Lake County All-Area Team
Luke Bedrosian GrantThe Bulldogs got back to the state playoffs for the first time since 2012, in large part, by getting back to playing physical defense. An athletic senior defensive end led the way, totaling 55 tackles, including 38 solos and 4½ sacks. The Bulldogs' 156 points allowed in 10 games were second fewest in the Northern Lake County Conference. "Luke's stats are commendable, but what they don't show is how offenses intentionally avoided sending the ball his way," Bulldogs coach Chris Robinson said. The 6-foo-2, 200-pound Bedrosian, a two-time all-conference selection, was a three-year varsity starter who played in all 28 games.
John Bolton GrantJust 5 feet 7 and 160 pounds, the junior consistently came up big, no matter what position he played on the field. In helping lead the Bulldogs to the state playoffs for the first time in seven years, the speedy running back/wide receiver/quarterback/returner scored 9 touchdowns (8 rushing, 1 receiving). He rushed for 515 yards and had 405 return yards. He is a two-time all-Northern Lake County Conference selection. "John Bolton is a rare type of football player that you don't see too often anymore," Bulldogs coach Chris Robinson said. "John was put in virtually every skilled position on the field, and he played like he had that spot for years. The best part about it is that John embraces that kind of responsibility and has fun doing it."
Nick Bulgarelli WaucondaHe quarterbacked the Bulldogs to the state playoffs as a sophomore last year, and while the team finished 1 win shy of returning to the postseason, he continued to flash athleticism and make plays. He threw for 1,650 yards (109-of-185 passing) and 15 touchdowns (8 interceptions) and also rushed for a 184 yards and 4 TDs. He earned all-Northern Lake County Conference honors for the second year in a row. "Nick has the ability to extend plays," Bulldogs coach Dave Mills said. "Just when it looks like he might be tackled, he escapes and runs or throws the ball downfield for a gain. His ability to adjust his game to what the defense is giving up helps make our offense a threat. He has checked into plays that work in the air and on the ground. Nick has a great football mind. With that mind, he was able to increase his completion percentage by 5% from a year ago to 60%. He is a very good athlete that can make plays with his head, feet or arm. Nick will have the opportunity to reset every Wauconda passing record next year."
Juan De La Cruz WarrenThe captain of the Daily Herald Lake County All-Area team last year, the senior linebacker hardly disappointed in his encore campaign. "Juan was probably actually better this year than he was last year," Blue Devils coach Bryan McNulty said of his two-time all-area and all-North Suburban Conference player. "We needed him so much more in the pass-rush game last year. The heart and soul of this defense (the last two years) was Juan. He made our calls and did for (two) years. He has grown into an exceptional, exceptional football player. You noticed him every game just making play after play after play. Probably the most knowledgeable guy on our defense, as well." De La Cruz led the Class 8A state runner-up in tackles with 89, including 47 solos, 7 sacks and 16 other TFLs. He also had 3 forced fumbles and an interception. He has offers from Air Force, Western Illinois and Eastern Illinois.
Dylan Drumke LibertyvilleBig arm, big leg, big-time athlete. The versatile senior shined as a right fielder/middle-of-the-order hitter for the varsity baseball team last spring, then spent this fall helping the football team get back to the state playoffs after a 2-7 campaign in 2018. He saw time at wide receiver, running back, defensive back and punter. He caught 30 passes for 570 yards and 5 touchdowns, and averaged 43.2 yards on 36 punts. "He was a team-first player who was willing to do whatever was necessary to help his team be successful," Wildcats coach Mike Jones said. The 5-foot-11, 200-pound Drumke recently signed a letter of intent to play baseball for Eastern Illinois University.
