St. Edward junior quarterback Dylan Mlinarch and Vernon Hills senior linebacker Chick Smith have earned Daily Herald MVP honors for their efforts in Week 2 of the high school football season.
Dylan Mlinarch, St. Edward: This 6-foot-2, 189-pound junior enjoyed the kind of game quarterbacks dream about in a 50-14 home win vs. Lindblom. The second-year varsity signalcaller completed 30 of 49 pass attempts to nine different receivers for 495 yards and 7 touchdowns to help the Green Wave improve to 2-0.
Darreontae Jackson, St. Viator: The senior running back keyed a bounce-back win for the Lions in the biggest of ways. He rushed for 262 yards on just 14 carries, with scoring runs of 92 and 55 yards as St. Viator rolled past St. Francis 39-7.
Aidan O'Connell, Stevenson: The senior quarterback made his team's long bus ride to Michigan worthwhile. He threw for a school-record 447 yards and 4 touchdowns on 36-of-51 passing, helping the Patriots edge Muskegon 38-35 for their first win of the season.
Jordan Rowell, IC Catholic Prep: The Northern Illinois recruit scored 5 touchdowns, and the Knights needed them in a 63-49 win over St. Laurence. The 6-foot-2, 195-pound running back ran for 260 yards, 4 touchdowns; he caught 5 passes for 111 yards and a touchdown. The senior's long plays were a 67-yard run and a 63-yard reception.
Chick Smith, Vernon Hills: Cougars coach Bill Bellecomo called his senior linebacker a "man among boys" against Zion-Benton. A three-year varsity starter, Smith registered 17 tackles, including two for loss, forced a fumble and also had a quarterback hurry. His effort helped the Cougars win 29-21 to improve to 2-0.
Mike Constantino, Fremd: Constantino keyed the collective effort that allowed visiting Hersey only 85 yards rushing in a 35-7 Vikes victory. The senior linebacker contributed 8 tackles and also claimed the game's only interception.
Eric Samuta, Glenbard West: Locked in a scoreless tie heading into the fourth quarter, the Hilltoppers' defense drove to a 14-6 win over Hinsdale South. Samuta, a 5-foot-11, 205-pound senior linebacker, led the way with 12 tackles including 3 for loss. Two tackles came on fourth down. Samuta also blocked an extra point.
Taylor Zimmerman, West Aurora: The West Aurora defense has not allowed a touchdown through 2 games, thanks in part to a veteran group of five returning linebackers, including Zimmerman (6-0, 210). The senior made an impact in Saturday's 40-2 victory at Waukegan by leading the Blackhawks with 3 tackles for loss. He also registered 3 solo tackles and a sack as he helped West Aurora's defense post its third-best performance against the rush since 1990 (-10 yards).