Northwest all-area team

By Dick Quagliano
Daily Herald Correspondent
Updated 12/1/2016 12:24 PM
  • Jaylan Alexander

    Jaylan Alexander

  • Devonte Amos

    Devonte Amos

  • Josh Babicz

    Josh Babicz

  • Mark Bach

    Mark Bach

  • McKenzie Balanganayi

    McKenzie Balanganayi

  • Nick Bart

    Nick Bart

  • TJ Best

    TJ Best

  • Jayvon Blissett

    Jayvon Blissett

  • Nick Cecchin

    Nick Cecchin

  • Austin Coalson

    Austin Coalson

  • Nick Delporte

    Nick Delporte

  • Jalen Dennis

    Jalen Dennis

  • Owen Goldsberry

    Owen Goldsberry

  • Jack Grochowski

    Jack Grochowski

  • Jake Haas

    Jake Haas

  • Kevin Haltman

    Kevin Haltman

  • Ethan Hanson

    Ethan Hanson

  • Anthony Henley

    Anthony Henley

  • Blake Holley

    Blake Holley

  • Darreontae Jackson

    Darreontae Jackson

  • Johnny Kappel

    Johnny Kappel

  • Cole Kmet

    Cole Kmet

  • Andrew Martino

    Andrew Martino

  • Will McCabe

    Will McCabe

  • Jake Moertl

    Jake Moertl

  • Logan Moews

    Logan Moews

  • Jalen Moore

    Jalen Moore

  • Kevin Nevarez

    Kevin Nevarez

  • Ray Niro

    Ray Niro

  • Asher O'Hara

    Asher O'Hara

  • Johnny O'Shea

    Johnny O'Shea

  • Zach Oles

    Zach Oles

  • Jackson Perkins

    Jackson Perkins

  • Austin Ruetsche

    Austin Ruetsche

  • Jordan Salgado

    Jordan Salgado

  • Austin Schwantz

    Austin Schwantz

  • Dylan Tapia

    Dylan Tapia

  • Jimmy Trieb

    Jimmy Trieb

  • Josh Turner

    Josh Turner

  • Jimmy Walsh

    Jimmy Walsh

  • Michael Wilms

    Michael Wilms

Jaylan Alexander Hoffman EstatesAlexander was a huge playmaker for the Hawks. One of the area's top wide receivers, he finished with 58 receptions for 763 yards and 8 touchdowns. He also played strong-side linebacker and finished with 73 tackles and 5 sacks. "Jaylan is one of the best all-around football players I have coached in a long time," Hoffman Estates coach Mike Donatucci said. "Jaylan never came off the field."

Devonte Amos Rolling MeadowsAmos was a go-to player for the Mustangs. He had 254 yards rushing and scored 4 TDs. He also had 508 yards receiving yards and scored 8 TDs and made himself valuable on defense while finishing with 2 interceptions. "Devonte played at a different level this year and really brought our offense along with him," Rolling Meadows coach matt Mishler said. "He was an impact player on both sides of the ball and made a ton of huge plays for us this year."

Josh Babicz BarringtonBabicz was a threat wherever he was on the field. He played tight end and had 36 catches for 510 yards and 7 TDs. When an injury forced his move to QB, Babibz delivered with 25 carries, 321 rushing yards 2 TDs, along with 276 yards passing and 2 TD's. "Josh is a great all- around athlete who put team ahead of everything," Barrington coach Joe Sanchez said. "He has only scratched the surface of how good he can really be at WR/TE."

Mark Bach BarringtonA three-year starter for the Broncos, Bach anchored the offensive line at center, a position he moved to this season. Bach helped lead a unit that set a school rushing record with 469 yards against Hoffman. "Mark became our vocal leader this year on offense by playing center," Barrington coach Joe Sanchez said. "He did not play center until this year and really worked to become excellent at his position."

