Noah Allgood Lake Zurich
Most quarterbacks don't have offensive line experience on their resumes. But Allgood led the Bears at quarterback this season just two years after starting seven games at guard. "During his three years on varsity, Noah started games at quarterback, running back, tight end, guard, inside linebacker, outside linebacker, punter and long snapper," Lake Zurich coach Dave Proffitt said. "That shows his versatility. All three years, he played both ways." At quarterback, Allgood passed for 1,250 yards, rushed for 318 yards and scored 16 touchdowns in leading the Bears to the Class 7A state championship game. As a linebacker, the senior rolled up 31 tackles.
Zach Andre Antioch
Andre wasn't just a quarterback on the field, he was also another coach. There were many times this season that the senior was calling his own plays. "Not only does Zach have a big-time arm, but he is incredibly intelligent," Antioch coach Brian Glashagel said. "The adjustments he made pre-snap were very impressive. I've never coached a quarterback with the ability to audible to get our offense into the best situation. Quite simply, Zach is the smartest football player I've ever coached." When Andre finally decided on a play, he usually was able to coax positive results. Andre completed 53-of-118 passes for 856 yards and 10 touchdowns. He also ran for 288 yards and 3 touchdowns. Andre also handled punting for the Sequoits.
Ryan Aoki Grayslake Central
Being "book smart" came in handy for Aoki, the Rams' senior center and middle linebacker. He used the study habits that have yielded him straight A's and a perfect 36 on the ACT to become an advanced student of the game of football. "He used his smarts to his advantage on the field," Grayslake Central coach Ben Ault said. "With film, with our playbook, he really put his mind to learning everything he could, just like he does with his academics. Ryan would even help other players with where they needed to be on the field and with what they needed to do." Meanwhile, Aoki was doing plenty himself. Aoki finished with a team-leading 49 tackles, including 5½ for loss. He also forced 2 fumbles. Offensively, Aoki helped pave the way for 2,500 yards of offense for the Rams.
Titus Booker Grayslake North
Although he played in only five full games because of a high-ankle sprain that he suffered in the season opener, Booker has Big 10 and other big-time college coaches knocking on the door. "He's capable of being a 2,000 or 2,500-yard rusher when he's healthy," Grayslake North coach Steve Wood said of Booker, a junior running back who still managed 1,300 yards in five full games and part of a sixth. He rolled up 250-plus rushing yards in three different games and he scored a total of 14 touchdowns. He averaged 7 yards per carry. "He's just a tremendous athlete. He's extremely fast with a 4.4 40, he loves working out and he's really strong.
Willie Bourbon Stevenson
It was hard to know how to defend Bourbon, the Patriots' spunky junior quarterback. "He is a dual threat quarterback who can run and pass," Stevenson coach Bill McNamara said. "And he gave great leadership to our team. We've been conference champs both years with Willie as our starting quarterback." Bourbon racked up an impressive 2,195 passing yards, completing 141 of 264 passes (53.4 percent) along the way. He capped off 22 drives with touchdown passes this season. Meanwhile, he ran for another 7 touchdowns en route to 445 total rushing yards.
Mike Brey Lakes
At 5-foot-8, 175 pounds, Brey was never the biggest guy on the field. But his impact on every Lakes game was usually pretty huge. "Each Friday night, he was clearly one of the best football players on the field," Lakes coach Luke Mertens said. "He was one of the few players who had a large impact on each phase of the game: offense, defense and special teams. He literally did it all for us this year." Brey was a running back, linebacker, punter and returner for the Eagles. At running back, Brey rushed for more than 600 yards and averaged 9 yards per carry. He also scored 13 touchdowns. On defense, he registered 80 tackles, including 5 for loss. He also had 3 sacks. Brey also now owns every punting record at Lakes, which includes his 43 yards per punt return this season. With a 3.8 grade point average, Brey has been named academic all-state.
