The Times 2011 All-Area Football Team

2011-12-01T22:00:00Z 2012-11-29T18:30:47Z The Times 2011 All-Area Football TeamBy Times Staff
December 01, 2011 10:00 pm  • 

First Team


1. Jake Raspopovich

Quarterback, Merrillville, Jr.

Bio: Ice water ran in Raspo's veins. Won three games in the last minute on full-field drives. Accounted for 217 yards a game with his arm and legs. That's why he was the DAC's co-offensive MVP.

Stats: 173-of-292 for 2,057 yards, 12 TDs; 159 carries for 551 yards, 7 TDS.

2. Mason Zurek

Running back, Andrean, Sr.

Bio: The Times Offensive Player of the Year was the gas and the engine for the 59ers' offense. Andrean ran the table in the NCC, beat Merrillville and Zurek's skill and athleticism was a big reason.

Stats: 170 carries for 1,384 yards, 23 TDs; 3 receptions for 92 yards, 3 TDs.

3. Rashaan Coleman

Running back, Portage, Jr.

Bio: Coleman was the glue that held the Indians together. He was a difference-maker wherever he lined up, which after injuries wound up being quarterback. "He is the reason we tied for third in the conference," coach Jeromy Flowers said.

Stats: 91 carries, 617 yards, 6 TDs; 23 completions, 475 yards, 5TDs; 13 catches, 208 yards, 2 TDs; 18.1 punt return avg.

4. Ethan Biggs

Running back, South Central, Sr.

Bio: The Satellites' career record-holder with 5,652 yards, 59 touchdowns and 32 100-yard games, Biggs posted a four-digit season total despite facing stacked lines and playing several games with a shoulder injury. In addition to punting, he also saw time at end, linebacker and safety before getting hurt.

Stats: 226 carries, 1,389 yards, 15 TDs, 7 two-point conversions.

5. Robert Hurd

Wide receiver, Wheeler, Sr.

Bio: One of the region's best vertical threats, Hurd averaged over 10 yards per touch. He moved to quarterback for several games after Nick Naspnski broke his ankle and kept the Bearcats train rolling. "Our best athlete...a tremendous team player...did anything we asked of him," coach Dan Klimczak said.

Stats: 137 carries, 1083 yards, 11 TDs; 37 catches, 518 yards, 5 TDs.

6. Michael Peavy

Hammond, Wide receiver, Sr.

Bio: The standout athlete led the Wildcats to reverse their record (8-3) in one season. Could do it all. Run like the wind, catch like Johnny Bench and hit like Dick Butkus. Simply unbelievable.

Stats: 28 receptions for 562 yards, 6 TDs; 73 carries for 727 yards, 13 TDs; 65 tackles, 3 TFL

7. Paul Carey

Offensive line, Merrillville, Sr.

Bio: The top-shelf defensive end, where he had 90 tackles, moved to tackle for one of the area's top offenses. That's how good this young man is. Zac Wells said Carey was one of his strongest kids.

8. Tyler Wright

Offensive line, Lowell, Sr.

Bio: After missing most of his junior season with a bum knee, Wright came back with a senior season that was perfect for a Red Devil. Started at state as a sophomore. Just a great, great prep player.

9. Ryley Harlow

Offensive line, Chesterton, Jr.

Bio: A standout on both sides of the ball, Harlow missed the last four games with an injury he sustained in August but he chose to play through it until coach John Snyder pulled him. Chesterton's fortunes went as he went. It won four games with him, one without. "He has a great motor and great toughness," Snyder said. 

10. Stephen Hutchison

Offensive line, Crown Point, Sr.

Bio: Coach Chip Pettit said his powerful guard was his best for an offense that averaged 25 points a game and won a sectional crown. The points would not have come without great play from the hogs.

11. Robert Hayes

Offensive line, Morton, Sr.

Bio: Morton is good because the offense is explosive. The program's rise to postseason contender would not have happened without guys like Hayes being strong inside. Three straight sectionals.

12. Kyle Schmidt

Kicker, Chesterton, Sr.

