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Presenting The Times Fall 2021 All-Area Football Team

Numerous returnees from the spring season joined by newcomers

Here, as selected by The Times Sports staff, is The Times Fall 2021 All-Area Football Team:

FIRST TEAM

Christian Benning, Streator, QB/DB, so.

A repeat First Team All-Area selection, Benning’s big arm broke the 24-year-old school record for single-season passing yardage (1,314), completing 78 of 161 passes with 12 TDs, and left him only 925 yards shy of Streator’s career passing yardage record.

Tom Durdan, Marquette, RB/DB, jr.

A first-time All-Area selection and Fall 2021 Times Football Player of the Year, Durdan was a force both defensively and offensively, where he churned up 1,183 yards and 19 touchdowns and also led the team in receptions (19), receiving yards (437) and receiving TDs (eight).

Beau Ewers, Marquette, OL/DL, sr.

A member of the spring’s Times Second Team and the first alphabetically of the Ewers twins, Beau helped pave the way for a Crusaders offense that averaged 265.4 yards rushing and 381.6 yards from scrimmage a game.

Brady Ewers, Marquette, OL/DL, sr.

A Second Team All-Area pick in the spring who, along with twin Beau, had opposing defenses seeing double trouble, Brady was an anchor on an offensive line that led the way to Marquette averaging 41.3 points a game.

Aneefy Ford, Streator, WR/DB, jr.

A first-time All-Area selection, Ford and fellow wideout Cade Stevens were the most explosive duo in the area, with Ford catching 25 passes for 492 yards (19.7 a reception) and five TDs.

Alex Graham, Marquette, QB/DB, jr.

A Times Second Team pick in the spring, Graham’s development has not coincidentally coincided with the Crusaders offensive potency, as he was 61-for-112 passing for 1,290 yards and 17 touchdowns.

Pat Griffin, Seneca, OL/DL, sr.

A first-time All-Area selection, Griffin was an All-Vermillion Valley Conference Special Mention selection after anchoring a Fighting Irish line that led the way to 2,990 yards from scrimmage, 2,653 of those coming on the ground.

Asher Hamby, Seneca, RB/DB, so.

A first-time member of The Times All-Area Team, Hamby rushed for 174 yards and two touchdowns as part of Seneca’s running back-by-committee approach, while on defense recording a team-high 77 tackles (50 solo) with an interception and two fumble recoveries.

Joey Jones, FCW, OL/DL, sr.

A first-time All-Area selection, Jones was the top offensive lineman for a Falcons offense that averaged 37.1 points and 335.2 yards a game, 251.7 of those yards coming from the Flanagan-Cornell/Woodland running game.

Tyler Luckey, Streator, WR/LB, sr.

A Times Second Team pick in the spring, Luckey caught four passes on offense but this season devoted himself more to defense, where he racked up 108 tackles (53 solo), including seven for loss.

Braiden Miller, Ottawa, QB, sr.

A repeat First Team All-Area selection, Miller further cemented his place in the Ottawa record books by completing 113 of his 200 pass attempts for 1,480 yards and nine touchdowns this fall for an offense that averaged more yards through the air (164.4) than on the ground (115.1).

Ryder Miller, Ottawa, RB/LB, so.

Ryder Miller

A repeat First Team All-Area selection, Miller hauled in 13 passes for 161 yards, but it was on defense – with 81 tackles (nine for loss), a sack, a forced fumble and three fumble recoveries – where the sophomore made his biggest impact.

Jurnee Reed, Marquette, RB/LB, jr.

A first-time All-Area selection, Reed carried the ball only one fewer time (122) than featured back Tom Durdan and rang up 867 yards and a dozen touchdowns, adding 186 yards receiving.

J.D. Ruddy, FCW, RB/DB, sr.

A Second Team All-Area pick in the spring, Ruddy picked up right where he left off by rushing for 817 yards and 12 touchdowns on 111 carries, adding 65 yards receiving and notching 36 tackles and three INTs.

Levi Sheehan, Ottawa, WR/DB, jr.

A first-time All-Area selection, Sheehan answered Ottawa’s top question coming into the season – Who would be on the other end of Braiden Miller’s completions? – with 43 receptions for 667 yards and six TDs.

Cade Stevens, Streator, RB/LB/KR, sr.

A Times Second Team pick in the spring, the lightning-quick Stevens caught 27 passes for 562 yards (20.8 a reception) and six TDs, also adding a 28.1-yard average on kickoff returns, including two returns for TDs.

Ethan Stoeger, Fieldcrest, RB/LB, sr.

A first-time All-Area selection, Stoeger rushed for 170 yards and two touchdowns – both team highs – while adding 52 yards receiving and defensively recording a team-high 85 tackles (four TFLs, two sacks) over seven games played.

Ethen Swords, Ottawa, OL/DL, sr.

A first-time All-Area selection and also an All-Kishwaukee River/Interstate Eight Conference White pick, Swords recorded 23 tackles and forced a fumble defensively while also anchoring the O-line.

Seven Tornga, Sandwich, RB/LB, jr.

A repeat First Team All-Area selection, Sandwich’s only consistent offensive weapon ran for 181 yards and two TDs in a late-season game against Marengo and was also a weekly leader in tackles.

William Weber, FCW, RB/LB, sr.

A Times Second Team pick in the spring of 2021 and the fall of 2019, Weber was a monster defensively with 138 total tackles (55 solo) including 12 tackles for loss, also adding 191 yards from scrimmage on offense.

Javarius Whitfield, Ottawa, RB/DB, sr.

Javarius Whitfield

A first-time All-Area selection, Whitfield became more and more of a workhorse for the Pirates as the season went on, finishing with 898 yards and 11 TDs – including a 99-yarder – rushing and hauling in 24 receptions for 242 yards and another score.

Collin Wright, Seneca, RB/LB, jr.

A first-time selection to our All-Area Team, the junior led the Fighting Irish power-T rushing attack with 737 yards and six touchdowns, averaging 7.4 yards a carry, and also recording 55 tackles on the defensive side.

SECOND TEAM

Julian Alexander, Marquette, fr.

Brady Barla, Seneca, OL/DL, jr.

Sergio Brown, Streator, WR/LB, sr.

Braden Ellis, Seneca, RB/DB, jr.

Nathan Grant, Seneca, QB/DB, so.

Darryl Gullens, Streator, RB/LB, sr.

Logan Halley, Fieldcrest, RB/DB, sr.

Dallas Hamilton, FCW, QB/DB, sr.

Blake Hooker, Seneca , TE/LB, sr.

Sam Jones, FCW, WR/DB, sr.

Eddie Lorton, Fieldcrest, QB/RB/LB, fr.

Jake Luckey, Streator, WR/LB, jr.

Austin Marks, Sandwich, RB/DB, jr.

Seth Miles, Streator, RB/LB, sr.

Landon Modro, Fieldcrest, WR/LB, jr.

Charlie Mullen, Marquette, TE/LB, so.

Manuel Nieto, Streator, OL/DL, jr.

Dillan Quatrano, Ottawa, WR/LB, jr.

Jesse Simpson, FCW, RB/LB, jr.

Chris Stasko, FCW, RB/LB, sr.

Aiden Thompson, Marquette, OL/DL, jr.

Jase Torrez, FCW, OL/DL, jr.