80
      Thursday
      93 / 70
      Friday
      92 / 70
      Saturday
      92 / 71

      The 2013 KHQA ALL DO OR DIE Football Honors Team

      Happy Holidays everybody. This is the 2013 KHQA Football Awards Week Internet Companion. Within you will find our complete wrap up of the High School Gridiron Season as best we saw it.

      In that spirit, my list of disclaimers....

      1) These awards shows, more than anything else we do all season, are based on nothing but our subjective/non-expert opinion and are intended purely as entertainment. Our decisions carry little to no weight with college scouts and rarely end up being anything more than scrapbook material for your memories in later life. In essence, don't take this stuff too seriously. It's all done in fun and with no intended disrespect to anyone. Enjoy them. Ignore them. But by all means please do not take them too seriously.

      2) You are only eligible for Do or Die Team honors on one side of the football. We pick what we feel is the skill set that best serves our purposes and draft you here for that reason. If you are a first team pick on offense, you will not be represented on any of our defensive teams, no matter how many All Conference/All State/All Universe nods you may have gotten there.

      3) Any player who received an honors code type violation and missed football games is ineligible for First Team and Player of the Year consideration. Our rationale is that if we put you on the roster, we want to be able to rely on the fact that you will make good choices to stay on the field.

      4) Invitations to the DO or DIE BOWL All Star Game will be predicated somewhat on these picks, but also by our honest intent to get every school in our area represented. It's a tricky, inexact science building the roster. That process should begin sometime in early January. We've got 100 roster slots (50 a side) and we will do our level best to get in as many deserving guys from as many schools as possible. Some players, who may be completely deserved of the honor, might not get a first wave of invitations. That isn't a slight on your skills. It's completely about politics (representing every community) and filling a roster. We've have guys who were second and third wave alternates win game MVP honors. Just let the process play out and if you have any questions about it during the whole invitation process, please don't hesitate to contact me at cduerr@khqa.com and I would be happy to explain where you are at in the mix.

      Yours in Football,

      Chris Duerr

      -----------------------

      2013 KHQA Football Player of the Year (Profile Sunday at 10:0pm on KHQA)

      JORDAN CHAPEL,

      Wide Receiver/Defensive Back, Quincy Notre Dame

      Rationale: Subjective opinions are simply that, subjective. I have no idea emperically speaking if we got this right or not. But I can tell you with 100% certainity that we were true to our core values in selecting Jordan Chapel as the 2013 KHQA Player of the Year. Simply put, the same standard that made Derrick Schone last year's winner servered as the deciding factor again here. In essence: which player's reach was broadest in the overall success of their program. Of the guys we looked at, only Chapel, Mitch Nichols and Caleb Kizer could be considered Top 30 players in the area Offensively, Defensively and in Special Teams. Looking at it even more microscopically, Chapel was the only Top 10 guy in all in that trio in all three phases of the game. Rare is the All State player whose best position on the field is so open to debate. I tend to think Jordan was a better Free Safety than Wide Receiver, but I have been successfully argued with to the contrary on that point. And his intangibles here as a team leader, captain, and arguably the one "face of the franchise" guy to emerge from QND's "success through collective" approach certainly supported the pick; though from top to bottom, it was a very high character group of finalists when you also had Malique Robbins, Malik Bondon, Nichols, Kizer and Michael Johson in your Final six as well. There's not one single disqualifier in that bunch. Jordan had great numbers (particulary moved by the 70 tackles, eight interceptions, and 19 yards per catch averages he fashioned) as well as a resume full of splash plays that seemed to say "pick me." More to the point, I am not sure there is a player I saw who was better in tight "must have" spots this season. The longer we sat on this decision, the more it became a really comfortable, sensible one to me in the process. I think we picked a super football player and a true class act young man. My only misgiving is that this is the second year in a row our POY won't play football in college, because part of me selfishly loves to see the culture fed. Still when Jordan is tearing up the college baseball diamond somewhere the next four years, even that one minor flaw in an otherwise sterling resume likely won't matter.

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      Runner Up: MITCH NICHOLS, Hannibal

      Past Winners:

      2012: Derrek Schone, Concord Triopia

      2011: Chris Jackson, Macomb

      2010: Ser Whitaker, Illini West

      2009: Michael Lafferty, Illini West

      2008: Javis Vineyard, Clark County

      2007: James Vandenberg, Keokuk

      2006: Andrew Bergeson, Hannibal

      2005: Tony Hall, South Shelby

      2004: Trevor Frericks, Quincy Notre Dame

      2003: Cliff Bumgarner, Concord Triopia

      2002: Cody Grotts, Carthage

      2001: Jensen Jones, West Prairie/LaHarpe

      2000: Wyatt Green, Carthage

      1999: Matt Paris, Monroe City

      ----------------------------------------------

      2013 KHQA Football Coach of the Year

      KEVIN MILES,

      Palmyra High School

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      Rationale: After returning Palmyra to its first Elite Eight since 2000, Kevin Miles was a unanimous choice here to stand as KHQA Coach of the Year in sweeping the Viewer and Internal Sports Department Vote. Point blank, this was the job the Panther alum was hired to do three years ago: sheppard this promising group of kids to the future that matched their enormous potential level. Mission accomplished. What's important to remember here, especially vis-a-vis Miles involvement is that Palmyra's renaissance was as much about rebuilding the pysches and confidences of his players as it was X's and O's. This was a program that had forgotten how to win, to stride on to a field with confidence in itself and its abilities to dictate its goals on a football field. And from Day One of his return, that has been the cornerstone of the Miles Rebuild. He put a chip back on the collective shoulder of an entire program (heck an entire community for that matter) and rallied once disparate factions into a cohesive family that pulled together for one goal. "We are Palmyra" became not some baseless chant but a call to action, both in season and out, for the Panthers present and future to stride towards excellence every day, at all moments. Truth be told, I don't think we've learned anything at all about Kevin Miles as a Coach the last few years in Palmyra. I've been telling you he was a very good X's and O's guy back ever since he was fighting to bleed wins out of a far less gifted Mark Twain program. What we've learned about Kevin though in his return is the sheer force of his will; his ability as a motivator and as a team builder. And it's been a glorious, inspiring thing to watch in the Flower City.

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      Runner Up: Brad Dixon, Central

      Viewer Vote: Kevin Miles, Palmyra

      Past Winners:

      2012: Brad Dixon, Central

      2011: Rob Wilt, South Shelby

      2010: Tom Little, Brown County

      2009: Jimmy Tucker, Bowling Green

      2008: Rich Thompson, Concord Triopia

      2007: Jayson Campbell, Keokuk

      2006: Mark St Clair, Hannibal

      2005: Kent O'Laughlin, South Shelby

      2004: Pete Claas, Macon

      2003: Randy Dickens, Quincy High

      2002: Jim Unruh, Carthage

      2001: Mark St. Clair, Hannibal

      2000: Par Pitts, Palmyra

      1999: Jim Unruh, Carthage

      1998: Tony Merryman, Pleasant Hill

      1997: Jay Wessler, Concord Triopia

      1996: Dale Labuary, Monroe City

      1995: Kent O'Laughlin, North Shelby (Missouri Winner)

      Jim Unruh, Carthage (Illinois Winner)

      -------------------------------------------------

      2013 KHQA Missouri/Iowa Offensive MVP

      CALEB KIZER,

      Palmyra High School

      ??

      Rationale: How's this for football irony: the most explosive weapon in the Tri States this season was "technically" the third option on his own team this season; at least if you put any credence into total rushing attempts.

      Which makes it a frightening to consider what Caleb Kizer might have done in a less cluttered offensive backfield, if he hadn't been splitting carries with both Josh Hultz and Brock Butler. Heck, it was frightening enough for Palmyra opponents what the kid did on just 134 total attempts this season; though I am quite certain it felt like much more than that to the defenses who tried futilely to stop the Panther Speedster.

      The numbers Kizer produced are staggering. He had 24 rushing touchdowns on the season, meaning he scored the football at an area best rate of once every 5 and half carries. His per rush average of 10.5 yards per carry was also among the highest in the region as well. And his versatility was tremendous. Caleb ended this season with 2165 All Purpose Yards; a stat that encompasses his work as a receiving threat out of the backfield and his special teams contributions. He produced 15 catches in the Palmyra passing game, good for 320 yards (at a team best rate 21 yards per catch) and a pair of touchdowns. He added a 27th total touchdown with a punt return for score against Centralia in Week Two. In all, those stats breakdown to roughly 166 yards of total offense per game in fueling a Panther Offense that averaged 45 points per contest. He was essentially the straw that stirred the drink for the Panther attack and was recognized as such by League Coaches, who named Caleb Kizer the Clarence Cannon Conference Co-Offensive Player of the Year.

