Josh Baldus Palatine
Baldus will be one of the toughest to replace of a senior class that went 16-0 against the Mid-Suburban League the last two years. The Division I prospect and repeat All-Area pick registered 58 tackles in his second season as a starter on the defensive line and is a three-year starter on the offensive line. "He dominated on both sides of the ball," said coach Tyler Donnelly. "You don't see that very often anymore, that dominance in the trenches, because it's such a grind."
Jesse Bobbit Palatine
The school's career interception leader with 17 and four-year starter made receivers think twice before going over the middle and was a master at timing his bone-crushing hits. He notched 77 tackles and 2 interceptions in his second all-area season. "He's probably the best player I've ever coached," said coach Tyler Donnelly. "He's always wanted the team to win over any individual goals that he had. He's something special."
Jack Bossong Fremd
When the Vikings went to the single-wing offense for their final three games, Bossong stepped up with 178 rushing yards and 3 TDs. But where he made his biggest impact was anchoring the secondary to the tune of 47 tackles, 3 interceptions and 5 tackles for loss. "Sometimes when a guy is that solid, you don't notice him as much," said coach Lou Sponsel. "He was the kid that pretty much made our secondary what they were."
Andrew Hajek Prospect
The Knights expected Hajek to make plays at linebacker, and he did, with 81 tackles, 6 tackles for loss and a sack. But they were pleasantly surprised with his contributions on offense, where he turned into their most reliable receiver with 22 catches for 396 yards and a touchdown. "As our defense improved, a lot of it was because of him," said coach Mike Sebestyen. "I was really proud of the way that he played on both sides of the ball. We'll miss his leadership."
Mike Houghton Prospect
There wasn't much that would faze Houghton, and that included converting from receiver on under-level teams to two-way lineman. He especially excelled on defense, where he was the Mid-Suburban East defensive player of the year after racking up 96 tackles, 26 tackles for loss and 11 sacks. "He understood that this was best for the team and for himself if he wanted to play past high school," said coach Mike Sebestyen. "He picked up to it very quickly and was a very good leader."
Mike Kos Conant
Breaks were few and far between for Kos, who turned into a weapon on offense as well as a playmaker on defense. He totaled 29 catches for 399 yards and 5 TDs while leading the defense with 86 tackles and 9 sacks. And the Cougars look forward to more of the same next season. "He's just scratching the surface of what he can be," said coach Bill Modelski. "He's one of those guys that just makes plays."
Cam Kuksa Palatine
A broken ankle on the season's second play forced the Division I prospect and repeat all-area pick to miss the first seven games of the season. But Kuksa was mighty productive in his five games, tallying 516 yards from scrimmage and 11 touchdowns while also delivering big hits at safety. "He's one of the most athletic, electrifying kids that I've ever coached," said coach Tyler Donnelly. "It's a shame that we didn't get to see him all season long."
Mikey Maize Elk Grove
A lot was asked of Maize and he didn't disappoint, racking up 114 tackles, 26 tackles for loss, 8 sacks, 4 forced fumbles and an interception to earn all-state honors. Amazingly enough, he did all of that while shouldering much of the load at running back with 543 yards and 7 TDs. "He's just a bull," said coach Larry Calhoun. "He leads by example better than anyone that I've ever been around. He thinks he can run through a wall and he may be right."
Tim Manczko Conant
Perhaps no player in the area was more important to his team than Manczko, who's brilliance on offense -- 59 catches for 977 yards and 12 TDs plus 171 rushing yards and 7 TDs -- resulted in him winning his second Mid-Suburban West offensive player of the year award. But it often overshadowed his contributions on defense, where he had 59 tackles and 4 interceptions at safety. "He's as good as we've had in a long time," said coach Bill Modelski. "He's unique, there's no question."
