Before we get to the Outside the Huddle All-Area Team and our end-of-year awards next week, Blitz wanted to take some time and take a last glance at area conferences and hand out some league-only hardware.
The final one we will look is the Northeast Corner Conference.
PLAYER OF THE YEAR: LABAN DAVIS, EASTSIDE
The easiest choice out of all of the players of the year in each conference.
Davis was a thorn in the side of every team that the Blazers played, even Andrean, which finally vanquished Eastside in the semistate round.
For the year, the senior quarterback accounted for 3,904 total yards – 2,195 on the ground and 1,705 through the air. He finished the year with a total of 53 touchdowns and was the catalyst that led the Blazers to the program’s first-ever regional championship.
HONORABLE MENTION: Will Hoover, Central Noble; Nick Nondorf, Churubusco; Dax Holman, Eastside.
MOST VALUABLE PLAYER: LABAN DAVIS, EASTSIDE
Without Davis, Eastside does not reach the heights it did in 2021. Not only was the senior the player of the year in the NECC, there is no arguing the fact that he was the MVP as well.
HONORABLE MENTION: Trey Richards, Garrett; Hunter Bianski, Churubusco.
BREAKOUT PLAYER: WESTON RINKER, CHURUBUSCO
After barely seeing the field at the varsity level as a ninth grader, Rinker burst onto the scene as one of the top defenders not just for the Eagles, but also the entire league.
The sophomore Rinker manned the inside linebacker spot for Churubusco and was one of the team’s top tacklers with 94 and led the squad with 5.5 sacks.
Rinker also saw some spot action at running back and will likely see that role expand next season.
HONROABLE MENTION: Tyler Shisler, Central Noble; Dane Sebert, Eastside.
COACH OF THE YEAR: TODD MASON, EASTSIDE
Sometimes the most difficult seasons in which to coach a team are when the expectations are through the roof.
That’s the situation Coach Mason found himself in entering 2021. Mason not only led the program to their second sectional championship ever, which included a road win over Bishop Luers, he helmed the Blazers to their first regional title in school history.
Mason pushed all the right buttons, challenging his team early in the year to be better, knowing it would have to be to have a shot to knock off the SAC co-champions in the playoffs. The game plans were perfection, and Eastside rolled all the way to the north semistate game before being downed by Andrean.
HONORABLE MENTION: Hayden Kilgore, Central Noble
GAME OF THE YEAR: Eastside 20, Churubusco 13, Week 4
Many believe Eastside rolled to its division championship in the NECC, but it was challenged on the road in Week 4 at ‘Busco.
The Eagles scored to make it a one-possession game with less than four minutes to go and was able to recover the ensuing onside kick. But Churubusco was unable to convert the winning points as Riley Buroff was stopped short of the first-down marker on fourth down with less than two minutes left, with Dakota Reed bringing down the quarterback at a critical time.
Eastside actually led the game 13-0 before the Eagles scored 13 of the remaining 20 points in the contest, but the Blazers executed late when it needed to.
EARLY PICK FOR 2022 NECC DIVISION CHAMPIONS: EASTSIDE AND ANGOLA
Despite the loss of a standout senior class led by Laban Davis, the Blazers return a solid nucleus of players, anchored by some solid linemen on both sides of the ball. Dax Holman will also be back, arguably the best two-way player in the league looking ahead to 2022.
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