An injury to David Yancey may have cost Lake Central a chance at postseason accolades, but the Indians running back still managed to garner individual honors.
One of eight local players named first team all state by the Associated Press, Yancey was part of the 'A' list in Class 5A. Five players including Lowell's George Fields (running back), Hobart's Gerald Valenzuela (offensive line) and Aaron Delgrosso (kicker), Kankakee Valley's Johnny Williams (linebacker) and E.C. Central's Larunte Fairley (defensive back) were on a region-heavy Class 4A team.
Andrean's Nick Serrato was tabbed in Class 2A at tight end, while Whiting's Justin Jendreas was selected in Class A at defensive back.
"I saw it on Twitter. A lot of people were talking about it and were really excited about it," Yancey said. "I really didn't think I'd have the consideration since I was injured, but then again, I'm not surprised because I played to the best of my abilities out there."
Despite exiting in the last (ninth) game of the regular season with a knee and calf injury, the Purdue recruit amassed 1,184 yards and 17 touchdowns for the Indians.
"I really think all the awards I've been blessed with are a reflection of my team and coaches," Yancey said. "I couldn't have done it without my five linemen, tight end, quarterback Alec Olund leading us and my fullback Riley Arvanitis, as well as our great defense, which I practiced against every day. They all made me a better player on the field and our coaches made me a better person off the field."
Serrato, a junior all-stater in 2011, made 20 catches for 234 yards and three TDs on offense, while amassing 132 tackles and 10 sacks on defense for the regional-champion 59ers.
"It's well-deserved. Nick's a great player," Andrean coach Phil Mason said. "He was definitely our captain, our emotional leader, a kid who grew into his leadership role as the year progressed. He was a big reason we ended up where we did and I'm sure he'll go on to have a great college career. There's not much more I can say about him."
Like Serrato, Jendreas was a force on both sides of the ball for the Oilers, who fashioned an unbeaten regular season. He recorded 55 tackles and four interceptions as a defensive back in addition to topping 1,000 yards (591 rushing, 460 receiving) and scoring 16 TDs as a receiver/running back.
"He definitely deserves it," Whiting coach Jeff Cain said. "He did just about everything for us. A lot of people knew he'd been a great receiver for us for two, three years, but he actually took on the role of running back a couple weeks this season.
"He was our long snapper on punts, our holder on PATs and returned every punt and every kickoff. We never had him in the stands selling anything, but he probably could've done that, too. As good of a player as he is, he's an even better person. He's been an enjoyable kid to coach for four years."
Fields scored 21 touchdowns for the Red Devils this season and Gerald Valenzuela was part of an 8-3 Hobart team that had a resurgent season.
Aaron Delgrosso had two field goals longer than 50 yards and 47 of his 60 kickoffs for the Brickies were touchbacks.
Johnny Williams and Larunte Fairley wrote themselves into record books this season. Williams set a school mark with 85 solo tackles and Fairley tied a national record for Pick 6s with four.