McKenzie Balanganayi PalatineA high-motor player who made the Pirates' defense go. Balanganayi, who was double-teamed throughout the season, still led the team with 65 tackles, including 5 sacks and 10 tackles for a loss. "Mac played with high energy and excitement," Palatine coach Rick Splitt said. "He was the leader that made everyone around him raise their level of play."

Nick Bart BarringtonA three-year starter for the Broncos, Bart has great size and strength and is being coveted by D-I programs. "Nick is an outstanding lineman who is powerful, athletic and intelligent," Barrington coach Joe Sanchez said. "Combined with other seniors to form arguably one of the best offensive lines I have seen in 20-plus years of coaching."

T.J. Best WheelingBest missed last season with an injury but came back with a vengeance in 2016. He caught 13 passes for 260 yards and also had 2 interceptions on defense after moving from DB to LB. "After missing almost the entire season last year T.J had a hunger that was obvious from the first day of summer," Wheeling coach Brent Pearlman said. "His effort and unselfish attitude served as the standard for every player on our team. "

Jayvon Blissett Hoffman EstatesBlissett was a game-breaker for the Hawks this season. He had 31 catches, with 9 of those going for touchdowns. He gained 522 yards with an 85-yard TD catch to his credit. "Jayvon is a very talented and smart receiver who was a deep threat all season and who made big plays for us all year," Hoffman Estates coach Mike Donatucci said. "The best thing about him is that he is only a junior and his potential is through the roof."

Nick Cecchin FremdCecchin set a Fremd record with 59 receptions this season, including 12 against a solid Palatine secondary. He finished with 678 yards and 5 TDs. "Nick was a real asset, being able to throw him a short pass," Fremd coach Lou Sponsel said. "He was fun to watch because he could turn those short passes into long gains because of his quickness."

Austin Coalson Hoffman EstatesCoalson stepped up hugely this season, directing the Hawks to the playoffs for the first time in 22 years. The junior was tremendous, completing 140 of 208 passes for 1,935 yards and 21 touchdowns. "As a junior QB, Austin prepared well for his role as the offensive leader and his performance supported his hard work," Hoffman Estates coach Mike Donatucci said. "His ability to escape the rush and prolong plays along with a natural feel for the game made him a special offensive weapon."

Nick Delporte Rolling MeadowsDelporte got called up to the varsity in his freshman year and has been a difference-maker for the Mustangs ever since. Even though he played safety, he still had 75 tackles, 50 of which were solos. He also had 8 tackles for loss, 5.5 sacks, an interception, 2 fumbles and blocked 3 punts. At running back, he had 200 yards rushing and 6 TDs. "Nick was the most dynamic player I've ever had the chance to coach," Rolling Meadows coach Matt Mishler said. "He is an incredible young man and a great football player."

Jalen Dennis WheelingDennis was the co-offensive player of the year in the MSL East for the second consecutive year. He was 123-of-200 passing for 1,771 yards and rushed 200 times for 1,129 yards. Dennis was also named Chicago Bears player of the week. "Jalen plays the game the way it is supposed to be played -- full-speed, team first, pure courage and in the fight to the very end," Wheeling coach Brent Pearlman said. "Jalen's leadership and willingness to sacrifice for our team were keys to our season. Obviously his stats are very impressive but they only tell a very small part of the story. Jalen's commitment toward improvement, his teammates and our team was nothing short of incredible."

Owen Goldsberry HerseyGoldsberry took the Hersey offense to a new level this season. The junior completed 98 of 175 passes for 1,461 yards and 9 touchdowns. He also rushed for 538 yards and 4 touchdowns and has begun to draw interest from D-I college programs. "Owen is a tremendous competitor," Hersey coach Joe Pardun said. "Besides having the gift of athleticism, he proves the intangibles are important to any athlete's success. He is intelligent, hard-working, prepared and responsible, and he has a natural desire to make those around him better."

