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FOOTBALL: RSN’s 2nd Team All-Area

OFFENSE

Mark Rowland | Junior | Quarterback

STATS: 2,732 Passing Yards, 389 Rushing Yards, 65% Completion Percentage, 42 Total Touchdowns

It is very difficult to find a passer as prolific as Boone Grove’s Mark Rowland. 

The three-year starter has gotten better every year, as he broke two of his school passing records this year. Rowland was the catalyst for one of the area’s most explosive and fun offenses, as he just about led wire-to-wire on our area passing yardage leaderboards. 

Rowland is not completely one-dimensional, however, as he scored eight rushing touchdowns and ran for nearly 400 yards. If you need the 3A Junior All-State selection to make a play he will do it in any way he can. 

The 3-sport athlete will be a real name to look out for come the 2024 season. 

Larry Ellison | Junior | Running Back

STATS: 314 Carries, 1,865 Rushing Yards, 232 Receiving Yards, 29 Total Touchdowns

A recipe for a successful offense usually requires a healthy balance between the passing game and the run game. While we can always talk about the play of Ehrlich and Co., the impact that Larry Ellison has made on this offense cannot go unnoticed. 

Get this, in his first season at the running back position, Ellison set a record for the best season at his position in the program’s 100+ year history. 

Ellison came up clutch when it mattered most for the Bulldogs, as the offense resorted to plenty of Wildcat packages with him carrying the load. 

The All-State Junior will highlight a strong group of weapons coming back next year for the Bulldogs. 

Josh Oglesby | Senior | Wide Receiver

STATS: 42 Receptions, 528 Receiving Yards, 10 Touchdowns, 13 Punts, 447 Punting Yards

Although Oglesby was not the top receiver for the high potent Boone Grove offense, the Senior had a nose for the end zone, pacing the way in receiving touchdowns. Oglesby is a true red zone threat with his 6’3 size, as he made the most of the 50/50 balls from the arm of Mark Rowland. 

The Senior also returned some kicks while serving as the Wolves’ punter for the last four years.

 

Landen Delich | Senior | Wide Receiver

STATS: 42 Receptions, 679 Receiving Yards, 5 Touchdowns, 26 Total Tackles

Noah Ehrlich’s number-one target was a matchup nightmare for defensive backs. With a 6’3 frame and 4.5 speed, he quickly grew rapport with his new QB. 

The Toledo commit also logged some snaps in the Defensive Backfield when called upon. Recruited as a safety, expect Delich to be a real weapon all over the field for the Rockets come the near future. 

LeBron Hill | Junior | Wide Receiver

STATS: 34 Receptions, 564 Receiving Yards, 8 Touchdowns

The combination of size and speed does not get much better in the Region than the likes of Lebron Hill. At 6’5 the Junior can make a tough catch in traffic, but also beat you with his speed, as he logged over 400 kick return yards this year.

The 3-star Wide Receiver quickly became Holland Harris’ best friend on the outside, as the Hammond Central transfer now has offers from Ball State, Central Michigan and Toledo. A Junior All-State selection, expect the Hill-Harris connection to be in full affect for the Govs in 2024.

Luke Juris | Junior | Offensive Lineman

Joining teammate Aidan Olague from the Brickies O-line, the center-guard combo of the two led to one of the top run games in the area. 

Juris is a nasty blocker that plans to finish every block he is involved in. At 6 foot, 240, the Junior is very quick for his size and was often the lead blocker for 1,000-yard rusher, Willy Shearer. 

Expect a potent rushing attack once again in 2024 for the Brickies with the return of Juris alongside some other weapons. 

Cayleb Sharp | Junior | Offensive Lineman

While a lot of the offensive line spotlight goes towards fellow tackle Matt Hoffer, Sharp is set to be next in line for great Valparaiso O-lineman. 

At 6’3, 265 pounds, the two-year starter served as an ideal second piece on an offensive line that arguably produced the best run game the past few seasons. A All-Conference player in 2023, Sharp is in line for a big Senior year.

Jackson Collard | Senior | Offensive Lineman

Serving as one of the top O-lineman on the team that had the regular season’s leading rusher, you are bound to get some praise. 

A 2023 5A All-State and All-Conference selection, Collard may be seen as undersized on paper (5’10, 245), the Senior anchored the way for a school record of single season rushing yards with the work of Daniel Asgedom.

