The 2023 Northwest Herald Football All-Area team

Crystal Lake Central's George Dimopoulos tries to catch a pass in-between the defense of Prairie Ridge's Luke Vanderwiel and Logan Thennes during a Fox Valley Conference football game on Friday, Oct. 13, 2023, at Prairie Ridge High School in Crystal Lake.


First Team

Marian Central Catholic's Cale McThenia threw six touchdown passes in the Hurricanes 40-0 victory over Bishop McNamara Saturday.

QB–Cale McThenia, Marian Central, sr.

McThenia (6-3, 215) completed 69.6% of his passes (229 for 329) for an area-best 3,108 yards and 39 touchdowns, with 11 interceptions for the Hurricanes. He also rushed for a team-high 486 yards and seven touchdowns. McThenia, an All-Area second-team pick last season, will play at NCAA Division I Northern Iowa. He was an Illinois High School Football Coaches Association Class 2A All-Stater.

Cary-Grove's Logan Abrams

RB–Logan Abrams, Cary-Grove, so.

Abrams (6-3, 220) led the area with 1,590 rushing yards and 26 touchdowns in his first season running the ball. He was tired and sore but kept grinding and scored a 2-yard touchdown with 1:19 remaining as the Trojans won the Class 6A state championship game 23-20 over East St. Louis.

Cary-Grove's Andrew Prio

RB–Andrew Prio, Cary-Grove, sr.

Prio (5-8, 160) was spectacular for the Trojans, averaging 14.3 yards per carry and rushing for 1,302 yards on only 91 attempts. He had a kickoff and a punt return touchdown, and four of his five receptions went for touchdowns, including one in the Class 6A state title game. Prio was an IHSFCA Class 6A All-State selection. He was an All-Area honorable mention last year.

Huntley's Haiden Janke

RB–Haiden Janke, Huntley, sr.

Janke (6-1, 220) was second on the area rushing list with 1,369 yards and 22 touchdowns as the Red Raiders finished 9-2 and were second in the Fox Valley Conference. Janke, an All-Area second-team selection in 2022, again posed lots of problems for opponents with Huntley’s power running game. He earned IHSFCA Class 8A All-State honorable mention.

Marian Central's Christian Bentancur

WR–Christian Bentancur, Marian Central, sr.

Bentancur (6-5, 235) finished one of the greatest careers ever for an area football player with 231 receptions, third on the IHSA list. He led the area in receptions (92), yards (1,345) and touchdowns (21) and was a force as a defensive end. Bentancur is an All-Area first-teamer for the third consecutive year and was an IHSFCA Class 2A All-Stater. He will sign with Clemson this month and play tight end for the Tigers.

Crystal Lake Central's George Dimopoulos

WR–George Dimopoulos, Crystal Lake Central, sr.

The area got to really see what Dimopoulos (6-3, 190) can do this season as he returned to wide receiver. He played most of 2022 at quarterback after Jason Penza was injured. Dimopoulos caught 42 passes for 774 yards and seven touchdowns, although he was forced back to quarterback in Week 9 and the first round of the playoffs against Lake Zurich when Penza was hurt. He received All-Area honorable mention last season and will play at Northern Illinois University next year.

Prairie Ridge's John Fallaw

OL–John Fallaw, Prairie Ridge, sr.

Fallaw (6-3, 235) is a repeat All-Area first-team selection and was an IHSFCA Class 5A All-Stater for the Wolves as a two-way lineman. Fallaw led an offense that had different players carrying the ball but was still highly productive as the Wolves repeated as FVC champions. He was a third-year starter for Prairie Ridge.

Cary-Grove's Anthony Cruz

OL–Anthony Cruz, Cary-Grove, sr.

Cruz (6-1, 230) was the best lineman on a Trojans offense that just continued to get better throughout the season and playoffs. Abrams was first and Prio was fourth in area rushing, thanks to the work of Cruz and his linemates. The Trojans ended the season with a drive that covered 71 yards, 19 plays and took up 10:37 off the clock. Abrams’ 2-yard score gave C-G the state title 23-20.

