It is a week-plus of postseason awards here at Outside the Huddle.

All this week, we are naming our OTH All-Area Teams, split into small school and big school categories.

So far this week, we named our official OTH Coach of the Year in Eastside’s Todd Mason and, for the second time, named the recipient of the Clayten Stuart Award for the player who best exemplifies the qualities of discipline, work ethic and spirit as seen by us here at Outside the Huddle: Mason Sheron of Leo.

Today, we continue the festivities with the best on defense in Classes 4A through 6A with our fourth annual Outside the Huddle Prep Football All-Area team.

Photo by Leverage Photography

DL – Julante Hinton, sophomore, Northrop

Hinton’s encore after a standout freshman season continued to build on what is an intensely bright future. 

The sophomore began the season at end and accounted for four sacks while dealing with constant double teams, but truly blossomed Week 7 and onward when he was moved to linebacker. Hinton excelled there, leading Northrop in tackles despite playing in just seven games due to injury. 

For the year, Hinton had the four sacks to go with 88 solo tackles and a pair of forced fumbles. 

Hinton was voted All-SAC Second Team.

DL – Jack Tippmann, senior, Bishop Dwenger

Just another Tippmann that can play some serious ball. 

Jack was a stalwart up front for the Saints all season long on a defense that was much maligned at times, but made plays when it needed to, particularly late in the season in wins against North Side and Snider. 

For the year, Tippmann accounted for 68 tackles, 24.5 TFL and seven sacks in his senior campaign. He also saw some spot action on offense, scoring a rushing and a receiving touchdown as well as returning his lone fumble recovery for a score. 

Tippmann was named First Team All-SAC and selected to the Class 5A Senior All-State squad. 

Photo by Leslie Palmer

DL – Matt Miller, senior, Homestead

Miller manned one of the more underappreciated positions on the field – at the nose right over the ball in the middle of the Homestead defensive front. 

The numbers aren’t gaudy, but nose tackles rarely make an impact in the stat sheet. What they do is plug up space, take the attention of one or two blockers and free up ends and linebackers to make plays. 

Miller was as crucial as anyone to the Spartans’ defensive success in 2021, accumulating 28 tackles, seven TFL and 2.5 sacks while also blocking a punt. He was named All-SAC Second Team.

DL – DJ Allen, senior, Leo

Whether he was wrapping up ball carriers well behind the line of scrimmage or, sealing blocks on offens, Allen was a factor in a multitude of ways for the Lions. 

The senior headed to Rutgers accumulated 45.5 tackles, 17 TFL and six sacks to go with three pass breakups and a safety. 

On offense, he was a big part of Leo rushing for over 2,500 yards during the season. 

Allen was a First Team All-NE8 selection and was also chosen to the Class 4A Senior All-State squad. 

Photo by Leverage Photography

LB – Josh Arntz, junior, Columbia City

The Eagles needed someone to step up in 2021 at the middle level of the defense, and Arntz delivered. 

The junior played the run well, but he was also extremely good at dissecting passes and making plays, evidenced by his six INTs. He added to that 63 tackles and 11 TFL. 

Arntz also saw some action on offense, averaging 6.3 yards per carry on 24 touches and scoring five touchdowns. 

Arntz was chosen All-NE8 Second Team.

LB – Domanick Moon, senior, Snider

There is something to be said about a solid linebacker that just goes about his business. 

That was Moon, who will head to Purdue to continue his playing career after a stellar 2021 with the Panthers. 

Moon was as steady as they come, able to play inside and outside linebacker for the Panthers in a variety of defensive sets. He was one of the Panthers’ top tacklers with over 90 to his credit to go with six tackles for loss, a sack, an INT and a fumble recovery. 

Moon was named All-SAC First Team and chosen by the IFCA for its Top 50 team. 

Photo by Leverage Photography

LB – Dylan Bennett, junior, Carroll

The only thing scarier to opponents than Bennett’s adult-sized physique was his brutal power and big-play ability between the whistles on the gridiron. 

Bennett is a throwback linebacker who craves contact and physicality. His love for football is unmatched and he is highly coachable, wanting to be as good of a student of the game as he can be. 

