There is an old sports saying that "to be the best, you must play the best." As the final postseason awards have been released, one thing is apparent, the Big 8 Conference has some of Missouri's best players.
Instead of selecting the traditional All-District team, the Southwest Missouri Football Coaches Association (SWMFBCA) released a new All-Region team.
Of the 118 athletes named to the All-Region team, 64 or 54 percent were from the Big 8 Conference. Cassville had 13 of its football players named to the squad.
The Wildcats also had a combined total of seven players named to the Associated Press (AP) and Missouri Football Coaches Association (MFCA) All-State teams.
* Bradley Lueckenhoff, a junior, was selected to the AP All-State first team as a kicker. Lueckenhoff connected on 47 of 48 extra point attempts and was a perfect five for five on field goals.
* Hayden Prater, a junior, earned first team All-State honors at the linebacker position. Prater made his presence felt in every game. He had 106 tackles, 80 solo tackles, three fumble recoveries, one interception, one sack and eight tackles for a loss for the black and gold this season.
* Stone Phelps, a senior, collected a second team All-State award as a punter. Phelps averaged 39.7 yards per kick for the Wildcats.
* Phelps was a first team MFCA All-State kicker selection.
* Prater was honored as a second-team All-State linebacker pick.
* Cody Frana, a senior, was named to the All-State third team at linebacker. Frana had 56 tackles, including four for a loss for the Wildcats.
* Drew Henbest, a senior, was selected to the All-State third team as a defensive lineman. Henbest had 46 tackles for Cassville and one tackle for a loss.
The Wildcats had 13 total athletes selected to the All-Region team. They are as follows.
Offense: Logan Scott, senior, tight end; and Josh Carlton, senior, offensive line.
Defense: Drew Henbest, senior, defensive line; Braiden Vaught, senior, defensive end; Hayden Prater, junior, linebacker; Garrett Kirk, senior, defensive back; and Stone Phelps, senior, punter.
Offense: Bradley Lueckenhoff, junior, kicker.
Defense: Cody Frana, senior, linebacker.
Offense: Brent Thompson, junior, running back.
Defense: Jake Sizemore, senior, defensive line; and Ty Craig, junior, defensive back.
For a complete list of the All-Region and All-State teams, visit www.cassville-democrat.com.