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Tri-Cities All-Area football team
By Dave Oberhelman | Daily Herald Staff

Austin Beebe, West Aurora football


Kyle Breith, all-area football player from St. Charles North


Quinn Buschbacher, Kaneland football


Drew David, Kaneland football


Cole Gardner, Batavia basketball player


Noel Gaspari, Batavia football


Ryan Glasgow, Marmion all-area football


Aaron M. White

Nick Holzer, Aurora Central junior


Joe Hoscheit, St. Charles East football


Ben Kovalick, Kaneland football


Alec Lyons, Batavia football


Sean Oroni, Batavia football


Anthony Maddie, Aurora Christian football


Jake Mills, Geneva all-area football player


RJ Morris, Aurora Christian football


Jake Razo, Kaneland football


Zach Strittmatter, Batavia football


Matt Williams, Geneva football


Cory Windle, Aurora Christian football


Parker Woodworth Geneva football


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Published: 12/1/2011 1:55 AM

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Austin Beebe, West Aurora

Blackhawks teammates voted the senior right offensive tackle West Aurora's top lineman, and Beebe was a vote shy of DuPage Valley Conference lineman of the year. The high-character, 6-foot-1, 270-pounder with a nasty streak had 23 blocks where he drove his man 5 yards downfield; his 28 pancake blocks were the most line coach Mike Powers recalls in his six-year West Aurora tenure. The two-year starter, also a defensive tackle, played fast yet controlled, with great feet, work ethic, a 385-pound bench press. Physical and driven, Beebe was effective blocking straight ahead or leading a sweep. "He's going to be a success at anything he does in life because he's hard working and competitive," said West Aurora coach Nate Eimer.

Kyle Breith, St. Charles North

When North Stars coach Mark Gould needed a center to start the season he turned to his returning starting guard, the 6-foot-2, 260-pound Breith. An inspired choice. "He was our best offensive lineman, and maybe one of the best centers we've had," Gould said. Breith consistently graded out tops among St. Charles North linemen, not just on the field. He earned all-Upstate Eight River honors as well as Academic All-Conference. Strong with good leverage and fast feet, Breith's smarts maintained nearly every blocking assignment. For a new center he didn't make one false shotgun snap Gould could recall. The senior paced tailback George Edlund's 286-yard game against Elgin. "He really solidified our line," Gould said. "It was seamless."

Quinn Buschbacher, Kaneland

The Northern Illinois Big 12 East offensive player of the year and an Illinois High School Football Coaches Association Class 5A All-State selection, the quick, agile senior receiver was a game-breaker. Five-foot-10 and 175 pounds, Buschbacher caught 5 touchdown passes against Yorkville. The three-year starter caught 590 passes for 1,079 yards and 15 touchdowns this season. He added 219 yards rushing and 8 touchdowns. What's more, Buschbacher was a serious special teams threat, returning punts for 227 yards, and netting 565 yards on kickoff returns including a 94-yard touchdown to rank eighth in Illinois history over a single season. "Everybody tried to stop him this year," said Knights coach Tom Fedderly, "so in one way or another he affected every game."

Drew David, Kaneland

At Kaneland there was a seamless transition at quarterback with the 5-foot-11, 165-pound sophomore succeeding last season's All-Area honorary captain, Joe Camiliere. David accounted for 44 touchdowns, averaging 285.7 yards of total offense, to lead the 12-1 Knights to a second straight 5A semifinal appearance. All-conference in the Northern Illinois Big 12 East, David completed 59.4 percent of his passes for 3,306 yards, 39 touchdowns and just 10 interceptions. He ranked second on Kaneland in rushing with 408 yards. David passed for 353 yards and 4 touchdowns against St. Francis in the playoffs. A "character kid" who Knights coach Tom Fedderly believes will only improve, David delivered the ball with pinpoint accuracy. "He flew by all expectations," Fedderly said.

Cole Gardner, Batavia

Here's an example of a player who did whatever he could for his team. The 6-foot-6, 235-pound senior rotated into the defensive line and linebacker, blocked punts, and got as much joy down-blocking at tight end as he did catching passes. Gardner did a lot of both, with 30 receptions for 442 yards and 7 touchdowns, 3 in the playoffs against Notre Dame. He finished his second straight all-Upstate Eight River campaign with 35 tackles, 5 sacks and 24 quarterback hurries, earning Illinois High School Football Coaches Association 6A All-State honors, and Academic All-State. "He was a huge target for a receiver," said Bulldogs coach Dennis Piron, "but what I think he took the most pride in was his blocking."

