The Fox All-Area Football Team
Dylan Barrett, St. Charles East
This Class 8A all-state selection by the Illinois High School Football Coaches Association started playoff games in four consecutive seasons. A 6-foot-5, 305-pound guard committed to Wisconsin, Barrett was a key blocker for an offense that gained 1,390 rushing yards, 1,716 passing yards, scored 32 touchdowns and allowed only 10 sacks in 234 passing attempts. He was the unanimous choice for DuKane Conference Offensive Lineman of the Year. "The numbers he put up in the weight room match what you would expect from a Wisconsin lineman," St. Charles East coach Bryce Farquhar said. "I can't say enough about him as a kid and as a leader. He lives to play football."
Sam Barus, Batavia
This hard-hitting safety was the leading tackler for a Batavia defense that held opponents to 14.4 points and 79.2 rushing yards per game. Named Class 8A honorable mention all-state by the Illinois High School Football Coaches Association, the 6-foot-1, 175-pound senior made 86 solo tackles and assisted on 21. The Bucknell recruit was credited with 4 tackles for loss, a sack, 2 hurries, 4 interceptions, 2 forced fumbles and a recovery. Barus returned 17 punts for a 9.6 average with a long of 72 yards and returned 12 kickoffs an average of 23 yards, highlighted by an 86-yard touchdown return in a state quarterfinal against Nazareth. "He did so many things well and was really underrated," Batavia coach Dennis Piron said. "He did a phenomenal job."
Dylan Bernal, South Elgin
The 6-foot-1, 195-pound senior defensive lineman was "simply the toughest kid I've ever coached," said the Storm's Dragan Teonic. A broken hand, giving up 100 pounds to an opponent -- no problem. The Upstate Eight Conference lineman of the year, and twice all-conference, Bernal's strength and drive created 50 tackles including 15 for loss with 4 sacks and 23 quarterback hurries. "This kid would fit in at any era of football," Teonic said. "He could have played 50 years ago and he'd be able to play 50 years from now."
Xavier Bonds, Elgin
This 5-foot-11, 180-pound senior receiver-defensive back paced Elgin's first playoff appearance since 2010. Illinois High School Football Coaches Class 8A all-state and Upstate Eight Conference offensive MVP, Bonds caught 44 passes for 1,008 yards, 9 touchdowns and ran for 220 yards, 8 touchdowns. He added 77- and 98-yard kickoff return touchdowns. A three-year starter, he made 40 tackles, recovered 3 fumbles, intercepted 4 passes and deflected 5 others. With the playoffs on the line the two-time all-UEC pick scored 4 touchdowns with 2 interceptions as the Maroons got in. "Who's going to rise to the occasion?" coach Anthony Mason asked, rhetorically. "That's Xavier Bonds."
Luke Breier, St. Edward
This repeat all-area pick at linebacker and guard accounted for 16.6% of all tackles by the St. Edward defense (116 of 697). "He was awesome," coach Mike Rolando said. "He was the first guy to the ball all the time with relentless pursuit sideline to sideline. He made sure everyone knew the call and their responsibility." A 5-foot-10, 190-pound senior who carries a 4.1 grade-point average, Breier forced 3 fumbles, recovered 3 fumbles, defended 2 passes and snagged an interception. Offensively, the pulling guard delivered perimeter blocks to spring an attack that gained 166 rushing yards per game.
Drew Bucaro, South Elgin
Upstate Eight Conference special teams MVP and South Elgin's career scoring leader at 153 points, the 6-foot, 200-pound senior converted 62 of 65 extra-points and 3 of 4 field goals. In 76 kickoffs -- including 3 successful onside kicks in 4 tries -- South Elgin covered 55 inside the 25-yard line including 22 touchbacks. Over three seasons Bucaro nailed 129 of 141 extra-point conversions and 8 of 11 field goal tries. "When your face is in the fan, he's that kid who wants to make that kick," said coach Dragan Teonic.
Matt Burba, Huntley
This three-time all-Fox Valley Conference selection helped the Huntley defense limit opponents to 8.9 points and 146 total yards per game. The 6-foot, 260-pound lineman made 29 solo tackles and assisted on nine more. The senior posted 10 tackles for loss, 1.5 sacks, 3 quarterback knockdowns and recovered 2 fumbles. "He had a great season," Huntley coach Matt Zimolzak said. "He was all that we expected of a leader on the defensive line. He took on double teams all year. He has a tremendous college career ahead of him." Burba has interest from multiple Division II and Division III programs.