Jack Grochowski PalatineGrochowski did it all for the Pirates, playing wide receiver, fullback, defensive back, kicker and punter. He had 625 receiving yards and 9 touchdowns, even playing with a broken hand. He also converted 53 of 57 extra points and 8 field goals. "Jack is a tremendous athlete," Palatine coach Rick Splitt said. "He was a huge factor for the Pirates' success in all three phases of the game."

Kevin Haltman Rolling MeadowsHaltman was an offensive force on defense. He scored 5 touchdowns thanks to 3 interceptions, a blocked punt and 2 fumble recoveries. He had 108 tackles, 62 of which were solo, with 13 tackles for loss and 10.5 sacks. "Kevin was truly a pleasure to coach and was the leader of this team," Rolling Meadows coach Matt Mishler said. "He set the tone physically and emotionally every single week."

Ethan Hanson FremdHanson anchored one of the area's largest offensive lines. He was one of the reasons Fremd was able to go "old school" and rush for 2,186 yards. "Ethan dominated again this year," Fremd coach Lou Sponsel said. "Every week, every opponent, he physically pounded the guy across from him. He was everything you want in a offensive lineman -- big, strong, physical, quick and as intense as they come."

Jake Haas FremdHaas was a dominant figure on the field for the Vikings until a shoulder injury cut his season short. Before that, he usually drew his opponent's top receiver and was able to intercept 4 passes. "Jake was a special kid for us," Fremd coach Lou Sponsel said. "He was a three-year starter and impact player -- he will be very difficult to replace. Jake was a throwback kid. They don't make 'em like him anymore."

Anthony Henley Maine WestHenley was a large part of the Warriors' success this season. Henley was a workhorse in the offense, rushing for 753 yards on 135 carries and 4 touchdowns. "Anthony did a great job for us," Maine West coach Jason Kradman said. "He is a tremendous downhill runner with excellent vision, balance, and footwork. He worked through some injuries to become the power back that keyed our offense."

Blake Holley BarringtonHolley was a two-time MSL West defensive player of the year. A three-year starter, Holley had 122 total tackles with 2 for loss on a pair of quarterback sacks. Holley will attend the Naval Academy. "Blake has continued to improve each season," Barrington coach Joe Sanchez said. "He is a very intelligent and explosive player who was like having a coach on the field. He helped get us in the right call on every snap -- lots of pressure on him to do this -- and he thrived in this role."

Darreontae Jackson St. ViatorJackson had a breakout season for the Lions and was key to their success offensively. He rushed for 1,248 yards rushing, had 179 yards receiving with 16 touchdowns while piling up 1,996 all-purpose yards. "Darreontae took great strides this season in multiple ways," St. Viator coach Dave Archibald said. "His impact was vital and boosted our team in several victories. Darreontae is a tremendous runner who can make people miss in space and can also run downhill. When he accelerates in space, he has an extra gear that is exciting to see."

Johnny Kappel WheelingKappel turned into a serious weapon for the Wildcats. He caught 44 passes for 746 yards including 12 for 144 yards in the playoff game against Cary-Grove. "By far the most improved player I have ever coached," Wheeling coach Brent Pearlman said. "His ability to absorb information and improve was incredible and seemingly endless. Every time we needed a play, he seemed to be making it."

Cole Kmet St. ViatorKmet missed the first 3 games for the Lions but still finished with 48 receptions for 773 yards and caught 4 TDs and rushed for another. A three-year starter, Kmet, who is headed to Notre Dame next season, has also been selected to play in the U.S. Army All-American Bowl. "Cole is a tremendous leader and an incredibly gifted athlete," St. Viator coach Dave Archibald said. "Cole put up big numbers even though he dealt with double coverage for much of the season."

Anthony Martino PalatineMartino, who was a two-year starter, was the glue that made the offensive line operate so well. That line allowed just 6 sacks all season long for an offense that averaged 35 points. "Anthony was our best O-lineman," Palatine coach Rick Splitt said. "He anchored a group that really was the nuts and bolts to our explosive offense."