Noel Gaspari, Batavia

The Bulldogs' three-year starting quarterback experienced great adversity as a sophomore. His determination and work ethic produced a dream season and retribution as Batavia enjoyed its first unbeaten regular season in history. Throwing with a sharp release and velocity, using skilled check-down awareness, Gaspari's 5 touchdown passes against Streamwood were a Batavia record. So were his 191 completions, 30 touchdown passes and 3,153 yards passing. An Illinois High School Football Coaches Association Class 6A All-State choice and Academic All-State, this competitor was named Upstate Eight River offensive player of the year. "He's just a special kid, and I'm very, very lucky in my first year as head coach to have a kid like that," Dennis Piron said.

Ryan Glasgow, Marmion

So agile for one who goes 6-foot-4, 270, Glasgow is a quick study, too. He played offensive guard, offensive tackle, defensive tackle and defensive end. This senior could cover backs one-on-one or drop into coverage like a linebacker. Dominating even against double-teams, the two-year, two-way starter was Marmion's team MVP and co-defensive player of the year in the Suburban Christian Blue. He made 58 tackles with 10 for loss and had 4 quarterback hurries. Northern Illinois and Wyoming have offered him; Michigan and Vanderbilt have granted preferred walk-on status. "I don't think I've ever had a kid so nasty in a game but so kind and articulate five minutes later," said Cadets coach Dan Thorpe. "He's a really neat kid."

Nick Holzer, Aurora Central

If an opponent was running with the football, Holzer was there to greet him. The slippery 6-foot, 180-pound middle linebacker made 127 tackles, nearly doubling up Aurora Central's runner-up. His season total ranks 12th in program history, and of those the senior produced 13 tackles for loss with 2 fumble recoveries. Twice he made 18 tackles, and never less than 10. He studied game film avidly, had a nose for the football, read cutback lanes and game situations and shed blocks quickly. Academic All-State, Chargers MVP and defensive player of the year, Holzer is a two-time all-Suburban Christian Gold honoree. Coach Brian Casey's comment about Holzer's 15 tackles against Guerin typified his entire season: "He was here, there and everywhere."

Joe Hoscheit, St. Charles East

The 6-foot-1, 205-pound junior middle linebacker and fullback's toughness cannot be questioned. Despite a Week 1 shoulder separation and a Week 6 ankle sprain, Hoscheit missed one game. A two-time Upstate Eight River Division all-conference pick a unanimous choice this season Hoscheit earned St. Charles East's Black and Orange pride award for the second time. "He's just a leader from the word go," said Saints coach Mike Fields. Battling through injuries, Hoscheit led the Saints with 64 tackles including 10 against both Batavia and Geneva. Hoscheit, also solid academically, is a throwback, a weight room warrior with high passion and instincts, great hands and blocking technique who also played on special teams. "I wish I had 22 Joeys," Fields said.

Ben Kovalick, Kaneland

Kaneland's anchor on both sides of the ball, Kovalick was a three-year starting right guard and a two-year starting nose tackle. He was named Northern Illinois Big 12 East all-conference in each of the last two seasons. Well-versed against the Rochelle-style Wing-T offense, the Montini spread, and all offenses in between, the 6-foot, 235-pounder finished his senior season with 52 tackles including 5 for loss, with 4 sacks. Offensively, Kovalick helped Kaneland gain 5,197 yards of offense and average 40.1 points. "He gets double-teamed all the time, but his motor never stops. He is relentless," said Knights coach Tom Fedderly. "He plays with leverage, is very quick. He's just one of the toughest kids we've had come through here."

Alec Lyons, Batavia

As an indication of this 6-foot-1, 245-pound senior's work ethic, grit and unselfishness, coming out of summer camp Lyons was named a team co-captain by Batavia's existing captains. Their trust paid off in an outstanding season by this intimidating hitter. A three-year starter and four-year varsity player, the repeat all-Upstate Eight Conference River Division selection made 79 tackles with 10 for loss, 9 sacks and 21 quarterback hurries at defensive end, tackle and linebacker. Lyons was just as versatile offensively, leading the Bulldogs with 13 rushing touchdowns while lining up at fullback, tight end and even receiver. The all-state nominee combined power, speed, size and character. "I'm proud of the man that he has become," said Bulldogs coach Dennis Piron.

