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 Defense All-Area Team.
DL – Liam Fletcher, senior, Concordia Lutheran
The standout d-lineman concluded his prep career on a high note, routinely disrupting SAC offenses with penetration up front. He amassed 16 tackles for loss and six sacks to go with 73 tackles.
DL – Levi Boots, senior, Bluffton
The Tigers’ run to their most wins in a season in over 35 years was led by leaders on offense (Everett Johnson) and defense (Boots). The senior accumulated 80 tackles, 12.5 tackles for loss and 4.5 sacks for Coach Brent Kunkel’s team.
DL – Isaac Meyer, senior, Woodlan
Woodlan finished with a losing record for the first time since 2012, but their senior defensive stalwart still put together a fine season. The 6-4, 225-pound Meyer is surprisingly nimble on his feet, routinely beating blockers and finishing his final year of prep football with 89 tackles, 22 tackles for loss and eight sacks. He also scored five touchdowns on offense.
DL – Nick Miller, sophomore, South Adams
One of the top two-way players in the area regardless of class, Miller was the Starfires’ top player this season. He hauled in 26 passes for 502 yards and four touchdowns offensively, but really shined on defense with 67 tackles, 24.5 tackles for loss, nine sacks and four blocked punts.
LB – Logan Macklin, senior, Adams Central
Where do we start? Macklin was second on the team in tackles with 118 while also notching 5.5 sacks and eight tackles for loss. Offensively, he led the Flying Jets with 2,683 all-purpose yards and 21 total touchdowns.
LB – Camari Harris, senior, Bishop Luers
A versatile linebacker, Harris could play outside and inside in the middle part of the Knights’ defense. He was a big reason why the Bishop Luers defense was able to shore up its deficiencies heading into the playoffs. The senior concluded the year with 116 tackles, 15.5 tackles for loss, 8.5 sacks and an interception.
LB – Jake Fulk, junior, Churubusco
The Eagles held five opponents to single digits in points in 2018, with the aggressive Fulk having a big part in that success. He made an impact offensively with nearly 450 rushing yards and three touchdowns, but it was on defense where he was a true terror, posting 59 tackles, 17 tackles for loss and a team-high eight sacks.
DB – Justin Gaston, senior, Bishop Luers
Coach Kyle Lindsay limited his athletes going both ways as much as possible this past season, but there was no way he could keep Gaston off the field. The corner picked off three passes to go with 63 tackles and three tackles for loss. As a wide receiver, he hauled in over 500 yards receiving and a trio of touchdowns and also ran for a score. He was particularly deadly in the return game, scoring five times (three punt, two kickoff) on special teams.
DB – Sam Wood, junior, Churubusco
The junior was a ball hawk defensively, picking off six passes on the year, including two in a 31-15 win over Garrett in August. He added 71 tackles in what was a solid campaign on the defensive side of the ball. As a running back, he rushed for 420 yards and five touchdowns.
DB – Drake Deitsch, senior, South Adams
The Starfires had a big playmaker on the back end of their defense with Deitsch, who swiped four interceptions on the season to go with 43 tackles. He also caught 17 passes and rushed for three touchdowns.
DB – Josh Gross, junior, West Noble
Leading the area this year with eight interceptions, Gross gave NECC passers fits every Friday. Over a two-week stretch in September against Fairfield and Garrett, the junior posted five interceptions. He also finished with nearly 600 receiving yards and five total offensive touchdowns.
P – Parker Bates, senior, Adams Central
Bates only had to punt 26 times this year, but he made the most of them averaging nearly 37 yards per boot. As the quarterback of arguably the best team in Adams Central football history, he threw for 1,050 yards and 10 touchdowns while rushing for nearly 600 yards and 16 scores. He also made 65 tackles and picked off a pass defensively.
ATHLETE – Allen Jackson, senior, Bishop Luers
No one on the Knights had more tackles than Jackson, who amassed 127 of them this year to go along with 11 tackles for loss from his linebacker spot. His 18-tackle effort against Northrop in Week 6 was one of the best individual defensive efforts of the year in the SAC.
ATHLETE – Jalen Hammond, senior, Adams Central
Hammond was almost the “forgotten” running back behind Macklin, but all he did was rush for over 1,000 yards and a team-high 20 touchdowns. He also finished second on the team with 116 tackles.
COMING FRIDAY: Outside the Huddle 2018 Player of the Year