Hugh Masterson St. Viator
It was rare to see Masterson on the sidelines as the two-way starter and all-state lineman was a load to handle on both sides of the ball. His 39 tackles, 5.5 sacks, 3 forced fumbles and fumble recovery solidified the Lions up front and at offensive tackle, opposing pass rushers were wise to try to avoid him. "He was just by far our best lineman, hands down," said coach Brandon New. "He was respected by the rest of the teams in our conference."
Andrew Matella Barrington
Matella had one of the best receiving seasons in Barrington history, rewriting the school's record books for a nine-game season with his 52 catches for 737 yards and 8 TDs. And he owns single-game records for catches (11), yards (185) and TDs (3). "The way that he uses his frame, he's deceptively fast," said coach Joe Sanchez. "He repeatedly got behind people and made big catches. He has all of the intangibles."
Rashad McFadden Schaumburg
Keeping the explosive McFadden out of the backfield was no easy task. The Mid-Suburban West co-defensive player of the year finished with 61 tackles and 30 tackles for loss, while producing many headaches for opposing coaches. "More so than anyone on our roster, on either side of the ball, teams had to account for him," said coach Mark Stilling. "You really had to consider him when you put together a game plan."
Ed Miklasz Hersey
Taking away Miklasz became a priority of opposing defenses as the season went on as the junior quickly became Quinn Orlandi's favorite target. He hauled in 62 passes for 748 yards and 11 TDs while also handling kicking duties in the second half of the season. "When there's a big play on the line, he's the kid that wants the ball," said coach Dragan Teonic. "As a coach, you need that, and he definitely brings that to the table."
Jack Milas Rolling Meadows
Any concern over what the Mustangs lost offensively from the previous year was quickly put to rest. The Mid-Suburban East offensive player of the year took a completely new cast of characters and broke his own single-season records for yards with 2,711 and TD passes with 32. "I heard him say several times that he wanted to prove that it wasn't all about Artie (Checchin) and the guys around him last year," said coach Matt Mishler. "That he could make it happen. And I think he proved that this season."
Danny Modelski Conant
Replacing all-area quarterback Matt Cullen was vital for Conant's success this season, and luckily for coach Bill Modelski, he didn't have to look any further than his immediate family. His son, Danny, was more than just a replacement, throwing for 2,516 yards and 24 TDs in leading Conant to their second straight playoff appearance. "What sets him apart is his understanding and vision are on a much higher level," said Bill Modelski. "He surpassed any expectations that we had for him."
Greg Money Fremd
One of the top lead blockers in the Mid-Suburban League, Money paved the way for many of Fremd's 27 rushing touchdowns. And he was a key part of the lowest scoring defensive unit in the conference at 16 points per game, finishing with 51 tackles, 8 tackles for loss, a sack and an interception. "He was all over the field," said coach Lou Sponsel. "He solidified our front-six on defense. On offense, he'd blow you up and run through you."
Adam Morrison Leyden
Leyden's defense was instrumental in the Eagles' first outright West Suburban Gold title since 1979 in allowing just 12 points per game. At the heart of that stingy defense was their leader Morrison, who finished with 80 tackles, 4 forced fumbles, 3 fumble recovers, an interception and a sack. "He's a very smart football player and just has a real nose for the ball," said coach Tom Cerasani. "He was a really strong presence out there and knows the game so well."
Alex Nawrot Palatine
It's hard to believe that while playing youth football, Nawrot was a lineman. Because as a senior, he developed into a versatile threat on offense, hauling in 73 passes for 912 yards and 8 touchdowns while also rushing for 151 yards and 4 touchdowns. "He had a unique ability to separate from the defender when the ball is in the air," said coach Tyler Donnelly. "He concentrates well when the ball is in air and made spectacular catches all season."
Devin O'Hara Prospect
The switch from receiver to quarterback led to big things for O'Hara and the Mid Suburban East co-champs. The Division I prospect piled up 1,334 yards and 23 TDs on the ground while also completing 60 percent of his passes for 1,390 yards and 7 TDs in earning all-state honors. "He was the heart and soul of what we were trying to do," said coach Mike Sebestyen. "We've always tried to put our best athlete at quarterback. He was, and we leaned on him dramatically."