Anthony Maddie, Aurora Christian

The honorary captain of the 2011 Daily Herald Tri-Cities All-Area Football Team led Aurora Christian to its first state championship. The 6-foot-2, 203-pound quarterback, headed to Western Michigan, beat teams with his arm and his legs. He ran for 1,117 yards and 17 touchdowns, including 3 in Aurora Christian's Class 3A title win over downstate Mt. Carmel. Maddie passed for 3,799 yards, seventh-best in a season according to the IHSA, and threw 52 touchdown passes, fourth-best. Strong and wildly athletic, Maddie's 89 career touchdown passes also rank fourth in state history. Maddie was a Coaches Association 3A All-State pick and the Suburban Christian Gold player of the year. "He has that wow factor about him," said Eagles coach Don Beebe.

Jake Mills, Geneva

Geneva coach Rob Wicinski said Mills, a 6-foot-2, 265-pound senior, ranked among the best offensive linemen he's had as a head coach. At right guard the Vikings' co-captain finished his third year as a starter and has been an Upstate Eight River All-Conference selection two years running. "At another level" is how Wicinski once described Mills, who graded out the highest among Geneva linemen. Mills' knowledge of the game, leadership and ability to finish his blocks were the result of constant improvement. "He has a great first step and good feet," Wicinski said. "You don't need a ton of size when you have both of those, then when you add size to that, that's a nice high school lineman."

R.J. Morris, Aurora Christian

At 6-foot-3 and 291 pounds Morris wasn't the biggest Aurora Christian lineman in history, just one of the best. He was an Illinois High School Football Coaches Association Class 3A All-State selection, and the Suburban Christian Gold offensive lineman of the year. The right guard was mild-mannered off the field but a warrior on it, until a knee injury in the Eagles' second-round playoff game ended his season. Good footwork combined with obvious size and strength allowed him to reach linebackers and take on safeties downfield. A senior who has attracted Division I interest, Morris didn't allow a sack all season. "He's a very competitive kid and he rises to the occasion in the bigger games," said coach Don Beebe.

Sean Oroni, Batavia

Oroni was perhaps Batavia's most pleasant personnel surprise. In the summer Bulldogs coach Dennis Piron and defensive coordinator Matt Holm said he "could be replaced" at middle linebacker. "He said, 'OK, guys, we'll see' and he was right," Piron said. The senior maximized his talent and 5-foot-11, 205-pound frame to the tune of 10 tackles for loss and 138 overall, breaking Holm's program record. Upstate Eight River Division coaches voted him the conference's defensive player of the year. Oroni did it with football intelligence, to the point where he not only easily recognized formations but could pick up a quarterback's cadence and audible calls. "Hopefully one day he becomes a coach because he would be a great one," Piron said.

Jacob Razo, Kaneland

Right fielder on Kaneland's Class 3A championship baseball team, Razo's success transferred to the gridiron. Just 5-foot-8 and 160 pounds, the senior's toughness produced 58 tackles including 1 for loss, with 2 fumble recoveries. It was his ball-hawking in the secondary that earned him a second straight Northern Illinois Big 12 East all-conference honor as well as Illinois High School Football Coaches Association 5A all-state honorable mention. Covering each opponent's top receiver, Razo intercepted 10 passes and broke up 18 others. He was a film-watching student of the game, not only a fast cornerback who broke hard on the ball. "He competes, and he wants to make plays, and he wants to win," said Knights coach Tom Fedderly.

Zach Strittmatter, Batavia

Of all the various targets Batavia quarterback Noel Gaspari had at his disposal, he found the 6-foot-5, 195-pound Strittmatter most often, and with the greatest success. The junior led the Bulldogs with 47 receptions for a team-high 856 yards and tied Cole Gardner for the team lead with 7 touchdown receptions. Strittmatter consistently caught his several key passes a game for a defense-stretching 18.2 yards a reception. He was voted all-conference in the Upstate Eight River Division, and was Academic All-Conference. What amazed Bulldogs coach Dennis Piron was not Strittmatter's great hands or crisp routes, but his strength and tackle-breaking abilities after the catch. He also was Batavia's top punt returner. "There's not much he can't do," the coach said.

Matt Williams, Geneva

The 6-foot-2, 180-pound senior quarterback, Geneva's MVP, is headed to Northern Illinois University. Williams has arm strength and accuracy, able to fluster defenses by rolling out of the pocket or sprinting downfield when the opportunity arises. Williams completed 57 percent of his passes for 1,451 yards and 9 touchdowns, and added 426 yards rushing and 9 more touchdowns. An Illinois High School Football Coaches Association Class 7A All-State and two-time all-Upstate Eight River pick, he also punted and kicked off for the Vikings, converting two perfect onside kicks against Wheaton North. Crafty with can-do attitude. "The best compliment I can give him is he's a problem-solver," coach Rob Wicinski said. "I've got problems, he solves them."

