The Herald-News coverage area is one of the best in the state when it comes to football. Talent abounds at every program, and several teams annually make deep playoff runs. Following is the cream of the crop, The 2022 Herald-News All-Area Football team.
Demir Ashiru, QB, sr., Plainfield North — Ashiru shined in his first season leading the Tigers’ offense, looking like a seasoned veteran while he did it. An Illinois High School Football Coaches Association Class 8A All-State pick, Ashiru threw for 2,009 yards and 26 scores through the air while throwing only three interceptions. He also added five rushing touchdowns.
Carl Bew, QB, sr., Joliet West — Bew was a dynamic dual threat for the Tigers as he played a part in 27 touchdowns scored by Joliet West this season (14 pass, 13 rush). He also threw for 1,553 yards and ran for 738 more, making him a tough signal-caller to rein in.
Anthony Birsa, OL, sr., Joliet Catholic — Birsa has been a anchor for the Hilltoppers on the offensive line for the better part of three seasons. A Northwestern University commit, Birsa earned a nod to the IHSFCA Class 4A All-State team.
Jace Christian, RB/LB, sr., Reed-Custer — Christian almost never left the field for the Comets and caused all kinds of problems for opponents en route to being named an IHSFCA Class 3A All-Stater. He racked up almost 900 rushing yards and 19 total touchdowns while also anchoring the Comets’ defense, where he racked up 13 tackles for loss. He did most of that damage rarely playing more than half of Reed-Custer’s comfortable wins.
Isaiah Dupree, LB, sr., Minooka — The Indians’ defense improved rapidly over the course of the season, and a large reason for that improvement was the steady play of Dupree. He seemed to have a knack for getting to the football and led the squad with 105 total tackles.
Gerald Floyd, LB, sr., Plainfield North
The Plainfield North defensive front was stingy, and Floyd was right in the middle of all the damage that unit usually delivered. He finished the season with 65 total tackles, five for loss and four sacks and was named the Southwest Prairie Conference West Defensive Player of the Year.
Gavin Hagan, WR/DB, so., Providence
Certain players just have a nose for the football, and Hagan certainly applies to that credo. He finished with 65 tackles and six interceptions. In addition, Hagan also provided a pair of defensive scores, both of which came in pivotal situations for the Celtics.
Colin James, RB/LB, sr., Wilmington
James has been a key cog in Wilmington’s powerful running game over the past two seasons, earning an IHSFCA Class 2A All-State nod after rushing for 1,480 yards and 22 touchdowns to pace the Wildcats’ offense. He also chipped in 30 tackles on defense.
Josh Janowski, OL, jr., Lincoln-Way East
Janowski was a big reason why the Griffins were able to bully their way around to almost 5,000 yards of total offense this season. Janowski paved the way for many of the big Lincoln-Way East plays, providing 55 pancake blocks along the way.
Jeremy Johnson, DE, sr., Joliet Catholic
Johnson was a thorn in the side of opposing offensive lines. The CCL/ESCC Orange Division Player of the Year, Johnson amassed 65 tackles, 14 of which were stops for loss, and added seven quarterback sacks.
Billy Jones, LB, sr., Providence
Providence was effective with an “every man to the ball” philosophy, but it wasn’t at all surprising to find Jones at the front of the herd more often than not. Jones finished with 105 tackles and forced two fumbles while recovering three.
James Kwiecinski, RB, sr., Lincoln-Way East
There were few ball carriers who you could count on for a more steady performance than you could from Kwiecinski. A regular at going past the 100-yard mark in games, Kwiecinski consistently took on a heavy workload and finished with 1,557 rushing yards and a whopping 26 touchdowns.
Jake McPherson, QB, sr., Reed-Custer
McPherson easily could have posted much more gaudy numbers than he did, but runaway games lessened the need for him to air things out. Even in limited activity he mustered 1,383 passing yards, 821 rush yards and accounted for 33 touchdowns (24 passing, 9 rushing).
Sam Reddinger, LB, sr., Morris
It felt like Reddinger was all over the field as he stacked up 115 tackles and five sacks as the anchor of the Morris defense. He also chipped in almost 300 yards rushing and scored six touchdowns as part of a potent offense.