      And while it holds less bearing on this award, Kizer's all around abilities as a total football player should not be dismissed in the equation of figuring just what he meant to his team. That same hallmark quickness and aggression netted the Blackshirt Defense 75 total tackles, nine stops for loss, and a pair of interceptions. Bottom line, Caleb Kizer was as a good a pure football player as any who laced up cleats in the Tri States this season and a deserving honoree as you 2013 KHQA Missouri/Iowa Offensive MVP{>}

      Runner-Up: Mitch Nichols, Hannibal

      Viewer Vote: Caleb Kizer, Palmyra

      Past Winners:

      2012: Austin Egley, Clark County

      2011: Scott Kroeger, Clopton/Elsberry

      2010: Mark Nemes, Hannibal

      2009: Justin Alderton, Clark County

      2008: Shawn Maloney, Monroe City

      2007: James Hurt, Keokuk

      2006: James Vandenberg, Keokuk

      2005: Josh Roberts, Clark County

      2004: Jared Bichsel, Monroe City

      2003: Aaron Bergeson, Hannibal

      2002: Clint Carroz, Mark Twain

      2001: Wentric Williams, Hannibal

      2000: Will Clayton, Hannibal

      1999: Matt Paris, Monroe City

      1998: Craig Lewis, Keokuk

      1997: Ryan Watson, Monroe City

      -----------------------------------------------

      2013 KHQA Illinois Offensive Player of the Year

      MALIQUE ROBBINS,

      Fullback, Quincy High

      RATIONALE: Make no mistake about it: this is as much a lifetime achievement award as it is a reflection of the 2013 season alone.

      Not that Quincy High's Malique Robbins wasn't his typical relentlessly productive self again this fall. After four years as a starter, we've come to expect nothing less from the hard running Blue Devil fullback. The only thing that has really changed over the course of his QHS Backfield tenure is that Malique's presence...and the attention paid him...has given rise to the success of those around him. See also the 1558 yards and 15 touchdowns Jordan Osborne and Bryce Unmisig carved out in compliment to him this season.

      But at the end of the day, it was indisputably Malique Robbins who did the heavy lifting. Again.

      His Senior Campaign, the bulk of which was spent working thanklessly between the tackles, churned out 1213 rushing yards and seven games that saw him crack the century mark on the ground. His per carry average, in route to yet another Western Big Six All Conference honor, was seven yards a tote. And he remained as good a red zone threat as the Tri States had with 15 rushing touchdowns. True to form, he also caught nine passes, two for touchdowns. And Malique also led the Devils in Kick Return yardage, netting 32 yards per attempt. It was, in essence, just another textbook season for Robbins; the kind his consistent excellence has made us all too casually numb to after all these years....

      That is...until you look at the sum/total of what Malique Robbins has wrought at Quincy High

      He finishes his 550 rushing attempt Blue Devil Career with three thousand, five hundred and 24 yards and 41 touchdowns. That's more than 1400 yards more than any other Quincy High back we can find in the schools football annals...and 13 more touchdowns than standard bearer Nathan Tate. His total yards from scrimmage? 4400. And the kid ends his career with 49 total touchdowns. Career numbers,as best we can ascertain, that dwarf anyone else who ever wore the Quincy High uniform. And its no small feat that Malique also presided over the first playoff win and home playoff game in program history. Absent only that elusive All State nod, Malique Robbins has fashioned a tremendous high school resume. And more importantly, if you ask anyone around the QHS program, they will attest that he did it, in every sense and with every practice and drill, the right way. Hard to imagine a kid more deserving of this recognition.

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      Runner-Up: Braxton Phelps, Brown County

      Mike Johnson, Central (tie)

      Fan Vote: Braxton Phelps, Brown County

      ??

      ??

      Past Winners:

      2012: Dalton Keene, Jacksonville

      2012: Dalton Heubner, Central-Southeastern

      2011: Garrett Kestner, Central-Southeastern

      2010: Daniel Weiman, Quincy Notre Dame

      2009: Daniel Weiman, Quincy Notre Dame

      2008: David Arendt: Concord Triopia

      2007: Taylor Joehl, Concord Triopia

      2006: Myers Hendrickson, Macomb

      2005: Dustin Jacoby, Concord Triopia

      2004: David Watts, Carthage

      2003: Ashton Gronewold, Carthage

      2002: Ashton Gronewold, Carthage

      2001: Jensen Jones, West Prairie/LaHarpe

      2000: Wyatt Green, Carthage

      1999: Wes Lundgren, West Prairie/LaHarpe

      1998: Ryan Miller, Concord Triopia

      1997: Dom Tamberelli, QND

      ---------------------------------------------------

      2013 KHQA Missouri/Iowa Defensive MVP

      JOSH HULTZ,

      Defensive Back, Palmyra High School

      ??

      RATIONALE: One defense. A lot of very worthy candidates.

      Palmyra's reign of dominance, particularly a nine week stand in which the Blackshirts gave up a paltry 30 points and pitched four shutouts, all but guaranteed that your 2013 Missouri/Iowa MVP would be a Panther.

      The very spirited debate around here...was exactly which Panther that would be.

      This is a squad that had seven different guys with 10 or more tackles for loss this season; and seven All Conference picks. Ultimately, we were able to whittle our candidate pool into a pair of or potent playmakers: Linebacker Case Doyle, who led the team in both tackles (114) and stops for loss (27) and Defensive Back Josh Hultz, your Cannon Conference Defensive Player of the Year.

      Ultimately, the tie-breaker came down to the opinion of man with far more football smarts than any media guy. A man with a State Championship ring and one of the most impressive coaching reputations in the state of Missouri

      Back in early September, Centralia Coach Erle Bennett broke down the Panther Defense in advance of his team's head to head matchup, by crediting safety play as the X-factor that made a good unit great. Paraphrasing Coach Bennett, it was that speed and aggressiveness from the back that made it seem like their were always more than 11 guys to block. Even with just one game worth of tape to review, it became very clear, very quickly that Josh Hultz was something pretty special as a catalyst.

      His numbers clearly bore that out. He finished the year with 78 total tackles, the third highest total on his team, which is pretty amazing considering his proximity to the line of scrimmage at the snap of the football. Josh was putting up Linebacker numbers against the run, despite having to start five yards or more away from the line of scrimmage. More amazing still, he had nine stops for loss and tied for the team lead in Quarterback Sacks with five; proving his worth as one of the most sudden and effective blitzers Northeast Missouri has produced in a long time.

      And when he wasn't rushing the passer, Hultz played a mean centerfield in locking down the passing lanes. He finished among the area leaders in interceptions with eight (with nearly 150 yards in return yardage) and broke up a team high thirteen passes as well.

      More to the point, it's not like the kid ever came off the field either. Josh was a 1000 yard rusher in the run game for Palmyra and scored 11 combined touchdowns. Bottom line, even amid a supporting cast this star studded; the brightness of Josh Hultz's high wattage game was impossible to miss...and invaluable to his team's area best bottom line.

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      Runner Up: CASE DOYLE, Palmyra

      Viewer Vote: CASE DOYLE, Palmyra

      ??

      Past Winners:

      2012: Caleb Bieniek, Hannibal

      2011: Caleb Bieniek, Hannibal

      2010: Matt Brown, Bowling Green

      2009: Geoff Correnti, Bowling Green

      2008: Bryce Johnston, South Shelby

      2007: Javis Vineyard, Clark County

      2006: Luke O'Laughlin, South Shelby

      2005: Andrew Bergeson, Hannibal

      2004: Sean Kite, Clark County

      2003: Alphonse Dames, Palmyra

      2002: James Branch, Hannibal

      2001: Keith Painter, Monroe City

      2000: Derek Wallace, Mark Twain

      1999: Jonathan Simpson, Hannibal

      1998: Derek Minter, Monroe City

      1997: Adam Crowe, Monroe City

      -----------------------------------------------

      2013 KHQA Illinois Defensive MVPs

      ANDREW SHAKE,

      Linebacker, Central High School

      JARED STARMAN,

      Linebacker, Central High School

      MICHAEL JOHNSON,

      Linebacker Central High School

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      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 line...it 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

      ------------------------------

      KHQA 2013 Breakout Player of the Year as voted by you, the fan

      ALGER SALDANA,

      WB/DB, Camp Point Central

      Rationale: Replacing irreplaceable running backs seems to have become a hallmark of Brad Dixon's program at Camp Point Central...and the line of succession in the Panther Backfield certainly did not disappoint in that regard in 2013.

      Truth of the matter is, we all essentially knew what to expect of Bobby Keltz at Fullback coming in. And those who follow the program closely, certainly had an inkling that Austin Kramberg had a chance to be pretty darned good. It was the other Wing-Back spot that offered up all the intrigue. In a very small varsity cameo as a Sophomore, Alger Saldana displayed plenty of burst, rushing for better than 20 yards a carry. He also brought to the table a luxury that previous Panther Backfields had lacked: length. At 6'2" and blessed with great leaping ability, Alger was a different kind of toy for Casey Rhea to employ; and arguably the most fluid, graceful athlete the program had seen in years. The question was...would it translate.

