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Normal West wide receiver Cole Hernandez finds an opening during the Wildcats' Class 6A second-round playoff game against Palo Heights Shepard on Nov. 2 at West. Hernandez led the area with 55 receptions and 850 yards.

First team offense

Linemen

Ethan Johnson

6-3, 250, Jr.

Normal Community

First-team all-Big 12 choice was a key blocker for Pantagraph Player of the Year Daylen Boddie.

Jordan Kraft

5-10, 210, Sr.

Tri-Valley

First-team all-HOIC pick helped Vikings advance to Class 2A quarterfinals. 

Steven Lewis

6-1, 275, Jr.

Pontiac

A two-way first-team all-Illini Prairie star for 9-2 Indians.

Mark Marshall

5-10, 250, Sr.

Bloomington

First-team all-Big 12 selection anchored line on 7-3 playoff team. 

Joe Mohr

5-10, 200, Sr.

Normal West

First-team all-Big 12 honoree for second year in a row.

Quarterback

Daylen Boddie

5-8, 195, Sr.

Normal Community

A repeat selection, the Coaches Assn. Class 7A all-stater and Pantagraph Player of the Year accounted for 4,876 yards and 73 touchdowns the past two years.

Running backs

Ryne Faulk

6-0, 195, Sr.

El Paso-Gridley

Repeat choice and Coaches Assn. 2A all-stater had an area-best 1,464 rushing yards during the regular season.

Austin Norman

5-8, 155, Sr.

Pontiac

Coaches Assn. Class 4A all-stater led the area with 1,685 rushing yards and scored 23 TDs.

Jared Trantina

5-8, 200, Sr.

GCMS

Coaches Assn. 2A all-stater ran for 1,677 yards and an area-best 36 touchdowns.

Wide receivers

Drew Crooks

5-10, 165, Sr.

Bloomington

First-team all-Big 12 standout caught 39 passes for 538 yards.

Armani Forrest

5-8, 150, Sr.

Normal West

Electrifying athlete was second in the area in receiving yards (753) despite playing only seven games because of injury. 

Cole Hernandez

6-3, 190, Jr.

Normal West

First-team all-Big 12 star led the area with 55 catches and 850 yards.

Tight end

Chris Bement

6-5, 240, Sr.

Dwight

Illinois State recruit was first-team all-Sangamon Valley on both sides of the ball.

First team defense

Linemen

Joel Baer

5-11, 215, Jr.

Eureka

Coaches Assn. 3A all-stater had 19 tackles for loss and three sacks among his 83 total tackles.

Josh Bleich

6-3, 235, Sr.

GCMS

Had 60 tackles and was a constant disruptive force up front for repeat 2A state champs.

Tanner Diorio

5-10, 190, Sr.

Fisher

Coaches Assn. Class 1A all-stater had 16 tackles for loss, two sacks and three fumble recoveries.

Skyler Hufeld

6-0, 250, Jr.

Normal West

First-team all-Big 12 pick had 16.5 tackles for loss and three sacks among his 76 total tackles.

Hayden Workman

6-3, 270, Sr.

GCMS

First-team all-HOIC star hit the weights in the offseason and the opposition during it, totaling 101 tackles with 15 tackles for loss.

Linebackers

Bryce Barnes

6-2, 225, Sr.

GCMS

Repeat selection had 17 tackles for loss and eight sacks while splitting time between linebacker and defensive end.

Gavin Bauknecht

5-8, 210, Sr.

Pontiac

First-team all-Illini Prairie selection helped Indians advance to the second round of the Class 4A playoffs.

Garrett Rhode

6-4, 220, Sr.

Normal West

Coaches Assn. Class 6A all-stater had a team-high 106 tackles, including 11 for losses.

Backs

Ke'Juan Pleasant

6-1, 165, Sr.

Normal Community

First-team all-Big 12 pick was a leader on defense as NCHS repeated as undefeated Big 12 champs.

Lane Short

6-2, 205, Sr.

