Tuesday was a night for Mustangs to honor Mustangs.
Iola High’s annual postseason football banquet included the introduction of the Distinguished Mustang Award, which was devised by the Iola Football Alumni Group, and voted on by the current football players.
This year’s recipient, senior Dillon Slaven, earned praise from head coach David Daugharthy, after the award was announced.
“All of the kids who were nominated were deserving, but Dillon stood out to me as well,” Daugharthy said. “He’s a kid who will do the exact right thing in the classroom, he’ll do the right thing in the weight room, and he’ll do the right thing on the practice field.”
Slaven had 78 yards receiving on the year for the Mustangs on offense, but it was his leadership on the team that will be missed just as much, Daugharthy said.
“He’s just a fantastic kid, a great kid for others to look up to,” Daugharthy said. “He’s a definition of what it takes to be a leader.”
The trophy on which Slaven’s name will be etched was crafted by IHS woodshop and metalworks students Levi Meiwes, Carson Keller, Keaton Logan, Bryson Shaw, Kenyan Stahl and Genevive Ward.
Former Iola coaches Leo Burger and Wendell Frazell’s names also will be affixed permanently on the trophy. Burger, Class of 1926, and Frazell, Class of 1943, both starred on the gridiron as players for Iola before coaching locally.
Recognizing those two were fellow IHS alums Harvey Rogers, who played under Burger in the 1950s, and Richard Burris, who played for Frazell from 1964 through 1967.
“I always had a feeling I could do pretty well on my own, but I could do even better if I was doing it for my coach,” Rogers said of Burger. “Leo was the type of person, who if you met him, you’d never forget him. He always offered something that made you want to be a better person.”
Burris was equally effusive in his praise of Frazell.
“He touched the lives of a lot of people,” Burris said, recounting Frazell’s normal attire around the halls of Iola High — gym shorts and a T-shirt.
Even after Burris graduated, if he saw Frazell around town, he’d address his mentor by only one name.
“It wasn’t ‘Wendy’ or ‘Mr. Frazell,’” Burris said. ‘It was ‘Coach.’ You couldn’t ask for a better leader.”
IOLA’S 2020 season four all-league performers, Daugharthy announced.
Tyler Boeken earned first team All-Pioneer League honors for both his work on the offensive line and as a linebacker. Drake Sellman earned first team honors as a receiver.
Being placed on the second team were Isaac Badders as a defensive back and Trent Jones as a running back.
Additional information about those honors will be detailed in Thursday’s Register.