      The Junior Gamebreaker wasted little time certifying his coaches faith or proving his worth. He scored three touchdowns, including a receiving tally, and rushed for a team high 128 yards in the season opener at North Greene. He was even more explosive a week later at Calhoun, amassing 123 yards and a pair of touchdowns on just three carries. Alger infused an element of danger into the Panther Offense than made opponents cringe. You had to account for him on every play because he was the kid who could get to the end zone from anywhere on the field. He would finish the year with over 1200 all purpose yards and 14 total touchdowns. His per carry average out of the backfield was a staggering 11.59 yards per touch. And he proved his big game worth, saving his best effort of the entire season for the biggest moment, a 184 yard playoff rushing tour de force at the expense of Arch Rival Brown County.

      You voted Alger Saldana the KHQA Breakout Player of the Year...and its tough to argue the choice. And with a bigger role to play next season, on both sides of the ball, he'll never again have the luxury of surprising anyone with his football talents. That is certainly a testament to this terrific young man, his parents, and the program he helped make so proud this Fall.

      Runner Up: AUSTIN HIGHTOWER, Palmyra

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      Past Winners:

      2012: Douglas Weese, Central-Southeastern

      2011: Clay Finklea, Quincy High

      -----------------------------

      2013 ALL DO OR DIE TEAM

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      QUARTERBACK

      First Team

      JOEY MCCAUGHEY,

      Quarterback, Quincy Notre Dame

      RATIONALE: Smart, accurate, and a kid who made himself into a big time winner. Hard not to love a signal caller who can go out and get you nearly 2000 yards passing in a season, on 52% accuracy, with 24 touchdowns. Joey put the ball into the air 253 times this season and was incredibly careful and accurate in delivering it to his receivers; throwing just five interceptions during the first 10 and half games of the season. Granted, his high school career ended on a bit of an abberation with that one third quarter rough patch against Alleman, but that should in no way diminish all McCaughey accomplished or just how far he came in the last two years. The game clearly slowed down for him considerably this season and he was as trustworthy and Offensive Gatekeeper as you could find. The biggest compliment: his teammates (especially his linemen) seemed to love playing for the kid. Bottom line, Joey was a flat out weapon whose resume was as tight as any you'll find among area Quarterbacks this season.

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      Second Team

      BROCK BUTLER,

      Quarterback, Palmrya

      WHY HE'S HERE: Caught sort of a weird shake in the All Conference race and probably suffered there because fellow backfield weapon Caleb Kizer was so darned good and because his completion rate fell below . As anyone who watched the Panthers play can attest, Brock deserved better consideration. And he gets it here based on his dual threat ability and unmatched ability to extend a play. He is not the best pure thrower on this list and his stats may not ring as brilliantly as others on this list; particularly in terms of accuracy. But put this kid in a pressure moment, on the run, and he is an absolute gamer. Brock threw for almost 1200 yards this season and 16 touchdowns in a limited passing window, against just seven interceptions. More than that, it was the throws he made in tight spots that really are revealing about Butler. The passes he'd complete as time was running out in a half for touchdowns. His miracle resurrection act in the fourth quarter against Blair Oaks. That is the "x-factor" that makes the kid so intriguing here. He also had nearly 1000 yards rushing for the season and finished with another 17 touchdowns on the ground. Any kid who can put up 33 total touchdowns in a season is aces in my book.

      ??

      ZACH ETZLER,

      Quarterback, Centralia

      WHY HE'S HERE: The reigning Clarence Cannon Conference Co-Offensive Player of the Year missed the opener for team reasons and by rule isn't eligible for First Team honors. It's unfortunate because his numbers and impact in Panther Country were good enough to top this list and perhaps win overall POY honors as well. Just a super dynamic weapon who could kill you with either his arm or his legs. There simply wasn't a more accurate thrower in Tri State Football this season or a kid who understood the value of sharing the football amongst his targets like Zach. Toss out the debacle against Macon in the season finale and Etzler's numbers skewed to 65% accuracy and a 6 to 1 Touchdown to Interception ratio, which is about unheard of in high school football. He possessed great escapability and mobility as well, with over 700 yards rushing and another 11 touchdowns on the ground. Heard someone this season try to dismiss Etzler as a product of great Wide Receivers, but by that logic, wouldn't the opposite also be true? I just really enjoyed watching him play. Two things I really like about Etzler here are his toughness (a quarterback who would actually lower the shoulder on would-be tacklers, not shy from contact, and actually seemed to think he was fullback inside the tackles) and his creativity. Just another in a great line of Erle Bennett signal callers.

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      Third Team

      BRYCE SCHNITKER,

      Quarterback, Jacksonville

      WHY HE'S HERE: If this award hinged on nothing but pure passing ability, Bryce wins running away. Blessed with a tremendous arm, great accuracy and a fearless pocket demeanor, Schnitker shredded opposing secondaries for 2445 yards this season on 57% accuracy and produced 25 touchdowns. He's one of those rare kids with old school Dan Fouts type toughness and the ability to make a mistake and bounce back instantly from it, which is a fantastic quality in a signal caller. Does he gamble with throws on occassion? Sure but I for one love his demeanor and aggressiveness. He's got huge confidence in both his own arm and his receivers and that led to a higher mistake rate than more cautious players. From this vantage point, the kid is a winner and I'll live with the occasional interception if get the 15 or 17 other really amazing throws he makes a night.

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      KYLE POPKES,

      Quarterback, Paris

      WHY HE'S HERE: Enjoyed a tremendous breakout campaign in throwing for over 2600 yards (at nearly 250 yards per game) to reinvigorate the Coyote Offense and push the young Paris Coyotes to a far better, infinitely more exciting season than anyone anticipated. And he's only just begun to scratch the surface of his potential. The high end, you ask? Kyle notched an area best 33 touchdown passes as Junior, an average of three per contest; which makes us downright giddy for his senior season next fall. Allowing for the natural maturation curve (it stands to figure a more experienced, mature Popkes will force fewer passes next season, pushing his completion percentage well past this year's 46% clip and dramatically cutting down interception opportunities) this kid is a bona fide Player of the Year candidate for 2014 and the best slinger to come out of Coyote Country since Joe Gilliam.

      ------------------------------

      WIDE RECEIVER/TIGHT END

      First Team

      BRENDAN WATTS,

      Wide Receiver, Macon High School

      RATIONALE: The most bankable target and toughest cover in Tri State Football this season with 49 receptions and 1066 yards worth of receiving work to his credit; giving Pete Claas a true vertical weapon to counterbalance the Tigers run game. The Macon Junior netted 88 yards per game on average and proved the rare combination of both reliable possession receiver and true breakaway threat, as evidenced by his 21 yards per catch average. Brendan drew plenty of coverage attention, almost from the get go this season, and still found his way to the end zone fourteen times. Not sure what the future holds at Quarterback for the stripes as Craig Smith will clearly be missed. That established, a young QB could not hope for a better safety net/transitional weapon than getting to work with the explosive Watts next Fall.

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      KODY WOOD,

      Wide Receiver, Jacksonville

      RATIONALE: One of the most pleasant surprises in Tri State Football this season; a kid who quintupled his junior year production to become a legitimate tent-pole player in the Crimsons potent passing attack. Kody emerged as a true Number One target (thanks to great concentration and set your clock by him reliability) in snaring 72 receptions in route to 1283 yards worth of production. Not the biggest target in the world but showed great resourcefulness, especially around the red zone in finding ways to make catches, get to the sticks. Finished the year with 10 touchdowns receptions and a tidy 17.82 yards per catch average.

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      SLATER STONE,

      Wide Receiver, Paris High School

      RATIONALE: Between Brendan Watts and Slater Stone, I don't envy returning Northeast Missouri Defensive Backs their task next fall. Unlike Watts, however, Stone gets the luxury of bringing back his quarterback after a season that saw he and Kyle Popkes become the most lethal pass/catch combo in Tri State Football. By nearly every purely statistical measure, Stone was the bellwether of Tri State Receivers, going for 71 receptions and 1192 yards. He did finish one behind Watts for the Season Touchdown Title (13 End Zone grabs) but also mind you played in a Receiver Rotation that featured two other Coyote Targets who finished with more than eight touchdown catches in their own right. Give Slater this, he probably adjusted to and fought for the football as well as any target in the region this season. And he's only going to be more formidable in 2014.

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      BARRY WELPER,

      Wide Receiver, QND

      RATIONALE: Team high 40 receptions for the Raiders as a terrific default target for Joey McGaughey. Loved his toughness and unrelenting production (639 total receiving yards and ten touchdowns) as the perfect counterbalance to Jordan Chapel on the edge. For my money, the Raiders were the best Receiver/Tight End Group in Tri State Football and Welper's ability to give Number One Receiver production in a de facto "Number Two role" was invaluable to their rise.

      ??

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      CHANDLER BLACKWELL,

      Tight End, Centralia

      RATIONALE: Ideal combination of size/athleticism made the 6'5" Senior a force to be reckoned with in the Red Zone. Chandler finished his year with 38 receptions, 583 yards, and 11 touchdowns, underscoring his value in winning the jump ball or giving Zach Eztler and easily found safety net when the pocket would break down. Easy kid to find in the pattern and an absolute godsend when you put the football in his direction. Could not adequately cover him with a Defensive Back (size) or Linebacker (speed) and Chandler proved to be a uniquely frustrating challenge for Defensive Linemen trying to stay clean on the edge. Just a very good football player and all around athlete.