Maurice Edwards Grayslake CentralIn his only varsity game as a freshman last year, the running back excited Rams fans by rushing for 223 yards and 4 touchdowns. It wasn't a fluke. This season, the 6-foot, 175-pound sophomore cracked triple-digit rushing yards in all but one of the Rams' nine games. He rushed 195 times for 1,212 yards (6.2 average) and 12 TDs. He earned team's Most Valuable Player Award. "He has a rare combination of field vision and burst," Rams coach Mike Maloney said. "He's a talented young man with a high level of football intelligence. What separates him from other backs is his physical toughness and ability to move the pile when necessary. He's a relentless runner and a lightning-in-a-bottle-type athlete. I'm excited to see him develop the next two seasons. I believe once he gets a better feel for our schemes and trusts himself as an inside runner, the sky's the limit for Maurice. He's a special player that will open the eyes of collegiate recruiters this spring and next fall."
Blake Ellingson LibertyvilleThe quarterback suffered a broken leg in the varsity's second game last year, ending his sophomore season. He made up for lost time this season. He started the season with a bang, throwing a touchdown pass on the final play of regulation against host Carmel Catholic, before running in the PAT for a Wildcats win. It was just the start. Ellingson threw for 1,687 yards (123-of-207 passing, 59%) and 13 touchdowns, and also rushed 124 times for 605 yards and 7 touchdowns. "Blake had a tremendous year coming off a significant injury," Wildcats coach Mike Jones said. "As a dual-threat quarterback, he was able to attack a defense with both his arm and his legs. As the year went on, he developed his leadership skills, which will be crucial as he enters his senior season in 2020."
Jean-Marc Etienne StevensonJean-Marc left his mark. A three-year varsity starter, the senior will go down as one of the best running backs to ever wear the forest green and gold. Despite tearing his ACL in Week 8, "JM" rushed for 770 yards (7.2 average) and 10 touchdowns this season. A two-time all-area and three-time all-North Suburban Conference selection, the 5-foot-11, 190-pounder finished his career with 2,695 rushing yards (413 carries) and 31 TDs, as well as 51 receptions (17 this season) and 3 TDs. "He has worked tirelessly to become a complete player," Patriots coach Brent Becker said. "He has taken pride in his blocking, skills as a receiver, and in the off-season worked to improve his size and strength."
Dino Kaliakmanis AntiochWhen his little brother Athan, the Sequoits' Division-I quarterback, went down with an injury, Kaliakmanis figured to see his production decrease. Oddly, it didn't. "Who would have thought that Dino's receiving numbers would increase after losing his brother Athan for Week 2 and then again in Week 7 for the season?" Sequoits coach Brian Glashagel said. "Well, that's exactly what happened, plus the fact that Dino started playing full-time on defense midseason and on every special team." Dino, who like Athan committed to the University of Minnesota last spring, finished with 34 receptions for 593 yards and 4 touchdowns. A member of the track team's state-qualifying 1,600-meter relay last spring, he also rushed for 58 yards on 5 carries in earning all-Northern Lake County Conference honors for the second year in a row. "He's got some of the best hands of anyone I've every coached and is a load to bring down," Glashagel said, "if you can catch him."
Derrick McLaughlin WarrenStuck behind workhorse back Martin Walker Jr. last year and slowed by an ankle injury, he carried the ball fewer than 20 times. The 6-foot, 205-pound running back made the most of his senior season, rushing for 1,629 yards on 240 carries, including 41 against Fremd in the state playoffs. He scored 21 touchdowns, averaged 6.8 yards per carry and was named IHSFCA all-state honorable mention (Class 8A). "He was under the radar, but our lifting program here is pretty big and he's always been a great kid in that," Blue Devils coach Bryan McNulty said. "I want to say Derrick is a 460-pound squatter. He just kept getting bigger and bigger and bigger, and stronger and faster." McLaughlin is committed to Indiana State University.
Malachi McNeal WarrenThe junior inside linebacker flashed playmaking abilities as a varsity starter last year and ramped up his game even more this season for a defense that allowed just 52 points in 14 games. The 6-foot, 220-pounder registered 80 tackles, 1 interception, 1 forced fumble, 1 fumble recovery and 1 defensive touchdown. His 17 tackles for loss, 3 of which came in the state championship game, included 6 sacks. "He's extremely fast and the hardest hitter on our defense," Blue Devils coach Bryan McNulty said. "The great thing about him was in big games he showed up big. He is a sideline-to-sideline player, which you don't see at that Mike linebacker position a lot, and he can drop into coverage."