Payton Salomon, QB, sr., Lemont
Salomon has put up one of the most impressive stat lines in area history over the past two seasons, completing the puzzle with a fantastic senior year that saw him throw for 2,560 yards and 34 touchdowns with one interception. He also completed 73% of his passes (148 of 202).
Mason Santiago, RB/LB, sr., Providence
You’d be hard pressed to find a more impressive two-way performer than Santiago, who seemed to make his presence felt constantly. He finished with 81 tackles that included seven sacks and six other tackles for loss. He also averaged nearly 8 yards a carry and rushed for almost 700 yards and five scores.
Jake Scianna, LB, sr., Lincoln-Way East
Scianna, the Herald-News Player of the Year, has been a staple of the Griffins’ defense for the better part of three seasons. He finished his senior campaign with 96 total tackles, including 58 solo stops. He also netted seven tackles for loss, two interceptions and three sacks, all while playing with a torn ACL for the entire season.
Brian Stanton, RB, sr., Plainfield South
Stanton has been an absolute force for the Cougars and finished his senior season with a bang, racking up more than 2,000 yards of total offense and 20 touchdowns, all while being the absolute focal point of defenses trying to contain him.
I’Marion Stewart, WR, jr., Bolingbrook
Stewart has been drawing major Division I interest since his freshman year, and it is easy to see why. He has a way of breaking big plays and finished the season with 63 receptions for 946 yards and 10 touchdowns. Stewart ended up with more than 1,500 yards over total offense.
Hyatt Timosciek, TE, sr., Lockport
Timosciek seemed to make play after play in the clutch for the Porters, including helping Lockport win in the final minute of a tight battle with Bradley-Bourbonnais with a critical pass reception. Timosciek finished the season with 39 catches for 707 yards.
Luke Wallace, WR, sr., Lemont
Wallace was the only receiver in the area to eclipse the 1,000-yard barrier on the season and did so by delivering on a number of huge plays. Wallace scored 15 touchdowns on those big plays and had five kick returns for scores.
Jonas Williams, QB, fr., Bolingbrook
Williams opened his high school career with an electric seven-TD performance against Minooka and he never slowed down much after that. He finished with 34 passing touchdowns and an area-leading 2,761 passing yards.
Brad Abbot, sr., OL, Lincoln-Way East; Christos Alexandros, jr., OL, Lockport; Kyan Berry-Johnson, jr., WR, Bolingbrook; Jacek Blaszynski, sr., OL, Lemont; Justin Bonsu, sr., WR/DB, Joliet Catholic; Delonte Butcher, sr., DB, Plainfield East; Phillip Carlton, sr., LB, Plainfield Central; Connor Christensen, sr., WR/DB, Minooka; Jimmy Curtin, sr., WR, Lincoln-Way East; HJ Grigsby, jr., RB, Joliet Catholic; Justin Hemmersbach, sr., OL, Morris; Daniel Hollis, sr., DL, Plainfield Central; Kade Hopwood, sr., OL/DL, Wilmington; Matt Janiak, jr., LB, Plainfield South; Dillan Johnson, jr., DL, Joliet Catholic; Kody Marschner, sr., OL/DL, Reed-Custer; Zach Michaels, sr., OL, Plainfield North; Quinn Morris, so., WR/DB, Plainfield East; Colin Mowry, jr., RB, Lincoln-Way Central; Joey Partridge, jr., Minooka, RB; Chris Peura, jr., OL, Seneca; Lucas Proudfoot, sr., QB, Providence; Sean Schlanser, sr., WR, Plainfield North; Noah Taylor, sr., DB, Lemont; Braden Tischer, jr., QB, Lincoln-Way East; Nate Wrublic, sr., Lemont, RB; AJ Zweeres, jr. WR, Morris