R.C. Cox Carmel
Like RC Cola is a throwback kind of soft drink, Cox is the same kind of football player. "He's a throwback type of player," Carmel coach Andy Bitto said. "He's intense during every game. He's an excellent run defender, blitzer and pass defender and he's been the staple of our defense for the last two years." Like last season, Cox led the Corsairs in tackles this season. He had 109, including 8 for loss. He also had an interception. "We positioned him every week to stop our opponent's No. 1 run option," Bitto said of Cox, who was named academic all-state with a 3.95 grade point average and a 29 ACT score.
Nick Donofrio Vernon Hills
There's "fast" and then there's "football fast." Donofrio, a senior outside linebacker, showed opponents all season just how much "football fast" he has. "Nick might not be the kind of kid who is going to run a 4.5 40, but he's just football fast. He's got such great instincts to get to the ball, like nothing we've ever seen before, really," Vernon Hills coach Bill Bellecomo said. "With the way he was able to get into the backfield and disrupt an entire offense, Nick was one of the brightest spots of our season." Donofrio finished with 62 tackles, 10 for loss. He also had 8 sacks, 4 forced fumbles and an interception.
TJ Edwards Lakes
As a quarterback, Edwards put up big numbers over the last two years. And he wasn't even playing what some see as his best position. Edwards had committed to Western Michigan months ago, but recently he got an offer from Wisconsin, which was impressed with tape of Edwards starring as a linebacker in the past. Now, Edwards will be a Big Ten linebacker and is now committed to the Badgers. In his final season as a quarterback, Edwards averaged 190 yards and 2 touchdowns per game. "We've been lucky to have had a good amount of scholarship football players at Lakes, but none of them were as explosive as TJ," Lakes coach Luke Mertens said. "I can't imagine there are many high school quarterbacks in the country who will be playing linebacker in the Big Ten next year." In spot duty as a linebacker this year, Edwards had 22 tackles, 2 for loss. He was slowed a bit by a knee injury at the end of the season.
Bryson Eppinger Warren
One of Warren's strongest players, Eppinger rolled up a team-leading 74 tackles, including 6 for loss. "Physically, Bryson is one of the most dominating players we had had play for the Blue Devils," Warren coach Dave Mohapp said of his senior linebacker. "He is a very talented player who started on defense as a linebacker, also played defensive end and then would move to offense to play fullback in our short-yardage package. He also was counted on as a team leader as a captain and did a great job of focusing our team in the off-season workouts."
Merrick Gentile Grayslake North
Gentile is a sophomore. But he sure didn't play like one very often, nor did he look like one. The physically imposing 6-foot, 195-pound Gentile used his big, strong frame to be a true dual threat quarterback for Grayslake North. By himself, he accounted for more than 2,300 yards of offense and 30 touchdowns. He passed for 1,335 yards and completed 104 of 194 passes. He also threw 13 touchdown passes. On the ground, Gentile ran for 993 yards and 17 touchdowns. "He's just so strong for a sophomore," Grayslake North coach Steve Wood said. "He's one of the top three or four kids on our team in terms of overall strength. That includes some of the 300-pound linemen. He's able to run a 4.5 40 so he's also fast. And he can throw the ball extremely accurately. With all of that, he was able to play at a really high level and just had a very impressive season."
Itai Gerchikov Stevenson
Gerchikov was Mr. Efficient. "Simply put, Itai was our most productive player on defense," Stevenson coach Bill McNamara said. Gerchikov, a senior linebacker, led the team with 124 tackles (including 16 for loss), and 6½ sacks. In Stevenson's playoff game against Glenbard North, Gerchikov rolled up an eye-popping 20 tackles. He also finished the season with an interception and a fumble recovery as well as 2 forced fumbles. "Itai has that rare combination of speed and power," McNamara said. "He makes plays from sideline to sideline and can fill on a power run. His greatest strength is when he blitzes."