Seamus Mellican WarrenMellican mauled quarterbacks and running backs -- and opposing tacklers, too. The athletic senior defensive end/H-back was the only two-way starter for the Class 8A state runner-up. A varsity starter at middle linebacker as a sophomore before switching to D-line as a junior, the 6-foot-3, 220-pounder registered 10 sacks and 11 other TFLs. He also notched a safety and forced a fumble. "He's just a violent hitter," Blue Devils coach Bryan McNulty said. "Extremely smart -- 4.7 GPA on a 4.0 scale. He's just gotten bigger and bigger throughout the years, and kept his speed."
Thomas Monken Vernon HillsThe Cougars added the Libertyville transfer in the off-season. They lost leading rusher Ryan Mann to a broken leg in Week 5. Despite the latter occurrence, Monken kept adding to his prolific passing numbers. The 6-foot, 175-pound quarterback led the county in passing yards (1,979), while completing nearly 60% of his passes (169 of 285) with 19 touchdowns and 9 interceptions. He was named IHSFCA all-state (Class 6A). "In the second half of our season we had to adjust the offense to be pass-heavy," Cougars coach Bill Bellecomo said. "It was not a secret to anyone we played. Thomas handled a blitz-heavy defense weekly and handled it well. He is a true student of the game, and his enthusiasm for the game of football is contagious." Monken also played free safety during the second half of the season. "He had a nose for the ball," Bellecomo said.
Justin Morris Vernon HillsA big-bodied target as an H-back, the junior put together a breakout season in his second on varsity and could be in line for an even bigger 2020 campaign. Morris (6-4) hauled in 41 receptions for 468 yards (11.4 average) and 8 touchdowns. He also saw time at defensive end (3½ tackles for loss, sack, interception). "Justin is a big athletic kid who will continue to grow as a football player," Cougars coach Bill Bellecomo said. "He could be one of the best receivers in the state next year. Justin is a matchup nightmare for opposing teams."
Jack Moses Lake ZurichHe started at wide receiver for the Bears' 2017 Class 7A state runner-up squad and then most of last season before switching to starting quarterback late in the year. This year, he stood pat at QB. He rarely stood still, though. The 5-foot-11, 180-pounder frustrated defenses with his scrambling and throws on the run. He rushed for 1,014 yards (6.9 average) and 12 touchdowns, and completed 113 of 204 passes (55%) for 1,470 yards and 14 TDs (7 interceptions). He was named co-player of the year in the North Suburban Conference. In two seasons, he quarterbacked LZ to 3 playoff wins. "One of the most athletic guys I have ever coached," Bears coach Ron Planz said. "Really made our offense work and picked up the slack whenever an injury took away a piece of our offense. He knew our offense so well, he was able to be a coach on the field." A two-time all-NSC selection, Moses has accepted a preferred walk-on spot at Northwestern University.
Isaiah Perrin LakesWhether he was blocking or tackling in the trenches, Perrin performed. "Isaiah was such a key piece in what we were able to do on both offense and defense," said coach Jordan Eder, whose Eagles returned to the state playoffs for the 11th straight year. "He was a two-way starter and rarely left the field. He was a dominant player for us and was crucial to our success." On defense, the 5-foot-10, 230-pounder notched 13 tackles for loss, including 4½ sacks, and had a scoop-and-score. Perrin, who also wrestles, is a two-time all-Northern Lake County Conference selection.
Christian Phillips WarrenA transfer from Urbana, he didn't join the Blue Devils until early August of his junior year. Last fall, he provided a glimpse of his huge potential. "He and I had a conversation in the off-season," Blue Devils coach Bryan McNulty said. "I told him, 'I think you should commit to this off-season, and if you do things the right way, you'll be the best offensive player in the conference.' " That wasn't hyperbole by McNulty. Phillips was named North Suburban Conference co-player of the year and also earned IHSFCA all-state honors (Class 8A). The versatile 5-foot-11, 195-pound senior scored 21 touchdowns (12 receiving, 9 rushing), rushed for 530 yards and caught 40 passes for 732 yards (18.3 average). He often took snaps out of "Wildcat" formation. "He can do so many different things with the football," McNulty said. "He can hurt you at the quarterback spot, at the running back spot, as a slot, catching screens. He's so versatile. If you play him too close, he's going to run by you."
