had 55-tackles but he also had 19-TFLs, 11-QB sacks, and an INT. Those 30-tackles behind the opposing line of scrimmage are eye-popping. 

LB, Trinity High (Lou.), Bradyn McEnaney, ’24, McEnaney registered 71-tackles, 13.5-TFLs, 10-QB sacks, 2-FFs, and 2-INTs. McEnaney is 6’2,” 220-pounds of football playing Jesse. McEnaney picked an important pass against Douglass, in the semis, which helped propel his team to the title game they also won. This guy is a “glue guy” and is being recruited by Louisville, EKU, and Akron among many others. 

The last line of defense, the d-backfield…

DB, Paducah Tilghman, Martels Carter, Jr.,’25, Carter is among the more highly recruited prospects in all of Kentucky at any level of competition. He is a four-star, nationally ranked guy who is the number one safety prospect on plenty of FBS, Power Five, recruiting boards. Carter caught 43-passes, 10-of which he housed, for 1,066-yards receiving. Carter scored three-TD rushing. Carter housed five punts and a kick-off on his way to leading the team in scoring with 114-points. Defensively, Carter had 44-stops, 1-TFL, a FF, 2-FRs, and picked off three passes. Wide receivers to his side of the field disappeared. Like Quisenberry, this is a three-phase guy.

DB, Bryan Station (Lex.), JT Haskins, Jr., ’24, Haskins, first of all, could have made this team as a WR or even an ATH. Haskins caught 41-passes for 878-yards receiving and 10-TDs, finishing third on the team in “scoring.” On defense, Haskins, one of Kentucky’s best corners, had 50-stops, 3-TFLs, forced a fumble, and picked seven (7) passes returning one to the house. He also led the team with 119 of the team’s 258-IRNYs. He’s a baller.

DB (Corner), Frederick Douglass, Jeremiah Lowe,’24, Michigan Commitment, statistics rarely tell the tale on corners. If your corner is making a ton of tackles, your entire defense is jacked. Lowe is a corner who made the other team’s big time receiver just disappear. He was among the club leaders in PBU’s, threw in a few tackles (25), and picked a pass. Here is the thing, however, and this is undeniable; no one was running the ball, or throwing it, to Lowe’s side. He was on every opponent’s “Scouting Report.” 

DB, Covington Catholic, Joseph Harney, ’26, Harney resisted 44-tackles, a FF, and five (5) INTs this season. Not too many sophomores find the field at programs like Covington Catholic. Harney also registered 138-IRNYs and a pick-six. This kid has a nose for the football.

DB, McCracken County, Noah Nyberg, ’24, Nyberg was among the more versatile and accomplished athletes in western Kentucky this past season. Nyberg registered 58-tackles, 1-TFL, 2-FFs, 1-FR, 2-INTs, and was among the club leaders in PBUs. He was prominently a fixture in the Mustang turn around this season which was impressive to say the least.

The Specialists…

PK, duPont Manual, Parker Friedman, ’25, Friedman was 47 of 49 in PATs (96%) and converted 10 of his 13 FG tries (77%). Now that is a real weapon, as Friedman was second on the team in scoring with 77-points. 

Punter, Nelson County, Russell Lux, ’24, Lux would be the first to tell you, and Coach Stockade the second, that he was way more than a Punter for the ball club in ’23. Matter of fact, Lux was the back-up QB and the PK this past season. Lux converted 91.3% of his PATs, converted 4-FGs, and was third on the team in “scoring.” We told you all that to tell you this…he was the best punter in Kentucky’s big school division and has made our all-state team as a punter. Just so you know…

There it is, the players selected and statistically why they were selected. Like we said, we didn’t get them all. We erred on the side of put them in there even if the team gets weighted a little heavier at one position than another.

The “Athletes” were meant to signify guys whose value to the team was significantly more vast than their primary, listed positions. Many of the “Athletes” make this team at their primary positions too, but their value and versatility permitted our including another player who, otherwise, might have gone unrecognized.

This is Friday Night Fletch, reporting for KPGFootball, reminding you to PLAY THROUGH THE WHISTLE!

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About Fletcher Long 1536 Articles
Two-time winner of Kentucky Press Association awards for excellence in writing and reporting news stories while Managing Editor of the Jackson (KY) Times-Voice

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