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      BLAKE HANCE,

      Tight End, Jacksonville

      RATIONALE: First Team IHSA All State Selection and deservedly so. A broken hand cost him time at Tight End in the middle of this season, but the Northwestern signee demonstrated his toughness in sliding down to Offensive Lineman while it healed and did a tremendously effective job there. Despite missed reps, the Big Guy still caught 46 passes for 434 yards and four touchdowns. Simply put, as good an athlete for his size as we have ever covered and a kid whose passing catching ability, especially on bad throws, was off the charts. Very special talent and tremendous young man.

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      Second Team

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      ETHAN PETERSON,

      Wide Receiver , West Prairie High School

      W HY HE'S HERE : His team never won a varsity game during his high school career but that should in no way diminish what the 6'3" Senior relentlessly brought to the table for the Cyclones. Ethan became his school's All Time leader in Touchdown Receptions this Fall and carried himself like a champion from start to finish in his career, in spite of the of many adversities and built-in frustrations that were just a fact of life for West Prairie Football. Had he played for a bigger school, I contend Peterson would have been a household name, given his high revving motor, toughness, and talent. He caught 17 passes this season, four of which went for touchdowns and averaged nearly 13 yards a catch in the process. He also led the Cyclone Defense in tackles with 60 stops on the year. Kid deserved a better career but all Ethan did was fight to lead the Cyclones to Better Days without complaint. That carries plenty of respect in these quarters.

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      ROYCE POORE,

      Wide Receiver, Knox County

      W HY HE'S HERE : The cataylst who created better balance in the Eagle Offense this season. Poore proved himself to be more than just a stellar basketball player, using his agility and great hands to produce a 25 catch, 311 yard Senior Season. Royce had the ability to make both the spectacular and the simple catch and seemed to flat-out overwhelm Defensive Backs around the Tri-Rivers this season.

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      JORDAN NUTT,

      Wide Receiver, Palmyra High School

      W HY HE'S HERE : A walking highlight reel of sensational catches in big/critical moments. Hard to find a player at any position who was more "clutch" in performing his job this Fall. Palmyra didn't pass a great deal, but when the Panthers did, they usually threw in Jordan's direction. Seven of his eighteen receptions this year went for Touchdowns and he finished with 371yards total and better than 20 yards per reception on average. Our Do or Die Team litmus test for Jordan here? What receiver would you most want to throw to with the game on the line and one play to make a miracle happen. Nutt was the overwhelming choice here among our people.

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      GANNON PEAVLER,

      Wide Receiver, Centralia

      W HY HE'S HERE : Dynamic sparkplug for the Panthers whose numbers likely suffered here because of Centralia's tremendous balance on the edge. Produced a team high 27 receptions as Zach Etzler's go-to target. Finished his Senior Season with 357 yards and four touchdowns in route to Second Team All CCC Honors. A package of good speed/grittiness that allowed him to excel against even the toughest of CCC Defensive Backs.

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      ELI PETTY,

      Tight End, Pittsfield-Griggsville Perry

      WHY HE'S HERE: When the Saukees threw the football, they were generally going to throw it in the direction of their sizeable All Conference Target. The 6'3" displayed great hands and the kind of size and physicality to ward off even the most courageous Defensive Backs. Very physical, tough to corral after the catch.

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      Third Team

      PEYTON HORTON,

      Wide Receiver, Centralia

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      KYLE FULTON,

      Wide Receiver, Monroe City

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      JON KRAMER,

      Wide Receiver, Beardstown

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      KOLTON MARLIN,

      Wide Receiver, Keokuk

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      LAINE FORREST,

      Wide Receiver, Paris

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      LAINE SLY,

      Wide Receiver, Highland

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      AUSTIN DURBIN,

      Tight End, South Shelby

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      WES BERNHARDT,

      Tight End, Fort Madison

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      RUNNING BACK

      First Team

      MITCH NICHOLS,

      Tailback, Hannibal

      RATIONALE: In full disclosure, Mitch was the number one player on my board for Player of the Year honors given what he did and the situation in which he did it. This is after all a Hannibal team that lost arguably the best football player in the Tri States in Lijah Harrison in the first week of the season, suffered other injury issues too numerous to mention, and yet still remained viable right up until the very end thanks to Nichols herculean efforts in breathing life into the Hannibal offense. Heck, this is a team that bounced back from getting drubbed by Moberly in the regular season to flat out destroy those very same Spartans in District Play. And in that game, on awful footing, Nichols still managed to run for a game high 155 yards. Alas for Mister Nichols, mine is not the only vote that counts here. Just a stellar back with all the qualities you look for: speed, toughness, and off the charts football IQ. Nichols became Hannibal's first 1500 yard back since Wentric Williams and showed his workman like ability with nearly 300 total carries for the season. He scored 19 rushing touchdowns on the year and excelled to the edge, between the tackles, or in the red zone. There's not much you could ask of Mitch Nichols on a football field that he could not do exceedingly well. Tremendous player, even better kid.

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      DAYLAN ANDERS,

      Tailback, Quincy Notre Dame

      RATIONALE: Speedy self-made Junior proved a revelation in the Raider Running Game, delivering both legitimate home run burst and tremendous/surprising toughness finishing runs. Doesn't have the same level of high end acceleration but Daylan does have some of that same type catch you off guard Ser Whitaker type grit and power in a "speed back." Like Whitaker, Anders is also a willing and often effective blocker. For all of his red letter efforts, including a benchmark 300 yard performance at Illini West's expense, Daylan's volition was never more in evidence than in his no infamous sideline run against Coal City in which he leveled about a third of the Coalers would-be tacklers with one demolishing shoulder drop. We feel like this season, impressive as it was at 1522 yards and 15 touchdowns, while gaining ground at a rate of nearly eight yards per carry was just the warm-up act for Daylan. Very disicplined, high character yes sir/no sir kid takes care of his business without selfishness or interest in personal stats.

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      AUSTIN KRAMBERG,

      Tailback, Central High School

      RATIONALE: Do you need any more corroborative evidence than a per carry average of 15 yards per pop? If Central's dynamic Senior Wing Back saw daylight, chances were good no one was catching the kid. Led the Elite Eight qualifying Panthers in rushing yardage (1118) and touchdowns (17) and along with partner in crime Alger Saldana, gave Central as much explosiveness as any backfield in Tri State Football this season. A very viable weapon in the return game and outstanding, if a bit under-utilized pass catcher. Just a tremendously versatile and explosive weapon who really broke out in a major way this season to help really negate the ill effects that could have resulted from the graduations of Douglas Weese and Dalton Heubner a year ago. Maybe the best compliment I can pay Austin is that he more than helped approximate and compensate for the production of those former Panther greats, while adding a bit of flair of his own to the mix.

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      TRACE WINDSOR,

      Fullback, South Shelby

      RATIONALE: What a different world it would be the last two seasons if Trace Windsor hadn't suffered a pair of significant injuries in back-to-back playoff appearances. The Cardinal Junior's resume, right up until those two injuries, has been exemplary. The kid provides Rob Wilt such an unfair advantage against Class 1 competition because his combination of speed and power are really tough for 175 pound Linebackers and 140 pound Defensive Backs to contend with. Windsor churned up yardage at a feverish clip, going for 1362 yards and 15 touchdowns against a tough Clarence Cannon Conference slate that offered up some of the better Class 2 and 3 Defenses in the State of Missouri. He averaged better than eight yards a tote this season and fumbled a grand total of one time in 162 touches. It seems strange that durability is the kid's one "flaw" at this point because he is a kid that seems to play incredibly well off and through contact. Chalk it up to pure bad luck in the playoffs and maybe, just maybe, Trace will get a chance to finish out his Senior Season next Fall on the field.

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      BRAXTON PHELPS,

      Wingback, Brown County

      RATIONALE: Tom Little's by-committee rushing attack is a bit of a stat line killer and Braxton finished the year with a paltry 100 total carries (which was the team high by the way and roughly one-third the work load Mitch Nichols got at Hannibal) on the season. His impact, even in a limited window, was undeniably as the Brown County speedster loomed as arguably the most targeted running back in Western Illinois Football. Even at that, the Hornet Senior produced a touchdown once every ten touches, netted a better than eight yards per carry average, and generally could not be slowed or stopped by anyone other than say Camp Point Central on any action to the edge. Phelps was explosion personified, as evidenced as well by his 213 yards of punt return production (30.4 yards per effort including a touchdown) He also had a team leading three interceptions on Defense. Just a terrific do-it-all weapon for the Hornets this season.

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      Second Team

      MALIK MCPIKE,

      Tailback, Bowling Green

      WHY HE'S HERE: Among the most pulse quickening backs in Tri State Football this season, Malik McPike served as the centerpiece of Jeff Gschwender's high wattage offense in 2013. The explosive tailback posted 1117 yards this season on 153 totes and scored 13 total touchdowns in route to unanimous First Team EMO honors. Given his size and skill set, Malik is a young man who could be a very good back at the next level.