James Piggott Lake ZurichPiggott could pick it, as he made a habit of one-handed catches, especially late in the season. His overall play at wide receiver helped fuel the Bears' run to the Class 7A state quarterfinals. For the season, the 6-foot-4, 200-pound, two-time all-area selection had 39 receptions for 652 yards (16.7 average) and 4 touchdowns. "Smooth runner who was deceptively fast," Bears coach Ron Planz said. "I don't think teams understood how good he was until they lined up across from him. His catch radius was awesome and even when teams knew we were going to him, he still found a way to make a play. Under the radar was how many of his blocks sprung our long runs."
Bryan Sanborn Lake ZurichAnother Sanborn who was born to hit hard and tackle hard. The brother of former Lake Zurich star and current University of Wisconsin linebacker Jack, the 6-foot-2, 215-pound junior makes his first all-area appearance. He piled up a hefty 108 tackles, including 78 solos and 6 sacks. The linebacker is a two-time all-North Suburban Conference selection and has multiple Power Five offers. "When he was locked in on the offensive scheme, he was unblockable," Bears coach Ron Planz said. "Played through some injuries but it didn't stop him from dominating, especially in the playoffs. His understanding of our scheme and ability to play sideline to sideline was fun to watch this year."
Ryan Shaputis AntiochHe ran on the Sequoits' state-qualifying 1,600-meter relay team last spring -- then really took off. The 6-foot-2, 184-pound senior linebacker put together a breakout season in football, piling up 120 tackles, including 4 sacks and 11 other tackles for loss, as well as 1 interception. He was named IHSFCA all-state (Class 6A). "Ryan was the lead tackler on the second-best defense in the entire state (Warren No .1)," said coach Brian Glashagel, whose 8-3 Sequoits allowed just 57 points in 11 games. "He worked tremendously hard in the off-season, had a great spring during track and came into the season as just about the best-conditioned athlete I've ever coached. Clocked a 4.44 in the 40-yard dash this summer. On defense, coaches always preach relentless pursuit. Ryan's entire highlight video is an instructional video on relentless pursuit."
Willis Singleton WarrenA teddy bear who's built like a real bear (6-2, 285), he was the leader of the Blue Devils' historically good defense (52 points allowed in 14 games, 6 shutouts). The charismatic Singleton was a beast on the field, registering 14 sacks and 10 other TFLs. He also notched a safety. A three-year varsity starter on the defensive line and an Iowa State University commit, he was named IHSFCA all-state (Class 8A) and is the captain of the Daily Herald Lake County All-Area team. He makes his second appearance on the all-area team. "I always said that Jalen Powe, who graduated on 2016, was the most talented kid I ever coached," Warren coach Bryan McNulty said. "But, by far, Willis Singleton is. If he had a few more of the measurables that schools are looking for, he could go to any school he wanted to in the country. Iowa State is getting such a steal with this kid."
Joe Swanson Grayslake NorthAdded muscle led to added production for the athletic senior, who led area wide receivers with 45 receptions for 984 yards (21.9 average) and 12 touchdowns. The two-time all-Northern Lake County Conference selection was coming off a 32-catch, 6-TD campaign as a junior. He was named IHSFCA all-state honorable mention (Class 6A). "Joe is the best receiver I have ever coached," Knights coach Sam Baker said of the 6-foot-1, 180-pounder, who picked up off-season offers from Dayton, Minnesota Duluth and Winona State. "His natural ability to find the end zone and his ability to run screens is unbelievable. In the last three years Joe has dedicated himself to the weight room and put on the necessary weight to be a physical receiver. Joe is a quiet leader that does everything right. Not only will his production be missed, but so will his character and presence."
