Commentary

All-area preps football team

Marist backfield well-represented among area's best

Originally Published: November 27, 2009
By Scott Powers | ESPNChicago.com

Glenbard North senior defensive lineman Nick Abbate: Abbate was one of the top defensive players in the DuPage Valley. He keyed a defense that had six shutouts this season.

St. Rita junior running back Jahwon Akui: Akui was by far the state's best running back until suffering an ankle injury late into the season. He still rushed for 1,493 yards and 25 touchdowns.

Cary-Grove senior offensive lineman Hayden Baker: Cary-Grove runs one of the best option offenses in the state, and Baker, a center, had a lot to do with it. The Trojans scored 584 points this season.

Maine South senior quarterback Tyler Benz: Benz filled the shoes of Charlie Goro, who now plays at Vanderbilt, without a problem this season. He was 177-250 passing with 26 touchdowns and six interceptions. He also rushed for 569 yards and nine touchdowns.

De La Salle senior defensive back/wide receiver D.J. Bland: Bland was one of the Catholic League's most versatile players. He showed off that ability in the playoffs as in one game he had two touchdown catches, returned two kicks for touchdowns and intercepted a pass.

Lake Zurich senior running back Jacob Brinlee: Brinlee didn't receive the publicity of fellow conference backs Greg Kennedy and Mark Weisman, but he proved he was just as good as them in the playoffs. Brinlee was the driving force behind the Bears reaching the Class 7A semifinals.

Loyola senior defensive lineman Chance Carter: Carter was one of the state's most dominant defensive ends this season and a major reason why Loyola was one of the top defensive teams. He's headed to Northwestern next season.

Proviso East senior wide receiver/safety Corey Cooper: Proviso East didn't have the type of season it hoped to have, but it certainly wasn't Cooper's fault. He starred on offense, defense and special teams for the Pirates. He's committed to Illinois.

Loyola senior linebacker Pat Dougherty: Dougherty was the Catholic League Blue defensive player of the year. He helped the Ramblers be one of the state's top defensive teams this season.

Lincoln-Way East senior wide receiver/defensive back Alex Evans: Evans did it on both sides of the ball this season and helped Lincoln-Way East to be among the best teams in the state during the regular season.

Johnsburg senior tight end C.J. Fiedorowicz: Fiedorowicz is considered one of the nation's top tight ends. He had 44 receptions for 921 yards and 15 touchdowns this season. He recently de-committed from Illinois and committed to Iowa.

St. Rita junior defensive lineman Bruce Gaston: Gaston is one of the most heavily recruited players in the state. An explosive defensive end, Gaston had seven sacks this season.

Cary-Grove senior running back Alex Hembrey: Hembrey rushed for 1,102 yards and 19 touchdowns for the Trojans' high-powered offense. He also had 236 receiving yards and five touchdowns.

Providence senior defensive back Pete Houlihan: Houlihan does a lot of everything for the Celtics. He seemed to come up with a key play in every game for Providence this season. He was the Catholic League player of the year. He'll play at Eastern Illinois next season.

Wheaton Warrenville South senior kicker Nick Immekus: Immekus may not look like a kicker as he weighs 240 pounds and also plays on the offensive line, but he's one of best in the Midwest. He is automatic from 40 yards and in.

Warren senior running back Greg Kennedy: After sitting out last season, Kennedy returned in a big way this season. He was one of the state's top running backs. He rushed for 1,800-plus yards and 22 touchdowns.

Providence senior defensive lineman Steve Laski: Laski played a major role in Providence's defensive success this season. He had 102 tackles and 6.5 sacks.

Bolingbrook senior linebacker Marcus Lee: Lee was the key behind Bolingbrook's defensive success this season. He recently reopened his recruitment.

Naperville North junior linebacker Nick Lifka: Lifka was the DuPage Valley defensive player of the year. He had 90 tackles and five sacks this season. He is being recruited by a number of big-name programs.

Fremd senior offensive lineman Christian Lombard: Lombard is considered one of the nation's top offensive lineman. He opened many of running back Evan Wright's holes this season. He's committed to Notre Dame.

Glenbard West senior linebacker Connor Loftus: Loftus was the defensive key to Glenbard West's undefeated season. He had 111 tackles and was the defensive player of the year in the West Suburban Silver.

Riverside-Brookfield senior wide receiver Mark McDonagh: McDonagh set a national record with 165 receptions this season. He also had 1,492 yards and eight touchdowns.

Nazareth senior running back LaSteven McKinney: McKinney and Nazareth didn't have the season they were expecting, but McKinney was still one of the area's top running backs. He'll play at Central Michigan next season.

Prospect senior quarterback Miles Osei: Osei is one of the state's top dual-threat quarterbacks. He burned defense in the air and on the ground all season. He threw for 2,000-plus yards and ran for 1,000-plus yards.

Maine South senior running back/linebacker Matt Perez: Perez is the ESPNChicago.com High School Player of the Year. He rushed for 1,930 yards and 29 touchdowns. He also had two touchdown receptions, two kickoff touchdown returns and led Maine South in tackles for a loss.

Marist senior quarterback Mike Perish: Perish didn't receive the publicity of some of the area's quarterbacks heading into the season, but he has proven to be one o f the best. He threw for 3,204 yards and 35 touchdowns this season.

Marist senior wide receiver Dan Piko: Piko and quarterback Mike Perish were one of the top quarterback-wide receiver combos in the state. Piko had 85 receptions for 1,272 yards and 15 touchdowns.

Proviso West senior wide receiver Kyle Prater: Prater is ranked as one of the country's top wide receivers. He had 58 receptions for 1,014 yards and 10 touchdowns this season. He's committed to USC.

Joliet Catholic senior linebacker Jake Stockman: Stockman was the star on Joliet Catholic's defense this season. He led the Hilltoppers with 109 tackles and four sacks.

Wheaton Warrenville South senior wide receiver Mack Tracey: Tracey plays a number of different roles for the Tigers. He catches passes, throws passes, runs the ball, returns kicks and even punts. Each, he has done with success this season.

Glenbard West junior offensive lineman Jordan Walsh: Walsh, who is 6-3 and 275 pounds, was one o f the state's top offensive lineman this season. He was a major factor in Glenbard West's 3,409 rushing yards.

Stevenson senior running back Mark Weisman: Weisman, a powerful runner, was among the area's elite running backs this season and a big reason for Stevenson's undefeated regular season.

Hinsdale Central senior quarterback John Whitelaw: Whitelaw continued to torment defenses this season running and passing. He threw for 1,840 passing yards and 18 touchdowns. He ran for 1,299 yards and 17 touchdowns.

Downers Grove South senior quarterback Chandler Whitmer: The expectations were large for Whitmer heading into the season, and he lived up to them. He was one of the state's premier quarterbacks and led the Mustangs to the 8A quarterfinals. He'll play at Illinois next season.

Fremd senior running back Evan Wright: Wright was as good as anyone at running back this season. He ran for more than 2,000 yards and scored 29 touchdowns.

Scott Powers covers high school and college sports for ESPNChicago.com and can be reached at preps@espnchicago.com.

Scott Powers is a general reporter for ESPNChicago.com. He is an award-winning journalist and has been reporting on preps, colleges and pros for publications throughout the Midwest since 1997.

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