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      BRODY MOUBRY,

      Tailback, Knox County

      WHY HE'S HERE: Hard nosed grinder with exceptional work ethic who did a little bit of everything to fuel the Eagle Ground Game this fall. Brody finished the year with 1404 rushing yards, at a clip of right at seven yards per carry and scored nine rushing touchdowns. He also demonstrated great ability as a backfield target in the passing game, catching 16 passes for 301 yards and a touchdown in route to a unanimous selection as a First Team All Tri-Rivers Conference pick.

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      TARIQ GARNER,

      Fullback, Monroe City High School

      WHY HE'S HERE: One of the year's great breakout stories, Tariq Garner transformed himself from interesting preseason prospect to First Team All Clarence Cannon Conference performer (in a deep year for running backs, no less) with a 1300 yard season on better than seven yards per carry. Proved himself a very good finisher with 14 touchdowns and one of the region's more rugged interior runners. Posted the season's best single game effort and set a new school record with a whopping 394 yards against Louisiana this this year.

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      LEIGHTON JOHNSON,

      Fullback, Illini West High School

      WHY HE'S HERE: Rugged Charger Senior excelled to the tune of over 1200 rushing yards despite being one of the most targeted players in all of Tri State Football. The Defensive mantra for IW opponents, from PGP on in week one, was make someone other than the Fullback beat you, yet Leighton still managed to carve up foes for nearly 120 yards a game and almost eight yards a touch. Made up for a lack of imposing size with a combination of supreme toughness and great explosion. Very mentally tough player who had just three fumbles in 152 touches this season and who always seemed to have a knack for bouncing right up after contact. Finished with a team high 13 touchdowns this season in route to all West Central Conference honors. Johnson was a kid you came to appreciate the more you watched him play; just a relentlessly productive runner who did his part to extend the tradition of Hancock County's historically significant Fullback line.

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      AUSTIN BOEHS,

      All Purpose Back, West Central

      WHY HE'S HERE: Pure blistering speed. Saw him completely change the course of the Unity-Payson game this season with about as effortless an 80 yard touchdown effort as you will ever see. Tremendous breakaway ability and one heck of an overall athlete.

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      JORDAN OSBORNE,

      All Purpose Back, Quincy High School

      WHY HE'S HERE: Blue Devil Speedster would have been a certified Franchise Back for any other school in the Tri-States. Finished the year with 967 yards and 10 touchdowns on just 112 total carries, which works out to an average of nearly 9 yards per tote against Western Big Six Competition. That ought tell you all you need know about Jordan's ability to stretch the field and make home run plays.

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      Third Team

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      CULLEN RALPHS,

      Tailback, Centralia High School

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      JOE LEWIS,

      Tailback, Macon High School

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      FLOYD LOMELINO,

      Tailback, Jacksonville High School

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      JOHN ARNETT,

      Tailback, North Shelby High School

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      WILL MCROBERT,

      Fullback, Scotland County High School

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      ADAM HOLT,

      All Purpose Back, Bowling Green High School

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      OFFENSIVE LINE

      First Team

      GABE MEGGINSON,

      Offensive Tackle, Jacksonville High School

      RATIONALE: For my money (with apologies to Jack Cornell, Matt McGhghy, and Curt Lovelace ) the most complete Offensive Line Prospect the Tri States has ever produced, at least at this still early point of his career. Gabe is an absolute monster and you could see this coming at the beginning of last year; the best "yeah but who the heck is that kid over there" eye test kid I can ever remember in 20 years of professionally covering High School Football. Megginson holds Division One Scholarship offers from Wisconsin, Illinois and Indiana as a Junior and will have many more suitors in the mix before all is said and done as a designated Four Star Rivals Recruit. Blends tremendous footwork and a strong weight room ethic with ideal size. In pads, Gabe already looks like a Big Ten Offensive Tackle in terms of body type and physicality, which is his greatest root asset here. Megginson is a bona fide finisher; plays with a nasty streak and a strength that came much later in the game for some of the other great Line Prospects our area has produced. Possessed of a frighteningly high ceiling, Megginson could go down as one of the finest Football Players this area has ever produced if he continues to work hard and pay the price.

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      DYLAN POWELL,

      Offensive Tackle, Hannibal High School

      RATIONALE: Arguably as good an athlete here at Tackle as the aforementioned Mister Meggison (although Dylan lacks Gabe's "recruiting catnip" size at just 6'2" rather than 6'7") and was fittingly honored as a First Team All NCMC Pick this season on both sides of the football. Truth be told, I think Dylan is a better Defensive Lineman at this stage of his career than Blocker, but his higher end potential, without question, lies on the Offensive Side of the Football. You can see that in the amount of attention that Dylan gets from his coaches in practice during offensive drills. He gets held to a completely different level of accountability because he's got a completely different ceiling than anyone else on the field. Dylan isn't allowed to have off plays. For me, it's always fun to watch Mark St Clair chew on Dylan a bit because its a guarantee that the very next play, a ticked off Powell is going to go blast someone into next week. And he will. The most apt thing I can tell you about Dylan is that there is just no chance of escape if he gets into you. The kid is as unyielding as a Bear Trap. He's such a good hand fighter, it's a shame no one ever made the kid a boxer or professional arm wrestler. In close quarters, there isn't a Defensive Linemen he can't turn, move or wrestle to the ground; perhaps as good as this area has produced in that aspect since Dom Pagliara. Dylan is deceptively good covering ground/ closing down (long strides/wingspan is a very good thing) and uses his close-in strength to keep his mark pinned in for far longer than said opponent would wish to be blocked. He's the rare kid who you can send at any Defensive Player on the field and essentially eliminate that player for that possession. Special talent just scratching the surface of his potential.

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      LOGAN THIELE,

      Tackle, Pittsfield/Griggsville-Perry

      RATIONALE: Terrific two-way lineman who played hurt, but played exceedingly well through injury. The Saukee's win-loss struggles obscured his impact a bit, but you'd be hard pressed to find a harder working, smarter player in the region; nor a kid who maxed out his talents more. Big dude with surprisingly good feet. Logan played with a great understanding of blocking angles and the value of his own size and strength. Did as good a job as anyone of moving people off the line and never seemed to take a play off. Granted, his signature moment came on defense with that wonderful interception return for touchdown against Illini West, but there was never any doubt he was going to play O-Line here for us on this honors squad. Just a methodically effective earth mover who was well deserved of the All WCC and Honorable Mention All State accord he received. One of those kid you wish you had about 22 of on your roster because you know a Logan Thiele will lay it on the line every single down.

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      COLT REAMS,

      Tackle, Centralia

      RATIONALE: Hands down, the top blocker in the Clarence Cannon Conference and about as good a pass/run combo guy as you'll find. Watch video of Colt. The kid is essentially a table on his blocks. His back is always completely level and he plays with as low as center of gravity as anyone you will find. Whoever schooled this kid on the fundamentals of blocking, did it right. Reams is technically as solid as any blocker I can remember. He lacks ideal, prototype size but he's a fighter who runs his legs non-stop through contact. Speaking as an old offensive linemen, he's the kid I wish I had been disciplined enough to be with my form and technique. Never seemed to get lazy, nor stop getting after people. And he either finishes blocks or runs Defensive Ends off the field. Unanimous All Clarence Cannon Conference selection and from our evaluation standpoint, the best of a really good lot of Panther players this season.

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      EANN DILLER,

      Center, Central High School

      RATIONALE: Two huge benefits of having Eann Diller on your team. The obvious is brute force physicality as a run blocker. The 265 pounder dominated at the point of attack and was probably the biggest single reason Bobby Keltz was able to run North and South all year at Fullback for the Panthers. When Central ran inside, Keltz seemingly always had three or four yards to get up a head of steam; largely because Diller had either driven his man off the football or was upfield harrassing Linebackers. A two time All Conference Selection, Diller spearheaded the charge for a line that netted 337 rushing yards per game on average and scored 71 total touchdowns on the year. The secondary benefits here were more esoteric. Eann might have been the smartest lineman in Tri State Football this season. A valedictorian candidate with a 4.14 GPA, Diller was the brains of the outfit for a line that made a lot of complicated schematic blocks look simple. He was the kid making the line calls and as such, the recognized leader of what for my money, was the best blocking outfit in Tri State Football this season.

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      QUENTIN LEFEVER,

      Guard, Quincy High School

      RATIONALE: First Team All Western Big Six Selection who helped change the polarity of an Offensive Line that was largely deemed to be a question mark headed into this season. A great "pound for pound" blocker who projected far more physicality than his size would suggest. In a lot of ways, Quentin reminds me a lot of former Clark County star Lynn Williams; mixing tenacity, smarts, length and athleticism in equal parts to allow him to destroy much bigger opponents with great regularity. Obviously, "The Pancake" was one of the more fun video moments of the year but that was just one very obvious snapshot of the passion with which Lefever plays the game. I have a certain bias, especially when it comes to the Offensive Line, of wanting to draft guys who I think could both beat you in a boxing ring AND beat you in a battle of wits. Lefever is right out of Central Casting in that regard.