Vince Clinite, South Elgin
Powering the middle of South Elgin's defense, the 6-foot-2, 225-pound linebacker earned Upstate Eight Conference defensive player of the year and IHSFCA Class 8A all-state honorable mention. Twice all-conference, the Storm's two-time defensive MVP and 2019 overall MVP racked up 90 tackles, 11 for loss, while playing in only half of six blowout wins. Moving laterally, chasing people down, on the blitz, the Division I candidate excelled defending both run and pass. "He was extremely reliable, fully invested and a tough-as-nails kid," said Storm coach Dragan Teonic.
Dom Collado, Crystal Lake South
This four-year varsity starter was named Class 6A all-state by the Illinois High School Football Coaches Association. A 6-foot-3, 300-pound offensive lineman committed to Miami (Ohio), the two-time team captain started 38 games for the Gators. The senior helped CL South make a second straight playoff berth by blocking for an offense that averaged 19 points and 320 total yards per game. "Dom is one of a kind," CL South coach Rob Fontana said. "He's a big, goofy kid that plays football with a nasty streak. Tough and durable is a great way to describe him."
Mitchel Dec, Cary-Grove
This undersized defensive lineman used proper technique and a low pad level to compete favorably against bigger opponents. The 6-foot-1, 190-pound senior played all three line positions and finished as the third-leading tackler (33.5) for a defense that held opponents to 10.5 ppg. Dec's 4 tackles for loss tied for the team lead. "He was giving up 50-75 pounds every week but he went out and battled," Cary-Grove coach Brad Seaburg said. "He went toe to toe with some of the best from Prairie Ridge and won a lot of those battles. He embraced playing with technique, energy and effort."
Nick DeMarco, St. Charles North
Committed to play baseball at Notre Dame, this talented running back led the North Stars with 935 total yards from scrimmage in 9 games (104 avg.). The 5-foot-11, 190-pound junior rushed for 804 yards and 15 touchdowns in 193 attempts (4.2 avg.) and caught 14 passes for 131 yards (9.4 avg.). The second-year starter even completed 3 of 5 passes for 37 yards, highlighted by a 25-yard touchdown throw. Against DuKane Conference co-champs Glenbard North and Batavia, DeMarco rushed for a combined 269 yards and 5 touchdowns. "He ran very well against good defenses," St. Charles North coach Rob Pomazak said. "He shouldered a huge workload and did a great job."
Ben Furtney, St. Charles North
This Class 7A all-state honoree by the Illinois High School Football Coaches Association was a three-year starter on both sides of the ball. The 6-foot-1, 215-pound outside linebacker was the second-leading tackler for a defense that held opponents to 21 ppg. The senior finished with 58 tackles, 8 tackles for loss, a sack and 2 hurries. He defended 3 passes and forced a fumble. Playing H back on offense, the two-year team captain caught 28 passes for 361 yards (12.9 avg.) and 2 touchdowns and rushed for 153 yards in 29 attempts (5.3 avg.). "He was just a stud, a real team leader," St. Charles North coach Rob Pomazak said. "He was durable, he played through injuries and hardly ever came off the field."
Max Gagne, Kaneland
This 6-foot, 170-pound senior doubled as one of the area's best wide receivers and kick returners. Late in the season he chipped in defensively in nickel situations. Gagne fueled an offense that averaged 37 points and 362 total yards per game with team highs in receptions (43), receiving yards (827), yards per catch (19.2) and touchdown receptions (10). He also rushed for 108 yards and a touchdown in 5 attempts (21.6 avg.). He averaged 22 yards per punt return, highlighted by a 57-yard touchdown return against Sandwich. "He was so dangerous every time he had the ball in his hands," Kaneland coach Pat Ryan said. "He would do something electrifying almost every time."
