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      2013 KHQA Illinois Defensive MVPs: Central's Cohorts in Chaos



      Linebacker, Central High School


      Linebacker, Central High School


      Linebacker Central High School



      Rationale: Truth be told...all of the other award choices this Fall were either easily made....or made for us.

      This Illinois Defensive honor came with misgivings. And that's not typically the case.

      Candidly, there's always a safe argument to be made for picking the guy with the most tackles from the best defense and call it day.

      By that simple argument, Central Junior Andrew Shake seemed the obvious nominee. And he ran away with the fan vote on our Facebook page.

      So why my trepidation?

      Call it the nature of Brad Dixon's Defense. Because Andrew Shake, in full disclosure, stood on some very tall shoulders to get there. He got to play the splash role in the Panthers Defense because a pair of guys standing next in the to him in that incredible line of linebackers were so very darned good and so very darned disciplined at what they did, that Shake got to run around and cause havoc.

      So like it or not...this year's Illinois MVP is a package deal.

      And I make no apologies for it. Andrew Shake...yes. But also co-horts in chaos Jared Starman and Mike Johnson. A trio of enforcers who fashioned the schools second straight perfect regular season and held Panther Opponents to just 83 total points in 12 games.

      We will start with Shake....who is here because had some of the best linebacker numbers in Tri State Football. He posted a team high 119 tackles this season, at a rate of 10 per game. Andrew also led the Elite Eight qualifying Panthers in stops for loss with 10 and generally starred as the big play guy on this unit.

      Jared Starman's greater purpose was to play the heart and soul of the Defense. His lockdown work in the middle allowed the other linebackers the freedom to attack with impunity....though Jared inflicted his fair share of damage as well. His 42 solo stops were tops on the team. He finished second on the team to Shake in both total tackles (106) and stops for loss (8) and tied for the team lead in interceptions with three.

      Mike Johnson earned Central's lone All State nod, though much of that accord was born of his reputation as the best pulling guard to front a Tri State Offense in a generation. Mike's defensive work proved vastly underrated. Brad Dixon considered the Senior his purest, most accurate tackler and Johnson finished his year with 64 total tackles and five stops for loss as well as interception of his own.

      Bottom was perfectly balanced, completely symbiotic Defensive relationship that served as the nucleus of the region's stingiest group. And without any one of these standout talents...the overall result would not have been the same.

      Runner Up: MALIK BONDON, Quincy High

      Viewer Vote: ANDREW SHAKE, Central

      Past Winners:

      2012: Brett Taylor, Macomb

      2011: Austin Gooding, Brown County

      2010: Jack Carlisle, Illini West

      2009: Nathan Goudschaal, Brown County

      2008: Zack Burling, Illini West

      2007: Phillip Smith, Quincy Notre Dame

      2006: T.J. Taylor, West Hancock

      2005: Alex Ebbing, Brown County

      2004: Les Hammers, Jacksonville

      2003: Terry Comiskey, Beardstown

      2002: A.J. Huston, West Prairie/LaHarpe

      2001: Blake Bainter, Macomb

      2000: Chris Rogers, Carthage

      1999: Willie Thompson, Carthage

      1998: Luke Wessel, Carthage

      1997: Ryan Cramer, West Prairie/LaHarpe