Jacobs' Matthew Shannon

OL–Matthew Shannon, Jacobs, sr.

Shannon (6-0, 220) was a third-year starter for the Golden Eagles and a key player on a line that again produced one of the area’s top running games. Fullback Caden DuMelle ran for 1,277 yards, third in the area, and the Eagles made the Class 7A playoffs. Shannon played on both lines for Jacobs, sometimes at less than 100% as he played with an injury.

Huntley's Jack Crudele

OL–Jack Crudele, Huntley, sr.

Crudele (6-0, 215) was a leader on the Red Raiders’ line as they finished 9-2 and as FVC runner-up to Prairie Ridge. He helped pave the way for Haiden Janke’s 1,369 rushing yards, while also helping quarterback Braylon Bower throw for 1,469 yards. Crudele received All-Area honorable mention last year.

Crystal Lake Central's Tommy McNeil

OL–Tommy McNeil, Crystal Lake Central, jr.

McNeil (6-2 240) was a third-year varsity player for the Tigers and a standout on both lines. McNeil helped block for the FVC’s best passing offense, and Tigers coach Dirk Stanger felt he dominated on the interior of the defensive line. He also played some linebacker later in the season.

Cary-Grove's Jadon Apgar

K–Jadon Apgar, Cary-Grove, jr.

Apgar (5-11, 179) was 2 for 3 on field goals and 36 of 41 on extra points for the season. He usually gave the Trojans an advantage on kickoffs as well, as he booted 50 of 77 for touchbacks. C-G called timeout after taking the lead in the state championship game with 1:19 remaining, and Apgar did his job, sending the kickoff out of the end zone and now allowing East St. Louis an opportunity to return it.

Second Team

QB–Jason Penza, Crystal Lake Central, sr.

RB–Cole Klawikowski, Hampshire, jr.

RB–Caden Dumelle, Jacobs, so.

RB–Braxtin Nellessen, Richmond-Burton, sr.

WR–Colton Hess, Crystal Lake South, sr.

WR–Kali Freeman, Dundee-Crown, sr.

OL–Rocco Sauer, Jacobs, sr.

OL–Chris Abihudi, Hampshire, sr.

OL–Justin Jakubowicz, Marian Central, sr.

OL–Tyler Moon, Woodstock, sr.

OL–Vinny Tiberi, Huntley, sr.

K-P–Jeff Lehn, Richmond-Burton, sr.


First Team

Richmond-Burton's Jack Martens

DB–Jack Martens, Richmond-Burton, sr.

Martens (5-10, 165) was in on 36 tackles and had two interceptions for the Rockets, who finished 7-3 and made the playoffs for the 16th consecutive season. Martens came through on offense with numerous big plays. He carried 41 times for 522 yards, a 12.7-yard average per carry, and had nine touchdowns. Martens earned Class 4A IHSFCA All-State honorable mention.

Prairie Ridge's Dom Creatore

DB–Dom Creatore, Prairie Ridge, sr.

Creatore (5-10, 185) is a repeat All-Area first-team pick, as he contributed to a Wolves defense that was the area’s best. Creatore had 67 tackles, four tackles for loss, one interception and one fumble recovery. He also was a force on offense, where he carried 76 times for 543 yards and eight touchdowns. He was an IHSFCA Class 6A All-Stater.

Huntley's Zack Garifo

DB–Zack Garifo, Huntley, sr.

Garifo (6-0, 185) was one of the top defensive players for the Red Raiders. One of his biggest plays was an 87-yard interception return touchdown that swung the game in Huntley’s favor against Jacobs. Garifo also had 11 catches for 189 yards and a touchdown on offense, and he blocked a punt that was recovered for a touchdown in the Raiders’ Class 8A first-round playoff win over Niles West. He received All-Area honorable mention last season.