Brenden Gran, Bartlett
Like a heat-seeking missile the 5-foot-9, 175-pound junior linebacker flew off the edge to harass quarterbacks and blow up plays. Gran's nose for the ball equaled 117 tackles including 8 tackles for loss with a sack, an interception and 1 forced fumble and fumble recovery apiece. He also served as Hawks' long-snapper on special teams. Already a two-time Upstate Eight all-conference pick, Gran instantly read opposing offenses and often made Bartlett's defensive calls. "It's invaluable to have another 'coach' playing linebacker," said Hawks coach Matt Erlenbaugh.
Major Haas, Marmion
This two-way standout helped Marmion return to the playoffs and advance to the second round. Named Class 5A all-state by the Illinois High School Football Coaches Association, the 5-foot-10, 190-pound middle linebacker led the Cadets in solo tackles (47), assists (41) and tackles for loss (14). Haas recovered 4 fumbles and scored on a fumble return and an interception return. "He has that 'it' factor you just can't coach," Marmion coach Dan Thorpe said. "He was just an instinctive playmaker. I mean, 4 fumble recoveries? How is he around the ball that much?" Haas led the Marmion offense in rushing yards (363), rushing touchdowns (5) and yards per carry (8.1).
Ethan Hampton, Aurora Christian
Aurora Christian's 6-foot-3, 190-pound quarterback became a more efficient passer in his second varsity season. The junior was named Class 1A all-state by the Illinois High School Football Coaches Association after completing 60.2% of his passes (148 of 246). He led the Fox Valley area in completions, attempts, passing yards (2,130) and touchdowns (28). The dual threat also carried 112 times for 581 yards and 4 touchdowns. "He had the most efficient passing year in the history of our program," Aurora Christian coach David Beebe said. "He is quite a young man. I'm proud to say I'm coaching him right now."
Ryder Havens, Huntley
This junior was named offensive MVP for an attack that averaged 37.2 points and 334 total yards per game. Playing in his second varsity season, the all-Fox Valley Conference running back rushed for 1,054 yards and 21 touchdowns on 152 carries (6.9 avg.). He also caught 5 passes for 25 yards. Havens never fumbled in 157 touches. "There was a stretch this season when he had 11 touchdowns in two games, which is phenomenal for a junior," Huntley coach Matt Zimolzak said. "I imagine he'll work hard and be even more valuable for us next season."
Nathan Hayes, St. Charles East
Named all-DuKane Conference, this 6-foot-3, 180-pound sophomore emerged as one of the area's top quarterbacks. Hayes led a 7-win team to the Class 8A playoffs by completing 103 of 212 passes (48.6%) for 1,523 yards and 13 touchdowns. He averaged 14.8 yards per completion. His 64-yard touchdown throw with under two minutes to play at Batavia tagged the Bulldogs with their first DuKane Conference loss. "I don't think there was another quarterback in our league who was better than him," St. Charles East coach Bryce Farquhar said. "He's a hard worker and he's only going to get better."
Anthony Holte, St. Edward
Named Class 2A all-state by the Illinois High School Football Coaches Association, this quarterback helped lead the Green Wave to a second straight Metro Suburban Red title and a second-round playoff appearance. The 6-foot-1, 170-pound senior completed 115 of 191 passes (60.2%) for 2,031 yards and 23 touchdowns. In two games played four days apart due to a weather delay, Holte helped defeat Guerin and Chicago Christian by a combined score of 105-0 by completing 32 of 40 passes for 666 yards and 9 touchdowns. He also rushed for 143 yards and 3 touchdowns. "He worked hard in the off-season to improve as a passer and it showed," St. Edward coach Mike Rolando said. "He was a big reason for our success."
Nathan Hull, St. Charles East
A 6-foot-3, 170-pound wide receiver and cornerback, Hull caused matchup problems for opponents on both sides of the ball. The all-DuKane Conference pick finished his senior season with team highs in receptions (29), receiving yards (582) and touchdown catches (9). His 64-yard touchdown catch tied Batavia with under two minutes to play in an eventual 30-29 victory. Defensively, Hull contributed 27 solo tackles, 6 assists and grabbed 2 interceptions. "He's just a great athlete," St. Charles East coach Bryce Farquhar said. "He was our MVP on both sides of the ball."
