Ed Thomas Mr. Football Award

In early 2010, the Iowa Newspaper Association announced the creation of the Ed Thomas Mr. Football Award. In creating this award, the INA’s goal was to honor long-time Aplington-Parkersburg football coach Ed Thomas, by recognizing a high school football player who has demonstrated excellent performance on the football field and exemplary character in all aspects of life.

There are six nominees for the award each year; nominees are those named captains of their respective classes through INA All-State football team selection voting. Nominees complete an application and take part in face-to-face interviews with members of the Iowa Newspaper Association’s All-State Committee.

Award recipients are honored at their school's annual spring awards event. They receive a commemorative plaque and are featured in the Iowa Hall of Pride.


Pella’s Noah Clayberg receives 2015 Ed Thomas Mr. Football Award

Noah Clayberg of Pella High School is the recipient of the 2015 Ed Thomas Mr. Football Award presented by the Iowa Newspaper Association. Clayberg was presented the award Wednesday, May 11 during an awards ceremony at the school.

The Ed Thomas Mr. Football Award memorializes long-time Aplington-Parkersburg teacher and football coach Ed Thomas who was tragically killed in 2009. Thomas 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.”

Clayberg, a senior with a 3.75 GPA, led the Pella High Dutch to back-to-back undefeated seasons and class 3A state championships. He is the son of Brett and Megan Clayberg of Pella. He plans to play football and major in exercise science at the University of Iowa. Throughout his high school career he has participated in football, basketball, soccer and track. He is a member of the school choir, co-ed dance team and the National Honor Society. He is an active member of his church, has taken part in four mission trips and has spent time assisting with youth football camps.

Clayberg has received numerous awards for his football skills. He was named the Iowa Gatorade Player of the Year, Iowa Preps Senior of the Year and Elite 1st Team All-State, Iowa Preps Junior of the Year, Sports Spotlight 3A Offensive Player of the Year, and Des Moines Register Elite and 1st Team All-State. He has also received All-State Academic honors the past three years.

Clayberg will receive a $500 scholarship from the Ed Thomas Family Foundation.

Other candidates for the 2015 award were Shaun Beyer, Cedar Rapids Kennedy; Logan Backhaus, Spirit Lake; Carson Lensing, South Winneshiek; Colton Dinsdale, Gladbrook-Reinbeck; and Ben Specht, Marcus-Meriden-Cleghorn. These five players, along with Clayberg, 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, Parkersburg Eclipse-News-Review; 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.


Ed Thomas Mr. Football Award recognized in Iowa Hall of Pride

High school athletes who have received the INA’s prestigious Ed Thomas Mr. Football Award are now featured in an interactive kiosk at the Iowa Hall of Pride. The display includes information about the award as well as about the athletes who have received the honor to date.

The Iowa Hall of Pride, located in downtown Des Moines adjacent to the Iowa Events Center, is an interactive celebration to all that is good about Iowa. The people that are recognized at the Iowa Hall of Pride are former Iowa students who excelled in sports, on the stage, and as great ambassadors of their communities. 

Past Winners

2014 - Garret Jansen, Pella
2013 - Brandon Snyder, West Lyon
2012 - Andrew Wellik, Emmetsburg
2011 - John Sievert, St. Ansgar High School
2010 - Connor Bravard, Dowling Catholic