Cary-Grove's Corey Adams

DB–Corey Adams, Cary-Grove, sr.

Adams (5-9, 175) was third on the Trojans with 78 tackles (solos and assists combined) and had three tackles for loss. Adams led C-G with nine tackles (one TFL) in the Class 6A state championship victory over East St. Louis. Adams was a key part of a defense that alllowed only 71 points in five postseason games.

Cary-Grove's Corey Adams

LB–Connor Anderson, Cary-Grove, sr.

Anderson (6-2, 194) was the only returning starter from the 2021 Class 6A state champions and returned to start on another championship team. He led the Trojans with 139 tackles (two TFLs) and led the team in many other ways. Anderson recovered from a broken leg in 2022 that eventually required surgery that set him back several months. That was one reason why, in the semifinal win at Lake Zurich, he limped through most of the game with a bruised knee and did not come out.

Jacobs' Paulie Rudolph

LB–Paulie Rudolph, Jacobs, sr.

Rudolph (5-11, 215) is a repeat first-team selection and was a four-year varsity player and a three-year All-FVC player. Golden Eagles coach Brian Zimmerman calls him “one of the best linebackers to come through Jacobs.” He had 78 tackles, 13 tackles for loss, four sacks, one forced fumble and one fumble recovery, with 12 big hits. He also filled in at guard on offense against Crystal Lake Central when another lineman was injured and was a special teams standout. Rudolph received IHSFCA Class 7A All-State honorable mention.

Prairie Ridge's Jace Kranig

LB–Jace Kranig, Prairie Ridge, jr.

Kranig (6-1, 200) was one of the new starters on a defense that returned most of its 2022 lineup. He led the Wolves with 72 tackles, along with eight tackles for loss, two sacks, an interception and a fumble recovery. The Wolves’ defense allowed an average of 11.6 points per game.

Crystal Lake Central's Cayden Parks

LB–Cayden Parks, Crystal Lake Central, jr.

Parks (6-0, 185) led Central with 112 tackles and 13 tackles for loss as the Tigers were a much improved defense this season. Central went from allowing 32 points per game in 2022 to 19 points per game this season and returned to the playoffs for the fourth time in six seasons. He also is one of the state’s top wrestlers after placing fourth in the Class 2A 170-pound division last year.

Jacobs' Grant Stec

DL–Grant Stec, Jacobs, sr.

Jacobs coach Brian Zimmerman sometimes apologized for not getting the ball more to his big tight end, Stec (6-6, 252), who will sign with Wisconsin this month. He finished with 23 catches for 210 yards and two touchdowns but also made an impact as a blocker and on defense. Stec had 25 tackles, one sack, three tackles for loss and one interception on defense. He was a four-year varsity player and a three-time All-FVC player.

Andy Burburija, Crystal Lake South

DL–Andy Burburija, Crystal Lake South, sr.

Burburija (6-2, 255) is a repeat All-Area first-team selection and was voted to the IHSFCA Class 6A All-State team. He had 92 tackles, six sacks, 22 tackles for loss, two blocked kicks and a safety. He led the Gators’ offensive line in pancake blocks. Burburija also is a standout wrestler and finished fourth in Class 2A at 285 pounds last year.

Burlington Central's Bryan McGladdery

DL–Bryan McGladdery, Burlington Central, sr.

McGladdery (6-3, 240) was in on 51 1/2 tackles, with 6 1/2 tackles for losses, three sacks, three force fumbles and two pass breakups for the Rockets. He also was credited with seven quarterback pressures. Central’s defense allowed 20.7 points per game, and the Rockets finished 4-5, missing the playoffs by one victory for the second straight season.

Cary-Grove's Peyton Seaburg

P–Peyton Seaburg, Cary-Grove, jr.