Ethan Olles Palatine
The Mid-Suburban West co-offensive player of the year delivered one of the best seasons in state history. His 3,211 passing yards led the state and were the 19th most passing yards in IHSA history. And Olles' 3,652 total yards were the seventh-most all-time as he threw for 27 TDs and ran for 5 more. "He's the story of the year, coming out of nowhere," Donnelly said. "Directly as a result of his efforts, we've had the season we've had."
Colin Olson Prospect
The two-way starter battled back from what was perceived to be a catastrophic hip injury as a junior and blossomed into a stout defensive end, racking up 55 tackles, 16 tackles for loss and 4 sacks. And Olson was able to play multiple positions on the offensive line. "His perseverance through injury and flexibility to do what was asked of him is very commendable," said coach Mike Sebestyen. "He's a kid that when the chips were down, we asked him to step up, and he did."
Kevin O'Malley Elk Grove
O'Malley was the best offensive lineman on a team that averaged 319 yards per game and qualified for the playoffs for the fourth straight season. He played both left tackle and left guard, led the team in pancake blocks and consistently graded out over 90 percent on his assignments. "He just gets it done," said coach Larry Calhoun. "Most of our big runs, he had something to do with. He had an outstanding season."
Kishan Patel Elk Grove
Despite opposing offenses routinely throwing away from him, Patel was a key cog on the top defense in the Mid-Suburban East and may play Ivy League ball next season. He finished with 52 tackles, 12 tackles for loss and 3 interceptions, while also contributing on offense with 32 catches for 383 yards and 5 TDs. "He came up big against our big opponents," said coach Larry Calhoun. "It seemed like the bigger the game and bigger the stage, the more plays he'd make."
Adam Pavlakis Rolling Meadows
For the Mustangs to have a special season, the defense needed to be on par with the offense. They were, and a lot of credit goes to Pavlakis, who had 61 tackles, 3 sacks, 3 interceptions, 3 fumble recoveries and 2 forced fumbles. "He was always putting himself in the right positions," said coach Matt Mishler. "He picked off a couple of passes just because he was in the exact right spot. Whenever we needed a big play, that kid stepped up."
Lucas Rago Palatine
Having Rago concentrate solely on defense really paid off for the 8A quarterfinalists as the three-year starter and repeat all-area pick was the Mid-Suburban West co-defensive player of the year and earned all-state honors. He led the Pirates with 118 tackles and 6 interceptions. "He's not the heaviest, like a 220-pound linebacker, but he plays like it," said coach Tyler Donnelly. "He's just really athletic and understands how to get off blocks."
Cole Reyes Schaumburg
Reyes took his game to another level this season. The repeat all-area pick displayed his usual defensive prowess with 70 tackles, 4 tackles for loss and 3 interceptions and also stepped up on offense with 11 catches for 299 yards and 7 TDs, in addition to long snapping and returning kicks. "We challenged him to become a better practice player, particularly in terms of his intensity," said coach Mark Stilling. "He embraced that challenge, and the results spoke for themselves."
Javier Rhoades Leyden
Upon joining the program as a sophomore, Rhoades was quickly promoted to varsity and developed into a two-way standout. He finished with 45 tackles, 8 sacks and an interception return for a TD while also catching 10 passes for 290 yards and 2 TDs. "It's a success story," said coach Tom Cerasani. "If you had known him as a freshman in high school, you wouldn't think that he'd be here. He's really come a long way as a person, as well as a football player."
Dan Riddle Palatine
Going up against Riddle was no joke for opposing offenses. The three-year starter and repeat all-area pick helped hold Palatine's defense together through a flurry of injuries, rotating between cornerback, safety and outside linebacker while making 73 tackles with an interception. "He just plays the game the way that you hope a kid plays," said coach Tyler Donnelly. "He's very physical and not intimidated by anyone."
