After four Mid-Columbia teams competed in the state football championships, the postseason accolades continued to roll in for local athletes Thursday, when The Associated Press announced the results of its all-state player of the year voting.
Kamiakin’s Zach Borisch and Royal’s Kaden Jenks — the senior quarterbacks who led their teams to state championships — were named the Class 3A and 1A players of the year, respectively.
Borisch finished second in the state player of the year voting across all classifications behind Camas quarterback Jack Colletto, who received 68 points to Borisch’s 25. Jenks finished fourth with 17.
Borisch, who accounted for 2,848 total yards and 45 touchdowns, said it was an honor to receive the statewide recognition, but that helping the Braves win the first state football championship for a Kennewick high school remained his top accomplishment this season.
“There’s so many people in the state that do so well and work so hard to make these big accomplishments, so it’s just awesome to be honored and get an accomplishment like that,” Borisch said on being named the 3A player of the year. “But winning a state championship obviously outweighs this a million to one. Even if I won all-state player of the year, I would obviously take winning a state championship over that.”
Jenks threw for 2,506 yards and accounted for 51 total touchdowns in leading the Knights to their seventh state title. Royal won back-to-back state championships for just the second time in school history.
Chiawana senior running back Andrew Vargas took third in the player of the year voting across all classifications and was second behind Colletto in the 4A player of the year race.
Vargas posted the third-most rushing yards for a season in state history (2,783), and he also scored 42 touchdowns.
Richland senior lineman Brigham Whitby, the Tri-City Herald’s All-Area Player of the Year, finished eighth in the voting across all classifications and was fourth among 4A players. He led Richland to its first state title game appearance since 1999, but the Bombers fell to Colletto’s Camas Papermakers.
Whitby received the second-most votes for a lineman, trailing only Foster Sarell of Graham-Kapowsin. Sarell, considered the top offensive lineman recruit in the country by Scout.com, finished fifth in the overall voting.
With votes also going out to Tanner Bolt (QB, sr., Prosser), Brian Hawkins (QB, sr., Connell), Jacob Dunn (QB, sr., Dayton-Waitsburg) and Cal Martin (TE/LB, sr., Dayton-Waitsburg) in the individual classification races, eight players from the Mid-Columbia received statewide recognition Thursday. Borisch said that kind of attention is the product of some high-quality football being played in southeastern Washington.
“It goes to show you how tough our conference is and how big wins and these games are,” Borisch said. “It tells you how tough the competition is. That’s why we did so well in all classifications with individuals and teams.”
Sports writers and editors from around the state participated in the vote, which was compiled via a point system with five points for a first-place vote, four points for second, three points for third, two points for fourth and one point for fifth.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
STATE PLAYER OF THE YEAR (all classifications)
1. Jack Colletto, QB, sr., Camas. 68 points.
2. Zach Borisch, QB, sr., Kamiakin. 25 points.
3. Andrew Vargas, RB, sr., Chiawana. 19 points.
4. Kaden Jenks, QB, sr., Royal. 17 points.
5. Foster Sarell, OL, sr., Graham-Kapowsin. 16 points.
6. Cade Otton, TE/LB, sr., Tumwater, 14 points.
7. Connor Wedington, RB, sr., Sumner, 13 points.
8. Brigham Whitby, OL/DL, sr., Richland. 12 points.
9. Anfernee Gurley, WR/DB, sr., Archbishop Murphy. 11 points.
10. Connor Johnson, QB, sr., Archbishop Murphy. 8 points.
CLASS 4A PLAYER OF THE YEAR
1. Jack Colletto, QB, sr., Camas. 64 points.
2. Andrew Vargas, RB, sr., Chiawana. 38 points.
3. Foster Sarell, OL, sr., Graham-Kapowsin. 31 points.
4. Brigham Whitby, OL/DL sr., Richland. 26 points.
5. Connor Wedington, RB, sr., Sumner. 20 points.
Others receiving votes: Conor Bardue, QB, jr., Lake Stevens; J.J. Jerome, RB, sr., Monroe; Henry Bainivalu, OL/DL, sr., Skyline; Michael Matthews, RB, sr., Camas; Brian Greene, OL/DL, sr., Eisenhower; Scott Gunther, RB, sr., Olympia; Ben Wilson, LB/RB, jr., Sumner; Nathaniel Holcomb, QB, sr., Puyallup.
