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For the third straight year, 580 Preps honors the best individual and group performances on the Topeka high school gridiron each week by awarding Helmet Stickers. Here now are the best of the best from the season openers…

DA’VONSHAI HARDEN, Topeka High – Ran for 176 yards and two breathtaking touchdown bursts of 33 and 70 yards, and also threw for 79 yards and a pair of scores, finding JP Deeter and Kaden Smith in the end zone. Not a bad senior season debut for the future Jayhawk as he helped the Trojans roll Shawnee Heights, 44-7.

KY THOMAS, Topeka High – Make SportsCenter, get a helmet sticker. It’s only fair.

“OK, playboy!” indeed. Thomas found the end zone twice and rushed for 161 yards in High’s win.

BRAYDEN ZIRKLE, Shawnee Heights – Provided the lone offensive highlight for Heights in their defeat with a 40 yard catch-and-run that saw him out-jump a defender for the ball and then hit top speed in a hurry once he saw green in front of him. The junior ended up with four catches for 75 yards and the TD on the night.

OFFENSIVE LINE, Hayden – When 11 different players get carries and tally 383 rushing yards, you have to give a lot of the credit to the guys up front clearing the way. Hayden has good experience and size up front with the likes of Andrew SchmidtleinTegan Abbey and others, and that group dominated the line of scrimmage in Hayden’s 55-8 win over Topeka West.

CASEN STALLBAUMER, Seaman – There’s lots of opportunity for new faces to develop as playmakers for Seaman this season. Stallbaumer showed his versatility and potential Friday night, as the sophomore had a two-yard touchdown run and a 33-yard touchdown reception in the Vikings’ 56-6 win over Highland Park.

DRAKE McCALL, Washburn Rural – Steve Buhler told the Topeka Capital-Journal that Friday night’s game was McCall’s best performance of his career, so we won’t argue with the coach and we’ll slap a sticker on the helmet of McCall, the leader of Rural’s linebacking corps, who helped keep the Junior Blues in the game in their 17-6 loss to Emporia.


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