Seaburg (5-11, 161) did not have to punt a lot but was effective when he did. He averaged 31.1 yards a punt and did not have any returned. He had two punts for an average of 36 yards in the Class 6A state championship victory over East St. Louis and had a key fake punt rush for a first down in the semifinal win against Lake Zurich. Seaburg also played quarterback for the Trojans and rushed for 747 yards and six touchdowns. He completed 16 of 27 passes for the season, and 11 of them went for touchdowns, including his only completion in the state title game.

Second Team

DB–Jack Rocen, Cary-Grove, sr.

DB–PJ Weaver, Cary-Grove, sr.

DB–Luke Vanderwiel, Prairie Ridge, so.

DB–Max Loveall, Richmond-Burton, sr.

LB–Luke Rendtorff, Richmond-Burton, sr.

LB–Gage Homola, Hampshire, sr.

LB–Joey Scrivani, Jacobs, sr.

LB–Landon Severson, Prairie Ridge, sr.

DL–Gavin Tinch, Prairie Ridge, jr.

DL–Kyle Jarecki, Cary-Grove, sr.

DL–Logan Garcia, Richmond-Burton, jr.


Zach Adamo, Burlington Central, WR-DB, sr.

JJ Alonge, Crystal Lake South, OL, jr.

CJ Ameachi, Johnsburg, OL-DL, jr.

Torrion Bell, Dundee-Crown, WR-DB, sr.

T.O. Boddie, Jacobs, RB, jr.

Kyle Boelkens, McHenry, LB, sr.

Braylon Bower, Huntley, QB, jr.

Griffin Buehler, Crystal Lake Central, RB, sr.

Shane Buening, Woodstock North, OL-DL,

Ryder Bergemann, Burlington Central, QB-DB, sr.

Caden Casimino, Crystal Lake South, QB, sr.

Kaden Combs, Woodstock North, FB-LB, sr.

Adam Cooke, Harvard, QB, jr.

Landan Creighton, Woodstock North, QB, sr.

AJ Demirov, Crystal Lake South, RB-WR, jr.

Max Dennison, Woodstock North, WR-DB, jr.

Rylan Dolter, Marian Central, WR, sr.

Tyler Eschoo, Burlington Central, WR-DB, sr.

James Fier, Crystal Lake Central, DB, sr.

Jack Finn, Prairie Ridge, FB, jr.

JT Groh, Richmond-Burton, QB, sr.

Tommy Hammond, Crystal Lake Central, WR, sr.

Jake Hornok, Cary-Grove, TE, sr.

Tyson Jakubowicz, Marian Central, WR-DB, sr.

Colin Kalhoff, Hampshire, TE-DL, sr.

Daniel Kalinowski, Richmond-Burton, RB-LB, sr.

Brady Kentgen, Marengo, TE-LB, so.

Ben Kolodziej, Crystal Lake Central, DL, jr.

Nick Kozlowski, Crystal Lake Central, OL-DL, sr.

Alex Lazar, Hampshire, FB-LB, sr.

David Lopez, Marengo, QB-DB, jr.

Max Miller, Woodstock, RB-DB, sr.

Michael Person, Burlington Central, WR-DB, sr.

Carter Pope, Huntley, DL, jr.

Zach Randl, Dundee-Crown, QB, sr.

Anthony Rubio, Dundee-Crown, OL, sr.

Andrew Ryan, Woodstock, OL-LB, sr.

Jesse Saaverda, McHenry, OL-DL, sr.

Connor Sacco, Marengo, LB, so.

Nate Sarfo, Marian Central, LB, sr.

Omare Segarra, Huntley, WR, sr.

Drake Tomasiewicz, Crystal Lake Central, sr.

Sean Truckenbrod, Marian Central, LB, sr.

Joey Vanderwiel, Prairie Ridge, QB, sr.

Ben Vole, Alden-Hebron, QB-DB, sr.

Ryan Wabel, Huntley, OL, so.

Caden West, Burlington Central, WR-DB, jr.

Ryan Wisniewski, Richmond-Burton, TE-LB, jr.

Jake Witt, Huntley, WR, sr.