The 2021 Clinton Herald Athletic Performers of the Year (CHAPY) finalists for football are now set.
The CHAPY Awards, which will be announced in the spring, hand out a CHAPY for the Offensive and Defensive Player of the Year for football.
The offensive finalists are Easton Valley’s Conor Gruver, Camanche’s Mike Delzell and Clinton’s Jai Jensen.
The defensive finalists are Camanche’s Eric Kinkaid, Fulton’s Keegan VanKampen and Easton Valley’s Hayden Felkey.
GRUVERConor Gruver impressed for the state runner-up River Hawks for the second year running, manning one of the most prolific offenses in the state.
He completed 70 percent of his passes for 3,255 total yards and 56 touchdowns. He was a first-team All-State selection and was a state leader all year in multiple offensive categories.
“First team all district football player two years in a row … named offensive MVP of our district,” head coach Tony Johnson said. “Heading into the finals we were 21-2 with him as a starter.”
DELZELLDelzell broke the school record at Camanche for passing touchdowns, accumulating 37 in his career. He helped lead the Storm to the second round of the playoffs.
He had 17 his senior season, throwing 1,815 passing yards and boasting a 63 percent completion rate. He also holds the Camanche record for passing yards in a career with 3,911. Delzell was first-team All-District.
“Mike is an outstanding leader and true definition of a quality teammate,” head coach Dustin Coit said. “He also is extremely intelligent and was an extension of a coach on the field. I had complete trust in Mike to change plays at the line of scrimmage. Mike continued to get better each year by putting extra time in after practices and working to be the best he could be.”
JENSENJensen was a first-team All-District selection and named the district punter of the year, capping off three years of starting and a program turnaround for the River Kings.
He finished with 1799 passing yards this year and 394 rushing yards. He threw for 17 touchdowns. He also took the punting duties for the River Kings, punting 30 times for 1109 total punting yards. Jai Jensen got second-team All-State honors as a senior.
“Jai is a great competitor and was the leader of our team,” head coach Nate Herrig said. “Jai really improved this season as a passer. He was willing to stay in the pocket and deliver a great ball instead of taking off and running. As Jai went our team went. Had a great senior year to cap off a great career at CHS”
KINKAIDKinkaid was the rushing leader for the Storm, who fell in the second round of the Class 2A playoffs. He had 861 yards on 160 carries, scoring nine times.
He also was the defensive cornerstone, finishing with 78 tackles including 10 for a loss. That was 12th in Class 2A. He was a first-team All-District linebacker and is third in Camanche High School for career tackles.
“Eric is one of the toughest players I have ever coached,” head coach Dustin Coit said. “He had a nose for the ball on the defense and was in on a lot of our tackles. You knew what you were going to get out of Eric in every practice and game. Tremendous work ethic, positive attitude, and incredible leadership skills. He also was our workhorse at running back this year with 160 carries, he would give us tough yards at that spot.”
VANKAMPENVanKampen was a IHSFCA Class 1A First-Team All-State player this year for the Steamers. He led the Steamers, who made the state quarterfinals this year, with 66 tackles. That included 14 for a loss and one interception.
He also led the team with 1,054 yards on 160 carries, scoring 19 times.
“Keegan is our best linebacker,” head coach Patrick Lower said. “He is a three year starter for us as a ILB. He reads very well and will deliver a blow when he gets to the ball carrier. Keegan has a style of running that lets him almost always fall forward. He really improved throughout the year. He doesn’t go down on first contact. That is his best quality as a runner.”
Felkey was a defensive force for the River Hawks, who boasted one of the best defenses in the state during their state runner-up season.
Felkey had a total of 131 tackles this season. He finished with 48 for a loss and 19 sacks. He also had an impact offensively, finishing with 1035 receiving yards and 19 touchdowns.
“Hayden dominates offensive lines with his quickness and power and power,” Easton Valley head coach Tony Johnson said. “Also does a wonderful job as a TE in our offense.”
The entire 2021 All-Area Football list can be seen in Saturday’s edition on page B6.