Nichol, Nichols, soph Aker top football honorees

Benny Westcott

Junior Heath Nichol was named the football team’s Most Valuable Player Tuesday, Nov. 9, at the end-of-season banquet at Community Chapel.

The Huskies celebrated team highlights in a much more “normal” season during the ongoing pandemic.

“I have a pretty good understanding of the tradition here,” said head coach Ryan Adams, who played for the squad and began coaching for its program after he graduated in 2015, “and it was awesome to be a part of that this season and share it with these guys. I think that understanding of the tradition has been enhanced this year.”

“We’ve come a long way,” he continued. “We embraced what was necessary to lay the foundation to be successful. We have a team of hard workers from top to bottom, and that’s a testament to their families.”

Adams thanked the parents in attendance, saying, “I really appreciate you all supporting these kids. It takes a community to raise kids.”

“The Team MVP award comes from performance on the field, but it is also so much more than that,” Adams said. “It’s also about what you do in practice, in the huddle, in the locker room, on bus rides. And a lot of the young kids gravitated toward Nichol. He never said no to helping a kid out, and he always had a smile on his face.”

Nichol also won offensive MVP, along with junior Brady Nichols. Senior Colby Gazeley was named best offensive lineman, while sophomore Ryker Hartsook and Nichols were each voted best offensive back.

Sophomore Nathan Aker received a number of awards, including defensive MVP and best defensive lineman.

Senior Daniel Luttrell was named both best defensive back and most-inspirational.

“Every good team needs a guy whose energy level is always high,” assistant coach Blake Manley said of Littrell. “We’re not all that person. But those who are like that are inspirational, and raise the level of everyone around them.”

Senior Jacob Ingram and Hartsook each won Most-Improved honors.

Of Ingram, Manley said, “His talent level was never top-tier. Some of us never have the talent level. We have to grind and earn it. Ingram attended every single thing we had all summer long. During pregame, while other people were talking, Ingram was doing quick feet drills. He was always working. He put in every single ounce of energy he could. He is trying to get better every minute.”

Ingram, along with sophomore Kelso Ellis and junior Jacob Ridley, also received Practice Player of the Year awards.

“You don’t get success as a team if you don’t have the individuals who do this,” Manley said of the distinction. “When I played, we were as good as we were because we had guys under us that were pushing us. You had to stay ahead of them.”

In All-League voting, Nichols received first-team receiver honors. His 649 receiving yards put him third in the state in that statistic among Class 4A players. His 11 touchdown catches ranked him second in the state.

Nichol was named second-team quarterback after his 1,548 passing yards made him second in that distinction in 4A play. He placed fourth with 16 passing touchdowns.

Junior Kaden Zajic was named second-team receiver, finishing fourth among 4A athletes with 629 receiving yards. Senior Tanner Waldrop was named second-team offensive tackle to round out the Huskies’ offense.

On the defensive side of the ball, Luttrell took second-team honors as defensive back. He had 45 tackles on the season, with 10 assisted tackles, one sack and two forced fumbles.

“We didn’t ask him to do just one thing,” Adams said of Luttrell. “We asked him to do all of this stuff all the time.”

Aker was named a second-team defensive lineman, having accrued 34 tackles, one interception and a fumble recovery during the season.

Seniors Charlie Crawford and Russ Holly both received honorable-mention distinction as defensive end. Holly also earned honorable mention as a kicker.

Adams noted that Holly transitioned from another position to play defensive end.

“He moved to putting his hand in the dirt, into a position that is arguably much more physical,” Adams said. “It’s a selfless thing to do. It’s not as glorious of a position. But he put his comfort level aside.”

Other honorable mentions included Nichols at defensive back and senior Tucker Weld at guard and linebacker.


Third year: Russ Holly, Tucker Weld, Charlie Crawford, Colby Gazeley and Tanner Waldrop.

Second year: Kaden Zajic, Heath Nichol, Jayce Miller, Jeremy Zook, Daniel Luttrell, Jacob Ingram, Brady Nichols, Trenton Smith, Kelso Ellis, Kyle Sieminski, Deacon Bachand, Ryker Hartsook, Jon Holly, Dakota Melkvik, Nathan Aker and Evan Jensen.

First year: Jacob Sieminski, Jacob Landtroop, Ashton Swanson, Jayce Miller, Jacob Ridley, Jesse Jamison, Bradley Marks, Alex Jacob, Nathan Thompson, Gavin Quisenberry, Kayo Ebbs, Jason Funk, Laird Pettner, Jerico Jones, Ricky Erickson and Jon Hart.