Will McCabe FremdMcCabe led the Vikings with 64 tackles and 46 assists, with 26 of those going for a loss. Only a junior, his play is drawing tremendous interest from D-I college scouts. "Will McCabe is getting the attention he is as a junior for a reason," Fremd coach Lou Sponsel said. "He is the real deal. I cannot wait to see what he accomplishes the next 12 months."

Jake Moertl PalatineNo one intercepted more passes than the 9 Moertl had this season. He also returned 3 for touchdowns, making it even more difficult for opponents to throw in his direction. "Jake has a natural instinct for the ball," Palatine coach Rick Splitt said. "He was a huge contributor to our success and his instincts are phenomenal."

Logan Moews BarringtonMoews moved from wide receiver last season to running back this year. And all Moews did was be a beast all season for the Broncos, gaining 1,458 yards on 202 for 22 TDs. "Every time Logan touched the ball you held your breath because he had the ability to make special things happen," Barrington coach Joe Sanchez said. "He started last year as primarily a slot receiver and this year went back to his primary position of playing RB and had a tremendous year."

Jalen Moore LeydenMoore was player of the year in the West Suburban Gold, averaging 18 yards each time he touched the ball. He scored 8 TDs and also had 2 interceptions to help lead the Eagles to their first conference title since 2012. Moore will play at Southern Illinois next season. "Jalen was truly exceptional player for Leyden this season," Leyden coach Tom Cerasani said. "He rarely came off the field and opponents always knew where he was."

Kevin Nevarez LeydenNevarez was the heart and soul of a Leyden defense that pitched 3 shutouts and allowed just 14 points per game Nevarez had 61 solo tackles and 30 assists with 3 sacks. "Kevin was the leader of the defense for Leyden this year," Leyden coach Tom Cerasani said. "His leadership was irreplaceable on the field and especially in the huddle. He had a knack for reading what opposing offenses were doing and was always around the ball."

Ray Niro BarringtonNiro answered all the QB concerns that observers had this season. The junior took over and was an exciting player from the start. He was 92-of-143 for 1,210 yards and 12 TDs. A dangerous runner, Niro had 136 carries for 1,402 yards and 17 TD's. "Ray did a great job stepping in to play QB in his first varsity season," Barrington coach Joe Sanchez said. "He worked very hard both physically and mentally to be prepared for this season and by the season he had it paid off for our team. He is a dynamic player who will only get better."

Asher O'Hara Rolling MeadowsFor two seasons in a row, O'Hara was co-offensive player of the year in the MSL East. He directed the Mustangs to the most wins (11) in school history this year with 1,440 passing yards on a 70-percent completion rate. He threw 20 TD passes with just 4 interceptions. He also rushed for 730 yards and 5 TDs. "Asher was a dynamic player who ran our offense flawlessly," Rolling Meadows coach Matt Mishler said." He was the catalyst for everything we did offensively and was a great leader."

Zach Oles Palatine

The honorary captain of the all-area team for the second consecutive season, Oles directed an offense that averaged over 40 points until his injury on the second series of the playoffs. He still threw for 1,807 yards and 19 touchdowns with just 2 interceptions. He also rushed for 470 yards and 12 TDs. "Zach is a true leader on and off the field," Palatine coach Rick Splitt said. "I think his numbers, athletic ability and his football ability volumes for himself."

Johnny O'Shea Palatine

O'Shea caught anything that was thrown his way, making some of the most acrobatic catches around. The junior, who had 71 catches for 850 yards and 12 touchdowns, was the go-to-guy in the Pirate offense. His overtime interception against Lyons kept the Pirates' season alive. "His acrobatic catches and his ability to catch the football in pressure situations is priceless," Palatine coach Rick Splitt said. "His ability to get to the ball and shield off defenders is truly his talent."

Jackson Perkins BarringtonTeams ran away from Perkins all season. A three-year starter, he finished with 46 total tackles, with 12 tackles for loss including 2 sacks. Perkins will attend the Naval Academy next year. "This year Jackson became a real standout and leader on our defense," Barrington coach Joe Sanchez said. "His length, strength and relentless pursuit of the ball make him a special player and one that I think will only continue to improve as time goes on."