Bio: The best kicker-punter to come out of Chesterton, Schmidt owns almost every school record. Touchbacks were routine for him. A D-I college is in his future.

Stats: 30-32 PATs, 5 FGs, 38-46 touchbacks, 39.0 punting avg.

13. Everett Coleman

Athlete, E.C. Central, Sr.

Bio: The Cards QB pushed the building program to six straight wins and the first sectional win in ten years. The offense's 35.8 scoring average was very good and Coleman held up the O's lantern.

Stats: 103-of-287 for 1,759 yards, 22 TDs; 90 carries for 488 yards, 8 TDs.

14. David Yancey

Athlete, Lake Central, Jr.

Bio: If you don't know how valuable this QB was just take a look at the fourth quarter of the sectional opener. He goes out and so does the offense. That's why he was the DAC co-MVP on this side of ball.

Stats: 149 carries for 1,345 yards and 16 TDs; 45-of-90 passing for 494 yards and 9 TDs.


1. Billy Van Cleef

Defensive line, Crown Point, Sr.

Bio: Was "the" leader for the sectional champion Bulldogs' D. And played a huge roll in keeping state-finalist Penn to just three points into the fourth quarter of the regional. A Top 10 student, too.

Stats: 88 tackles, 5.5 sacks, 4 TFL

2. Cameron Tanner

Defensive line, Crown Point, Sr.

Bio: The DAC coaches didn't need long to see who to run away from. The best noseguard in the region without a close second. Led a 'Dogs D that was 13th in the state in points allowed at 11.85.

Stats: 100 tackles, 8.5 sacks, 12 TFL

3. Gelen Robinson

Defensive line, Lake Central, So.

Bio: The Times Defensive Player of the Year gets angry when people call him a "defensive end." But the "LB" spends 90 percent of the snaps with his hand on the ground and 100 percent in the QB's face.

Stats: 75 tackles, 26 TFL, 9 sacks, 28 hurries, 3 blocked punts

4. Ike Spearman

Linebacker, Lake Central, Sr.

Bio: You don't go to Ole Miss on looks alone. The Indians, who roared back from the dead to tie for the DAC title, were led by their defense. Spearman was quick and nasty chasing down foes.

Stats: 79 tackles, 17 TFL, 2 fumble recoveries

5. Jake Grossnickle

Linebacker, Valparaiso

Bio: Voted the Duneland's most valuable defensive player, the three-year starter and Vikings' strong man solidified a unit that had to replace a lot of pieces from the talented semistate cast. Northern Illinois and Ball State are possibilities.

Stats: 125 tackles (40 solos), 4 tackles for loss, 1 INT, 7 passes broken up.

6. Faron Osborne

Linebacker, Morton, Sr.

Bio: Talk about a team player. As a junior Osborne played nosetackle because his team needed him to. And he played in a semistate. Moved back this year, was a stud and won another title.

Stats: 139 tackles, 4 fumble recoveries, 3 sacks, 2 INT., 3 blocked kicks

7. Tyler Yost

Linebacker, Griffith, Sr.

Bio: Tough as the program itself, Yost could do it all and he did. Led his Panthers to eight wins and a sectional championship game. Those numbers would not have been possible without Yost.

Stats: 98 tackles, 9 TFL, 4 sacks; 104 carries for 646 yards, 5 TDS

8. Alfred Dickey

Defensive back, Morton, Sr.

Bio: In a program known for great athletes, Dickey followed perfectly in the mold that Roy Richards has put together. And like other great Govs this kid did it well on both sides of the ball. Very well.

Stats: 93 tackles, 6 INT., 3 fumble recoveries, 2 blocked kicks; 25 receptions for 617 Yards and 8 TDS.

9. Dylan Morang

Defensive back, Lake Central, Sr.

Bio: If any one player led the Indians back from the dead it was this three-year starter. Was there when it was awful and worked hard to turn the corner. Great receiver as well. Could do it all.

Stats: 45 tackles, 8 INT; 23 receptions for 318 yards, 6 TDs.

10. Austin Brown

Defensive back, Griffith, Jr.

Bio: Probably the region's overall "Player of the Year." Everything the Panthers did Brown's fingerprints were all over it. Is as tough as he is athletic and has a will to win that few others have.