GCMS

First-team all-HOIC safety intercepted three passes and had 60 tackles for another strong Falcons' defense.

Wyatt Steidinger

5-11, 165, Sr.

Prairie Central

Two-way first-team all-Illini Prairie choice helped the Hawks to a 7-3 playoff season.

Eric Watson

5-8, 160, Sr.

Pontiac

First-team all-Illini Prairie standout helped the Indians to a runner-up league finish behind eventual 3A state champ Monticello.

First team specialists

Kicker

Ben Freehill

6-0, 170, Sr.

GCMS

First-team all-HOIC selection was busy on a high-scoring team, booting six field goals and 73 extra points.

Punter

Griffin Moore

6-4, 230, Sr.

Bloomington

A star quarterback and a University of Illinois recruit as an H-back, Moore also averaged 37.7 yards per punt and placed eight inside the 20-yard line.

Returns

Drew Crooks

5-10, 165, Sr.

Bloomington

A talented wide receiver and a sprinter in track, Crooks averaged 26.4 yards per kickoff return and returned two for touchdowns.

Honorable mention

Offense 

Quarterback: Griffin Moore, Sr., Bloomington; Carson Camp, Jr., Normal West; Nathan Garard, Sr., GCMS; Matt Martin, So., Eureka; Tyler McKay, Sr., Fieldcrest; Ben Schuler, Sr., Pontiac; Dreyden Pozsgai, Jr., Lincoln; Will Delaney, Sr., Fisher. Running backs: Davion McQuirter, Sr., Normal West; Zach Woodring, Sr., Tri-Valley; Logan Graham, Sr., Dwight; Tyler Wilson, Jr., Fisher; Matthew Cooksey, Sr., Olympia; Matt Kerns, Sr., Prairie Central; Jake Hileman, Jr., Normal Community; Reece Seidl, Sr., Central Catholic; Receivers: Ryland Holt, Sr., GCMS; Tyler Martin, Sr., Fisher; Colton Clesson, Sr., Pontiac; Mauliek Johnson, Sr., Bloomington; Diontay Griffin, Jr., Bloomington; Derek May, Sr., Fieldcrest; Parker Mathieson, Sr., University High; Dishon Hall II, Sr., Normal Community; Liam Brady, Jr., Central Catholic; Levi Scheuermann, Sr., Dee-Mack; Tight ends: Max Lowery, Sr., Normal Community; Bryce Barnes, Sr., GCMS; Linemen: Holden Smith, Sr., Normal West; Josh Bleich, Sr., GCMS; Jonah Miller, Sr., Prairie Central; Steven Zhao, Sr, Prairie Central; Drew Gilbert, Sr., El Paso-Gridley; Joel Baer, Jr., Eureka; Mason Faulk, Jr., Fieldcrest.

Defense  

Linemen: Brock Griffin, Jr., Normal Community; Quyncee Hunter, Sr., Normal Community; Ben Wright, Sr., Bloomington; Keegan DeLong, Sr., Pontiac; Steven Lewis, Jr., Pontiac; Jake Barnewolt, So., Tremont; Chris Bement, Sr., Dwight; Logan Graham, Sr., Dwight; Linebackers: Austin Spiller, Sr., GCMS; Zack Marcotte, Jr., Normal West; Levi Smalling, Jr., Normal Community; Jeremiah Glenn Louis Charles, Sr., Normal Community; Ryne Faulk, Sr., El Paso-Gridley; Alex Brittain, Sr., Eureka; Wyatt Gulley, Sr., LeRoy; Backs: Kaden Hargrove, Sr., Normal West; CJ Hyde, Sr., Bloomington; Will Delaney, Sr., Fisher; Nate Nguyen, Jr., Tremont; Jake Ocker, Jr., Normal West; Cole Maxedon, Sr., Tri-Valley.

Specialists 

Punter: Ryan Graves, Jr., Heyworth; Kicker: Parker Theobald, Sr., Normal West; Cameron Hinman, Sr., Normal Community.

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Sports Editor

Sports editor for Lee Enterprises Central Illinois.

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