Willowbrook senior quarterback Brian Johnson and Crystal Lake South junior defensive back Tyler Baker have earned Daily Herald MVP honors for their football performances in Week 2.
Johnson established a state record by throwing for 675 yards on 40-for-52 passing with 7 TDs in a 62-49 victory over Lyons.
Baker intercepted a late fourth-quarter pass in the Gators' 14-7 triumph against Crystal Lake Central and helped Crystal Lake South win the field position battle by averaging 44 yards on 5 punts.
Brian Johnson, Willowbrook: The Warriors' 6-foot-3, 188-pound senior quarterback set a state record by throwing for 675 yards in a 62-49 West Suburban Conference crossover win over Lyons Twp. Johnson completed 40 of 52 passes and 7 touchdowns, good for eighth best in IHSA history. He rushed for 50 yards and a touchdown.
Sam Beutler, Fremd: Beutler's return to the starting lineup sparked Fremd to a memorable performance. The senior led the way with 198 yards rushing and 4 touchdowns on just 15 carries in a 54-21 win over Rolling Meadows as the Vikings established a program record for rushing yards in a game (556). Beutler also threw for 1 TD.
Damion Clemons, Larkin: "Bubba," as he is known to his teammates, scored all 3 touchdowns in Larkin's 20-12 overtime victory against visiting West Chicago. The speedy 5-foot-5, 140-pound senior tailback rushed for 91 yards on 19 carries, including a pair of 2-yard touchdowns, the second of which proved to be the game-winning score. Clemons also made a touchdown reception of 53 yards to help the Royals snap a 7-game losing streak.
Evan Kurtz, St. Charles North: After a Week 1 overtime loss the North Stars needed a win. Their senior tailback delivered. The 6-foot-2, 220-pound Kurtz, who also plays linebacker, ran 18 times for 217 yards with 4 touchdown runs, of 37, 4, 3 and 54 yards. He paced St. Charles North's 49-0 nonconference win over Plainfield Central.
Andrew Nickell, Warren: The Blue Devils' Nickell was priceless. In leading Warren to its second win in as many weeks, the 6-foot-1 senior quarterback completed 15 of 20 passes for 258 yards. Four of his throws went for touchdowns, as the Blue Devils defeated New Trier 42-6.
Tyler Baker, Crystal Lake South: This 5-foot-10, 140-pound junior sealed Crystal Lake South's 14-7 victory over rival Crystal Lake Central by picking off a pass at midfield with 2:55 left in the fourth quarter. That was just part of Baker's big game. He punted 5 times for 220 yards (44 avg.), and he completed a fake punt pass for 40 yards. Offensively, he scored the go-ahead touchdown on 54-yard reception from Austin Rogers with 7:05 to play.
Colin Castagna, Barrington: The 6-foot-4, 230-pound senior linebacker was a menace for a second straight week, this time disrupting Prospect's attack in a 27-14 victory. Castagna came up with 4 tackles for loss with 2 quarterback sacks and 2 hurries on his way to 9 total tackles as the Broncos got off to a 2-0 start.
Xavier Davis, Lake Park: The Lancers' defense stood tall in a 19-7 nonconference victory over Lockport. Davis, a 5-foot-9, 140-pound senior defensive back, led Lake Park's secondary by snaring a pair of interceptions. His 36-yard interception return for a touchdown gave the Lancers a 19-0 fourth-quarter lead.
Cody Ekstrom, Aurora Central Catholic: Many players made as many or more tackles as this 6-foot-1, 170-pound, senior linebacker in a 42-7 win over Bogan. What set this Chargers three-year starter apart was along with 9 tackles, 2 for loss, Ekstrom intercepted a pass and returned it 18 yards, forced a fumble and recovered another fumble.
Jacob Vargo, Grayslake Central: An injury kept the senior off the field last season. Apparently, he's healthy. Vargo turned in a dominant performance in the Rams' 28-7 win over visiting Vernon Hills. The strong safety intercepted two passes, recovered a fumble and notched 3 tackles.