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(KMAland) -- Two KMAlanders ran it back this year while another had such a nose for the ball that they couldn’t be denied.

Fremont-Mills senior Seth Malcom and Lewis Central junior Hunter Deyo won their second straight KMAland Defensive Player of the Year award while Underwood senior Brayden Wollan nabbed his own.

These are their stories…

Class 8-Man Defensive Player of the Year: Seth Malcom, Senior, Fremont-Mills

Malcom was all over the field for the Knights again this season. Well, when they were allowed on the field.

“We kind of hit a COVID wall midway through the season,” Malcom said.

The Knights missed out on three regular season games, but they made up for lost time during a thrilling run through the postseason that landed them in the 8-Player state championship game.

“I didn’t think we would get to the championship game,” Malcom noted. “We ended up fighting through some games and getting to that point. We’re very fortunate we got to play the games we had.”

Malcom ranked fourth in the state and second in KMAland with 92.5 tackles and added 11.5 tackles for loss in his final high school season.

“This summer I focused on my footwork, and that was the main thing this year,” he said. “I thought I did a great job of just trying to do what I can for the team, and I was able to play with the same kids I’ve been playing with since third grade.”

During Fremont-Mills’ run through the postseason, Malcom took plenty on his shoulders on both defense and offense. In particular, he was most proud of his defensive performance against Woodbine. Malcom had 15.0 tackles, 10 solos, 4.0 tackles for loss and a fumble recovery.

“(Woodbine’s) Layne Pryor is a great athlete,” Malcom said. “I knew I had to step up for that game and do what I can.”

Listen to the full interview below:

Previous KMAland 8-Man Defensive Player of the Year Winners

2019: Seth Malcom, Fremont-Mills

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: Brayden Wollan, Senior, Underwood

Wollan was one of just three KMAland small school defenders to grab at least six interceptions. However, he led KMAland A/1A/2A with nine total turnovers, adding three fumble recoveries.

“For the most part, our scheme is to push everything to the sideline,” Wollan said. “I’m mainly the last guy, and everything gets pushed to me or the sideline. Most of the plays are meant for safeties to get involved.”

Wollan, who ranked fifth in Class 1A with 102 interception return yards, also had 47.0 total tackles, 43 solos, 2.5 tackles for loss and 1.0 sack on the season.

“When we went to a three-front this year it allowed me to sit in the middle of the field more,” he said. “It allowed me to roam the field and have a chance at more interceptions.”

Wollan became the school’s all-time leader in interceptions this season, leading the Eagles to a terrific 9-2 season that included a trip to a state quarterfinal round. Their only losses came to state champion OABCIG and runner-up Van Meter.

“We came short of our goal this year, but we played very well,” Wollan added. “I enjoyed playing (with the team) and being coached by the people that coached me.”

Listen to the full interview below:

Previous KMAland A/1A/2A Defensive Player of the Year Winners

2019: Trevor Carlson, Tri-Center

**The Defensive Player of the Year split into small school and large school in 2019.


Class 3A/4A Defensive Player of the Year: Hunter Deyo, Junior, Lewis Central

The Division I star recruit had another huge season for another successful Titans team. Deyo, who has five Power Five offers, led KMAland and all of Class 3A with 22.5 tackles for loss.

“Last year, we had Logan Jones, Brady Miller and all of them that had played through the Domes and all of that,” Deyo said. “They were the leaders on the team, and that was my big role (this year). Coaches said it was my turn to lead on the defensive side.”

Deyo finished the year with 38.0 total tackles, 33 solos and 3.5 sacks while dominating in the middle of the line.

“We took care of (things) up front,” Deyo added. “Overall, we played pretty good all season.”

Lewis Central fell just short of a third straight trip to the UNI-Dome, but Deyo was especially proud of a dominant defensive performance against Ballard in the Round of 16.

“They like to run the ball 75% of the time,” Deyo said. “I took that as a challenge that they want to run the ball 60-odd times. We’ll let them (try), but we’ve just got to get it stopped. We held them under 100 rushing yards, and we took care of it up front.”

Listen to the full interview below:

Previous KMAland 3A/4A Defensive Players of the Year

2019: Hunter Deyo, Lewis Central

**The Defensive Player of the Year split into small school and large school in 2019.

Previous KMAland 11-Man Defensive Player of the Year Winners

2018: John Shields, Mount Ayr

2017: Caleb Sanders, Glenwood

2016: Caleb Sanders, Glenwood

2015: Matthew Smith-Petersen, Audubon


KMA Sports will not respond to any questions or comments on our award choices.

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