Rukkus Hunkins, Huntley
Named team MVP by his peers, this inside linebacker provided leadership for a defense that held teams to 8.9 points and 146 total yards per game. The 6-foot-1, 185-pound senior totaled 22 solo tackles and assisted on 47. He posted 7 tackles for loss, 2.5 sacks and forced 3 fumbles. Also a wrestler, the two-year starter made the defensive calls. "He orchestrated our defense and ran it," Huntley coach Matt Zimolzak said. "He was our bread and butter. He was tremendous for us all year, a smart player. We changed to a more-aggressive style of defense this year and Rukkus was a big part of that."
Jake Johnson, Cary-Grove
This linebacker missed a couple of games after suffering an injury in the first half of a 7-point loss to Huntley in Week 4. Otherwise, the linebacker terrorized opponents same as he has for three varsity seasons. Named defensive MVP of the 2018 Class 6A state championship team, the 5-foot-8, 185-pound senior capped his career with 18 solo tackles, 19 assists and a team-best 4 tackles for loss. "No doubt the other guys gave it their all when Jake was out, but he is just a difference maker," Cary-Grove coach Brad Seaburg said. "He is extremely dependable. Guys really looked up to Jake and saw him as our defensive leader."
Josh Leathers, Streamwood
When a team runs the football as often as Streamwood, quality linemen are key. This 6-foot-2, 250-pound senior fit the bill. Strong, mobile, confident and a team leader, at right guard Leathers produced whether blocking straight ahead or pulling down the line. A two-time Upstate Eight all-conference pick with great academics, the prospective engineering student has several scholarship offers on the table, Sabres coach Don Guindon said. "He was excellent for us. We finished with over 2,000 yards rushing and he was a huge part of that," Guindon said.
Des McCarthy, Crystal Lake South
This 5-foot-8 ball carrier was the ultimate team player. Formerly a linebacker, McCarthy played running back as a senior and finished as the Fox Valley Conference rushing leader. He carried 168 times for 1,061 yards (6.3 avg.) and scored 9 touchdowns. "Des is a selfless player who always wanted to help the team however we needed him," CL South coach Rob Fontana said. "He has been a true leader by example. He had a great year leading the FVC in rushing and he would tell you it was all because of his offensive line. He would rather congratulate a teammate than celebrate his own success."
Logan Mont, West Aurora
The 5-foot-8, 155-pound senior receiver exploded after not catching one pass in 2018. Mont's 59 receptions for 1,020 yards, 10 touchdowns earned IHSFCA Class 8A all-state and Southwest Prairie West offensive MVP honors. Games of 201, 183 and 180 yards and his 17 catches against Minooka topped Blackhawks receiving records. West Aurora's co-offensive MVP with quarterback Will Tammaru, Mont also was West's special teams MVP, returning 2 kickoffs for touchdown -- one of 99 yards -- and finishing with a record 67 PATs. "What a story," said coach Nate Eimer.
Matt Muetterties, Burlington Central
This two-way lineman committed to Western Illinois was one of the most dominant players in the Fox Valley Conference. Named Class 5A all-state by the Illinois High School Football Coaches Association, the 6-foot-5, 275-pound senior defensive end led the Rockets in tackles (76), solo tackles (70), tackles for loss (15), sacks (5) and quarterback pressures (19). He forced a fumble and recovered another. The offensive tackle blocked for an attack that averaged 19 points and 254 total yards per game. "He is just an unbelievable leader, kid and teammate," Central coach Brian Melvin said. "He had it all and he set a great example. Other kids in the program now want to be like him and that's awesome."
Alec Palella, Bartlett
Delivering prototype size to each position he played this season, Palella brought his lengthy 6-foot-4, 225-pound frame to tight end, linebacker and defensive end. A repeat all-Upstate Eight Conference selection, the athletic junior demanded teams to account for him at all times. He made 81 tackles, 18 for loss, with 3 sacks and 2 interceptions. At tight end 5 of his 8 receptions went for touchdowns including 2 against Fenton. "No matter where he is on the field," said Hawks coach Matt Erlenbaugh, "he's a game changer."
Sam Pryor, Kaneland
Coach Pat Ryan calls this two-way junior lineman "the emotional leader of our football team." Pryor was eighth on his defense in tackles, mainly because opponents constantly double teamed the 6-foot-1, 285-pound tackle. Named Class 6A all-state by the Illinois High School Football Coaches Association, he nevertheless registered 37 tackles (3 for loss) and 3 hurries. He started at guard for a balanced offense that averaged 37.3 ppg and gained nearly 4,000 total yards. "He demands double teams on defense and really helps our linebackers," Ryan said. "And I've never seen a guy with so many pancake blocks. He's a workaholic and a super great kid."
