Iola’s Frazell is 4A all-state kicker

Iola, Crest, Southern Coffey County players earn honors

By JOCELYN SHEETS
Register Sports Editor

Register/Jocelyn Sheets
Iola High seniors Connor Frazell, Chris Heffern and Kyler Thompson received Kansas Class 4A state recognition for their performances for the 2009 Mustang football team. Frazell is the Class 4A all-state kicker while Heffern and Thompson earned honorable mention as defensive players.

“I played soccer and liked kicking the ball long then I kicked a football and really liked it,” said Connor Frazell, Iola High senior.
Frazell was named consensus Kansas Class 4A’s All-State kicker by the Topeka Capital Journal and the Wichita Eagle newspapers last weekend. As a junior he was named all-state 4A kicker by the Wichita newspaper and was honorable mention in the Topeka listings.
“It’s really cool and a great honor to be named all-state,” Frazell said this week.
Frazell had two Iola High teammates earn Class 4A state honors also. Senior linebacker Kyler Thompson earned defensive honorable mention by both newspapers and senior defensive back Chris Heffern garnered honorable mention by the Eagle.
In Kansas high school eight-man division, Crest High and Southern Coffey County High had players earn honorable mention from the newspapers.
Junior Kenny Vencel of Crest High was named as honorable mention kicker by both newspapers. Crest teammates Jake Tinsley, a senior, and junior Thomas Dietrich were named honorable mention linemen in the Capital-Journal.
Southern Coffey County’s Chyler Ludolph, a senior, earned honorable mention as an end. Teammate Ben Spencer, also a senior, was honored as a back. They were named by the Topeka newspaper.
Frazell has been a steady force for the Mustangs four years running. As a freshman, he kicked for the freshman and junior varsity team as he waited his turn as varsity kicker.
Frazell stepped into the placekicking role with ease as a sophomore. He also became Iola’s kickoff kicker sending the football into the end zone or close to the goal line on each kick.
“Really, all I ever wanted to do is be the kicker. I never really wanted to play any other position,” Frazell said. “ Standing on the sidelines, being prepared to kick a field goal or extra point is what I’ve wanted to do.”
For two years, Frazell has been named the Southeast Kansas League’s top placekicker. Over those two years for the Mustangs, Frazell successfully kicked 48 of 52 extra-point attempts. He had 13 field goals including a 50-yarder this season as he personal best kick.
“My favorite two memories of field goals were against Independence. The 47-yard one to win our homecoming game my sophomore year when we came back and beat Independence at the end was great. Then to hit the 50-yarder this year as my longest career field goal,” Frazell said.
Frazell has been kicking a football since he was 5. In the backyard of his former family home, he even had a goal post set up to practice with when he was younger.
His parents, Tammi and Jay Don Frazell, went to college at Pittsburg State. That’s where Frazell would like to go play college football.
“I’ve been getting a lot of offers from junior colleges but I’ve wanted to kick for Pitt State all my life,” Frazell said. “When I was younger I’d go on the PSU field after a game and kick the football and people would ask how old I was. It would be great to be able to play at Pittsburg State.”
Frazell’s future plans as a college kicker are still up in the air. But the Iola senior, who is on the IHS honor roll, continues to work in the classroom and on his kicking.
In the past, Frazell competed in the NFL’s youth Punt, Pass & Kick program, winning many local and regional competitions. He spends summers working on his kicking skills at Iola’s football field and at Chanute’s all-weather turf field.
This past summer he went to kicking camps at Kansas, Kansas State and Kohl’s camp in Kansas City, Kan. Frazell was invited to a national Kohl’s kicking camp where he made 19 field goals in the competition.
Frazell, 5-9 and 170, also punted for the Mustangs. He had 42 punts for 1,417 yards, which is a 33.7 yard average. Frazell caught 12 passes for 94 yards as a receiver.
Thompson, a three-time All-Southeast Kansas League linebacker, led the Mustangs in tackles for the third straight year. The 6-2, 220-pound senior had 151 tackles during the 2009 season. He had two interceptions and seven quarterback sacks.
Thompson also played on the Mustang offensive line the past three years.
Heffern, who was plugged in to many different spots on the Iola offense and defense this season, racked up 74 tackles and had two interceptions playing at safety and linebacker. The 5-10, 175-pound senior, who was a SEK first-team selection, rushed for 264 yards on 63 carries and scored a touchdown.
Heffern caught nine passes for 110 yards and one touchdown. He was 2 of 12 throwing the football for 14 yards.