Stats: 122 tackles, 6 TFL, 5 sacks; 38-of-78 for 713 yards, 12 TDs, 245 carries for 1,499 yards, 21 TDs.

11. Kourtney Berry

Defensive back, Merrillville, Sr.

Bio: Not only a great athlete in the open field, he was also tough as nails. His blocking from the H-back position opened up a lot of holes for his teammates. Could hit with a force that few others could.

Stats: 84 tackles, 5 breakups; 39 receptions for 383 yards.

12. Mark Strbjak

Punter, Munster, Sr.

Bio: The Mustangs quarterback also won several games with great runs and throws late in big games. He is being recruited as a D-I punter, though. Shattered the school record that was set in 1975.

Stats: 39 punts for a 41.26 average, 9 inside red zone.

13. Nick Naspinski,

Athlete, Wheeler, Sr.

Bio: The imposing dual threat amassed over 1,900 yards of offense despite missing several games with a broken ankle, from which he returned to pilot the Bearcats to a sectional title. "Nick was without a doubt the leader of our team," Klimczak said. "The best quarterback we have had, period."

Stats: 77-114 passing (68 percent), 1,200, 14 TDs, 2 INT; 103 carries, 717 yards, 16 TDs.

14. Lukas Nossem

Athlete, Munster, Sr.

Bio: The four-year starter at linebacker and two-year starter at tight end is getting looks from the Big Ten plus Ivy League. His 4.2 GPA helps on both accounts. Played entire year on torn ACL. Tough.

Stats: 93 tackles, 3 TD receptions

Second team


1. QB -- Antonio Pipkin, Bowman Academy, Jr.

Bio: The high-flying Eagles had an ace behind the wheel. A great arm and a great eye for finding open receivers.

Stats: 98-of-177 for 2,349 yards, 25 TDs; 38 carries for 255 yards, 3 TDs.

2. RB -- Andrew Kittridge, Valparaiso, Jr.

Bio: Kittridge missed time due to injury and played at less than 100 percent for stretches, but he remained the Vikings' bell cow between the tackles. He is over 2,000 yards for his career.

Stats: 919 yards rushing, 267 receiving, 12 TDs.

3. RB -- Tristan Peterson, Crown Point, So.

Bio: No surprise that C.P. took off when Peterson became a full-time starter. His 204 yards and four TDs in sectional final was just sick.

Stats: 197 carries, 983 yards, 10 touchdowns.

4. RB -- Martayveus Carter, E.C. Central, So.

Bio: Get used to this name. You'll be seeing it a lot over the next two seasons. Will be a major D-I recruit. That's major with a capital M.

Stats: 69 carries for 933 yards, 13 TDs; 16 receptions for 413 yards, 5 TDs; 136 tackles, 23 TFL

5. WR -- Cornelius Strickland, Bowman Academy, Sr.

Bio: The spring sprinter was just as awesome in the fall. Will be able to pick his college and his sport very soon.

Stats: 39 receptions for 1,003 yards, 14 TDs; 10 carries for 158 yards, 2 TDs.

6. WR -- Joe Troop, Chesterton, Jr.

Bio: A huge threat split wide or in the backfield, Troop was the area's top return man, hands down. It didn't take long for opponents to hone in on the Trojans burner. "Most teams kicked away from Joe and when we were on offense they called him out by name and number, identifiying where he was," Snyder said.

Stats: 82 carries, 499 yards, 4 TDs; 23 catches, 425 yards, 5 TDs; 9 punt returns, 213 yards, 2 TDs; 13 kickoff returns, 313 yards.

7. OL -- Joey Little, Portage, Sr.

Bio: When the Indians needed to move the chains, they went Little's way. He was voted the team's offensive player of the year.

8. OL -- Johnny Bednar, Valparaiso, Sr.

Bio: Rated the team's best blocker by coach Mark Hoffman, Bednar's opportunity in college could come as a long snapper, which he did on varsity for three years. "He has the long snapping ability to play on Sunday in the NFL," Hoffman said. "He is the best long snapper we have ever had."

