As the 37th Annual 8-Man All-Star Games come to Beloit this Saturday, many of the KD Country 94 area athletes will be showcasing their skills in the 8-Man DII contest Saturday afternoon. The Lakeside Knights have seen steady improvement over the last three years, as evidenced by their three players that will be part of the East squad on Saturday at Trojan Field.
Kylan Cunningham, Jace Schoen and Peyton Ellis helped lead the Knights to a run of success the school had not seen prior to this season. Lakeside had just two seasons with winning records in their school’s history from 2003 to 2018. Those came in back-to-back seasons, going 8-2 in 2010 and 11-1 in 2011. This past season, the Knights put together their third consecutive winning season. They were 5-4 in both 2019 and 2020 and went 6-3 in 2021, making this year’s senior class the first group to have three consecutive winning seasons.
Leading the squad was Kylan Cunningham at QB. Cunningham was an honorable mention All-State QB and was 1st team All-NPL at the position and 2nd team All-8-Man DII District 4. A true dual-threat QB, Cunningham threw for just over 1,200 yards, 16 TD and just four interceptions. He also ran for 644 yards and 21 TD, averaging 7.6 yards per carry in the process. Over his career, Cunningham threw for just under 3,700 yards, with a career best 1,522 in his junior season in 2020. He had 50 TD passes and only 11 interceptions in four seasons. He also ran for nearly 1,500 yards and 42 TD over his career. On defense, he registered 111 tackles and six interceptions. Cunningham knows that his success was greatly affected by the play of the two other all-stars joining him from Lakeside as he commented on what Jace Schoen and Peyton Ellis have meant to the team.
Jace Schoen was one of the top pass catchers in 8-Man football over the past two seasons. He was a 1st team All-State, All-League and All-District pick at TE, catching 47 passes for a career high 1,088 yards and 15 TD in his senior season. For his career he finished with just over 3,100 yards and 44 TD receiving. He also had 77 tackles on defense with eight for loss, three sacks and two interceptions. He finished his four seasons with 266 total tackles, 19 TFL and 11 INT. Schoen is hoping to hook up with Cunningham in the passing game again in the All-Star Game.
For a passing game to have success, a team needs protection up front. As Cunningham stated earlier, Peyton Ellis was a key factor for the Knights in that regard. He was named a 2nd Team All-League and All-District guard in 2021. On the defensive line, Ellis had 70 total tackles with five for loss and added two fumble recoveries. Ellis was not on the initial 8-Man All-Star roster, but due to a player being unable to make it on the DII East, he was selected to play. Ellis was excited to get that call and have the opportunity.
The Lakeside Knights football all-stars have one more chance to showcase their skills coming up this Saturday for the DII East. Kickoff for the game is at 1:30 with pregame coverage beginning at 1:00 on KD Country 94 and the Kansas 8-Man All-Star Radio Network at http://www.8manallstars.com.