Cameron Green Stevenson
Green left opponents seeing red with many of his fabulous catches as a wide receiver. But he also gave them fits with his returns on punts and kickoffs. In fact, his punt return for a touchdown against Glenbard North in the playoffs won the game for Stevenson. "That was the game-winning touchdown. He also plays some defense and had a big interception (against Glenbard North)," Stevenson coach Bill McNamara said of his already highly-recruited junior. "He's a big-time player on offense and gave great leadership to our team." Green rolled up 48 catches for 890 yards (18.6 yards per catch) and 11 receiving touchdowns. He also returned 31 punts for 946 yards for a 31-yard average. His 12 kick returns went for 294 yards, a 24.5-yard average.
Sean Lynch Lake Zurich
Lynch is no stranger to postseason success. A three-year varsity letterman who also saw some varsity action as a freshman, Lynch has participated in 2 state championship games and advanced to at least the state semifinals all four seasons. In wrestling, he qualified for state as a sophomore and junior. "Sean has great instincts and is a very good natural football player," Lake Zurich coach Dave Proffitt said. "He started both ways the last two years." At running back, Lynch finished with 481 yards and also had 218 receiving yards. As a safety, he rolled up 71 tackles, and 183 for his career. Lynch also returned punts and kick-offs for the Bears and had 563 return yards. He tallied 9 touchdowns on the season and intercepted 3 passes this season for 14 on his career.
Nate Magiera Wauconda
Magiera left his mark in the Wauconda record books, and in the minds of those close to the football program. The senior defensive lineman graduates with the most-ever tackles for loss in a season with 30. But an image of Magiera scoring a game-winning touchdown sticks with head coach Dave Mills even more. "The vision I always see of Nate is of him picking up the ball on a scoop-and-score versus Vernon Hills in 2012 and racing 100 miles an hour down the sideline for the game-winning score," Mills said. "Nate is a game-changer for our defense, which was the strength of our team." Magiera finished with a team-leading 85 tackles.
Dominic McNeil Lake Zurich
On a defense that has consistently ranked among the best in the state, McNeil is the cream of the crop. "Dominic is a two-year starter who has been our best defensive lineman by far for the past two years," Lake Zurich coach Dave Proffitt said. "He has played through two injuries this past season and still led the defensive line in tackles, sacks, and tackles for loss. He is also the emotional leader of the defense." McNeil rolled up 57 tackles, including 15 for loss. The senior had 7 sacks, 2 forced fumbles and 2 fumble recoveries.
Matt Morrissey Stevenson
Although a hamstring injury slowed Morrissey at the end of the season, the versatile wide receiver and cornerback was still able to make plays that left no doubt as to why Michigan State worked so hard to secure his services for the next four years. Stevenson starting quarterback Willie Bourbon has often said that he could just throw the ball up there and Morrissey would almost always find a way to come down with it. On the season, Morrissey finished with 43 catches for 781 yards for an 18.2-yard average. The three-year starter also caught 10 touchdown passes. On defense, Morrissey rolled up 107 tackles, including 3 for loss. He had 4 interceptions, including one for a touchdown. He also had 5 pass deflections and 1 fumble recovery. "He's a big-time player on both sides of the ball," Stevenson coach Bill McNamara said.
Colton Moskal Lake Zurich
College football coaches were lining up for the 6-foot-2, 215-pound Moskal, a three-year varsity linebacker. He had about 10 Division I offers last summer when he finally gave Syracuse the nod. Since then, he's lived up to the hype. He recorded 77 tackles, including 9 for loss this season. The last two years, Moskal often got significant time at tight end and he was contributing on special teams, too. "Colton is a very passionate player who leads by example in every aspect of football," Lake Zurich coach Dave Proffitt said. "He's been starting at linebacker since his sophomore year and has starting both ways the last two years."
Albert Mota Mundelein
Mota, a senior outside linebacker, is relentless in all that he does. He works until he gets the job done in the classroom, and wasn't satisfied until he shaped himself into a relentless pursuer of the ball. "Albert made himself into a great football player with a relentless attitude in the off-season and an unbelievable effort at practice and on the field," Mundelein coach George Kaider said. "He secured the quick side of our defense and his tenacious pursuit of the football made it very difficult for teams to run the ball to his side. He was the heart and soul of our team and it showed in his play." Mota rolled up a team-high 75 tackles, including 12 for loss. He also had 2 key quarterback sacks in a win over Wheeling, and 4 sacks on the season.