9. OL -- Marco Radjenovic, Lake Central, Sr.

Bio: The best blocker on an offense that rushed for 277 yards on average. This kid was not average. The best of the best.

10. OL -- Maciek Szczepkowski, Griffith, Sr.

Bio: Large and impressive -- that's what this O lineman was. His Panthers pushed the ball down the field with ease and grit.

11. OL -- Brandon Spencer, Merrillville, Sr.

Bio: Played tackle on both sides of the center. Very versatile. Extreme speed allowed Spencer to get downfield and pancake.

12. K -- Brett Bayer, Crown Point, Sr.

Bio: The strong-toed Bulldog had the tough luck of being the same grade as Chesterton's Kyle Schmidt, otherwise many would've talked about him.

Stats: 43-of-44 XP, 6 field goals, 22 touchbacks

13. Athlete -- Chris Katsafaros, Chesterton, Jr.

Bio: Katsafaros was the engine that made the Trojans' option offense go. He was slippery running the ball and developed into a big-play passer. Katsafaros missed over three games due to an injury and his absence was evident.

Stats: 147 carries, 958 yards, 11 TDs; 45-86 passing, 703 yards, 6 TDs.

14. Athlete -- Chris McCormack, Morton, Sr.

Bio: The three-year starting QB led the Govs to three sectional crowns with guts and grit. Could run and throw and could do it all on one play. Will be extremely difficult to replace.

Stats: 98-of-213 for 1,835 yards and 23 TDs; 141 carries for 756 yards and 10 TDs.


1. DL -- Merit Peterson, Andrean, Sr.

Bio: The two-way lineman was fantastic on both sides of the ball. Will take his game to Wabash next fall and should continue success.

Stats: 28 tackles, 3 TFL

2. DL -- Andrew Schooler, Valparaiso, Sr.

Bio: Injuries blunted his season, but Schooler remained a force on the front line for the Vikings with quickness that belies his size (255 pounds).

Stats: 57 tackles, 5 for loss, 2 sacks.

3. DL -- Ramiro Cazares, Gavit, Jr.

Bio: The smallest D-lineman in the area was also one of the best, leading the area in sacks. Quickness and toughness pushed the sled.

Stats: 57 tackles, 19 sacks, 5 forced fumbles

4. LB -- Ricky Johnston, Andrean, Sr.

Bio: Coach Phil Mason said Johnston was the best player on one of the region's top Ds. Several NAIA schools very interested.

Stats: 101 tackles, 14 TFL, 4 forced fumbles


5. LB -- Darryl Peppers, Merrillville, Sr.

Bio: Talk about a young man who can do it all. His physical presence moved the chains and stopped opponents in their cleats. Period.

Stats: 97 tackles; 193 carries for 1,120 yards, 13 TDs

6. LB -- Jordan Krajci, Crown Point, Sr.

Bio: In his first year as a starter the middle linebacker set a Bulldogs record for single-season tackles. And this wasn't any old D. One of area's best.

Stats: 127 tackles, 8 TFL, 1 INT

7. LB -- Mitchell Stevenson, Wheeler, Sr.

Bio: Wheeler's record-holder for tackles in a season, Stevenson was at his best when it meant the most, notably sectional wins over Andrean and Rensselaer. "A defensive monster for us," Klimczak said. 

Stats: 170 tackles, 3 INTs, 4 fumble recoveries; 26 catches, 466 yards, 7 TDs, 8 carries, 102 yards, TD.

8. DB -- Will Isabell, Merrillville, Sr.

Bio: One of the area's most physical corners had 12 pass breakups and also added 278 return yards. Played big in like games. Always.

Stats: 67 tackles, 5 INT, 5 TFL, 3 forced fumbles

9. DB -- Zac Vardaman, Portage, Sr.

Bio: In his only season of high school football, Vardaman was an instinctive defender with a nose for the ball and the knack for being in the right place at the right time. He was also a special teams standout.

Stats: 60 tackles, 3 INTs, 10 passes broken up.

10. DB -- Logan McRae, Crown Point, Sr.

Bio: Even with a great defensive front you still have to have folks to come up and hit the ball and McRae was that player for a great D.

