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Ryle football players, coaches receive awards for successful season at annual awards banquet

The NKyTribune will be providing focused coverage of NKY high school football throughout the season, thanks to support from St. Elizabeth Healthcare Sports Medicine. See all of our pre-season features on each of NKY’s 21 high school football teams and follow our coverage, including roundups each week at Northern Kentucky High School Football.

By Terry Boehmker
NKy Tribune sports reporter

Two players and two coaches for the Ryle football team that had one of the best seasons in program history received awards at the 2016 Northern Kentucky Football Coaches Association annual banquet on Wednesday.


Adam Collinsworth was voted Assistant Coach of the Year for working with the Ryle defense during the team’s 12-1 season. (Photos from Ryle Raiders Football website)

Senior quarterback Tanner Morgan and junior running back Jacob Chisholm received Top 26 Awards for being offensive leaders on the Ryle team that finished the regular season with a perfect 10-0 record and made it to the quarterfinals of the Class 6A state playoffs.

Mike Engler was named Coach of the Year for guiding the Raiders through their 12-1 season and a member of his staff, Adam Collinsworth, was voted Assistant Coach of the Year by the association.

Collinsworth, 38, has been paralyzed from the neck down since 1998 when he broke two vertebrae diving into a friend’s pool while he was a student and football player at Thomas More College.

When he returned to college a year later, Collinsworth became an assistant coach on the Thomas More football team. He continued coaching after graduation and joined the Ryle staff in 2011. He was primarily a defensive coach for the Raiders during the 2016 season when they limited opponents to 260 yards and 19 points per game.

“This means everything,” Collinsworth said after receiving the award at Tuesday’s banquet. “Being in a (wheel) chair and being on the sidelines, sometimes I feel like I’m the inspiration guy. I want to be know as a football coach, a coach who’s helping these kids become grown men and contributing members of society.”

When Engler became Ryle’s head coach three years ago, he didn’t know how someone in a wheelchair could help the team. But Collinsworth has contributed so much to the Raiders’ success that Engler nominated him for Assistant Coach of the Year.


Ryle head coach Mike Engler

“I wouldn’t give him up for anything,” Engler said when he presented the award. “He’ll sit there on Friday night and if he sees a certain player go into a game he knows what’s going to be run because he has watched so much film and has broken down the other team. He’s by far one of the greatest high school football minds I’ve ever been around.”

Collinsworth played high school football at Scott and received a Top 26 Award from the Northern Kentucky Football Coaches Association after his senior season. He was a starting linebacker on the Thomas More College team when he was paralyzed by the neck injury. But he didn’t let the unfortunate accident keep him away from the game he loves.

“I woke up and I was in the hospital and I had to decide whether or not I was going to give up or I was going to keep on going and be a fighter,” he said. “I decided I was going to fight and I was going to do whatever it took to be what I wanted to be – and that was a football coach.”

Covington Catholic coach Eddie Eviston received the Owen Hauck Award at Tuesday’s banquet for being the most improved team in Northern Kentucky. The Colonels won the Class 5A district title for the first time since 2006 and made it to the quarterfinals of the state playoffs to finish with a 9-4 record. The team’s final record last year was 5-8.

Several of the seniors who received Top 26 Awards at the banquet have already made commitments with college teams, including defensive back/wide receiver Dante Hendrix of Cooper (Indiana State), linebacker/running back Derrick Barnes of Holy Cross (Toledo) and quarterbacks Tanner Morgan of Ryle (Western Michigan) and Cameron Racke of Simon Kenton (Wofford).

Morgan became the 10th Kentucky high school quarterback to pass for 10,000 yards and 100 touchdowns in his career. Hendrix set Northern Kentucky records in career pass receptions (169) and reception yardage (3,097).

Here is a complete listing of the players who received Top 26 Awards:

Beechwood –
Aiden Justice; Bellevue – Adam Hazeres; Boone County – Brandon Morgan; Brossart – Jake Martin; Campbell County – Tanner Hamilton; Conner – Austin Cain, Peyton Van Horn; Cooper – Dante Hendrix, Jarod Lonaker; CovCath – Alex Shelton, Hunter Ziegelmeyer; Dayton – Trevor Simpson.

Dixie Heights – Jose Torres; Highlands – Sam Taylor; Holmes – Salih Abdullah; Holy Cross – Derrick Barnes, Drew McIntosh; Lloyd – Elijah Jouett; Ludlow – T.C. Eads; Newport – Markel Garland; NewCath – Pat Henschen; Ryle – Jacob Chisholm, Tanner Morgan; Scott – Alex Thurza; Simon Kenton – Brian Carter, Cameron Racke.

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