Outside the Huddle and Blitz are counting down who they feel are the top 50 individual players in northeast Indiana heading into the 2021 season.
Today, we continue unveiling the best players in the area with positions No. 30-26.
No. 30: QB Laban Davis, senior, Eastside
When talking top dual-threat quarterbacks in the area, Laban Davis is on the short list. Coming off a campaign in which he threw for close to 1,700 yards and rushed for nearly 1,300 more, Davis enters 2021 as sort of an unknown within Allen County.
But the 6-foot senior has all the tools – arm strength, mobility and exceptional decision making. His growth from his sophomore season to know has been considerable, and he is a three-year starter for the Blazers in which the team has gone 20-5 with him under center.
Davis has put on some good weight in the off-season and will again be a big problem for opposing defenses in the NECC.
COACH’S QUOTE ON LABAN DAVIS
“Laban is a fantastic athlete who is a fierce competitor. The progress he has made from his sophomore year until now has been remarkable. He has progressively developed as a player and has really stepped up this season as a leader. I am really looking forward to watching him do amazing things.” – Eastside coach Todd Mason
No. 29: QB/DB Aidan Wanner, senior, South Adams
The cupboard is surely not bare at South Adams when it comes to talent.
Wanner may be the best of the bunch, with the two-way stud moving positions this season. After hauling in 25 touchdowns over the last two years at wide receiver, Wanner now slots in at quarterback with James Arnold’s departure.
Tall, strong and athletic, Wanner is almost a natural wherever he lines up on the field. His instinct and tenacity makes him one of the best safeties in the ACAC and his elusiveness will come in handy behind center.
The senior’s 10 interceptions over the last two years are evidence of his skills in the secondary, while his claim as the program’s all-time leading scorer already shows just how big of an impact he makes in all three facets of the game, including holding down the kicking duties for the Starfires.
COACH’S QUOTE ON AIDAN WANNER
“Aidan will be Mr. Everything for us. He is South Adams’ all-time leading scorer already. He moves from WR the last three years to under center this year. He has a strong arm and is a fantastic runner. He will also start at free safety for the third straight year. He is a captain for us for the second straight year. Our team will go as he goes.” – South Adams coach Grant Moser
No. 28: QB Jakar Williams, senior, New Haven
One of the most mobile QBs in northeast Indiana, Jakar Williams has shown improvement in each of his first two seasons as starter for New Haven.
Entering Year 3, many expect Williams to eclipse his 20-touchdown effort from 2020.
A rangy quarterback with an underrated arm, Williams tossed 16 touchdowns and rushed for four more a season ago. His command of the offense is impressive and is truly what makes the Bulldogs go on that side of the ball.
With a new man at the helm in Coach Kyle Booher, expect Williams to be used outside of the pocket more, potentially in run-pass option situations that puts the trust in the veteran’s hands.
No. 27: DE/TE/P Trevor Hapner, senior, South Side
You want an edge rusher who can fight off double teams?
How about a pass-catching tight end who is a matchup nightmare?
Or maybe you need a punter who can boot the ball with precision?
Hapner can handle all three.
Talk about a guy who gets next to no respect in the SAC, Hapner is a beast everywhere he lines up. He accounted for 89 tackles, nine TFL, seven sacks, three forced fumbles, two fumble recoveries and an INT last year for the Archers, a truly astounding performance for a defensive unit that struggled mightily against top offenses.
Strong and relentless, Hapner doesn’t back down from a challenge and his coaches love his “get up and go” attitude. The senior will go just as hard on snap one and snap 80 of a game.
Hapner hauled in seven receptions and also saw some spot action at running back last season. He also averaged nearly 38 yards per punt.
Make it a point to catch Hapner on the field in 2021. He is a hidden gem.
No. 26: RB/PR/KR Kaeden Miller, senior, Leo
“Workhouse” would be an accurate word to describe Miller, who returns this season after holding down the primary running back and return positions for the Lions last season.
Miller is a compact runner who has grown stronger over the winter, which will allow him to power through and shake off tackling attempts with more regularity. He is one of those rare three-down backs who can be relied upon to break open a big run or fight for an extra yard or two.
The senior is also one of the more deadly return men in the area. He averaged 34 yards per punt return in 2020 and took a pair of punts back for touchdowns.
COACH’S QUOTE ON KAEDEN MILLER
“Kaeden is a quick and fast back who developed his strength over the last two years. He has a great junior season and we hope to see another good season this year. In addition to his work at running back, Kaeden has been an outstanding special teams player as a punt and kickoff returner.” – Leo coach Jared Sauder