OVERLAND PARK, Kan. — Blue Valley Northwest quarterback Mikey Pauley has won the 39th annual Thomas A. Simone Award, which has been awarded to the best high school football player in Kansas City each year since 1983.
Pauley ran for 178 yards and four touchdowns and threw for 112 yards and another score as the Huskies dominated three-time defending champion Derby 41-21 to win the Kansas Class 6A state championship.
It was the first state title in football for the BV Northwest program and Pauley is the first player in Huskies history to win the Simone Award.
Pauley said he was “a little bit” surprised after BV Northwest coach Clint Rider took him to breakfast before supposedly making the trip to the winner’s high school.
“It was a quiet ride when I thought I didn’t win,” said Pauley, who led the Huskies to a 12-1 record.
Once Rider made an excuse to return to BV Northwest, Pauley realized he had won.
He thanked his family, Rider and “everybody that’s a part of Northwest football.”
“I’m just proud to be a Husky,” Pauley said.
He has signed with the University of Nebraska baseball team, where he also hopes to play football.
Three other players in Blue Valley School District history have won the award with the most recent being BV North quarterback Graham Mertz, who now plays at the University of Wisconsin, in 2018.
Blue Valley's Andy Murray (1991) and Zack Rampy (2006) also won the Simone Award.
Pauley finished his senior year with 1,945 yards and 23 touchdowns passing and rushed for another 1,235 yards and 22 touchdowns.
The other finalists for the award were Lee's Summit North quarterback Tre Baker, Lawrence Free State quarterback/safety Jet Dineen and Liberty North quarterback Sam Van Dyne.
Pauley's coach, Clint Rider, also was announced as the 2021 Eric Driskell Award winner as the top coach in the Kansas City area. The Chiefs and NFL also gifted Rider an all-expenses paid trip to Super Bowl LVI on Feb. 13, 2022, at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, California.
Winners of the other awards had previously been announced on KSHB 41.
St. James Academy junior quarterback Jackson House, who led the Thunder to a Kansas Class 4A state title, won the Frank Fontana Award as the top small-class player in the Kansas City area.
Among linemen and linebackers, Liberty North's Melvin Laster won the Buck Buchanan Award as the best big-class lineman or linebacker, while Smithville's Cody Simoncic won the Bobby Bell Award as the best small-class lineman or linebacker.
The Otis Taylor Award, which is given annually to the best wide receiver or tight end, went to Park Hill South's Mudia Reuben.
History of the Simone Award
1983 Jeff Kelso, Park Hill
1984 Shawn Long, Grandview
1985 Craig Phillips, Lee's Summit
1986 Tim Ryan, Rockkurst
1987 Kenyon Rasheed, Rockhurst
1988 Derrick Hart, F.L. Schlagle
1989 Jeff Handy, Blue Springs
1990 Kevin McIntosh, Hickman Mills
1991 Andy Murray, Blue Valley
1992 Nate Minnis, Blue Springs
1993 Jason Thoren, Lawrence
1994 Eddie Brooks, Blue Springs South
1995 Arland Bruce, Olathe North
1996 Ladell Betts, Blue Springs
1997 Josh Brewer, Olathe North
1998 Sean Doyle, Rockhurst
1999 Brandon Shelby, Rockhurst
2000 Darren Sproles, Olathe North
2001 Maurice Mack, Olathe North
2002 Jim Bouknight, Olathe North
2003 Michael Keenan, Oak Park
2004 Chase Coffman, Raymore–Peculiar
2005 Josh Freeman, Grandview
2006 Zack Rampy, Blue Valley
2007 Nathan Scheelhaase, Rockhurst
2008 Blaine Dalton, Blue Springs South
2009 James Franklin, Olathe North
2010 Bubba Starling, Gardner Edgerton
2011 Evan Boehm, Lee's Summit West
2012 Dalvin Warmack, Blue Springs
2013 Dalvin Warmack, Blue Springs
2014 Drew Lock, Lee's Summit
2015 Skylar Thompson, Fort Osage
2016 Julian Ross, Staley
2017 Ronnie Bell, Park Hill
2018 Graham Mertz, Blue Valley North
2019 Arland Bruce IV, Olathe North
2020 Conrad Hawley, Raymore-Peculiar
2021 Mikey Pauley, Blue Valley Northwest
Editor's note: An earlier version of the story incorrectly stated how many Blue Valley School District players had won the award.