Alex Richards, Batavia
This senior embodies a whatever-it-takes-to-win attitude. The 6-foot-4, 240-pound offensive lineman initially switched to defensive end to start the season, but he returned to the offensive line to stabilize a mostly inexperienced unit. The Bulldogs went on to rush for 2,637 yards (219.8 avg.) and throw for 1,570 yards (130.8). "Our junior offensive line was missing that leadership," Batavia coach Dennis Piron said. "When Alex got back in the mix and we started to get things squared away, our run game exploded, our passing got better and we really were a good football team down the stretch."
Tyler Rivelli, Bartlett
Sprinting for 237 yards against Fenton, this 5-foot-8, 180-pound senior running back could score any time he took a handoff. Easily an all-conference Upstate Eight pick, Rivelli ran for 1,147 yards and 12 touchdowns, averaging 9.6 yards a carry. He opened the season with games of 155 and 162 yards rushing, and exceeded 100 yards five times. Rivelli needed only a slight cut or a spin to evade defenders, then his speed did the rest. "Tyler is the heart and soul of the team," said coach Matt Erlenbaugh.
Zeke Rolando, St. Edward
This two-way player produced for a 7-win team that repeated as Metro Suburban Red champions and advanced to a second-round playoff game. Named Class 2A honorable mention all-state by the Illinois High School Football Coaches Association, the 6-foot-2, 150-pound junior led the Green Wave in receptions (43), receiving yards (793), touchdown catches (10) and receptions for first downs (23). The cornerback made 42 tackles, grabbed 2 interceptions, defended 8 passes, forced a fumble and recovered two more. "He was right up there as a junior with some of the best receivers we've seen," St. Edward coach Mike Rolando said. "He was able to stretch the field and his yards after catch were big. Defensively, he was one of our best tacklers on the perimeter."
Blake Skol, Cary-Grove
Named Class 6A all-state by the Illinois High School Football Coaches Association, Skol was a leader in all three phases for a 9-win quarterfinalist. The 5-foot-10, 185-pound fullback carried 203 times for 1,242 yards and 20 touchdowns (6.1 avg.) and made 2 catches for 66 yards. The senior linebacker was credited with a team-best 32 solo tackles and the fourth-most assists (28) for a defense that limited opponents to 10.5 ppg. Skol also punted and returned punts. "He was without a doubt the leader of our team," Cary-Grove coach Brad Seaburg said. "He played both ways the whole season at a very high level. He was just everywhere. He's just a great player."
Max Stec, Jacobs
This junior had not played offense in high school before moving to wide receiver this season. The switch paid off. The 6-foot-2, 185-pound multisport athlete became one of the area's top receivers with 38 catches for 748 yards and 4 touchdowns. Stec was named Class 7A honorable mention all-state by the Illinois High School Football Coaches Association. He also played safety in the final few games when a teammate was injured. "He came out of nowhere to be the leading receiver in McHenry County this year," Jacobs coach Bill Mitz said. "He's a great football player and a real good athlete who plays basketball and, hopefully, runs track this spring."
Will Tammaru, West Aurora
The three-time all-conference quarterback is West Aurora's career leader with 278 completions, 4,379 yards passing and 34 touchdown passes. The 6-foot-3, 200-pound senior started 30 games and owns scholarship offers from Dayton, Butler and Valparaiso. This season he completed 60 percent of his passes for 1,600 yards, 14 touchdowns, going 32 of 42 for 272 yards against Minooka. Tammaru was a two-time academic all-state pick and Blackhawks' co-offensive MVP with Logan Mont. "Will always stepped up in big games," said coach Nate Eimer. "He liked the moment."
Art Taylor, Batavia
The Fox Valley area rushing leader posted his second straight 1,000-yard season for the two-time DuKane Conference champions. The 5-foot-8, 150-pound tailback carried 199 times for 1,275 yards (6.4 avg.) and 13 touchdowns. The senior made 22 catches for 168 yards and 2 touchdowns. He averaged 27 yards on 8 kickoff returns with a long of 61 yards. "He's highly underrated and underappreciated for what he did for three years," Batavia coach Dennis Piron said. "He's a dynamic kick returner, specialty player, great receiver and awesome runner with incredible speed, quickness and great toughness. I would bet there isn't a blocker in the state his size that has put more guys on the ground."
