Dylan McCaffrey grew as a player during the 2015 football season.
Dawson Cranmer didn’t grow much physically but still had a monster season.
McCaffrey, a junior quarterback who led Valor Christian to the Class 5A state championship, is the Offensive Player of the Year, while Cranmer, a senior defensive end at Chaparral, is the Defensive Player of the Year on the Colorado Community Media All-South Metro Football Team.
The team was chosen by the Colorado Community Media sports staff, with input from area coaches.
McCaffrey passed for 2,800 yards, completing 64.7 percent of his passes, and tossed 27 touchdown passes with just four interceptions in 320 attempted passes. He also ran for 592 yards and 13 touchdowns and caught three passes, two of which were scoring receptions.
“I would definitely say he improved this year,” said Valor coach Rod Sherman. “Last year as a sophomore, the easiest thing to do was forget that he was a sophomore. Even now he is a young junior from an age standpoint. He just turned 16 over the summer.
“Among the thing he has improved the most is just full command and confidence in what we are doing. There were very few times where he came over to the sidelines and I’d say, ‘Why did you do that?’ He really knows to read progressions, he knows when to get us in the right play and out of a bad play. He had an unbelievable year in the Centennial league against really good defensive backs and athletic defenses. We started running him more later in the season.”
Meanwhile, McCaffrey scrambled to avoid attracting attention.
“I improved a lot from last year, but there is still a lot of work to go for me to be my best,” he said. “But there is no personal success without the success of my teammates and I know they all helped me being the best I could be.
“I felt more confident this season running. I got faster and a little bigger too, so I wasn’t as scared that once I got hit I was going to break in half.”
Cranmer, a 5-10, 180-pounder, is a wrestler for Chaparral, and he certainly took down and slammed many opposing quarterback this season.
The undersized lineman led all Class 5A players with 22 quarterback sacks, which resulted in 153 lost yards. He was also credited with 24 hurries.
“The kid was unbelievable,” said Wolverines coach Rod Dobbs. “He was only 180 pounds. He was a silent general. I actually witnessed him slam a revolving door.”
Cranmer had no answer for Dobbs’ revolving door comment.
“I don’t know about that, he just uses that as a compliment,” Cranmer said. “I felt I did pretty well this season. My size helped me with speed. Speed and probably technique helped me get the sacks.
“I was usually the first off the ball. But it was hard to get into a strength battle because the linemen were usually 100 pounds bigger than I was. Wrestling did help with the mental game.”
Meet the All-South Metro team
The following are the players on the Colorado Community Media All-South Metro Football Team:
Quarterback — Dylan McCaffrey, 6-5, 215, Jr., Valor Christian
Passed, ran and caught touchdown passes in leading the Eagles to the state championship.
Running back — Zeke Johnson, 5-9, 180, Jr., ThunderRidge
The two-time all-league selection rushed for 1,151 yards and 15 touchdowns and was the leading rusher among south metro ball carriers.
Running back — Nick Thompson, 5-11, 180, Sr., Arapahoe
Workhorse had four 100-plus yards games and scored 13 touchdowns for the Warriors.
Tight end — Matt Brady, 6-4, 225, Sr., Ponderosa
Two-way player was the Plains League MVP who caught 51 passes for 522 yards.
Wide receiver — Tim Pless, 6-2, 175, Sr., Heritage
Led South Metro League with 50 catches. He averaged 19.8 yards per catch and scored 13 touchdowns.
Wide receiver — Kellen Parker, 6-2, 194, Jr., Mountain Vista
The surehanded, big target averaged 15.2 yards on his 37 receptions
Wide receiver — Eric Hommel, 6-2, 180, Jr., Rock Canyon
The Jaguars’ wide receiver/punter led the Continental South with 840 receiving yards on 67 catches and scored 11 touchdowns.
Offensive line — Dillon Reinkensmeyer, 6-6, 270, Sr., Valor Christian
University of Virginia signee was a dominant force up front for the Eagles.
Offensive line — Broden Baker, 6-2, 270, Sr., Legend
Hard worker was the Continental South Offensive Lineman of the Year.
Offensive line — Nicholas McDaniel, 6-0, 240, Sr., Mountain Vista
The center made the snap calls for Vista’s Continental North co-champions.
Offensive line — Nolan Laufenberg, 6-4, 280, Jr., Castle View
Played some on the defensive line but is a Division I prospect on offense.
Offensive line — Robert Congel, 6-3, 285, Sr., Cherry Creek
Improved during the season, along with Creek’s offensive line.
Utility — Ben Waters, 6-1, 205, Sr., Valor Christian
This go-to player led the Centennial League in receiving and wound up with 1,317 all-purpose yards.
Defensive line — Dawson Cranmer, 5-10, 180, Sr., Chaparral
Undersized defensive end is a state wrestling qualifier who led 5A players with 22 total sacks.
Defensive line — Jonathan Van Diest, 6-2, 235, Jr., Cherry Creek
Had 10.5 sacks, and along with teammate David Imola was hard for opposing offensive lineman to handle.
Defensive line — Matt Yockey, 6-1, 215, Sr., Mountain Vista
Finished with 14 sacks to lead the Continental North and was credited with 11 hurries.
Defensive line — Noah Ellis, 6-4, 320, Jr., Valor Christian
Usually faced double teams but was still able to be a dominating force.
Linebacker — Santino Marchiol, 6-3, 224, Jr., Cherry Creek
He was the leading tackler in the Centennial League with 129 total tackles.
Linebacker — Gabriel Kortz, 6-1, 215, Sr., Valor Christian
Two-way player led the Eagles’ defense with 110 tackles and saw some time as a fullback.
Linebacker — Zane Van Matre, 5-9, 195, Sr., Rock Canyon
He was the No. 1 tackler in the Continental North with 152 total tackles, or an average of 15.2 a game.
Defensive back — Javier Craft, 5-10, 170, Sr., Cherry Creek
Drew assignments on tough Centennial League receivers and had a league-leading six interceptions and 10 deflections.
Defensive back — Phil Dalke, 6-4, 185, Sr., Castle View
The free safety/tight end was the Continental South Defensive Skill Player of the Year.
Defensive back — Andrew Hopper, Jr., ThunderRidge
Strong safety had two interceptions in playoff upset over Fruita Monument and finished the season with four interceptions and 42 tackles.
Defensive back — Ray Haas, 6-5, 195, Sr., Arapahoe
His six interceptions led the South Metro League and he had 58 tackles for the Warriors.
Place kicker — Mitchell Anderson, 6-2, 185, Sr., Mountain Vista
Led Class 5A with 10 field goals on 14 attempts, with a long connection of 39 yards.
Punter — Jarred Kendziorski, 5-10, 170, Sr., Valor Christian
Averaged 36.7 yards and placed 13 of 38 punts inside the 20-yard line.