After getting in a car accident a week before the Lone Jack High School football’s preseason Jamboree on Aug. 18, junior linebacker Clayton Layden had to work even harder to get into football shape.
Head coach Matt Pyle said Layden starts his days at 6:30 a.m., waking up early to head to Lone Jack High School’s training room with coach Alex Bartlett to work on getting his strength and flexibility back.
“Last Friday, he was in a great mood where he finally felt somewhat normal physically,” Pyle said. “He told me in the last class of the day he was going to go off in the game and he did.”
Despite losing 50-14 to Adrian High School, Layden stayed true to his word, finishing with 22 tackles, with three of his tackles causing the opposing team to lose yards. He added two sacks, two fumble recoveries and returned each recovery for a touchdown.
His performance earned him the honor of being named The Star’s high school football Player of the Week.
The Star’s poll was open from Wednesday to midnight Thursday, and we received 213 votes from our readers. Each player featured in our poll was nominated by their head coach.
Please help us in voting for one of our own, Clayton Layden, in being voted Kansas City Area High School Football Player of the Week. Clayton was an All-Conference player for us, and is doing big things on the football field, too. https://t.co/AcFvdy1Ja5#MuleGang pic.twitter.com/7kc44jT2JS
— Lone Jack Mules Baseball (@MuleGang) September 13, 2023
Pyle said it took some convincing to get Layden to play football this season, as Layden was prepared to focus only on baseball.
“I couldn’t have done it without the help of my coaches and teammates,” Layden said. “I especially want to think Coach Pyle and Coach Sully for pushing me to be the best that I can be and pushing me to be great. I also want to thank Coach Bartlett for always being there for me when I need him on and off the field.”
Layden and Lone Jack are looking to rebound Friday, as they go on the road to Cole Camp High School.
Other players nominated include:
Ja’Lyne Armstrong, Grandview: 116 rushing yards and 2 touchdowns, 89 receiving yards and 1 touchdown in 40-0 win over Raytown South
Max Armstrong, Olathe South: 325 rushing yards and 2 touchdowns in 54-45 win over Shawnee Mission North
Ghustice Brownlee, Raytown: 303 rushing yards and 3 touchdowns in 36-32 loss to St. Joseph Central
Ben Murawski, Smithville: 72 receiving yards and 2 touchdowns, 1 pick-6 and 4 tackles in 41-21 win over Kearney
Cameron Emmons, Kearney: 225 rushing yards and 2 touchdowns in 41-21 loss to Smithville
Kane Cogan, West Platte: 255 passing yards and 3 touchdowns in 62-25 loss to Mid-Buchanan
Grady Coppinger, Liberty: 7 tackles, 2 sacks, 1 pick-6 in 35-20 win over Raymore-Peculiar
Jashaun Holliday, Bishop Ward: 126 receiving yards and 3 touchdowns in 42-32 loss to Olpe
Judah Jones, Shawnee Mission North: 144 rushing yards and 3 touchdowns in 54-45 loss to Olathe South
Jeremiah Looney, Shawnee Mission North: 97 rushing yards and 1 touchdown, 70 receiving yards, 4 tackles and 1 forced fumble in 54-45 loss to Olathe South
CJ Nelson, Van Horn: 11 tackles and 1 pick-6 in 49-6 win over William Chrisman