As we put a cap on the 2018 high school football season, we here at Outside the Huddle wanted to name who we think were the best in northeast Indiana on the gridiron.
After much deliberation (actually about two minutes), we decided to release two different squads – a “big school” all-area team consisting of players from Classes 4A to 6A and a “small school” team made up of players from 1A to 3A programs.
Today, we unveil the first-ever Outside the Huddle Small School Offense All-Area Team.
QB – Norman Knapke, senior Bishop Luers
The senior had one of the most prolific seasons in northeast Indiana passing history. He finished with nearly 3,200 yards passing and 37 touchdowns against 11 interceptions. His 551 yards through the air against North Side was just 12 yards shy of the state record.
RB – Brandon Pruitt, junior, West Noble
He tore up the NECC all season long, but Pruitt got the attention of many in the Fort Wayne area when he torched Bishop Luers for 260 yards in the playoffs. He rushed for less than 99 yards in a game just once, amassing 1,555 yards rushing and 17 scores for the Chargers.
RB – Everett Johnson, senior, Bluffton
If there was one constant this season in the area, it was Johnson putting up big yards every Friday night. He was a big reason why the Tigers won their most games in a season since 1982, finishing 7-5. The senior went over 170 yards rushing eight different times, including a 37-293-5 stat line against Jay County in Week 5. He finished his senior season with 2,119 yards rushing and 25 touchdowns.
WR – Kamari Anderson-Drew, senior, Concordia Lutheran
Arguably the biggest playmaker in the passing game in the entire area, Anderson-Drew hauled in 52 receptions for 992 yards and 12 touchdowns for the Cadets. His most productive games seemed to come on the biggest stage, with eight catches for 168 yards against Homestead and a 10-131-2 stat line in the sectional loss to Bellmont.
WR – Jamic Johnson, junior, Bishop Luers
Johnson was not only the recipient of a fair amount of passes from Knapke, he was also one of the top defensive backs for the Knights. The junior hauled in 45 passes for 743 yards and eight touchdowns on offense. Defensively, he made 34 tackles and picked off three passes from his defensive back spot.
WR – Janarion Moore, junior, Bishop Luers
The junior burst onto the scene with a pair of touchdown receptions in Week 1 against Wayne and continue to roll from there. He finished with 45 receptions for 836 yards and 14 touchdowns, catching two or more touchdown passes four different times.
OL – JaShawn Berlanga, senior, Adams Central
Not only was Berlanga one of the top offensive linemen in the ACAC, he was also a leader up front for the Flying Jets defensively. He consistently opened holes at his guard spot as AC rushed for nearly 300 yards per game. He was fourth on the team in tackles with 111 with 17 tackles for loss and 7.5 sacks.
OL – Will Derrick, junior, Bishop Luers
Knights fans are thankful this two-way beast will be back for 2019. He was named Second Team All-SAC at offensive guard, but was just as physically imposing on defense. The 6-foot, 250-pound Hendricks finished the season with 56 tackles and 17.5 tackles for loss along the defensive front.
OL – Dane Castleman, senior, Woodlan
A mainstay in the trenches for the Warriors the last few seasons, Castleman is as strong as they come, highlighted by his bench press of 425 pounds earlier this year. He was a menace on the defensive side of the ball, putting up 77 tackles, 11 tackles for loss and a pair of sacks.
OL – Ben Henschen, senior, Concordia Lutheran
Playing arguably the most unglamorous position in football, Henschen was exceptional as a center for the Cadets. Not overly big at 5-11, 190, the senior used technique and skill to get the ball back to the quarterback and engage defenders.
OL – Reese Wicker, junior, Churubusco
The 6-foot, 245-pound Wicker played both guard and defensive tackles for the Eagles, making life miserable for his opposite number in the trenches. He helped open holes for close to 2,800 yards rushing on the year while also making 74 tackles, 18 tackles for loss and a pair of sacks.
K – Carter Drake, junior, Bishop Luers
The first-year football player endeared himself to Knights fans when he hit the game-winning field goal as time expired to beat Homestead in Week 3. The soccer player decided to give football a try and all he did was make 58-of-62 PATs and 4-of-8 field goals for the Knights. He was voted First Team All-SAC.
ATHLETE – Jordan Presley, senior, Bishop Luers
No legitimate all-area list is complete without Presley, one of the most dynamic athletes in the entire state. He rushed for 1,233 yards and 13 touchdowns and was also deadly in the pass game, hauling in 37 passes for 665 yards and nine scores. Opposing teams also continued to make the mistake of kicking to Presley in the return game, where he amassed a trio of return touchdowns and averaged 33 yards per kick return and 23 yards per punt return.
ATHLETE – Amir Drew, sophomore, Concordia Lutheran
We wondered what the Cadets would do without Marcus Morrow, but Drew put Cadets fans at ease early on when he rushed for 122 yards and two scores in a Week 1 win over South Side. He also finished the season strong with three consecutive 100-plus yard rushing games. For the year, Kamari’s brother amassed 1,009 yards on the ground and 11 touchdowns.
COMING THURSDAY: Small School Defense