The Northview Chiefs are state champions and several players stand out as big contributors

Championship MVPs

Published 9:18pm Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Every Northview football player has reason to be proud. The entire team had an outstanding season, a season that concluded by bringing home the FHSAA 1A football state championship. The Chiefs demonstrated a team mentality in the championship game, given that all six touchdowns were scored by different players. With all that being said, the public loves to see awards. While an official AP top 10 poll hasn’t been released following the postseason, the Chiefs are the unofficial no. 1 team in 1A. So, if we can put the Chiefs team at the top, why not recognize a few of the top players?

Offensive MVP: LaMikal Kyles—Kyles had the second-longest touchdown in the game with a 58-yard rushing score. In the semifinal game, Kyles had 122 yards rushing to go along with two rushing touchdowns. He received the majority of the team’s carries throughout the course of the season, and the team typically tried to run the ball first in order to open up the passing game. There is no question Kyles was essential to the Chiefs this season.

Defensive MVP: Neiko Robinson—Neiko had by far the hardest hits in the most important game of the season, the state championship game. Head coach Sid Wheatley said he was important in run support and Trenton had one of the best rushing offenses of any team in the 1A classification. Outside of Roderick Woods and Jeffrey Taylor, Neiko had some of the loudest hits during the season. All of this doesn’t even take into consideration the fact that Neiko had a number of interceptions throughout the season, including an interception early on in the state championship game that gave the Chiefs a lot of momentum.

Special Teams MVP: Neino Robinson—Chiefs fans looked forward to any opportunity for Neino to field a kickoff or punt because chances were, he would do something electric. He always seemed to have positive yardage, most of the time significant positive yardage. He even had a number of punts and a few kickoffs returned for a touchdown, including one kickoff returned 80 yards for a touchdown in the state championship against Trenton. After being asked all season long about Neino’s special teams abilities, head coach Sid Wheatley continued to wonder if opposing teams could stop him even if they confined his space. He will no doubt continue to be a key playmaker for the team next season, his senior season.

Breakout Season: (Offense) LaDarius Thomas—The only sophomore to make the awards, Thomas emerged towards the end of the season as the Chiefs go-to power back. Any time the team needed short yardage or decided to run the ball up the middle, chances were the ball was going to Thomas. Thomas had a touchdown in the championship game against Trenton. He will likely receive a lot more carries next season.

(Defense) Jeffrey Taylor—Taylor, a junior, had some of the loudest hits all season. He became a key started due to injuries and he made the most of the opportunity. Taylor played in at least one game with a cast on his arm and was still able to make a number of important tackles. He emerged as one of the top defensive players to watch for next season.

Leadership Award: (Offense) Kevin Vaughan—Vaughan may have coughed up the ball a few times in the team’s playoff game against Freeport, but coaches praised him for showing true poise in leading the team to an overtime win over the Bulldogs 34-28. A key to the team’s win was Vaughan’s ability to rush the ball and his leadership abilities. Vaughan had 106 yards passing and a passing touchdown in the semifinal playoff game against Liberty County. Additionally, Vaughan had a rushing touchdown in the state championship game against Trenton. It almost goes without saying that the quarterback position is one that demands a natural leader. When Vaughan made a mistake, he would get on the headset, talk it over with his coaches and return to the field by correcting any prior mistakes. Vaughan also showed a lot of toughness as he played through a couple injuries through the course of the season.

(Defense)Roderick Woods—Woods wasn’t able to play in the championship game, but he was with the team throughout the season. Even when he couldn’t play, he was on the sideline supporting his teammates and providing any helped they may have needed. When Woods was on the field, he was without question, one of the top leaders on defense and played a little at running back early in the season. He led the Chiefs in tackles for most of the season and had the loudest hits with the possible exception of Jeffrey Taylor. Wheatley said he will definitely have a chance to play at the next level.

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