It is a week of honoring the best in northeast Indiana high school football for 2019 as Outside the Huddle unveils its all-area teams.
The week of accolades will culminate on Friday with the OTH Player of the Year.
We begin today with a look at the best on defense in Classes 1-3.
DL – Joseph Collier, junior, Adams Central
Collier and fellow d-end Ben Voirol were huge all season long on the edges for the Flying Jets defense. The crowning achievement for AC this season was limiting the high-flying South Adams offense to just seven points in the regional championship.
Collier was named First Team All-ACAC and Class 1A Junior All-State by the IFCA.
DL – Austin Gorney, junior, South Adams
The defense of the Starfires had some pretty talented guys as well, including Gorney up front. The defensive tackle also saw action on offense, but it was pursuing ballcarriers that he was most adept at.
Gorney amassed 83 tackles, 10.5 TFL and three sacks for the Starfires, earning First Team All-ACAC honors.
DL – Will Derrick, senior, Bishop Luers
The Knights were challenged week after week in the ultra-competitive SAC but struggled against high-powered offenses.
But Derrick was a wrecking ball up front. The 6-foot, 250-pound D-lineman finished the year with 33 tackles, 14 TFL and 2.5 sacks while earning All-SAC Second Team honors.
DL – Braxton Pruitt, sophomore, West Noble
Everyone has heard of Brandon. Folks, get to know Braxton.
We saw the sophomore stud predominantly up front on defense, posting 61 tackles, 20 tackles for loss and a team-high 13 sacks.
Pruitt was named First Team All-NECC with his brother.
LB – Grady Sprunger, senior, South Adams
The linebacker eclipsed the 100-tackle mark on the season for the Starfires, amassing 105 of them while being named First Team All-ACAC.
Sprunger also had 15 tackles and three sacks in his final year with South Adams.
LB – Josh Gross, senior, West Noble
Gross took a back seat to Brandon Pruitt many times when it came to media attention, but he was a stellar change-of-pace offensive threat for the Chargers.
The slot back rushed for 520 yards and five scores for West Noble while also hauling in 22 receptions for 309 yards and two touchdowns.
Defensively, Gross made 72 tackles, three TFL and picked off five passes from his linebacker spot.
LB – Blake Heyerly, sophomore, Adams Central
The next great two-way player for Adams Central. Heyerly was huge in the Flying Jets’ regional win over South Adams, rushing for 151 yards and all three of AC’s touchdowns.
Defensively, Heyerly showcased his skills in the middle level of a defense that improved steadily as the year progressed.
Heyerly and Aidan Wanner were the lone sophomores on the All-ACAC First Team Defense.
DB – Jalen Vanderbosch, senior, Concordia Lutheran
The senior two-way player burst onto the scene in Week 1 with an 8-126-2 stat line from his wide receiver spot against South Side. He finished with 48 receptions, 748 yards and seven touchdowns on that side of the ball for the Cadets.
Defensively, he picked off six passes on the year, all of which came during a three-week stretch in which he notched a pair of picks in each game. Vanderbosch also had 41 tackles and was named All-SAC Second Team.
DB – Lane Burns, junior, Eastside
Burns finished the season with seven interceptions for the Blazers, one of the best performances out of a defensive back in the area all year. He also amassed 63 tackles and was the primary punt returner.
Offensively, Burns led Eastside with 33 receptions for 499 yards and seven scores.
DB – Dallas Schwaller, senior, Adams Central
While his primary position may have been quarterback, Schwaller was a leader on the back end of a defense that was limited in seniors on the field.
Offensively, Schwaller made plays when he needed to and shined in the clutch in victories in the postseason.
DB – Dalton Gerber, senior, Adams Central
Another of Adams Central’s few seniors, Gerber and Schwaller gave the Flying Jets a veteran duo in the defensive backfield that stepped up to limit South Adams’ vertical attack in the regional.
Gerber was a First Team All-ACAC selection.
P – Sawyer Yoder, junior, Central Noble
A First Team All-NECC selection, Yoder was stout when it came to booming kicks and putting opponents in bad situations.
The junior also compiled 449 yards of total offense and 44 tackles defensively.
ATHLETE – Nic Stuber, senior, South Adams
The outside linebacker amassed 73 tackles, 8.5 tackles for loss and a pair of sacks as well as an interception for the ACAC-champion Starfires.
Stuber also shined on offense, rushing 76 times for 579 yards and nine touchdowns. He was named All-ACAC First Team.
ATHLETE – Kain Thornton, senior, Bluffton
Thornton was a solid defender for the Tigers and was pivotal on that side of the ball as Coach Brent Kunkel’s team turned a corner in the ACAC.
As a wideout, he was Bluffton’s leading receiver 50 catches, 818 yards and seven touchdowns through the air, earning him All-ACAC First Team honors.
ATHLETE – Christian Summersett, junior, South Adams
As an outside linebacker, Summersett filled a variety of roles for the Starfires, able to seal the edge on the outside but also drop back in coverage if need be. He finished the year with 53 tackles and four interceptions.
Offensively, the junior was South Adams’ leading rusher with 866 yards and 12 scores.