Steven Royster Rolling Meadows
Seeking an offensive balance to complement Jack Milas, the Mustangs turned to Royster and he responded with 800 yards rushing and 10 TDs. Showing his versatility, Royster was also involved in the passing game quite a bit with 200 yards receiving and 4 TDs. "A lot of times he just runs through guys and breaks tackles," said coach Matt Mishler. "His leg drive is just so incredible. And he's a dual threat because he can flat-out catch the football."
Mark Schmid Rolling Meadows
The three-year starter was the anchor of the Mid-Suburban East co-champs' offensive line and a big reason the Mustangs averaged the most points in the East at 34 per game. The center kept Jack Milas out of harm's way with only 1 sack allowed in the last two years. "As much as we throw the ball, we don't give up very many sacks," said coach Matt Mishler. "A lot of that is Mark and what he does."
Jacobi Sims Conant
Sims turned what should have been negative plays into pretty impressive 3-yard runs and may be the conference's unofficial leader in broken tackles. The shifty, 5-foot-6 back was often a chore to bring down, evident by his 792 rushing yards and 7 TDs. "The things that impress you are his balance and his strength are much more than you'd think they'd be," said coach Bill Modelski. "And his quickness is exceptional."
Stacey Smith Schaumburg
The Saxons used the ultra-talented Smith in a variety of ways, and they look forward to even bigger things next season. Whether he was at quarterback, where he threw 4 TDs and ran for 632 yards and 4 TDs, or at receiver, where he had 13 catches for 134 yards and 2 TDs, Smith was always a threat. "The sky is the limit for him," said coach Mark Stilling. "I really don't think we've seen his best football yet. He's a kid who has a chance to go every time that he touches the ball."
David Sobkowicz Rolling Meadows
Opposing quarterbacks always had to keep an eye out for Sobkowicz, a furious pass rusher who's impact went beyond statistics. "He was so disruptive," said coach Matt Mishler. "He didn't necessarily always make the tackle or sack, but he was disruptive that he caused a lot of negative plays." The 6-foot-4 defensive end finished with 48 tackles, 4 sacks, 6 tackles for loss and a fumble recovery.
Matt Zolper Schaumburg
There's a reason Zolper doesn't know anything but varsity football as the three-year starter has 32 starts under his belt already with still a season to play. The two-way lineman was one of the leaders of a Saxons squad that doubled its win total from the season before. "He was incredibly workman-like," said coach Mark Stilling. "There was never a question in terms of his willingness or toughness."
Player School Pos. Yr.
Josh Baldus Palatine OL-DL Sr.
Jesse Bobbit Palatine DB Sr.
Jack Bossong Fremd DB-RB Sr.
Andrew Hajek Prospect LB-WR Sr.
Mike Houghton Prospect DL-OL Sr.
Mike Kos Conant LB-WR Jr.
Cam Kuksa Palatine WR-DB Sr.
Mikey Maize Elk Grove LB-RB Sr.
Tim Manczko Conant WR-DB Sr.
Hugh Masterson St. Viator DL-OL Sr.
Andrew Matella Barrington WR Sr.
Rashad McFadden Schaumburg DL Sr.
Ed Miklasz Hersey WR Jr.
Jack Milas Rolling Meadows QB Sr.
Danny Modelski Conant QB Jr.
Greg Money Fremd LB-FB Sr.
Adam Morrison Leyden LB Sr.
Alex Nawrot Palatine WR Sr.
Devin O'Hara Prospect QB-DB Sr.
*Ethan Olles Palatine QB Sr.
Colin Olson Prospect DL-OL Sr.
Kevin O'Malley Elk Grove OL-DL Sr.
Kishan Patel Elk Grove DB-WR Sr.