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      RYAN LARRICK,

      Tackle, South Shelby High School

      RATIONALE: Few kids in Tri State Football are as driven to be great as South Shelby's Junior stalwart. A kid who has maximized his skills and become a truly dominant 1A blocker and the latest in a long and impressive line of Cardinal Bodyguards. Ryan's prime assets, aside from his work ethic, are his leg drive (pull your eyes off the football some time and watch him in isolation as he moves people off the line of scrimmage...whether they want to be moved or not) and his fitness level for his size (270 guys usually don't play this well from 1st quarter to both while going both ways) Arguably, the most interesting kid on this Offensive Line board going forward because he is a fully self made man and has put himself on a Ethan Decker type trajectory by sheer force of will. And if he keeps making the kind of year to year strides he has the last two seasons, Larrick has a nice college future ahead of him.

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      JORDAN WILSON,

      Center, Hannibal High School

      WHY HE'S HERE: Suffered one of the year's scarier injuries in Round One against Moberly, leaving the field on a stretcher. Fought his way back and returned to the field to power the Pirates late season run. Want to know how good this kid was? Just compare the results of the Moberly games. He was the missing piece in Hannibal's blowout loss and arguably had his team's best game (both ways) in the rain bowl rematch, which saw the Pirates thump the Spartans on their own field. Strong, smart kid who simply does what you ask of him on every play, with max-effort. Thought Jordan was Hannibal's most glaring 1st Team All Conference omission. Great fit guy here.

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      GAGE BOWMAN,

      Guard/Tackle, Brown County

      RATIONALE: Honorable Mention All State Selection by the IFCA and First Team All WIVC selection who improved by leaps and bounds over the last two seasons to become the cornerstone of a terrific run blocking Offensive Line. Bowman's leadership helped the Hornets amass 3088 ground yards and 43 touchdowns and helped nine different BC backs average five or more yards per carry this seaosn. The latest in a long line of blue collar, undersized Heath Fullerton products who used guile, tenacity, and great technique to succeded against bigger, more imposing opponents.

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      Second Team

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      AARON FOREMAN,

      Palmyra High School

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      JIMMY KASE,

      Quincy Notre Dame

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      MARK HOERR,

      Palmyra High School

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      PHILLIP MASON,

      Clark County High School

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      RILEY POSTON,

      Knox County High School

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      ALEMA STONE,

      Macomb High School

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      BRADLEY BURKHARDT,

      Macon High School

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      Third Team

      BEN MILLER,

      Quincy Notre Dame

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      RYAN EGLEY,

      Keokuk High School

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      PAUL CROWE,

      Beardstown High School

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      TYLER WILDRICK,

      Illini West High School

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      COLLIN STARK,

      Louisiana High School

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      JACOB CALVIN,

      Quincy High School

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      BRAXTON SQUIER

      Illlini West High School

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      DEFENSIVE LINE

      First Team

      BLAKE SMITH,

      Defensive Tackle, Pleasant Hill/Western

      RATIONALE: Playing at a small school on the fringes of edge of the viewing area obscures Blake far more than it should, but this kid can flat destroy an Offensive Backfield. The Wolves Senior finished with 50 total tackles this season, despite being run away from for much of the year, and posted a team high 36 solo stops. Smith is Farm Strong and tossed offensive linemen around this season like Pike County's answer to Godzilla. Played the game with a high revving motor and great leverage. What distinguishes Blake as special is his ability to make splash plays. Blake Smith had 18 tackles for loss this season, despite facing incessant double teaming. Got a chance to watch him in person twice this year (North Greene/Unity-Payson) and came away incredibly impressed with his skills and resolve. He dominated in both instances from first to fourth quarter. Blake was a kid who could have played and starred for any team in our area and is certainly a name worthy of more respect/recognition.

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      NAT HARDER,

      Defensive Tackle, Knox County

      RATIONALE: Northeast Missouri's answer to Blake Smith and a young man with one of the brighter futures in the Class of 2015. A bit under radar playing in the TRC but we should have known better as great Lineman Bloodlines clearly matter here. Nat was an absolute force spearheading the Eagle Defensive Line this season with a proven ability to smash through opposing protection and break up plays before they began. Harder finished the year with 17 tackles for loss and 58 stops overall, earning unanimous All Conference Accord along the way. He will be the cornerstone of a rebuilt Eagle Defense next fall and one of out Top Ten returnees in the preseason pigskin ranks next August.

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      AUSTIN HIGHTOWER,

      Defensive Tackle, Palmyra

      RATIONALE: For my money, the best interior Defensive Lineman I saw this season and the upfront force that really allowed all of Palmyra's various Defensive pieces to run around and create havoc. Like Blake Smith, Austin Hightower spent enough time in opponents Offensive Backfield to be confused for an extra Running Back. Austin finished his year with a very impressive five quarterback sacks; a rare bit of consistent pass rush pressure in this day in age to collapse pockets. More jawdropping still, Hightower had 26 tackles for loss this year, or two a game on average. He was just an unrelenting sledgehammer of a player who overwhelmed would be blockers. Interestingly, the kid also displayed outstanding pursuit skills and the ability to scrape laterally off blocking to make plays outside of his "beat" if you will. Austin finished the year with 68 total stops and set a tremendous tone for the guys around him with his lead-pipe manner of doing buisness. Hard to remember a surer tackler (or stronger kid in wrestling a running back to the ground) in the last five years among Interior Defensive Linemen.

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      MICHAEL HOUSTON,

      Defensive Tackle, Central

      RATIONALE: After missing all of the 2012 campaign due to injury, Houston more than made up for lost time in earning First Team All WIVC honors on both sides of the football for Brad Dixon's crew. From a personal preference standpoint, I'd prefer to have the kid play Defensive Tackle for me just because his physicalilty is far better served here in getting to beat up on Offensive Linemen. So much of the success of Central's Linebackers is predicated on getting productivity out of the three guys up front and Houston and Muddy Waters were incredible in that role this season. Houston finished the year with 28 solo tackes and 64 total tackles; pretty good numbers for an interior lineman surrounded by ball hawking Linebackers. Michael is an athletic 235 pound who ran exceptionally well to contact, even after stacking up would-be blockers. In a different system, you can see the outlier value Houston might have as a playmaker. He did have five tackles for loss this season and a fumble recovery. Bottom line, a very tough customer for a team that needed one in setting the trench tone.

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      LANE DAVIS,

      Defensive End, Unity-Payson

      RATIONALE: We go back to the WIVC Well for the gifted 6"5" Mustang Wrecking Ball, who certainly had a flair for making things happen on the edge. I thought Lane's efforts against Pleasant Hill this season was easily the most impressive one-game outting I saw from a Defensive Lineman all season. Very mobile, fluid athlete with great footwork and outstanding wingspan who could absolutely shutdown his side of the field. Finished the year with what I believe was a team high 65 tackles this season, including 52 solo stops on the edge. Davis led the Mustangs with 10 stops for loss, forced a pair of fumbles (both in that PHill game) and snared an interception as well. First Team All Conference pick who will likely play basketball in college, but who certainly has the tools to be a great developmental prospect if a football coach can change his mind somewhere along the line. Tremndously hard worker both on the field and in the classroom who set a nice benchmark for U-P players to come.

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      TREY KOTHE,

      Defensive End, Macon

      RATIONALE: Standing 6'6" and 240 pounds, Trey certainly looked and played the part of prototype Anchor End as well as anyone. Running to Kothe's side of the field was like boating in the Bermuda Triangle. Bad things were bound to happen to you in tempting that fate, even with the blocking attention he received. Kothe had 51 total stops on the season and was proficient at stringing out anything that came to his side until more help arrived. But that only tells part of the story. For the most part, opponents avoided him all together. The First Team All CCC pick saw a noticable decline in pass rush opportunities as teams sold out to stop him from getting into the pocket, or made a deliberate attempt in his presence to dump the football from their quarterback's hand as quickly as possible. His aptitude for that part of the game is underscored by the fact he finished his career with six total quarterback sacks. Raw numbers don't nearly tell how important Trey Kothe was to the overall productivity of the Macon defense; but a lot of teammate's star turns this season were born of his relentless efforts.

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      SETH HOLTSCHLAG,

      Defensive End, Quincy High

      RATIONALE: If your last name is Holtschlag, you'd better be good at Defending the edge and upholding a fine family tradition of Line Play. The relentless Blue Devil Junior posted 109 total tackles on the season, including 69 solo stops to help seal down the outside running lanes. Seth also served as Quincy High's "Splash Play" specialist on Defense in grinding out 14 tackles behind the line scrimmage, tops on his team. Holtschlag was responsible for a net of negative 64 yards on those efforts. Naturally football-strong kid who plays with great physicality. Will be the expected cornerstone of this unit as a Senior next season and might be the Blue Devils best returning All State threat.