Joe Algood, jr., OL/LB, Wilmington; Rob Baranowski, sr., S/LB;, Lockport; James Barry, jr., OL, Providence; Gunnar Berg, sr., OL/DL, Reed-Custer; Josh Bohac, jr., WR/LB, Reed-Custer; Luke Brown, sr., LB, Morris; Austin Burkhardt, sr., RB, Dwight; Carter Button, jr., QB, Morris; Quinn Callaghan, sr., WR, Plainfield East; Jameson Clark, jr., LB, Lockport; Cole Crafton, jr., QB, Lincoln-Way West; Sean Dee, sr., C, Providence; Joe DeMaio, sr., S, Lemont; Conner Durkin, jr., LB, Lincoln-Way East; Braden Ellis, sr., RB, Seneca; Kyle Farrell, so., RB, Wilmington; Jack Florentine, jr., LS, Lincoln-Way East; Connor Folliard, sr., QB, Plainfield South; Lucas Foote, sr., WR, Reed-Custer; Niko Frcek, sr., DL, Lockport; Alex Gibson, jr., TE, Providence; Nathan Grant, jr., DB, Seneca; Zach Gray, sr., DE, Plainfield South; Nigel Green, sr. DB, Plainfield North; Luke Hagedorn, sr., DL, Lemont, Asher Hamby, jr., LB, Seneca; Nick Hawkins, sr., TE, Lemont; Hunter Hayes, sr., FB/DL, Wilmington; Will Heitner, sr., OL, Lincoln-Way East; Zack Hesselmann, sr., OL, Providence; Quenton Howard, sr., DB, Plainfield Central; Jayden Laboy-Brown, sr., OL, Plainfield South; Aiden King, sr., OL, Morris; Jack Kranc, sr., DB, Plainfield South; Michael Kuehl, jr., QB, Lincoln-Way Central; Gage Leffler, jr., DE, Plainfield Central; Jack Lyons, sr., LB, Lemont; Jacob Katauskas, Jr., OL, Lemont; Will Knapp, sr., WR/DB, Morris; Ryan Koehler, sr., WR, Lemont; Tyler Mansker, sr., DL, Lincoln-Way West; Jeremy Marrero, sr., OL, Minooka; Kaleb Miller, sr., WR/DB, Bolingbrook; Nick Mitcheff, jr., LB, Lincoln-Way Central; Brendan Moran, jr., RB/LB, Wilmington; Carter Nair, sr., PK, Lincoln-Way East, Charlie Nevinger, sr., LB, Lincoln-Way East; Jason O’Boye, sr., DB, Plainfield North; Caden O’Rourke, so, DE, Lincoln-Way East; Petey Olaleye, sr., RB, Lincoln-Way East; Brandon Parades, so., QB, Plainfield East; Alex Pasquale, jr., DL, Lemont; Robert Patino, sr., PK, Lemont; DJ Pearson, sr, RB, Plainfield Central; Nick Perry, sr., OL, Morris; Brady Pfeiffer, sr., QB, Lockport; Lane Provance, jr., DE, Seneca; Efrein Ramirez, jr., DB, Minooka; Rocco Rigoni, sr., OL, Lockport; DJ Ritter, sr., DB, Lincoln-Way East; Joshua Robinson, sr., RB, Bolingbrook; Logan Rooney, sr., LB, Plainfield North; John St. Clair, sr., RB, Plainfield North; Ethan Sam, sr., OL, Plainfield North; TJ Schlageter, sr., QB, Joliet Catholic; Ryan Schlisser, jr., WR, Lincoln-Way Central; Cade Serauskis, sr., WR, Lincoln-Way East; Mason Smith, jr., LB, Plainfield Central; Nick Spiller, sr., LB, Plainfield South; Dylan Sroka, sr., RB/LB, Peotone; Christian Sticklen, sr., DL, Joliet West; Ryan Susnar, sr., OL/DL, Minooka; Dylan Swanstrom, sr., WR/DB, Lemont; Jacob Swartz, jr., RB, Morris; Evan Tonarelli, jr., DB, Plainfield East; Tyler Tortorich, sr., OL, Plainfield North; Jamari Tribett, so., RB, Providence; Ethan Vrabec, sr., WR, Lincoln-Way Central; Damon Walters, sr, DB, Bolingbrook; Marcus Williams, sr., LB, Bolingbrook; David Wuske, jr., DE, Lincoln-Way East; Ashton Yard, sr., RB, Morris; Zayn Zaidi, sr., DE, Plainfield Central; Drew Zematis, sr., P, Providence; Abram Zimmerman, sr., RB, Plainfield Central