Josh Turner WarrenThe senior strong safety set the tone for the Blue Devils' physical defense -- immediately. "The very first play of the season against Barrington, they run jet and he goes and just crushes a kid out of bounds," Blue Devils coach Bryan McNulty said. "It really set a tone of, 'This is how we're going to do things this year.' " A varsity starter in the defensive secondary the last three years and two-time all-North Suburban Conference selection, the 6-foot, 185-pounder led the team with 5 interceptions, including a Pick 6 in the state semifinals, and also had 2 forced fumbles. "We got a bunch of tough guys on our defense, but Josh is 'the' tough guy," McNulty said. "When he steps on the field, his presence is felt right away." Turner recently committed to Division II power Northwest Missouri State University.
Jordan Vincent StevensonWith a roster of 60 players, the Patriots asked few to play on both sides of the ball. Vincent was the exception, playing both ways for the entire season. A team captain, the 6-foot, 185-pound wide receiver/defensive back earned the Patriots' highest honor, as he was named their Big Gun recipient. He led the Patriots in receptions (28 for 402 yards and 5 touchdowns) and was second in tackles (84). He had 3 pass breakups, 3 forced fumbles, 2 fumble recoveries and 1 interception. He had defensive, receiving and rushing TDs, and also returned punts.
Spencer Bacon (Lake Zurich Sr. C), Sean Bates (Carmel Catholic Sr. OL/DL), Brandon Burdette (Lakes Sr. DB), Jalen Burton (Carmel Catholic Jr. WR/DB/PR/KR), Jamariel Brown (Round Lake So. RB/DB), Jin Chun (Lakes Sr. LB), Brock Deardorff (Carmel Catholic Sr. DB), Jaxon Dennis (Mundelein Sr. DL), Jackson DeVaughn (Antioch Sr. LB), Jack Dwyer (Lake Zurich Jr. RB), Ethan Geist (Grant Sr. LB/DB), Jason Gleyzer (Stevenson So. LB), Dylan Hernandez (Grant Sr. RB/DL), Jake Hren (Lakes Sr. DL), JJ Jacobo (Wauconda Jr. WR), Joey Jens (Grayslake Central Jr. LB), Ben Jensen (Grant Sr. WR), Christian Johnson (Grayslake North Jr. RB), Athan Kaliakmanis (Antioch Jr. QB), Anthony Karow (Grant Jr. OL), Ben Kiesgen (Grant Sr. OL/DL), Zaire Knight (Grayslake North Jr. LB), Jack Lochner (Lakes Sr. WR/QB), Jaiden Lowery (Warren Sr. LT), Shaun Luce (Libertyville Sr. RB), Anthony Mangano (Lake Zurich Sr. DB), Ryan Mann (Vernon Hills Jr. RB/LB), Matthew Marti (Carmel Catholic Jr. LB), Jayden McFadden (Stevenson Jr. WR), Jaden Mojica (Stevenson Jr. DB), Isaiah Nixon (Round Lake Jr. WR/QB/DB), Ean Norenberg (Stevenson Sr. OT), Danny Orgler (Stevenson Jr. DL), Rudy Osornio (Mundelein Jr. LB/RB), Jahleel Perrin (Stevenson Sr. DB), Kevonne Peterson (Round Lake Sr. WR), Jake Pieper (Vernon Hills So. WR/DB), Abraham Ptasienski (Carmel Catholic Sr. OL/DL), Chase Quigley (Libertyville Sr. LB), Matt Rich (Warren Sr. C), Jeremy Rowder (Grayslake North Sr. DB/WR), Adam Saul (Warren Sr. K/P), Aidan Stephen (Wauconda Sr. LB), Jimmy Taylor (Grant Sr. WR), Randall Thornton (Lakes Sr. OL/DL), Leighsean Triplett (Lakes Sr. DB), Jonathan Trudeau (Grayslake Central Jr. OT), Syone Usma-Harper (Carmel Catholic Jr. RB), Tre Watson (Antioch Sr. WR), Hunter Welcing (Lake Zurich Sr. TE), Jason Wooten (Round Lake Jr. LB), Mikey Youkhanna (Stevenson Sr. LB)