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      Second Team

      JACOB "MUDDY" WATERS,

      Defensive Tackle, Central

      WHY HE'S HERE: The unsung hero of Central's incredibly stingy defense and unselfish table setter for the Panthers five man Linebacker group. Big Muddy didn't get any signature moment plays, like last year's stellar interception. All he did was relentlessly tie up Offensive Linemen and play unmovable roadblock to touch off the tackling frenzy behind him. To his credit, Waters finished the year with First Team All WIVC plaudits, 55 total tackles, and a pair of fumble recoveries.

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      GUS MEYER,

      Defensive Tackle, Hannibal

      WHY HE'S HERE: Injuries hampered his numbers but the First Team All NCMC Pick just kept fighting his way back onto the field. Gus is a one gap player but an ultra-reliable one who will slug it out with the best of them to win his battle and keep his Linebackers clean.. Most noticable thing about Meyer is that he gets up a good head of steam and gains ground on every snap, putting a lot of pressure on the pocket. Interestingly, makes a lot of arm tackles and trip-ups at the line of scrimmage, which I think speaks well fo his strength.

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      DYLAN CHANDLER,

      Defensive End, Illini West

      WHY HE'S HERE: High energy, certain finisher who was a bright spot on a Chargers Defense that otherwise had some consistency issues this season. Rangy senior finished with 40 total tackles this fall, including 25 solos. Dylan has been a terrific pound-for-pound production guy the last two years in anchoring the Charger Line with 70 total tackles in that starter's tenure. I like Chandler's mobility, motor a ton here, as well as the fact that opponents generally sought to avoid running much directly at him as a sign of respect.

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      GAGE KLITZ,

      Defensive End, Unity-Payson

      WHY HE'S HERE: He just might be the best pure athlete in Tri State sports right now. See also how effortlessly Gage jumps at 6'5" on a basketball court. Along with Lane Davis, formed the best pair of Bookends in Tri State Football this season, production a bit obscured by the fact that U-P Defense surrendered nearly 34 points a night. Klitz wrapped up his Senior Campaign with 60 total tackles and eight stops for loss to go along with 2 fumble recoveries and an interception.

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      ALEX BROSS,

      Defensive End, Palmyra

      WHY HE'S HERE: Big play specialist for the Panthers who made a killing slipping Offensive tackles with his quickness and savvy array of one-on-one moves. Uber-productive kid who had nineteen tackles for loss for John Kliewer's Blackshirt Defense, proving himself to be one of the most dangerous weapons in our area when turned loose. Very solid overall tackler who finished the year with 70 stops; no small affair in a crowded Palmyra Defensive Group. By seasons end, one of my favorite players to watch work.

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      JEFFREY HALEY,

      Defensive End, Quincy Notre Dame

      WHY HE'S HERE: Standout wrestler proved to be a handful on the Gridiron as well this season, posting a team high five Quarterback sacks for the Raiders. Relentless worker with a seemingly inexhaustable amount of energy and passion working in the pits. Great hand fighter who rarely stayed blocked for very long, as evidenced by his 54 total tackles.

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      Third Team

      DJ WILLIAMS,

      Defensive End, Macomb

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      COLTAN BEHYMER,

      Defensive End, Brown County

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      TYLER SEAL,

      Defensive End, Rushville/Industry

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      NATHAN BANTA,

      Defensive Tackle, Brown County

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      BOE SMITH,

      Defensive Tackle, Pleasant Hill/Western

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      LOGAN WORKMAN,

      Defensive Tackle, Pleasant Hill/Western

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      ZACH BENSON,

      Defensive Tackle, Monroe City High School

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      COOPER BOWLES,

      Defensive Tackle, Quincy High School

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      LINEBACKER

      First Team

      MALIK BONDON,

      Quincy High School

      RATIONALE: Fan vote cost him Illinois Defensive MVP honors but its hard to dispute that this was the best linebacker to strap up a helmet this season in the Tri States. The transfer from Wisconsin made an immediate impact with the Blue Devils as was a huge factor in the team's late season surge in physicality. Malik posted 121 tackles, 82 of which here solo stops, in route to First Team All State and Quincy Herald Whig Player of the Year honors. It was accord well deserved. Malik had a different gear at the snap of the football than anyone else. He moved through would be blockers as if he was coated in Teflon and arrived at the football with destructive results. He holds four Division One offers at this point and it would not surprise me if that total doubles or triples in the weeks ahead. He's still got the potential to get bigger at the next level and whether you view him as a future Outside Linebacer or as a big Strong Safety, Bondon is going to be really good. Two intangible things I really like about the kid...he showed a ton of toughness playing hurt late in the season. And he is infectiously enthusiastic; which made his transition to a new school and new teammates go almost seamlessly. Could be a long time in the Gem City until we see another Defensive Weapon this skilled.

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      JACOB TRUMP,

      Clark County High School

      RATIONALE: The Indians late season doldrums took some of the luster off Jacob Trump's Postseason Awards Resume, but I still contend he is the best two-way player in Northeast Missouri in the Class of 2015. Earned All Clarence Cannon Conference plaudits on both sides of the football but was a First Team pick at Inside Linebacker. Another of those "it must be in the water" Clark County kids who is blessed with a great frame, excellent speed. Functionally, a very strong young man who plays with an Inside Backers force and an Outside Backers range. Clearly, Clark County has some positional issues to correct that were exposed this season, but if the Indians can tighten the ship, Trump is a viable Player of the Year Frontrunner going into next season.

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      CASE DOYLE,

      Palmyra High School

      RATIONALE: Like Trump, a First Team All CCC pick who led the Panther Defense in Tackles with 114 stops. Case also posted 27 stops for loss this year, which as best we can ascertain, leads the entire Tri States. Big, physical guy but Doyle was suprisingly good dropping back into coverage where he snared an interception and broke up a handful of passes this season. If you've seen the video of his heroics at Tight End against Blair Oaks, you know Case is blessed with great hand/eye coordination and runs exceedingly well for an inside player. Biggest asset as a Defensive Player may be his vision; seems to read/recognize and then process at a very rapid level, which allows him to get to the right place on the field at the right time. There isn't a whole lot of give to him either as a tackler as he seems to stop the pile instantly when he arrives. Give the kid plenty of credit, he really erased a lot of the negated loss I thought Ben Althoff's injury would cost this team and this unit. Those were big shoes to compensate for and Case shouldered as much of the load as anyone.

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      BRADY GENENBACHER,

      Quincy Notre Dame High School

      RATIONALE: Bill Connell told us preseason that keeping Brady Genenbacher healthy was as big a key to his team's success this season as any. The man wasn't lying. Brady put significant teeth into the middle of the Raider Defense with a team high 116 tackles and 47 solo stops. Genenbacher tied for the team lead with nine tackles for loss as well and had a pair of forced fumble. One a Defense filled with smart, savvy players, Brady might have been the best of the lot. If he can fill out a little (certainly has the frame for it) Brady might also have the best college upside among this crop of Seniors. Might have as close to a mistake-free resume as anyone on this list. He just goes out on a game to game basis and makes smart plays and certain tackles.

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      BRANDON SONTHEIMER,

      Macon High School

      RATIONALE: The centerpiece of the Tigers vastly underrated Defense, Brandon cleaned up the middle to the tune of a team leading 103 tackles, at a clip of nearly nine stops per night. After flashing this kind of potential as Sophomore, Sontheimer took it up another full level as a Junior and might be your odds on favorite next season for CCC Defensive POY next season. He's going to eat up a ton of stats next year. The Tigers are positioned very nicely for a run at the top of the CCC. And Sontheimer seems to have a knack for making splash plays that keep you top of mind with coaches come honors voting time. Shudder to think what happens if Brandon keeps making this kind of year to year progress.

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      JED TROUTMAN,

      Scotland County High School

      RATIONALE: A rather surprising All State omission who displayed outstanding big play ability on Defense and who I thought did a rather nice job on the offensive line in the limit looks I got at the Tigers on film. Jed had 13 tackles for loss this season and three quarterback sacks to go along with a whopping 62 solo tackles. Active, tough player who set an important tone of toughness for a very young squad.

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      Second Team

      ALEX MEEK,

      Keokuk High School

      WHY HE'S HERE: Ideal run stuffer who posted 85 total tackles and 5 stops for loss fronting a very young defense. The Chiefs struggles this season obscured just how hard this kid works and what a fine tackler he really is.

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      RIVER BUGH,

      Quincy High School

      WHY HE'S HERE: The heart and soul of the Blue Devil Defense posted 93 tackles this season, forced three fumbles, and finished second on his team in tackles for loss with 93. Might have the highest revving motor in all of Tri State Sports and is as tough a pound for pound kid as you will find on an area football field.

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      REED SPRINKLE,

      Macomb High School

      WHY HE'S HERE: Dual threat spark plug had twice as many total tackles (64) this season as any other Bomber and more solo stops (48) than any of this teammates had total tackles. Bottom line, Reed was worker and adjusted well to his new position. Also served as the Bomber's top rusher on the other side of the Football with 768 yards and six touchdowns. Kid barely ever came off the field and never let off the accelerator. Not a coach in the region who would not find room on his roster for a kid like this.