Adam Pavlakis Rolling Meadows LB Sr.
Lucas Rago Palatine LB Sr.
Cole Reyes Schaumburg DB-WR Sr.
Javier Rhoades Leyden DL-TE Sr.
Dan Riddle Palatine DB Sr.
Steven Royster Rolling Meadows RB Sr.
Mark Schmid Rolling Meadows OL Sr.
Jacobi Sims Conant RB Sr.
David Sobkowicz Rolling Meadows DL Sr.
Stacey Smith Schaumburg QB-WR-DB Jr.
Matt Zolper Schaumburg OL-DL Jr.
* All-area team captain
Mike Bishoff (Elk Grove, WR-LB, Jr.), Ben Calamari (Barrington, DL, Sr.), Mario DiCarlo (Buffalo Grove, DB, Sr.), Dan Egan (Elk Grove, DL-OL, Sr.), Joe Faso (Conant, LB, Sr.), Shola George (Prospect, DL, Sr.), Kevin Hammarlund (St. Viator, WR-DB, Sr.), Mario Luchetto (Rolling Meadows, DL, Sr.), Jeff McGlade (Fremd, RB, Jr.), Ivan Nevarez (Leyden, LB, Sr.), Sadarriss Patterson (Schaumburg, RB, Jr.), John Serio (Palatine, LB-RB, Sr.), Mike Szopinski (Leyden, DB, Sr.), Eric Theis (Palatine, WR, Jr.), Mike Yoshino (DB-QB-WR)
Shawn Anderson (Christian Liberty, WR-DB-K, Sr.), Mayo Arogundade (St. Viator, RB, Sr.), Jack Asquini (Buffalo Grove, LB, Sr.), Johnny Assimakopoulos (Elk Grove, OL-DL, Jr.), John Balas (St. Viator, WR, Sr.), David Baureis (Hoffman Estates, LB, Jr.), Andre Campbell (Rolling Meadows, WR, Sr.), Dan Cardamone (Maine West, LB-OL, Sr.), Colin Costagna (Barrington, LB, Jr.), Mason Darrow (Barrington, OL, Sr.), Dan Glad (Christian Liberty, LB-RB, Sr.), Joe Gleason (Prospect, DB, Sr.), Philip Hetzner (Fremd, DL, Sr.), Zach Hommowun (Hoffman Estates, LB, Sr.), Stevan Isteefanos (Prospect, RB, Sr.), Mike Jackson (Hoffman Estates, WR, Sr.), Kevin Kern (Prospect, OL-DL, Sr.), Conor Kinasz (St. Viator, LB, Jr.), Matt Korf (Hersey, LB, Sr.), Daniel Kubiuk (Barrington, QB, Jr.), Tyler LaBarbera (Conant, LB, Jr.), John Manicke (Maine West, FB-LB, Sr.), DeAngelo McBride (Conant, DB-WR, Jr.), Sam Miller (Palatine, DL, Sr.), Jim Murphy (St. Viator, LB, Sr.), Will Napier (Leyden, LB, Jr.), Quinn Orlandi (Hersey, QB, Sr.), Adam O'Malley (Elk Grove, QB, Jr.), Austin Reed (Rolling Meadows, DB-WR), Brad Ruerdanz (Fremd, OL-DL, Jr.), Juwaan Richard (Schaumburg, WR-DB, Sr.), Hunter Rollins (Hersey, LB-WR, Sr.), Justin Sanchez (Schaumburg, OL, Jr.), Mike Smith (Leyden, QB-DB, Sr.), Scott Smithern (Buffalo Grove, RB, Jr.), Matt Stopka (Schaumburg, OL, Jr.), Matt Swanson (Maine West, QB, Sr.), Chris Van Kampen (Barrington, DL, Sr.), Sam Yoshino (Wheeling, WR-LB, Jr.)
Selections and player profiles by Ryan O'Gara
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