Five members of the Palmyra football team were recognized with all-state honors following a 9-3 season.
The season did not end quite as the Palmyra football team had envisioned. The Panthers fell in the Class 2 District 6 championship to Clarence Cannon Conference foe Clark County.
But the Panthers still enjoyed a stellar 9-3 campaign, in which they rattled off seven straight wins during the regular season. Palmyra also gave Class 1 state champion Monroe City its biggest scare of the season in the regular-season finale.
The Panthers littered the all-conference team with numerous players, while five players were recognized by the Missouri Football Coaches Association and media as all-state.
Peyton Plunkett, who recently signed to continue his playing career at Northwest Missouri State, led the Panthers on both sides of the ball. Plunkett racked up 1,489 yards rushing with 18 touchdowns. As a linebacker, the CCC Defensive Player of the Year amassed 146 total tackles, 30 coming behind the line of scrimmage with three sacks. He also recovered three fumbles and had one interception.
“Definitely one of the best, if not the best two-way player in the area and state,” Panthers coach Kevin Miles said. “Hard worker that will be successful in college football.”
As he finished each of the last two years, Noah Mencer found his way to the all-state team for a third consecutive season.
The area’s best kicker, Mencer made good on 12 field goals with a career-long of 45 yards at Clark County. The senior made a remarkable return from a gruesome lower leg injury in the offseason but returned for Week 1.
Mencer also averaged 40.7 on 21 punts and split the uprights 34 out of 35 on point after touchdowns.
“Probably the best kicker/punter this area has seen in a while,” the Panthers coach said. “And he is the best in Palmyra school history.”
Anchoring the defensive line was Jackson Powell. He helped stuff the run and was a force on the pass rush all season. Despite being undersized on the line, Powell finished with 41 tackles, 11 for loss including a pair of quarterback sacks.
“Jackson was just a bulldog,” Miles said of his all-state lineman. “What he lacks in size he makes up with a mean and nastiness that made him a very good lineman.”
Braxden Neil was a ballhawk roaming in the Panthers secondary this season. He finished with nine interceptions, which was tops among all Class 2 defenders.
“Just a great defensive back who had a tremendous knack for finding the football,” Miles said.
Another all-state two-way player was Gabe Goodwin. The linebacker compiled 76 tackles with 15 coming behind the line of scrimmage. He also hauled in a team-high 20 passes and led the team with 297 yards receiving.
“Just a darn good linebacker,” Miles said. “He also blocks well and was a major weapon in running routes on the offensive side of the ball. Great player and a great leader.”