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      LOGAN SCHUTTE,

      Quincy Notre Dame

      WHY HE'S HERE: One of two Raider Linebackers to top the century mark in tackles this season. Logan finished with 104 stops, 7 tackles for loss and was generally consider "The Enforcer" for a defensive group that didn't otherwise have much in the way of size. First Team All Conference Selection who excelled in bolster the Raider run defenses.

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      COLE HUEY,

      Beardstown High School

      WHY HE'S HERE: Tigers top tackler this season with 77 stops in route to Second Team All Prairieland Conference honors. Strong, inspirational hitter who dedicated his season to his father Kenny, who was stricken with cancer and who passed on Thanksgiving Day. Top notch kid who infused a needed layer of physicality and confidence on an otherwise young and unproven Defense.

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      JR BOYD

      Rushville-Industry High School

      WHY HE'S HERE: Pound for pound, one of the most punishing hitters in the region. Boyd's productivity was exceptional the last two years with 163 total tackles over that tenure. He had a team high 71 stops this season largely due to having better support around him. Finished the year as the Rockets top rusher as well with 765 yards.

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      Third Team

      PARKER KIENTLZE,

      Quincy Notre Dame

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      WES CREASY,

      Quincy High School

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      NATHAN MEKDARA,

      Brown County High School

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      DEAN ARENDT,

      Concord Triopia High School

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      BRETT WESSEL,

      Hannibal High School

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      ALEX NUNN,

      Highland High School

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      DEFENSIVE BACK

      First Team

      ALEX MYLES

      Safety, Beardstown High School

      RATIONALE: First Team All Prairieland honoree on both sides of the Football, but was particulary strong as a run support "cleaner" who helped put significant teeth into the Tiger Defense. Despite having his year ended prematurely by a knee injury, Myles cleaned up a team high 45 solo tackles in route to 71 total stops on the year. Active, ferocious tackler with Linebacker type strength at the point of attack. Teams generally stayed away from Alex in the passing game, though he did have one interception. Myles also was the key cog in the Tiger Offense this season with 1078 rushing yards and seven rushing touchdowns and another four end zone visits and nearly 300 yards in receptions, underscoring his versatility as an all around weapon for Tyler Buhlig. Just a hard-nosed, throwback type who played the game relishing physicality.

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      GRANT O'BRYAN,

      Rover, Monroe City High School

      RATIONALE: Despite sitting out the Palmyra game with a knee injury, Grant still delivered one of the best run support work rates of any Defensive Back in Tri State Football with 87 total tackles. Smart, aggressive kid who tackled much bigger than his actual size; which was a nice plus for a Defense that desperately needed a foundation piece. In basketball parlance, O'Bryan is a guy who gives you all that extra "hustle stat" production you crave above and beyond the normal job description. He had three interceptions, six pass defenses, and a force fumble to go along. He proved to be pretty salty on the blitz as well with a pair of quarterback sacks and eight tackles for loss. Just one of those spark plug kids you want on the field as much as possible over the course of a game.

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      COREY BROWN,

      Cornerback, Bowling Green High School

      RATIONALE: Two-time All EMO Selection is as pure a cover coverage man as you can find in Tri State Football. Fluid athlete, great ballhawking ability, tremendous compensating ability to run with and interdict air traffic. There is really no aspect of the discipline of playing Defensive Back that Corey doesn't do well. Incredibly talented kid who has been a top flight performer in Northeast Missouri for three years running. One of the region's very best place kickers to boot on top of everything else he brings to the table.

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      ADAM ELLYSON,

      Cornerback, South Shelby High School

      RATIONALE: One of the more inspirational stories in Tri State Football, given his well documented story of playing the game with just one eye. But this isn't about sentiment. This is selfishly about football and Ellyson's work rate and smarts put him in much higher esteem here than I guess even the CCC Coaches held him in. I am not sure there is a CCC Defensive Back I would rather have here, just because Adam brings so much savvy and intelligence to the field. This is a young man who understands angles of pursuit at genius level. See also the 221 tackles he's chased down in his three years as a starter, including the 92 stops he made as a Senior. He added six tackles for loss this season and added three more picks to a career resume that now boasts eight career interceptions. Honestly, I was stunned the kid wasn't a First Team All Conference pick. Outside of Josh Hultz, I thought Ellyson was the most complete DB I saw in NEMO this year.

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      BRADY LONG,

      Rover, Brown County High School

      RATIONALE: I know he played Linebacker this season but lets not quibble over position. Brady was the rainmaker on the Hornet Defense and a young man who runs as fluidly and quickly to contact as any in our area. Part of that is obviously elite speed. The other part of it is maturation. Speaking plainly, I thought Brady's transformation from finesse guy in his younger days to flat out nasty "cleaner" was about as dramatic as any I had seen from a kid since Wyatt Green. The light clearly went on for Brady this season and he became, ironically enough, more fun to watch on defense than he did runnign the football. I think the most salient point you can make about this kid is that if you give him a chance to read and a running start, he makes it impossible to run to the outside. You physically can't beat him to the corner. And if you meet him there, he's gotten sure enough as a tackler to win that battle. Hard to see him on the sidelines for both showdowns with Central. Think his presence would have made a major differenct defensively against the Panthers speed.

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      Second Team

      AARON BUFORD,

      Scotland County High School

      WHY HE'S HERE: Best Freshman in Tri State Football this season and a great futures pick. Aaron debuted with 45 solo stops at the back of the Tiger Defense and showed big play ability with three interceptions and a forced fumble. Guys this young aren't supposed to be this good in pass coverage but Buford busted up six attempts this past season and is fast proving a guy you don't want to test.

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      JAYVIN RAY,

      Clark County High School

      WHY HE'S HERE: Indians heady Safety earned All State honors from the Missouri Football Coaches Assocation after a senior campaign that saw him pull effective double duty both in the Secondary and at Quarterback. One of the more imposing Defensive Backs in our area and a great added source of physicality against the run. Very high coverage IQ and a guy who helped

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      BRYCE BAXTER,

      Keokuk High School

      WHY HE'S HERE: Posted a team best 89 tackles for the Chiefs this season, playing safety net for a team that experienced its ups and downs defensing the run. Bryce brings great confidence, athletic range, and a nasty streak to the mix and doubled as a very dangerous wide receiver for the Chiefs the last two seasons.

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      JOSH TURNER,

      Macon High School

      WHY HE'S HERE: A lynchpin performer in the rising Macon Defense over the course of the season who displayed tremendous cover skills with four interceptions and the ability to close on just about any wide receiver. His 65 tackles were the third highest total on the team as Josh's combo played helped him earn 3rd Team Class 3 All State honors from the Missouri Football Coaches Association.

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      DEVANTE CLARK,

      Rover, Jacksonville

      RATIONALE: Central State Eight opponents wisely learned to stay away from Clark over the last two years, but the multi-talented Crimson senior ballhawk still snared a team high four interceptions this season. Closing speed and aggression made him a nice finisher from the back who added 37 tackles this season for JAX.

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      Third Team

      PARKER SCHUTTE,

      Quincy High

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      COLE PHILLIPS,

      Central High School

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      BRAYDEN CARROLL,

      Illini West High School

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      TYLER ELLEDGE,

      Mark Twain High School

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      JACK HICKS,

      Clopton/Elsberry

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      SPECIAL TEAMS

      JORDAN MARTIN,

      Kicker, Keokuk High School

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      LOGAN BOYD,

      Punter/Coverage Specialist, Van-Far High Schoo

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      JERRY MCBRIDE,

      Return Specialist, Hannibal High School

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      KHQA ALL GRIT TEAM

      The underrated, the unsung, and the just plain tough hombres you'd want on your side in a Do or Die Situation

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      QB-WAYDE SMITH, PGP

      QB-CRAIG SMITH, Macon

      RB-BOBBY KELTZ, Central

      RB-DAKOTA SHAW, Keokuk

      RB-CHRIS "UP THE MIDDLE" LITTLE, Macon

      FB-DREW BARNETT, West Central

      APB-ALEX BLICKHAN, Unity-Payson

      WR-CHRIS JACKSON, Scotland County

      WR-BRADY ROBINSON, Brown County

      TE-SCOTT LENTZ, Unity-Payson

      OL-GRIFFIN GREENE, Triopia

      OL-CLINT LEWIS, Brown County

      OL-DEVIN PROST, Quincy High

      OL-MAC GANN, Beardstown

      OL-DUSTIN LOGAN, West Prairie

      OL-COREY GILMORE, Mark Twain

      ATHLETE-DONOVAN EDWARDS, Knox County??

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      DL-JORDAN LOLLI, Macon

      DL-AUGUST HAYHURST, Paris

      DL-AUSTIN GARDNER, Rushville/Industry

      DE/OLB-JASON DORMIRE, Central

      DE/OLB-MATT HETTINGER, Palmyra

      LB-CJ GAST, Macon

      LB-ANDREW HARDY, West Hancock

      LB-DEVON THOMAS, Hannibal

      LB-BEN WHALEN, Routt

      DB-DRAKE REITER, Keokuk

      DB-NOLAN ARD, Illini West

      ROVER-AUSTIN CURFMAN, Illini West

      ROVER-WYATT KING, Hannibal