Pirates land 10 players on Tri-County All-Conference Team

Chris Bowie
Boonville Daily News
The Boonville Pirates football team recently had 10 players selected to the Tri-County All-Conference Football Team for the 2021 season. The Pirates closed out the season at 8-3 overall and 6-1 in the TCC. Players selected to the all-conference team for Boonville were (front row, left to right) Connor Acton, Nash Mckenzie, Colby Caton and Chandler Stonecipher. (back row, left to right) Jackson Johns, Peyton Hahn, DaWan Lomax, Jamesian McKee and Tyson Ellison. Not pictured is Dakota Troost.

The Boonville Pirates football team may have fell short of achieving its ultimate goal when it comes to a conference or district title.

But if you consider that the Pirates had its highest place finish in the Tri-County Conference in four years at 6-1, which was good enough for second place, they also fell one game shy of reaching the district finals to close out the season at 8-3 overall 

The last time Boonville won eight or more games was the 2011 team under head coach Devin Brown, which finished 10-2 overall.

“We didn’t achieve our goal of earning a championship but we did a lot of great things this year,” Hough said. “Some of those things are recognizable to everyone, others only the man in the arena knows. We produced team full of individuals that people enjoyed to watch and support. Gene Reagan Stadium and following the Pirates was the place and thing to do on Friday nights. I’m a firm believe in the power of athletics and the effects they can have. This team had a positive impact on individuals, in the hallways at school, on the streets of our community and under the roofs of homes. Winning is hard, winning a championship is even harder. It is our staff’s pleasure, we are honored to lead these young men through the process.”

The Tri-County Conference also had its share of great teams this season. Four teams in the TCC finished the season with winning records while two teams played for a district championship. While Hallsville captured the conference outright for the first time in seven years at 7-0, Boonville wound up finishing second at 6-1, followed by Blair Oaks at 5-2, California 4-3, Southern Boone 3-4, Eldon 2-5, Osage 1-6 and Versailles at 0-7.

The Pirates also had 10 players recently selected to the all-conference team, three of which were selected on both sides of the ball. First team selections on offense for Boonville were senior DaWan Lomax at running back, junior Colby Caton (athlete), senior Jamesian McKee at H-back, senior Peyton Hahn at offensive line, and  sophomore Dakota Troost as a returner. Junior Tyson Ellison was a second team pick at O-line, while Chandler Stonecipher was honorable mention at O-line.

Boonville also had its share of players selected on defense. Hahn (D-line), McKee (defensive back), and Connor Acton (linebacker) were all selected to the first team on defense. Ellison was named to the second team at D-line, as was junior Jackson Johns at defensive back. Senior Nash Mckenzie was selected as a honorable-mention all-conference at linebacker.

Hough said in the past Blair Oaks was a dominating team, seven years, 44 games to be exact. “This year we were able to beat them to set up a Week 9 “Super Bowl” with Hallsville”,” Hough said. “To even put ourselves in that situation after competing and beat what I would consider the toughest field of teams top to bottom in our four years in the conference. In that game we fell short, truly a game of inches, a game we as coaches and players will never forget but also appreciate the arena we created and earned. Losing is/was heartbroken but we must get better and we will use this year’s shortcomings as motivation. We’ll do everything we can to put ourselves in that situation again, hopefully be bigger and better and earn the title: Champion.”

Hough added that the conference and team had a lot of young faces making big plays on Friday night. He said players nobody have heard of or expected to contribute this early really shine. “One our team this year we had eight sophomores start or play multiple snaps on Friday night. Underclassmen on other teams did the same. Two freshmen were all-conference players. Blair Oaks had multiple sophomores receive honors. This conference is full of great players, some will graduate, some will be back, it doesn’t get easier.”

Hough went on to say that the TCC also has Hall of Fame caliber coaches, coaches who have won state title, some multiple. He said athletes who are all-Americans, all-state, college bound. “This conference has multiple teams that do things right on and off the field, it won’t ever be easy,” Hough said. “Our staff and players work and strive to be champions. As stated before it’s hard and won’t be easy, but we’re here for the challenge. Time to get back to work, new challenges will arise and we’ll prepare our best to overcome them.”

The following are players selected to the all-conference team:

Colby Caton, quarterback, Jr.

Caton finished the season by completing 88 of 144 passes for 1,152 yards with 15 touchdowns and six interceptions. Caton also rushed 181 times for 1,030 yards and 10 touchdowns.

Here is what Hough had to say about Caton: “Colby has experienced the ups and downs of being a player who touches the ball almost every snap offensively at the QB position. The amount of work he puts in on and off the field is hard to match, luckily for us we have many that respect and emulate what he does to prepare for competition. Beyond the 1,000 yards plus rushing and passing he accounted for this year, his heart, leadership and desire to compete is the best thing he brought to our team. Luckily for us as coaches, teammates and fans we get to witness this man's work for another year.”

Jamesian McKee, H-back, Sr.

McKee finished the season with 76 carries for 523 yards and 10 touchdowns while hauling in 16 passes for 296 yards and four touchdowns. He also finished the season with a total of 56 tackles, two tackles for loss, five interceptions, two caused fumbles and one fumble recovery.

Here is what Hough had to say about McKee: “A confident athlete is good, a hard working athlete is good, a talented athlete is good but when you put CONFIDENT, HARD WORKING and TALENTED together you get GREAT. Jamesian went from good to great right in front of our eyes on friday nights, mainly because he believed in himself. Personally, though bias, I feel he is the best defensive player in our conference. I expect him to be recognized again as one of the best players in the state in December.”

DaWan Lomax, running back, Sr.

Lomax led the Pirates in rushing yards with 181 carries for 1,347 yards and 14 touchdowns. He also had 23 receptions for 209 yards and one touchdown.  

