The All-Golden Triangle News Service defensive team is a formidable force if it were to ever take the field.
In high school football, many players see both sides of the ball and that is reflected in the choices for the defensive team.
Tristin Waugh, senior, defensive line, Fairfield
An all-district selection in Class 3A District 6 from the running back and defensive lineman positions, the Trojan senior averaged 6.2 yards on 232 combined rushes, catches and pass attempts for the Fairfield offense. Waugh accumulated 1,156 yards rushing (eighth best in Class 3A) and 13 touchdowns (tied for seventh). Waugh also completed a 35-yard touchdown and caught eight passes for 247 yards and another score. He led the Trojans in points scored with 86 with 84 coming on touchdowns, plus a two-point conversion. Defensively, Waugh was second on the team with 45.5 total tackles, including 16 solo tackles for loss while assisting on another three as well. The soon-to-be-graduate also had 8.5 sacks, including eight solos. This is Waugh’s third consecutive all-GTNS selection in football and fifth overall.
Coonor Reed, senior, defensive line, Pekin
Reed was named MVP of the Class A District 6 defensive linemen after leading Pekin in tackles with 61.5, including 12 for loss and six sacks. Reed also had team-highs with 16 catches for 290 yards and he was second on Pekin with three receiving touchdowns at tight end. This is Reed’s second-consecutive all-GTNS selection for football.
Gavin Holmes, junior, defensive line, New London
The New London defense was the anchor in their 8-man state title this season, and a big part of that was Gavin Holmes busting through from the defensive line.
Holmes led the team with 93 total tackles and three sacks. He had two fumble recoveries on the year as well, and did score once on offense with a touchdown run.
Justin Schwartz, senior, linebacker, Mid-Prairie
Schwartz was third on Mid-Prairie’s defense in tackles with a combined 34.5. He had 29 solo stops and 11 assisted. He had three tackles for loss and one sack. He finished third in his district in rushing with 1,015 yards on 200 carries. He scored 12 touchdowns and averaged 5.1 yards per rush. He was third in the district in scrimmage yards with 1,223yards combined receiving and rushing. He had 24 receptions for 208 yards. He was a first-team pick for All-District. He is the all-time leader in receptions for Mid-Prairie and is fifth in career reception yardage.
Darius Whaley, senior, linebacker, New London
Another big factor in New London’s defense this year was Whaley, who wreaked havoc all over the field.
Whaley had 86.5 tackles on the year, three fumble recoveries and four interceptions. One of those interceptions came in the state championship win over Rockford. Whaley had a nice year offensively as well, catching 23 passes for 495 yards and eight touchdowns.
Zach Hammes, senior, linebacker, Pekin
A first-team selection in Class A-5, Hammes rushed 91 times for 632 yards and five touchdowns, accumulating almost seven yards a carry. The Panther senior also had five catches for another 133 yards and a touchdown for the Pekin offense. Defensively, Hammes had 36.5 tackles including six for a loss and one sack. This is Hammes for all-GTNS selection.
Cole Engle, senior. linebacker, Fairfield
Fairfield’s lead linebacker and a Class 3A-6 all-district selection, Engle led the team in tackles with 55.5, while also recording two solos for loss and an assisted TFL, a half sack and an interception.
The Trojan senior rushed the ball 17 times for 65 yards and a score and also caught 10 balls for another 115. This is Engle’s first all-GTNS selection.
Trey Lasek, senior, defensive back, Highland
Lasek quarterbacked the Huskies to the first playoff win in Highland history. The team finished 8-3 and was tied at halftime with Hudson, the Class A state champion in a playoff game. Besides being named his district’s Most Valuable Player, Lasek was second in Class A in interceptions with six on the season. Lasek returned one interception for 100 yards and a touchdown. His interception return yardage was second in Class A. Lasek was third in Class A in total yardage with 2,342 (1,323 rushing and 1,019 passing). He rushed 179 times for a 7.4 average per rush. He completed 61 of 125 passes. He totaled 28 touchdowns. His 122 points scored was ninth in Class A.
Chase Lamm, senior, defensive back, Mt. Pleasant
Lamm earned his Mt. Pleasant’s captain spot with a big year on the gridiron in 2018.
Defensively, Lamm was a shut-down corner all year. He had two interceptions and one pick-six, coming in a huge spot early in the thriller at Solon. Lamm was also a huge part of the Mt. Pleasant offense, catching 45 passes for 635 yards and four touchdowns.
Isaac McSorley, senior, defensive back, New London
It’s hard to throw on New London, especially when McSorley is in the secondary. McSorley had eight takeaways this year, five interceptions and three fumble recoveries, two of which were at the UNI-Dome. He scored once on defense, on a pick-six. McSorley, of course, was also one of the best offensive players in eight-man football, throwing for 1,612 yards, 26 touchdowns and just seven interceptions, and rushing for 962 yards and 23 scores.
Mason Porter, senior, defensive back, New London: Porter showed up when it mattered most on the defensive side of the ball. Porter had three takeaways at the UNI-Dome, including a clutch interception in overtime of the semifinals and a fumble recovery for a touchdown in the championship. Overall, Porter led the Tigers with nine takeaways, finishing the year with six interceptions and three fumble recoveries.
Brandon Snowden, senior, kick returner, Winfield-Mt. Union: It wasn’t a bad idea for Winfield-Mt. Union to put track star Snowden in to return kicks this year. Although the 80-yard field took away a number of Snowden’s opportunities on touchbacks, he still managed to rack up 648 kick return yards and four scores this season. Snowden burst on to the scene pretty fast in 2018. Three of his four return touchdowns were in the Wolves’ first two games.
Carter Ferrel, junior, punt returner, Fairfield
Selected as a return-specialist, the fast-Fairfielder/all-district selection returned eight punts for 169 yards and a score, good for 21.1 per return. He also had seven kickoffs for another 194 yards, averaging nearly 28 yards per kickoff. Ferrel also kicked the ball, booting the ball 36 times for 1225 yards, 34.0 per punt. Defensively, Carter had 19 tackles, including one for loss, to go with a team-leading four interceptions. Offensively, Ferrel had 12 rushes and catches combined for 132 yards and two scores. This is Ferrel’s first all-GTNS selection.
Levi Rohr, junior, kicker, Pekin
The Panther kicker was 2 of 5 on the season with a career-high 47-yard field goal that was tied for fourth-longest successful conversion in the state during 2018. Rohr was also 39 for 40 in extra-point attempts and booted 52 kickoffs with eight touchbacks. Rohr was named Class A District 5 kicker of the year and this is his first all-GTNS selection.
Tayton Bartholomew, senior, punter, Van Buren
The Warrior senior averaged 40.0 yards per kick over the season on 43 punts while also handling 13 of the team’s 16 kickoffs. Not afraid to make a hit, Bartholomew also had 15 tackles for the Van Buren defense. On offense, the senior caught two passes for 59 yards. This is Bartholomew’s first all-GTNS selection.
The 2018 All-GTNS football teams were selected by Andy Krutsinger of the Mt. Pleasant News, Doug Brenneman of the Washington Evening Journal and Justin Webster of the Fairfield Ledger.