(KMAland) -- Dominance and destruction. Two key words for KMAland’s top defensive players this past football season.
Fremont-Mills junior Seth Malcom, Tri-Center senior Trevor Carlson and Lewis Central sophomore Hunter Deyo are this year’s KMAland Defensive Players of the Year. Their stories…
Class 8-Man Defensive Player of the Year: Seth Malcom, Junior, Fremont-Mills
Malcom didn’t get a chance to play in nearly as many games as his peers, but he still racked up plenty of numbers – and plenty of notoriety while doing it.
The junior Division I recruit had 70.5 total tackles on the season, including 56 solo tackles and 15.5 total tackles for loss.
“It started in the summer with work outs,” Malcom told KMA Sports. “Our team went in day in and day out and focused on making it to the state championship. We fell short of that, but obviously it was a great season for me and my team.”
The Knights advanced back to the state playoffs, winning their district championship in dominant fashion before winning their opening playoff game with Coon Rapids-Bayard.
“Every game was about the same (for me),” Malcom said. “Bedford was more of a key role for me. We kind of came in thinking we might overtake them early. That didn’t happen, so I had to focus hard on defense and felt I had a pretty good game there.”
Malcom had 15 tackles, 5.5 tackles for loss and 1.5 sacks in the win over Bedford. He also rushed for 336 yards and six touchdowns in the win.
“I basically just tried to lead the team this year,” Malcom said. “I focused on what I needed to do and not try to do more than one person can do.”
Malcom is the second Fremont-Mills athlete to win the KMAland 8-Man Defensive Player of the Year, joining Parker Powers (2016).
Previous 8-Man Winners
2018: Keegan Simons, Ar-We-Va
2017: Drake Johnson, Stanton
2016: Parker Powers, Fremont-Mills
2015: Spencer Brown, Lenox
Class A/1A/2A Defensive Player of the Year: Trevor Carlson, Senior, Tri-Center
Carlson was a dominant fixture in the middle of the Tri-Center defense, leading the Trojans on a late-season run to qualify for the state playoffs.
“I think everyone really bought in this year,” Carlson said. “We really came together and played for each other. That’s the one thing Coach (Ryan) Schroder said early on. If you play for the guy next to you, go out there and have fun then everything is going to be good.”
For Carlson, it was better than good. The middle linebacker finished the season with 102.5 total tackles, including 71 solos, 7.5 total tackles for loss, 1.5 sacks and a fumble recovery.
“I think I always had to step up and just play my role,” Carlson said. “I knew all the 10 guys around me were going to do their job, so if I did my job things would go well.”
The Trojans started the season 2-3 before winning their next four games to qualify for the state playoffs.
“After we dropped those three, we were pretty banged up,” Carlson said. “We got healed up pretty good for that next game and things started clicking. We came out and played like we knew we could, and then things went our way the rest of the year.”
Carlson is the first A/1A/2A Defensive Player of the Year. In prior years, the award was handed out purely to the top 11-man defensive player.
Class 3A/4A Defensive Player of the Year: Hunter Deyo, Sophomore, Lewis Central
The Lewis Central defense – among the state’s best – was filled with seniors. But right in the middle was a havoc-wreaking sophomore at defensive tackle.
Deyo had a monster season with 22 solo tackles for loss, 4.5 assisted tackles for loss, 3.5 sacks and a fumble recovery.
“I thought my season was pretty good,” the modest Deyo told KMA Sports. “The team did great as a whole. We just came out and balled like we knew we could.”
The Titans advanced back to the UNI Dome in Cedar Falls for the second consecutive season, one year after the school’s first appearance in the semifinals. One of main reasons was the defense.
“All those guys are my brothers,” Deyo said. “I wish I could play with them again. They’re just a group of wonderful guys. Just amazing.”
Deyo, who received a scholarship offer from Iowa State following his sophomore campaign, has been learning from some of the best, including Iowa commit Logan Jones.
“He’s one of my bigger role models,” Deyo said. “I’ve grown up with him and our families have known each other. I took his advice and just went out there and balled like he told me to.”
Previous 11-man Winners:
2018: John Shields, Mount Ayr
2017: Caleb Sanders, Glenwood
2016: Caleb Sanders, Glenwood
2015: Matthew Smith-Petersen, Audubon