It is a week-plus of postseason awards here at Outside the Huddle.
We are naming our OTH Football All-Area Teams, split into small school (Class 1A to 3A) and big school (Classes 4A to 6A) categories. A tad late but, it is good to save the best for last, right?
We continue with the Big School Offense.
QB: Jimmy Sullivan, sophomore Carroll – Many believed that it would take a bit for Sullivan to find his way as a QB1 in the SAC with a new program. Instead, the sophomore thrived from the jump, throwing multiple touchdowns in each of his first four games. Overall, Sullivan led the Chargers offense to an SAC crown and a Class 6A state finals appearance by throwing for 2,203 yards and 27 scores. He also rushed for 182 yards and nine touchdowns.
QB: Tegan Irk, senior, DeKalb – The signal caller assaulted NE8 defenses all season long, throwing for 24 touchdowns with just five INTs and 2,232 total yards. Irk also rushed for 301 yards and four TDs, including a 127-yard, two-touchdown effort against East Noble.
RB: Jontae Lambert, senior, North Side – As crucial to the Legends’ season as anyone, Lambert set program marks with his 2,257 rushing yards on the campaign. The senior averaged almost a first down per carry at 9.8 yards per rush. He eclipsed the 100-yard mark nine times and the 200-yard plateau seven times. He finished with 17 rushing touchdowns and added two for good measure as a receiver.
RB: Lamarion Nelson, senior, Wayne – Defenses knew that Nelson was going to get the ball a considerable amount in the Generals offense, yet the senior was still able to put up big numbers. The bruiser rushed for 1,601 yards and 16 touchdowns, adding 11 receptions for 138 yards and a TD. He also saw action on defense with 15 tackles, 1.5 TFL, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery.
RB: Langston Leavell, senior, Snider – Every season the Panthers have a bruising running back that can be leaned upon to carry the load. This year it was Leavell, who will head to the University of Saint Francis fresh off a 1,000-yard rushing season. The senior had 1,170 yards rushing and 14 touchdowns. He also hauled in a receiving score.
WR: Mylan Graham, junior, New Haven – One of the more dynamic players in the country in his class, Graham’s offer list includes the likes of Ohio State, Alabama and Georgia. Equal parts burner and finesse in traffic, Graham AVERAGED 24 yards per catch for New Haven this past season. In all, he had 13 touchdowns and 1,149 yards receiving on the season. He is also a solid defensive back and an always-dangerous weapon in the return game.
WR: Kamari Juarez, senior, Snider – When the Panthers needed a play, Juarez was there seemingly every time. From the return game to wideout, the senior delivered time and again for a team that fed off momentum. Juarez finished the campaign with 46 catches for 762 yards and 10 scores. He also had a total of four return touchdowns – three on kickoffs and one on a punt.
TE: Lincoln Firks, senior, Snider – Equal parts blocker and receiver, Firks was tough to deal with in a multitude of ways. He was crucial for the Panthers when he stayed in and blocked, but when he was sent off downfield he was rarely stopped. Close to a third of Firks’ receptions went for touchdowns as he finished the year with 234 yards and seven scores.
OL: Jordan King, junior, North Side – A hulking lineman with offers from a host of MAC schools as well as Louisville and Purdue, King is big and strong enough to be an anchor along the line of scrimmage and agile enough to play hoops at North (prior to injury). Lambert put up the numbers, but King and others made it happen by paving the way.
OL: Jack Maley, senior, Columbia City – The centerpiece of an offensive front that got it done all season long for the NE8 champions, Maley was a mainstay for the Eagles and their prolific rushing game.
OL: Brandon Stuckey, senior, Snider – The Panthers rushed for 200 yards per game in 2022 while Luke Haupert was well protected in the pocket. A lot of both had to do with Stuckey, one of the most complete linemen in the SAC.
OL: Zack Leighty, junior, East Noble – An immovable object that can move around the offensive front for the Knights. Leighty has become a mainstay for the offense and still has a year of eligibility left to dominate the interior.
OL: Aiden Hunley, senior, Carroll – At 6-foot-3 and 260 pounds, Hunley was efficient at gaining leverage and holding back defenses that were clamoring to get in the backfield for one of the top squads in the state regardless of class.
AT-LARGE: Brauntae Johnson, junior, North Side – Tae Tae continued to live up to the hype in 2022. Despite being joined by other weapons on offense, the junior still went for 1,081 yards and 16 touchdowns receiving. Tae also saw action on defense and was one of the most dangerous return men in the SAC.
AT-LARGE: Brock Schott, sophomore, Leo – Think Gronk at the high school level. That’s what you’re dealing with in Schott, who can line up at the end of the offensive front matched up against a linebacker or split out wide and out-muscle a defensive back. Schott was also one of the top defenders in the NE8 on the edge for the Lions.
K: Sebastian Lopez, senior, Carroll – The senior hit on 90 percent of his extra points and nailed four field goals – his long being from 41 yards. Lopez also averaged 35 yards per punt.
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