 

Damian Herrera | Junior | Offensive Lineman

STATS: 35 Total Tackles, 3 Sacks

There was a reason why Morton did most of its rushing damage going towards the left side, as Damian Herrera was a wrecking ball lead blocking for thousand yard rusher, Dontell Harris Jr. 

Herrera is also a ferocious D-tackle, who uses his pure strength on both sides of the ball to change games. He will be a real piece for the very strong returning class for the Govs come 2024. 

 

Jonathan Ross | Senior | Offensive Lineman

For an LC offense that battled injuries all year, Ross was a bright spot at the Left Tackle position, as he was the anchor for most of the success on the offensive side of the ball. 

An All-Conference selection, the Senior paved the way for runners like Xavier Williams and Amarion Brooks over the past few seasons. 

Corey Noonan | Senior | Athlete

STATS: 48 Receptions, 518 Receiving Yards, 10 Total Touchdowns, 37 Total Tackles. 7 Interceptions 

The three-year starter took a massive leap on both sides of the ball for the Wolves. While serving as a productive byproduct of BG’s pass-happy offense, the Senior led the area in interceptions at his defensive back position. 

The twin of Hunter Noonan, (who made our Honorable Mention list) the brothers will both be desperately missed from the explosive 2023 Boone Grove squad. 

 

DEFENSE

Adrian Holley | Junior | Defensive Lineman

STATS: 41 Total Tackles, 15.5 Tackles For Loss, 7 Sacks, 2 Fumble Recoveries

Holley offers a next-level frame at the defensive end position. At 6’6, 245, the All-Conference selection paced the team in tackles for loss and sacks.

A 5A Jr. All-State selection this year, the Junior was a piece that led the Wolves to a four-win improvement in 2023. The two-sport athlete is in line for an even bigger leap in 2024.

 

James Veal | Senior | Defensive Lineman

STATS: 50 Total Tackles, 15 Tackles For Loss, 5.5 Sacks

Veal comes in as the third Merrillville defensive linemen on either our First or Second All-Area teams. (Spoiler alert, there is a fourth on our Honorable Mention team.) 

Similar to Elmore, Veal offered both size and speed on the outside to give fits to offensive tackles around the area. Veal also was selected as the Defensive Lineman MVP for the Pirates, an award that may be the most impressive of them all given the talented D-line the Pirates had in 2023. 

Eli Deardorff | Senior | Defensive Lineman

STATS: 71 Total Tackles, 17 Tackles For Loss, 8 Sacks, 1 Interception, 207 Receiving Yards

Deardorff did a little bit of everything for the Kougars this past season. Given his 6’4 frame, the Senior was a threat on both sides of the ball. 

After only recording 17 tackles in his Junior season, the four-sport athlete (!) took a huge leap that led to a respectable campaign for the Kougars. 

Mark Gonzales | Sophomore | Defensive Lineman

STATS: 75 Total Tackles, 3 Tackles For Loss, 1 Sack

It is difficult to find impact Sophomore-year starters in the Duneland, especially on a team as solid as Crown Point.

But Gonzales has proven to be as good as they come, as the Sophomore was tied for second on the Bulldog leaderboard of total tackles. Get this, it was from his Nose Tackle position, which is not the most tackle-prone position. 

The All-Conference selection is very quick for his position, as he is shaping up to be a force to be reckoned with for the next two years. 

Giovani Bailey-Hannah | Junior | Linebacker

STATS: 68 Total Tackles, 16 Sacks, 3 Fumble Recoveries, 3 Fumbles Forced

How many sacks?? 16?? As a linebacker??

At only 5’9, 165 pounds, Bailey-Hannah spent the majority of his Junior season in opposing team’s backfields, including five games with multiple sacks. Bailey-Hannah finished second in the state in sacks.

The Junior made his money when he was walked up to the line of scrimmage, serving as a speed rusher for the Wolves in crucial passing situations. A recent All-State selection, expect Hammond Central to use Bailey-Hannah in similar packages next year, as he will surely terrorize backfields for another fall. 

 

Ty Veen | Senior | Linebacker

STATS: 86 Total Tackles, 9.5 Tackles Per Loss, Sack, 2 Blocked Field Goals

Veen is a sure tackler that made his presence known all over the field for the Vikings. An All-State selection this year, the two-year starter was voted as Team MVP by his peers at the recent team banquet.

The Senior was solid in the run game, but can also be seen making plays well down the field. Veen recently committed to Saint Francis. 