Austin Ruetsche St. ViatorRuetsche was the leading tackler for the Lions with 123 tackles in 11 games. He was a two-year starter and is committed to the Air Force Academy. "Austin is an ideal young man to coach," St. Viator coach Dave Archibald said. "He has a fast motor whenever he steps on the field and closes on the football very well. Austin leads by example and lets his tenacity and efforts speak for themselves."

Jordan Salgado SchaumburgSalgado was the gas that made the Schaumburg offensive engine run. He rushed the ball 180 times for 910 yards and 12 touchdowns. Only a junior, Salgado will key the Saxons' offense next season. "Jordan's work ethic is exemplary," Schaumburg coach Mark Stilling said. "He plays the right way and his level of physical intensity is outstanding. Jordan Salgado gets it."

Austin Schwantz FremdSchwantz was extremely valuable to the Vikings, hardly ever coming off the field and participating in over 1,100 plays. He had 28 catches for 261 yards and 4 touchdowns. "Austin stepped up big time as a senior," Fremd coach Lou Sponsel said. "We challenged him all year and he answered. We built the offense around our TEs, and Austin was a large factor in our offensive success this year."

Dylan Tapia PalatineA true safety, Tapia made the rest of the defensive backs play better because they all knew he was always there. Tapia was a three-year starter who had 5 interceptions this year and 11 for his career. "Dylan is a great student and a great student of the game," Palatine coach Rick Splitt said. "He was the leader on the defense that was able to make plays all over the field."

Josh Turner PalatineTurner was a burner for the Pirtaes this season, rushing for over 1,200 yards and 12 touchdowns. He also had 175 receiving yards and 2 TDs. "Josh had a tremendous year with stats and his contribution to our success," Palatine coach Rick Splitt said. "Definitely a team player that really did a great job blocking this year, something that gets overshadowed with his stats, but this was a highlight to our team's success."

Jim Trieb Buffalo GroveTrieb was a weapon for the Bison whenever he was on the field. He had 614 receiving yards on 40 catches and also rushed for 164 yards. On defense he had 35 tackles and blocked a punt and returned it for a touchdown. "Jimmy was by far the best player on our team this year," Buffalo Grove coach Jeff Vlk said. "As a three-year starter he grew from a player who was limited to playing one position as a sophomore to a player who played receiver, running back, defensive back and linebacker for us at times."

Jimmy Walsh FremdA two-year starter for the Vikings, Walsh showed his value in his versatility in playing different linebacking positions. He was second on the team with 44 tackles and 21 assists. "Jimmy was exciting to watch on Fridays," Fremd coach Lou Sponsel said. "His success on the field was earned by doing all of the little things that make you great. Jimmy not only was a great player, but an even better leader."

Michael Wilms LeydenWilms was the leader for the Eagles and kept the offense moving, becoming the first player in school history to throw a TD pass in every game. He threw for 1,250 yards and 14 touchdowns with a 60-percent completion rate. He also rushed for 405 yards. "Mike led with his actions and proved time and time again to be one of the toughest players in our conference," Leyden coach Tom Cerasani said.

All-area roster

Player School Pos. Yr.

Jaylan Alexander Hoffman Estates WR Sr.

Devonte Amos Rolling Meadows DB Sr.

Josh Babicz Barrington WR/TE Sr.

Mark Bach Barrington OL Sr.

McKenzie Balanganayi Palatine DL Sr.

Nick Bart Barrington OT Sr.

T.J. Best Wheeling WR/DB Sr.

Jayvon Blissett Hoffman Estates WR Sr.

Nick Cecchin Fremd WR Sr.

Austin Coalson Hoffman Estates QB Jr.

Nick Delporte Rolling Meadows DB Sr.

Jalen Dennis Wheeling QB Sr.

Owen Goldsberry Hersey QB Jr.

