As we move into week four of the high school football season, we want to take a look at who some of the top players and teams are so far. Through 1/3 of the high school football regular season, who is catching Outside the Huddle’s attention in the Northeast Corner Conference?
TOP OFFENSIVE PERFORMER
QB LABAN DAVIS, JUNIOR, EASTSIDE
The NECC’s best quarterback has been putting up numbers that we would expect from someone crowned tops at his position.
Davis is completing 61 percent of his passes and has amassed close to 750 total yards and 10 total touchdowns.
Regardless of division, Eastside is the most complete team in the NECC. A big reason for that is Davis, who is even solid at the punting position.
Contenders: Wyatt Marks, Churubusco; Tucker Hasselman, Angola
TOP DEFENSIVE PERFORMER
DL HUNTER BIANSKI, JUNIOR, CHURUBUSCO
Bianski was an all-state player in 2019 and is showing that he has taken the next step in his development this season.
The junior is a thick, physical two-way player, tough enough to line up on the offensive and defensive lines but also sneaky quick when he lines up in the backfield.
But it is on defense where Bianski shines. Through three games, he has 25 tackles, 9.5 TFL and 1.5 sacks for the Eagles.
Contenders: Trey Richards, Garrett; Lane Burns, Eastside; Braxton Pruitt, West Noble.
RB/LB WILL HOOVER, JUNIOR, CENTRAL NOBLE
The Cougars have struggled to a 1-2 record through the first third of the season, but Hoover has been everywhere. He is one of Central Noble’s top rushers, but on defense is where he truly shines.
Hoover flies to the ball, moving hash to hash quickly and confidently. He is in on almost every play and is an exceptional finisher.
Keep an eye on Hoover, who will be the catalyst for that defense over the next two years.
Contenders: Gavin Wallace, Eastside; Trey Richards, Garrett; Wyatt Marks, Churubusco
LB KYLER BIBBEE, JUNIOR, EASTSIDE
Outside of five kickoff returns over four games last season, the varsity level is richly new to Bibbee, but he has slid in as one of the best defensive players in the conference on the best team in the conference.
After recording one tackle as a sophomore in 2019, Bibbee has already put up a team-best 31 tackles in 2020, averaging in double digits per game. And this is no slouch defense for him to be leading.
Contenders: Jake Land, Angola; Brock Short, Fairfield; Khamron Malaivanh, Lakeland; Riley Buroff, Churubusco
WEST NOBLE AT 0-3
We all knew that West Noble would take a step backwards. A senior class including Brandon Pruitt, Josh Gross and Kyle Mawhorter leaving was always going to hurt things. But losing to Central Noble for the first time since 2015 and then scoring zero points in back to back weeks against Wawasee and Eastside wasn’t super expected. West Noble had not been shut out at all, let alone back to back weeks, since 2013.
NOT SEEING ANGOLA
It was a down year in 2019, for Angola standards anyway. Things looked to be going significantly better to start the 2020 campaign and Tucker Hasselman shined for the Hornets week one in a dominant win over DeKalb. But then that whole COVID thing struck and contact tracing to a DeKalb player shelved Angola’s weeks two and three. As it sits, we have seen the Hornets just that one time this year. The biggest disappointment in a lost game was not getting to see them match up with Leo in week two. That had the potential for a lot of fun.
BIG SCHOOL: ANGOLA
With only one week to look at, this may be jumping the gun. But that one week against DeKalb was so strong. Angola forced four DeKalb fumbles on their first 13 plays offensively and scored 21 points off those fumbles on their way to a 55-18 win in a game that was expected to be close. Tucker Hasselman completed 7-of-11 passes, so he was hitting his stride and targets well. Time will tell if the Hornets can come back strong, but what we’ve seen has been solid.
SMALL SCHOOL: EASTSIDE
Is anyone going to come close to the Blazers in the entire conference, let alone in the small school division? The Blazers are rolling on both sides of the football and outscoring opponents 111-21 with their week four meeting with Churubusco a possible NECC Small School title game. The Blazers have four players (Laban Davis, Wade Miller, Gavin Wallace and Matt Firestine) all in triple digit offensive yards.
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