Xavier Haralovich | Senior | Linebacker

STATS: 114 Total Tackles, 2 Tackles for Loss, 5 Interceptions, 5 Touchdowns

When looking at the top linebacker duos in the region, it does not get much better than Wheeler’s. Jackson Smith and Xavier Haralovich combined for over 230 tackles. It was tough to pick between the two, but with Haralovich’s playmaking ability, we have to give a shoutout to Xavier.

Although the Senior was second to classmate Smith in total tackles, Haralovich was tied for the team lead in interceptions, while also placing third in receiving yards and total touchdowns.

Bradley Gibson | Senior | Linebacker

STATS: 112 Total Tackles, 10 Tackles For Loss, 4 Sacks, 3 Forced Fumbles

2023 marked Gibson’s second straight season eclipsing the century tackle mark. The Senior makes plays all over the field as he bested or matched career highs in sacks and tackle for losses in only 10 games.

When the Brickies needed a defensive play the most, Gibson was usually the one to step up. A two-year starter, Gibson recently committed to Saint Francis, joining fellow 2nd Team All-Area teammate, Ty Veen. 

John Peters | Junior | Defensive Back

STATS: 31 Total Tackles, 1 Interception, 399 Receiving Yards, 2 Tackles For Loss

Peters is a twitchy athlete that came into 2023 thought to just be a one-way threat at receiver. Many thought wrong, as Peters played two ways for the Pirates this past season, making an impact all over the field. 

The All-State selection has next level speed and does most of his work matching up against the top receivers in the area. The Junior has offers from Ball State and Toledo.

Tyler VerSchure | Senior | Defensive Back

STATS: 25 Total Tackles, 5 Interceptions, 3 Pass Break Ups

There are very few ballhawks over the last few years in the Region as productive as Tyler VerSchure. Over his three seasons as a starter for the Vikings, he has snagged 16 interceptions. 

It does help that VerSchure is a two sport athlete, featuring a sub-11-second 100 meter dash in track and field that allows for impeccable closing speed in addition to his polished ball skills as a DB. The now two-time All-State selection has received an offer from Oberlin. 

Marcell Dixon | Sophomore | Defensive Back

STATS: 68 Total Tackles, 6 Tackles for Loss, 4 Interceptions, 8 Pass Breakups

Dixon was an immediate bright spot for the Cougars this past fall. In his first season of Varsity action, the Sophomore quickly became one of the best defensive backs in the conference. 

Dixon was second in team tackles and forced four of the five team interceptions on the year. Expect his name to brought up some more for the Cougarsin the near future. 

Jayden Holmes | Junior | Defensive Back

STATS: 85 Total Tackles, 2 Interceptions, 1 Fumble Recovery

After no recording stats prior to this season, the Junior was a pleasant surprise for the Niners in the defensive backfield. 

Alongside the talented Jimmy Finley, the two formed one of the top DB duos, as Holmes led the Niners in tackles while tied for the team lead in interceptions. The return of both Finley and Holmes should set in for an exciting secondary for the 2024 Niners. 

 

Willy Shearer | Junior | Athlete

STATS: 165 Carries, 1,271 Total Yards, 34 Total Tackles, 2.5 Tackles For Loss, 17 Total Touchdowns

Going into 2023, Hobart needed to find a replacement for Trey Gibson, who had over 2,000 total yards at the running back position in 2022. 

But it seems that the Brickies have found their guy in Willy Shearer. In his first season of action, Shearer quickly became one of the top weapons in a solid Brickie offense. The Junior also played a bit of defensive back, showing off his motor. 

Expect an elevated role for Shearer when next season rolls around. 

 

SPECIAL TEAMS

Zander Lankford | Junior | Punter/Kicker

STATS: 41 of 49 on PAT, 4-5 on Field Goals (41 long), 1,212 Punting Yards, 35.5 Yards Per Punt

An All-Conference selection, Lankford has been the Brickies go-to guy on special teams for the past two seasons. A 3.5 star recruit, Lankford may find himself on this list again come 2024.

 

Oliver Brewer | Freshman | Kicker/Punter

STATS: 44 of 46 on PAT, 2-2 on Field Goals (28 long), 6 Punts, 234 Punting Yards

As the Kicker of the Area’s best offense, you are going to have a busy season. That said, Brewer quickly shaped himself out as one of the more efficient kickers in the DAC. 

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