Cory Windle, Aurora Christian

Six times this fall the all-Suburban Christian Gold receiver surpassed 100 yards receiving in a game, topping out at 212 yards on 7 catches against Immaculate Conception, one of Windle's three 3-touchdown games. His body control and route running, his ability to leap above defenders and extend his great hands for the catch, helped Windle grab 61 passes for 1,322 yards, ranking 20th over a single season. He averaged 21.7 yards a reception. When other Aurora Christian receivers went out injured the Eagles needed a deep threat. Enter the 6-foot-3, 185-pound junior. "He went through a real maturation process during the course of last season to become that," said Eagles coach Don Beebe. "And he's going to be even better."

Parker Woodworth, Geneva

For a football program that prides itself on churning out quality tailbacks, entering the 2011 season Vikings coach Rob Wicinski didn't know what he had there. Turns out he had another good back in Woodworth. Constantly moving his legs, using vision, a linebacker mentality and strength gained over the prior year, the 5-foot-10, 180-pound senior polished off his carries always going forward. He ran for 172 yards against Wheaton North, 179 against St. Charles East, 120 against Batavia's brutal defense. Geneva's most valuable offensive back and all-conference in the Upstate Eight River, Woodworth finished with 1,099 yards rushing and 23 touchdowns. "There's a kid that really worked for it. He got the opportunity and he didn't waste it," Wicinski said.

2011 Football All-area roster

Player School Pos. Yr.

Austin Beebe West Aurora OL Sr.

Kyle Breith St. Charles North OL Sr.

Quinn Buschbacher Kaneland WR Sr.

Drew David Kaneland QB So.

Cole Gardner Batavia TE-DL-LB Sr.

Noel Gaspari Batavia QB Sr.

Ryan Glasgow Marmion OL-DL Sr.

Nick Holzer Aurora Central LB Sr.

Joe Hoscheit St. Charles East LB Jr.

Ben Kovalick Kaneland OL-DL Sr.

Alec Lyons Batavia RB-DL Sr.

Anthony Maddie* Aurora Christian QB Sr.

Jake Mills Geneva OL Sr.

R.J. Morris Aurora Christian OL Sr.

Sean Oroni Batavia LB Sr.

Jacob Razo Kaneland DB Sr.

Zach Strittmatter Batavia WR Jr.

Matt Williams Geneva QB Sr.

Cory Windle Aurora Christian WR Sr.

Parker Woodworth Geneva RB Sr.

* Honorary captain

Special mention

Jesse Balluff (Kaneland, so., RB), Javonta Black (West Aurora, sr., DL), Sean Carter (Kaneland, sr., WR), Jon Gray (Batavia, sr., WR-DB), Mitch Holtz (Aurora Christian, sr., LB), Kyle Kozak (Marmion, sr., RB-DB), Ryan Lawrence (Kaneland, jr., LB), Nick Pappas (Batavia, sr., OL), Ben Rogers (Geneva, sr., WR), Kevin Schroeder (Batavia, sr., DB).

Honorable mention

Garrett Becker (Marmion, sr., RB-LB), Tyler Boyd (Marmion, sr., OL-DL), Kyle Clechenko (Aurora Central, sr., QB-DB), Reece Conroyd (St. Charles North, so., LB), Connor Einck (Geneva, sr., TE), Charlie Fisher (St. Charles East, sr., QB), A.J. Friedman (Marmion, sr., DB-K-P), Dom Guzaldo (Batavia, sr., RB), Bobby Hess (Geneva, jr., RB), Austin Higgins (Batavia, sr., LB), Tim Leibforth (St. Charles East, sr., DB), Austin Lewis (Batavia, sr., DL), Brandon Mayes (Aurora Christian, jr., RB-DB), Kenny McCracken (Aurora Christian, sr., LB), Ryan Noel (Kaneland, sr., DL), Jake Powers (Geneva, sr., LB), Nick Sharp (Kaneland, jr., OL), Anthony Thielk (Batavia, so., RB-LB), Ryan Suttle (Aurora Christian, jr., RB-LB), Brandon Warren (West Aurora, sr., LB), A.T. White (Aurora Central, sr., OL-DL), Kendall Williams (West Aurora, sr., LB), Evan Zeddies (Batavia, sr., WR), Nate Zinzer (West Aurora, sr., WR-DB), Henry Zupke (Geneva, sr., DL).

The winners

Conference champions

Aurora Christian, Batavia

Playoff qualifiers

Aurora Christian, Batavia, Geneva, Kaneland, Marmion


Aurora Christian, Batavia, Kaneland

State champion

Aurora Christian

The future

Teams to watch in 2012

Aurora Christian, Batavia, Kaneland