He erupted onto the SAC scene this season with 84 tackles and 12 TFL. But it was his penchant for turnovers that was his biggest attribute. He notched four INTs, three of which he returned for touchdowns. He also got a pair of rushing touchdowns on offense. 

Bennett was chosen to the All-SAC First Team and to the Class 6A Junior All-State Team by the IFCA.

LB – Alex Holcomb, junior, Leo

So much was made about the Leo rushing attack over the course of the season that the appreciation of its defense almost came secondary. 

Yet Holcomb paced that unit that helped Leo win its first 13 games of the season, with the linebacker leading the team in tackles at 75.5. He also finished with 5.5 tackles and a sack, as well as a pass breakup. 

Photo by Leslie Palmer

DB – Sam Campbell, junior, Bishop Dwenger

Campbell was one of a series of underrated defensive backs that the Saints were able to employ from their arsenal. 

The junior was the best of the bunch, at least in OTH’s mind, finishing with a pair of INTs and an incredible 28 passes defensed. 

Campbell also had 38 tackles and 1.5 TFL on the year. He also saw spot action on offense with a rushing touchdown and eight receptions. 

DB – Rylan Crawford, senior, Leo

A free-ranging safety who was very good in traffic on defense as well as offense, Crawford was one of a host of weapons that Leo was able to employ in 2021. 

On defense, finished the season with 26 tackles, five pass breakups and four INTs.  tackles, five pass breakups and four TFL. Offensively, he was able to haul in six catches over the course of the season and was an exceptional blocking tight end. 

Crawford was named to the First Team All-NE8 squad.

DB – Rowan Zolman, senior, East Noble

Teams in the NE8 and beyond will be happy that Zolman will no longer be around, as he has been a thorn in the side of opponents for years. 

For his final season, Zolman once again was one of the top safeties anywhere in the area. He finished with 91 tackles, three passes defensed, a pair of fumble recoveries, two caused fumbles and an INT. 

Offensively, the rangy Zolman hauled in 24 passes for 540 yards and five touchdowns. He also averaged 42 yards per punt for the Knights. 

Zolman was chosen to the First Team All-NE8 as well as to the IFCA Top 50 team. 

Photo by Leverage Photography

DB – C.J. Davis, junior, Northrop

An absolute beast in coverage, Davis took advantage of quarterbacks trying to force the ball to receivers around him, picking off seven passes in 2021. 

With speed in bunches and talent to boot, Davis added 14 pass breakups this past season and added 32 tackles and a sack. 

In coverage, you could argue there was no one better in the SAC than Davis. He was voted First Team All-SAC and was voted Class 6A Junior All-State by the IFCA. 

Photo by Leverage Photography

AT-LARGE – Ethan Crawford, junior, Leo

Another of the Lions’ top defenders, Crawford finished with 48.5 tackles to go with five pass breakups and four TFL. 

Crawford also saw a significant role on offense, carrying the ball 47 times for 488 yards, averaging a first down per touch, to go with nine touchdowns. 

Crawford was voted First Team All-NE8.

Photo by John Felts

AT-LARGE – Brauntae Johnson, sophomore, North Side

One of the most electric talents in the state in his class, “Tae Tae” took another step forward in his development in 2021. 

As a defensive back, Johnson finished with 29 tackles and an astounding four caused fumbles, including an epic goal-line forced fumble against Snider. He also recovered four fumbles. 

Offensively, the sophomore hauled in 29 passes for 297 yards and three scores. He also served as North Side’s primary returner, averaging over 33 yards per kickoff return. 

Jonson was voted First Team All-SAC and to the Class 5A Junior All-State squad. 

Photo by Leslie Palmer

P – Carter Dixon, senior, Homestead

Despite being limited to just six games over the course of the season, Dixon was still the best in the area when it came to kicking. 

His punting was superb, particularly when it came to directional kicking. On kickoffs, he put 30 of his 35 boots in the end zone for touchbacks, an incredible average at the high school level. 

He was limited in placekicking duties, but did convert a 34 yard field goal against Bishop Dwenger. 

Dixon was voted All-SAC Second Team. 

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