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Ed Thomas Mr. Football Award

Garret Jansen

Pella’s Garret Jansen receives Iowa Newspaper Association’s 2014 Ed Thomas Mr. Football Award

Garret Jansen of Pella High School is the recipient of the 2014 Ed Thomas Mr. Football Award presented by the Iowa Newspaper Association. Jansen was presented the award Wednesday, May 13 during an awards ceremony at the school.

The Ed Thomas Mr. Football Award was created in 2010; it is presented annually, recognizing a high school football player who has demonstrated excellent performance on the football field and exemplary character in all aspects of life.

The award memorializes long-time Aplington-Parkersburg teacher and football coach Ed Thomas who was tragically killed in 2009. Thomas had coached more than three decades of Aplington-Parkersburg Falcon football and won two state titles and 292 games. He coached five young men who went on to play in the NFL. He was also instrumental in rallying the town of Parkersburg into rebuilding its football field after a devastating 2008 tornado.

Thomas stressed character above all else to his athletes and students and prioritized the three main areas of his life as faith, family and football. In fact, he was quoted as saying, “If all I have taught you is how to block and tackle, then I have failed you as a coach.”

Jansen, a senior with a 3.8 GPA, was a two-way starter for the Pella High Dutch, who captured the Class 3A state football title for the first time in school history. He is the son of Ron and Lisa Jansen of Pella. He plans to attend the University of Iowa on a football scholarship while majoring in Speech & Hearing Science.

Throughout his high school career he has participated in football, basketball and track. He is a member of the school newspaper staff and the National Honor Society. He is an active member of his church and has spent time working with Special Olympics and mentoring special education students.

Other candidates for the 2014 award were Ryan Boyle, Dowling Catholic; Josh Mackey, North Fayette Valley; Drew Cook, Iowa City Regina; Ryan Parmely, Maquoketa Valley; and Brady Dicks, Newell-Fonda. These five players, along with Jansen, were nominated by virtue of being captains of their respective classes through INA All-State football team selection voting. Nominees completed an application and took part in a face-to-face interview with members of the Iowa Newspaper Association’s All-State Committee.

Members of the INA’s All-State Committee met to select the award winner. Those on the selection committee were: Dan Voigt, Emmetsburg Democrat; John Jensen, Grundy Center Register; Scott Spurgeon, Bloomfield Democrat; Lori Wiser, Ocheyedan Press-Melvin News; Perry Bell, Pella Chronicle; and Beth Lutgen, Dyersville Commercial. Aaron Thomas and Todd Thomas, Ed Thomas’s sons, also provided input for the selection committee.

The Iowa Newspaper Association is a group of the 300 daily and weekly newspapers across the state, working together to make a positive difference and improve the quality of life in Iowa. Through the INA’s All-State program, Iowa sports writers annually choose the state’s best high school athletes to be members of the elite INA All-State teams in football, girls basketball, boys basketball and baseball.


Prior Winners:
2010 - Connor Bravard, Dowling Catholic
2011 - John Sievert, St. Ansgar High School
2012 - Andrew Wellik, Emmetsburg
2013 - Brandon Snyder, West Lyon

For additional information on the INA All-State program, click here.


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