Of all the young men who play high school football across the U.S.A., it's pretty darn special when a local player is nationally recognized for his versatility as one of the very best in the country at multiple positions on the gridiron.

Richland High School junior Deacon Boyce, who has played the game since age 7, has bagged one of the NFL's Way to Play High School awards, recognizing the excellence demonstrated by high school football players who exemplify proper and/or textbook technique to make impactful plays.

“It brings like a different type of joy to me it just makes me feel good inside and I really like it,” Boyce said.

Richland High School head football coach Mike Neidhold, who nominated Boyce, raved about his exceptional junior's abilities at wide receiver and quarterback on offense; strong safety and cornerback on defense, praising his athleticism, sportsmanship and dedication to his craft, along with props for being a kind and compassionate young man.

Through this Way to Play initiative, and in partnership with Hudl, one high school football player is honored each week during the regular NFL season for demonstrating exceptional in-game playing technique.

Back for its second year, the NFL Way to Play High School Award is featured nationally on Saturdays on NFL Network's Good Morning Football and the school of each honoree will receive a $1,500 equipment grant through USA Football.

Since Boyce won the award, Richland High School is being awarded that $1,500 equipment grant from USA Football to re-invest into the program.

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“With no fans this year and no fundraising that’ll go a long ways toward getting us our helmets,” Neidhold said, adding that the money will definitely go to good use.

Because the pandemic changed the high school football schedule across America, the NFL and Hudl extended the 2020 NFL Way to Play High School Award by an additional 17 weeks, running through June 12, 2021, to accommodate all high schools nationwide that pushed football into the Spring.

Boyce is super excited for his senior year, believing the Bombers have a chance to make a deep run.

A panel of representatives from the NFL Football Operations Department selects the player who most positively impacted the game through proper technique:

  • Phil Bogle – 2-year NFL guard, Director of Game Operations
  • Kevin Boothe – 9-year NFL offensive lineman, Director of Football Strategy and Business Development
  • Jay Manahan – Director of Football Communications and Marketing
  • Roman Oben – 12-year NFL offensive tackle, Vice President of Youth Football
  • Jon Runyan – 14-year NFL offensive tackle, Vice President of Policy and Rules Administration
  • Troy Vincent – 15-year NFL cornerback, Executive Vice President of Football Operations, 2002 NFL Man of the Year Winner

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