CLASS 3A PLAYER OF THE YEAR
1. Zach Borisch, QB, sr., Kamiakin. 62 points.
2. Drew Tingstad, QB, sr., Meadowdale. 37 points.
3. Hunter Bryant, TE, sr., Eastside Catholic. 24 points.
4. Caleb Davis, OL/DL, sr., Bonney Lake. 22 points.
5. Keegan Stich, RB, jr., Snohomish. 18 points.
Others receiving votes: Quazzel White, OL, sr., Lincoln; Ben Peterson, WR/DB sr., Squalicum; Ben Broselle, RB/LB, sr., Ferndale; Princeton Lollar, RB, sr., Oak Harbor; Anthony Hathaway, RB, sr., Timberline; Max Novak, WR, sr., Stadium; Cale Lindsay, LB/TE, sr., Lakes; Chris Penner, WR/DB/K/P, soph., Capital.
CLASS 2A PLAYER OF THE YEAR
1. Cade Otton, TE/LB sr., Tumwater. 49 points.
2. Anfernee Gurley, WR/DB, sr., Archbishop Murphy. 34 points.
3. Willie Patterson, QB/DB, sr., Franklin Pierce. 24 points.
4. Ben Hines, LB, jr., Archbishop Murphy. 21 points.
5. Connor Johnson, QB, sr., Archbishop Murphy. 19 points.
Others receiving votes: Tanner Bolt, QB, sr., Prosser; Kyler Gordon, WR/DB, jr., Archbishop Murphy; Kelle Sanders, QB/DE, sr., River Ridge; Abraham Lucas, OL/DL, sr., Archbishop Murphy; Bryce Hornbeck, RB/DB, sr., Sedro-Woolley; Trey Dorfner, RB/DB, sr., River Ridge; Gavin Velarde, WR/DB/KR, jr., Sequim.
CLASS 1A PLAYER OF THE YEAR
1. Kaden Jenks, QB, sr., Royal. 72 points.
2. Brian Hawkins, QB, sr., Connell. 50 points.
3. Artimus Johnson, LB/RB, sr., Hoquiam. 45 points.
4. Jed Schliemer, RB/LB, sr., Mount Baker. 30 points.
5. Ryan Slack, RB, sr., Zillah. 12 points.
Others receiving votes: Carson Klinger, RB, jr., Montesano; Tyquan Coleman, RB/DB, jr., Cascade Christian; Jeffrey Mayolo, RB, sr., La Center; Taylor Rupe, OL/DL, sr., Montesano.
CLASS 2B PLAYER OF THE YEAR
1. Wyatt Stanley, QB, sr., Napavine. 73 points.
2. Budda Luna, RB/DB, sr., LaConner. 30 points.
3. Tyler Haas, RB, sr., Liberty (Spangle). 25 points.
4. (tie) Austin Filley, LB, sr., Napavine. 19 points.
4. (tie) Dalton Yoder, QB/LB, sr., Toledo. 19 points.
Others receiving votes: Kaelin Jurek, RB, sr., Pe-Ell/Willapa Valley; Jacob Dunn, QB/DB, sr., Dayton-Waitsburg; Cal Martin, TE/LB, sr., Dayton-Waitsburg; Ian Russell, RB/LB, jr., Rainier.
CLASS 1B PLAYER OF THE YEAR
1. Rwehabura Munyagi, QB/DB, jr., Neah Bay. 60 points.
2. Sage Elder, RB/LB, sr., Odessa-Harrington. 46 points.
3. Raven Borsey, RB/DB, sr., Lummi. 39 points.
4. (tie) Cameron Buzzell, WR/DB, sr., Neah Bay. 28 points.
4. (tie) P.J. Talen, QB, sr., Tacoma Baptist. 28 points.
Others receiving votes: Chance Marsh, QB, jr., Sunnyside Christian.