Jack Grochowski Palatine WR Sr.

Kevin Haltman Rolling Meadows LB Sr.

Ethan Hanson Fremd OL Sr.

Jake Haas Fremd DB Sr.

Anthony Henley Maine West RB Sr.

Blake Holley Barrington LB Sr.

Darreontae Jackson St. Viator RB Sr.

Johnny Kappel Wheeling WR/DB Sr.

Cole Kmet St. Viator TE Sr.

Anthony Martino Palatine OL Sr.

Will McCabe Fremd DE Jr.

Jake Moertl Palatine DB Sr.

Logan Moews Barrington RB Sr.

Jalen Moore Leyden RB Sr.

Kevin Nevarez Leyden LB Sr.

Ray Niro Barrington QB Jr.

Asher O'Hara Rolling Meadows QB Sr.

*Zach Oles Palatine QB Sr.

Johnny O'Shea Palatine WR Jr.

Jackson Perkins Barrington DE Sr.

Austin Ruetsche St. Viator DL Sr.

Jordan Salgado Schaumburg RB Jr.

Austin Schwantz Fremd TE/DE Sr.

Dylan Tapia Palatine DB Sr.

Josh Turner Palatine RB Sr.

Jim Trieb Buffalo Grove WR Jr.

Jimmy Walsh Fremd LB Sr.

Michael Wilms Leyden QB Sr.

* All-area team captain

Honorable mentionMatt Abfall (Hersey), Austin Anzelmo (Schaumburg), Danny Arvizu (Maine West), Donovan Brown (Leyden), Marc Clark (St. Viator), Connor Cloherty (Elk Grove), Brett DeSelm (St. Viator), Scott Elter (Palatine), Sam Kindle (Maine West), Dom Fredrickson (Leyden), Tyler Fredrickson (Schaumburg), Dan Galovich (Schaumburg), Justin Gold (Buffalo Grove), Cortez Hogans (Palatine), Alec Honickel (Fremd), Tom Josten (Fremd), Mitch Kazmer (Fremd), Matt Kentgen (Maine West), Matt Litas (Maine West), Tommy Larson (Rolling Meadows), Jack Merrill (Buffalo Grove), Andrew Neville (Rolling Meadows), Luke Radtke (Elk Grove), Jack Reiger (Conant), Andy Ortiz (Schaumburg), Eric Padilla (Barrington), Marco Perez (Rolling Meadows), Torrie Roach (Leyden), Joe Schneider (Fremd), Andrew Shafis (Prospect), Jason Shannon (Wheeling), Malik Siem (Maine West), John Stefan (Barrington), Justin Thompson (Rolling Meadows), Hezekiah Trotter (Schaumburg), Marteen Robinson (Maine West), Carson Walker (Palatine), Dan Wozniak, Conant

Special mentionConnor Adams (Buffalo Grove), Dan Banahan (Hoffman Estates), La'Mere Barnes (Hoffman Estates), Jared Brogni (Maine West), John Carpinelli (Buffalo Grove), Dante Cecala (Prospect), Mike Constantino (Fremd), Stephen Cutro (Maine West), Josh Danielson (Palatine), Frank DeLuca (Wheeling), Jonaas Drain (Maine West), Matt Eaker (Schaumburg), Genio Hyppolite (Elk Grove), Kevin Lacosse (Rolling Meadows), Andrew Lara (Wheeling), Billy Matzek (Prospect), John Macneal-Young (Schaumburg), Jorge Morales (Hoffman Estates), Brody Muck (Palatine), Zach Nemec (Fremd), Alex Palczewski (Prospect), Dhivan Patel (Schaumburg), Matt Payne (Fremd), Matt Pedraza (Rolling Meadows), Jack Pruban (Prospect), Tyler Rundquist (Buffalo Grove), Luke Schmiederer (Hersey), JT Streepy (Palatine), Brad Warman (Barrington)

Selections and profiles by Dick Quagliano

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