Stats: 111 tackles, 4 INT, 7 passes broken up

11. DB -- Justin Jendreas, Whiting, Jr.

Bio: In a season where Jeff Cain became the Oilers all-time winningest coaches, Jendreas was one of many top underclassmen.

Stats: 55 tackles; 33 catches for 567 yards, 7 TDs.

12. P -- Gavin Voss, Wheeler, Sr.

Bio: A soccer standout, Voss also showed off his leg strength on Friday nights. He was nearly automatic on placements and consistently forced opponents to start on the 20-yard line.

Stats: 66-69 PATs, 4-5 FGs, 44 touchbacks, 36.7 punting avg.

13. Athlete -- J.J. Pennington, River Forest, Jr.

Bio: New Chicago was hopping this fall and the Ingots QB/DB were a big reason. His height, length and athleticism turned the tide.

Stats: 22 tackles, 20 pass breakups; 63-of-139 passing for 1,246 yards, 14 TDs; 116 carries for 394 yards, 10 TDs.

14. Athlete -- Chad Schultz, North Newton, Jr.

Bio: Coming out of almost nowhere, Schultz exploded on the scene and had a remarkable season. Should be even better next time.

Stats: 234 carries for 1,745 yards, 23 TDs; 23 receptions for 325 yards, 3 TDs.

Honorable mention

Duneland Athletic Conference

CHESTERTON -- Sean Matheny, Zack Jenks; CROWN POINT -- Tyler Kral, Pete Parks, Joe Hopman, Austin Stanley; LAKE CENTRAL --Ryan Gindl, Michael Hines; LAPORTE -- David Eldridge, Austin Epple, Taylor James; MERRILLVILLE -- Aaron Dye, Kevin Wilkerson; MICHIGAN CITY -- Giorgio Karallas, Trent Ornsby, Kevin Kreighbaum; PORTAGE -- Kenyotta Rollins, Jordan Nieto, Alvin Best; VALPARAISO -- Ryan Nix, Paul Andrie, Brandon Hayes, CJ Gear.

Northwest Crossroads Conference

ANDREAN -- Julian Beeks, Nick Serrato, Kyle Lesch; GRIFFITH -- Brett Brinkley, Nathan McNeill, Joey Golub; HIGHLAND -- Jason Thiele, Chris Steele; HOBART -- Anthony Burgos, Gerald Valenzuela, Max Wilson; KANKAKEE VALLEY -- Joel Bolen, Johnny Williams; LOWELL -- Luke Mitrisin, Nick Kijurna, Jake Hayden, Clark Mikesell; MUNSTER -- Luke Hilbrich, Nick Brajak, A.J. Jurick, Oliver Sutter.

Greater South Shore Conference

BISHOP NOLL -- Josh Galgan, Cody Moskovsky; CALUMET -- Thomas Brown; LAKE STATION -- Hasonie Walters; NORTH NEWTON -- Cody Balog, Jim Rambo; RIVER FOREST -- Ramon Diaz, Brandon Laas, Alex Ballestas, Jamie Cervantes; SOUTH CENTRAL -- Dalton Moore, Alec Sturdy, Steve Williams; WHEELER -- DJ Perrine, Adam Abrell, Corey Curtis, Jake Gore; WHITING -- Alvaro Castelan, Tom Dabertin.

Great Lakes Athletic Conference

CLARK -- Enrique Zamora; GAVIT -- Tashon Rogers; HAMMOND -- TreSean Washington, Kenniss Dillon, Jesse Woods-Curtis, La'Marcus Moore; MORTON -- Eleazar Henderson, Kendall Huff, Robert House, Zach DeWitt.

Northwestern Conference

LEW WALLACE -- Ricky Scott; ROOSEVELT -- Jerry Ruiz; WEST SIDE -- Torre Hopson, Roderick Jones, Reagan Frasier-Atkins.


BOWMAN -- Carlos McCormick, Shaq Lee; E.C. CENTRAL -- Jalen Alston, Montel Smith; RENSSELAER -- Keaton Lyons, Hunter Hickman.

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