Quinn Urwiler, Batavia
This versatile Class 8A all-state pick by the Illinois High School Football Coaches Association was a difference maker on both sides of the ball. In 10 games at outside linebacker, the Fox Valley All-Area Football Team Captain registered 65 solo tackles, 12 assists, 3 interceptions, 4.5 sacks and a team-high 15 tackles for a loss. He batted down 10 passes and caused 5 fumbles. Offensively, the 5-foot-10, 190-pound running back carried 107 times for 557 yards (5.2 avg.) and 13 touchdowns. "He is the ultimate competitor," Batavia coach Dennis Piron said. "He's tough and physical, a throwback. He played at a high, high level all the time and always went 100 percent with a great sense of awareness of the game itself."
Brad Walker, Huntley
A Class 8A all-state by the Illinois High School Football Coaches Association pick garnering major-college interest, this 6-foot-1, 260-pound junior developed into a force in his second varsity season. The athletic defensive end managed 20 solo tackles, 8 assists, 4 tackles for loss and 4 sacks despite facing constant double teams. "He's one of the quickest guys we've had off the line," Huntley coach Matt Zimolzak said. "Offensive linemen have trouble getting out of their stance before he is past the line of scrimmage."
Alex West, Elgin
The versatile 6-foot, 170-pound junior was Elgin's defensive MVP and a repeat Upstate Eight all-conference pick. Elgin coach Anthony Mason called West "a machine," pursuing the ball, shedding blockers, taking coaching. A team co-captain, West mixed football smarts, strength, athleticism and a relentless motor. At linebacker he made 85 tackles, 13 for loss, with 7 pass breakups. Already gaining college interest, West led Elgin with 52 receptions, for 562 yards, 7 touchdowns. "His work ethic is beyond anything I've seen in this generation," Mason said.
Aurora Christian -- Keegan Delaney, Jr, C
Aurora Central Catholic -- Ryan Lee, Jr, WR/DB
Bartlett -- Nick Bucaro, Jr, WR/DB; Mike Priami, Jr, QB; Abel Serrato, sr., LB; Matt Young, sr., WR/DB.
Batavia -- Trey Urwiler, Jr, WR; Matt Weerts, Jr, LB; Jackson Williams, sr., S/K
Burlington Central -- Jake Lenschow, sr., WR/QB/LB; Gavin Sarvis, so., RB/LB
Cary-Grove -- Jacob Buck, sr., LB; Luke Eleftheriou, sr., QB/S; Evan Hissong, sr., OL
Crystal Lake South -- Ian Gorken, sr., WR
Dundee Crown -- Justin Prusko, sr., TE/DL
Elgin -- David Berendt, sr., OL; Jaylan Chaney, sr., DB; Jeffery Lomax, Jr, QB; Mike Stine, sr., DL.
Geneva -- Hank Smith, sr., DL
Hampshire -- Neil Sakolari, Jr, LB
Huntley -- Bruno Bosman, Jr, QB; Alex Janke, Jr, S/WR; Trevor Masten, sr., OL
Kaneland -- Dylan Calabrese, sr., LB; Joe Smith, sr., QB
Jacobs -- George Trojanek, Jr, DE/C
Larkin -- Marc Narvaez, sr., QB-RB-DB; Jamarion Stubbs, so., WR/DB.
Marmion -- Brandon Bryan, sr., C
St. Charles East -- Gino Cerrone, sr., WR/; Clay Conn, sr., WR/; Cole Conn, sr., RB; Nick Schumann, sr., LB
St. Charles North -- DJ Oshin, sr., DL; Ryan Thiesse, sr., DB
St. Edward -- Joe Sacco, Jr, RB/DB
Streamwood -- Nick Larak, Jr, DL; Jansen Viloria, Jr, OL.
South Elgin -- Davion Cherwin, Jr, RB-DB; Calin Gurau, sr., WR; Corve King, sr., RB-WR; Michael Roath, Jr, OL.
West Aurora -- Matt Johnson, sr., DL; Cam Van Vleet, sr., LB.