Andrew Nickell Warren
During most of head coach Dave Mohapp's 17-year tenure at Warren, it would have been unheard of for a quarterback to put up the numbers that Nickell did this season. The Blue Devils were always a run-oriented team, loyal to the I-formation. But then a couple of years ago, Mohapp opened up the offense with the spread, and it fit Nickell's abilities perfectly. The senior quarterback rolled up an eye-popping 2,619 passing yards this season for 238.1 passing yards per game. He threw 25 touchdowns and completed 63 percent of his passes (174 of 276). "Andrew is the most productive quarterback we had had here at Warren during my tenure," Mohapp said. "He is a very intelligent player who has a great understanding of coverages and he has the ability to anticipate the open throw lanes. He has a strong arm and very good accuracy."
Zack Rappel Warren
Rappel could do it all, and, as a wide receiver, he had it all. "He is a very good athlete who has everything you want at the wide receiver position, good size, very good hands and extremely elusive after the catch," Warren coach Dave Mohapp said. "He was a very consistent wide receiver and he also was a very good special teams player for us." Rappel led Warren in punt returns with a 24.2-yard average and 1 touchdown. The speedy senior had a 23.9-yard average on kickoff returns. As a receiver, Rappel had 37 catches for 641 yards, a 17.3-yard average. He also made 3 touchdown catches.
Joe Sadauskas Grant
With parents who were both Division I college athletes, Sadauskas definitely inherited some natural athletic ability. But he didn't rest on that. "Even though he's always had the skills, he didn't take anything for granted," Grant coach Kurt Rous said. "He worked really hard from being a skinny, little freshman until now. He spent the time in the weight room. He ran track." The extra work paid off with a productive senior season that saw Sadauskas finish as Grant's top receiver with 362 yards and 3 touchdowns on 18 catches. He was also the team's leading scorer and he handled all of the kicking (punts, kick-offs and place-kicking). In his spare time, Sadauskas was also the Bulldogs' best cornerback. "He did a lot for us in all three facets," Rous said.
Conor Simpson Libertyville
The focal point of Libertyville's offense last season, Simpson couldn't escape the intense focus of opposing defenses this season. "Conor was a marked man this season, and that did not hinder his enthusiasm," Libertyville coach Mike Jones said. "He appreciated the challenge." The Wildcats appreciated the numbers Simpson was still able to generate. The slippery senior running back rolled up 755 yards on 132 attempts for an average of 5.7 yards per carry. He also ran in 10 touchdowns. A three-year varsity starter, Simpson caught 21 passes for 188 yards and also was a top returner of punts and kick-offs. He returned a punt for a touchdown and averaged 17.5 yards per kick-off return.
Alan Taylor Antioch
Last season, Taylor was Antioch's starting quarterback. But for this season, head coach Brian Glashagel wanted to make Taylor a hybrid player who could influence the game even more, from multiple positions. "We wanted to utilize him as best we could," Glashagel said. "We put him at running back and he excelled and as a runner and as our best receiver. He also played safety on defense and caught punts and returned kicks." Taylor rushed for 455 yards on 52 carries. He also caught 10 passes for 269 yards and he scored 7 touchdowns.
Jason Vravick Stevenson
Vravick was busy at linebacker for the Patriots, rolling up 120 tackles on the season, including 9 for loss. All that came while he was doing another full-time job on the side, a job he never expected to have. When starting center Henry Sise broke his leg in the first game of the season, Vravick also became Stevenson's starting center. "He ran our defense and made plays all over the field, and he centered our offensive line," Stevenson coach Bill McNamara said of his versatile and hard-working junior. "That was great leadership of our team. He is a big-time player." Vravick also finished with 4 sacks, 2 interceptions, 2 fumble recoveries and 4 forced fumbles.