Here is what Hough had to say about Lomax: “Weekly recognized by his teammate by earning the title "Captain". Going into his senior year, we as coaches had to analyze what we were doing and DaWan’s position to utilize his talents, he didn't disappoint. Making the move to running back and getting the ball in his hands more not only benefited him but our team. DaWan wants to pursue college football and I believe he will do great things at the next level. We will miss DaWan between the white lines on Friday nights but we will miss the daily interactions even more.”

Peyton Hahn, OL-DL-Sr.

Led the way for two 1,000 rushers and a 1,000 yard passer this season as the starting center for Boonville. Was a first team selection on both sides of the ball. On defense, Hahn finished with 48 total tackles, 2.5 tackles for loss and one half sack.

Here is what Hough had to say about Hahn: “You don’t know how good something is until it's gone and we got a good taste of that this year at Holden when Hahn was injured. Predominantly operating out of the shotgun the center's ability to snap the ball is key to the success and flow of our offense. Arguably one of the best offensive and defensive linemen in the area, he will be a tough one to replace. A true STUDENT-ATHLETE, who works and competes at the highest of levels in all arenas.”

Dakota Troost, Returner, So.

Troost was another player that started on both sides of the ball for Boonville. Not only was he a threat on special teams as a kick returner, the sophomore standout also finished the season with 24 carries for 272 yards and two touchdowns while hauling in 27 receptions for 349 yards and four scores. On defense, Troost had 32 tackles, two tackles for loss and two interceptions.

Here is what Hough had to say about Troost: “Dakota grew as the season went on in my opinion. Yes, he started the season with 2 TD's at Pleasant Hill and showed great flashes with the ball in his hand, but what took Dakota to the next level is what he did without the ball. I'm a firm believer in the quote "What you do without the ball in your hands, shows how much you love your teammates" Statistically, Dakota did good things on offensive, defensive and special teams. What he did that stats don’t show is what made him a GREAT player, teammate and young man. We are fortunate to have Dakota back for the next two years and I expect Dakota to continue to grow and experience individual and team success in his future.”

Connor Acton, linebacker, Jr.

Acton led the team in tackles this season with a total of 93 at the linebacker position along with three tackles for loss, one sack, one interception, one fumble recovery, one caused fumble and one block punt.

Here is what Hough had to say about Acton: “Fun kid to watch and well respected by opposing coaches. Has a natural talent to read keys, find the football and do so at a high rate of speed. His willingness to do whatever it takes to get there is something not all players can do. Being undersized and facing some of the talent we see isn't an easy task and Connor put his body through hell for his teammates and passion for the game. This was a huge year for Connor and with the right focus and growth he will be even better as a senior.”

Tyson Ellison, O-line/D-line, Jr.

Ellison was another workhorse along the offensive line for Boonville along with Hahn and Stonecipher. However, it was on the defensive side of the ball where Ellison wreaked havoc with a total of 59 tackles with 9.5 tackles for loss and two sacks.

Here is what Hough had to say about Ellison: “ You know you have someone special when they get voted captain week 1 by their teammates, after only two months with the program. A lot was "new" to Tyson and he took every change or obstacle in front of him and flourished. He was voted by opposing coaches one of the best offensive linemen in the conference, a position he didn't play until returning to Boonville. He had to change his number here, something athletes really don't like but he did. 73, "7 + 3 = 10, 10 toes down coach" is what he said to me, that's exactly what he did.  He is invested in his craft and he shined on the field and we are very fortunate to witness his talents. His true strength though and the quality that will make him very successful is his everyday ability to uplift others on and off the field. The best is still yet to come for this young man.”

Jackson Johns, defensive back, Jr.

Like many of the Pirates, Jackson had some of his best ball games in the biggest games of the season. For the season, Johns finished with 42 total tackles with four interceptions, one fumble recovery and one caused fumble.

Here is what Hough had to say about Johns:  “Great kid who was truly a blessing to our team this year. As a freshman and sophomore I knew Jackson could help us athletically on the field, but his focus was on basketball. My focus and his eventual teammates' focus was to get him on the team and under the friday night lights. He is a hard worker, great teammate and willing to do whatever is asked, add these qualities plus his athletic ability, he developed as the year went on to be vital to us in every phase of the game. I hope as a coach we continue to have the opportunity to watch Jackson represent himself, his teammates, his family and community under the friday night lights next year, he's a great one.”

Nash Mckenzie, linebacker, Sr.

Mckenzie was a run stopper at linebacker for Boonville this season while finishing with 59 total tackles with one half tackle for loss and one half sack.

Here is what Hough had to sack about Mckenzie: “Nash's growth and development as a football player was achieved doing what many don't want to do, playing scout team. The amount of reps he has taken over his four year career on scout team defense has not only built his skill but also built a relationship with old and young players on our team. Like Connor he is undersized and put his body through hell to compete at a high level. When Nash was dealt some adversity this year playing through injury, even missing some games he still was vital to our success. Though his football career is over, Nash's work and play as a Pirate will benefit our program in the future.”

Chandler Stonecipher, O-line, Sr.

Over time nobody improved more from his freshman season to his senior year than Stonecipher. While playing the guard position for the Pirates, Stonecipher helped lead the way for two 1,000 rushers and one 1,000 yard passer during the season.

Here is what Hough had to say about Stonecipher: “Prior to this year Chandlers amount of varsity snaps has been minimal.  Started the year at guard and ended the year playing tackle, each week improving. Chandler strives to be a coach and the amount of time and effort he has put into Boonville Pirate Football with not only his high school teammates but the Little League team he coached isn’t matched by many. He's a true PIRATE and I expect to see him on the field again, just outside the white lines though.”