KANSAS CITY, Mo. — One year after winning the Buck Buchanan Award as a sophomore, Liberty North's Melvin Laster has retained it again as a junior.
Laster has won the Buck Buchanan award for the second year in a row, which honors the best linebacker, defensive or offensive lineman in Missouri Football Classes 5-6.
Laster joins Blue Springs alum Elijah Lee, and Lee's Summit West alum Evan Boehm, as the only three players to win the award back-to-back.
Last year, Lester tallied 81 total tackles, 7.5 sacks, 12.5 tackles for loss, two interceptions, three fumble recoveries and scored one touchdown for the Eagles on the way to the state championship.
Unfortunately, the Eagles lost to St. Louis prep school Cristian Brothers College (CBC).
This year, it felt a bit like Groundhog Day again for Lester, tallying 83 total tackles, four sacks, 14 tackles for loss and three fumble recoveries for the Eagles.
Like last year, Laster was an anchor on the Eagles' defense, which allowed no more than 14 points in its 12 games.
Liberty North would unfortunately lose to the Cadets again, but this time in the state semifinal.
Laster is a highly touted prospect in the state of Missouri.
He is currently a four-star prospect, ranked eighth in the state of Missouri for the class of 2024, according to 247sports.
Laster has already gotten interest from Power 5 schools including Kansas State, Kansas, Missouri and Tennessee, among others.
Other nominees for the award were PJ Adebawore and Edric Hill, both senior defensive lineman at North Kansas City and Cayden Green, a senior offensive lineman at Lee's Summit North.
Center High School linebacker Dirac Tsafack won the Bobby Bell Award Tuesday, which is the small school (Class 1-4) equivalent of the Buck Buchanan Award.
The Buchanan Award is the fourth and penultimate award to be given during the Simone Awards.
The final Thomas A. Simone Award will be awarded to best all around player in the entire Kansas City area. That award will be given to the winner at their school on Dec. 6.
The nominees for the award are Green, senior Park Hill quarterback Kendrick Bell, Laster's teammate quarterback Sam Van Dyne and Shawnee Mission Northwest running back Malik O’Atis.