Chris Washington Round Lake
Like the U.S. President whose last name he shares, Washington was a leader, and a player other guys at Round Lake looked up to. "He is a true leader, and by example," Round Lake coach Jordan Eder said. "He came to football everyday motivated to get better, and his attitude and work ethic rubbed off on his teammates." Washington, a senior captain and the team MVP, started on offense, defense and special teams for the Panthers. He rolled up 400 receiving yards and caught 3 touchdowns. He also had 65 tackles as a linebacker.
Player School Yr. Pos.
Noah Allgood Lake Zurich Sr. QB/LB
Zach Andre Antioch Sr. QB
Ryan Aoki Grayslake Central Sr. C/MLB
Titus Booker Grayslake North Jr. RB
Willie Bourbon Stevenson Jr. QB
Mike Brey Lakes Sr. RB/LB/P
R.C. Cox Carmel Sr. LB
Nick Donofrio Vernon Hills Sr. LB
TJ Edwards Lakes Sr. QB
Bryson Eppinger Warren Sr. LB
Merrick Gentile Grayslake North Soph. QB
Itai Gerchikov Stevenson Sr. LB
Cameron Green Stevenson Jr. WR
Sean Lynch Lake Zurich Sr. RB/FS
Nate Magiera Wauconda Sr. DL/TE
Dominic McNeil Lake Zurich Sr. DL
Matt Morrissey Stevenson Sr. WR/DB
Colton Moskal Lake Zurich Sr. LB
Albert Mota Mundelein Sr. LB
Andrew Nickell Warren Sr. QB
Zack Rappel Warren Sr. WR
Joe Sadauskas Grant Sr. WR/DB/K/P
Conor Simpson Libertyville Sr. RB
Alan Taylor Antioch Jr. RB/DB
Jason Vravick Stevenson Jr. LB/C
Chris Washington Round Lake Sr. WR
TE/DL David Adams, sr., Mundelein; DB Kacey Adams, sr., Grayslake Central; OL Patrick Austin, sr., Stevenson; WR/DB Jake Balliu, jr., Lakes; LB Nick Battaglia, sr., Lakes; DB Joe Berg, sr., Carmel; RB/WR Devyn Cedzidlo, soph., Lakes; WR Jovan Charleston, sr., Warren; TE/LB Jesse Davis, sr., Grayslake North; LB Spencer Davis, sr., Grayslake North; DE/OL Nick Dillon, jr., Stevenson; DE Erik Infante, sr., Grayslake Central; RB Cameron Johnson, sr., Lakes; LB Josh Junker, sr., Stevenson; OL/DL Matt Khan, sr., Vernon Hills; OL Troy Kincaid, sr., Lakes; RB Ben Klett, soph., Lake Zurich; OL Dan Krajewski, jr., Grayslake North; LB Kacper Kulesza, sr., Wauconda; OL/DL Chris Lannan, sr., Vernon Hills; TE Tyler Lazarz, sr., Antioch; QB Alex Lennartz, sr., Grayslake Central; WR/RB Chance Lindsey, sr., Mundelein; WR/LB Matt Loeffl, sr., Grayslake Central; DB Mike Mariella, sr., Vernon Hills; OL Sawyer McCaffrey, sr., Warren; OL/DL Graham Miller, sr., Wauconda; OL/DL Ryan Mullen, jr., Lakes; WR/S Dillon O'Donoghue, sr., Mundelein; OL/DL Ian Pearce, sr., Grayslake North; DB Jerry Powe, jr., Warren; TE Caleb Reams, jr., Warren; LB Dan Recker, jr., Lakes; WR Daniel Rockingham, sr., Warren; RB Max Sorby, sr., Warren; OL/DL Justin Spoerl, sr., Mundelein; LB/S Billy Sullivan, sr., Grant; DL Nick Turner, jr., Warren; DL Kyle Whitmer, sr., Warren.
Selections and capsules by Patricia Babcock McGraw