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Post-Tribune All-Area Football: Defense

Billy Van Cleef. Crown Point High School. | Scott R. Brandush~Sun-Times Media

Billy Van Cleef. Crown Point High School. | Scott R. Brandush~Sun-Times Media

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Updated: November 30, 2012 9:22PM



FIRST TEAM

Defensive Lineman — Billy Van Cleef, Crown Point senior

Stats: 88 tackles, 5.5 sacks, 4 tackles for loss (TFL)

Raves: While he had 14 TFL and seven sacks last year, Chip Pettit said he had a better season as a senior. Also ranked No. 9 out of 562 students in his class.

Defensive Lineman — Andrew Schooler, Valparaiso senior

Stats: 57 tackles, 5 TFL, 2 sacks

Raves: Three-year starter at defensive tackle and a two-time All-DAC first-team selection. One of the best run-stuffers in the region.

Defensive Lineman — Cameron Tanner, Crown Point senior

Stats: 100 tackles, 8.5 sacks, 12 TFL, 1 INT

Raves: Van Cleef’s partner in crime, Tanner was one of the most dominant interior lineman in the region, anchoring the Bulldogs’ stout defensive front.

Linebacker — Jake Grossnickle, Valparaiso senior

Stats: 125 tackles, 4 TFL, 7 pass breakups, 1 INT

Raves: The three-year starter at inside linebacker was voted the DAC defensive MVP. Is being recruited by Ball State, Northern Illinois and Western Michigan.

Linebacker — Ricky Johnston, Andrean senior

Stats: 101 tackles, 14 TFL, 4 forced fumbles, 1 INT, 1 sack

Raves: Phil Mason called him the best linebacker in the region, and anyone who tried to run against Andrean this season is unlikely to disagree.

Linebacker — Faron Osborne, Morton senior

Stats: 139 tackles, 4 sacks, 4 FR, 3 blocked kicks, 2 INT

Raves: Against the run, against the pass, even against kicks, few players made their presence felt quite as often and quite as impressively as Osborne.

Linebacker — Gelen Robinson, Lake Central sophomore

Stats: 75 tackles, 26 TFL, 9 sacks, 28 QB hurries, 3 FR, 3 punt blocks, 2 TD

Raves: The most disruptive defensive force in the region, Robinson found his way into the opposing backfield on seemingly every snap of the ball.

Linebacker — Tyler Szczecina, Lake Central senior

Stats: 112 tackles, 20 TFL, 4 INT, 4 TD

Raves: Tied a national record with four pick-sixes — and he did it in an unforgettable three-week span.

Defensive Back — Alfred Dickey, Morton senior

Stats: 81 tackles, 5 INT, 3 FR, 1 KR TD, 1 PR TD

Raves: Simply put, the best defensive back in the region. As one opposing coach put it, “Whenever they needed a big play, Dickey came up with it.”

Defensive back — Kourtney Berry, Merrillville senior

Stats: 84 tackles, 5 PBU, 2 FR, 1 FF, 1 INT

Raves: An all-state linebacker as a junior, he switched to safety and didn’t miss a beat. Also had 39 receptions and was a terrific blocker as a tight end.

Defensive back — Logan McRae, Crown Point senior

Stats: 111 tackles, 4 INT, 7 pass breakups

Raves: The top playmaker in a stellar secondary that allowed an astounding
91 passing yards per game.

Punter — Mark Strbjak, Munster senior

Stats: 39 punts, 1,609 yards, 41.3 average, 9 punts inside the 20

Raves: The three-time All-Northwest Crossroads Conference punter’s eye-popping average broke a 36-year-old Munster record.

SECOND TEAM

Defensive Lineman — Thomas Brown, Calumet senior

Stats: 48 tackles, 7 tackles for loss, 1 sack, 5 blocked PATs

Raves: Four-year letterwinner has an offer from Eastern Michigan, and has interest from Nebraska, Purdue, Michigan State and North Carolina State.

Defensive Lineman — Paul Carey, Merrillville senior

Stats: 90 tackles, 24 QB hurries, 7 TFL, 2 sacks, 1 FF, 1 FR

Raves: Dynamic defensive end added offensive tackle to his resume for the last five weeks of the season. In on an extraordinary number of tackles for a DE.

Defensive Lineman — Ramiro Cazares, Gavit junior

Stats: 57 tackles, 19 sacks, 5 FF, 3 FR

Raves: Despite being just 5-8, 175 pounds, Cazares set a school record with 19 sacks. Also a wrestler, he’s an honor roll student, too.

Linebacker — Martayveus Carter, East Chicago sophomore

Stats: 136 tackles (95 solo), 23 TFL, 4 sacks; 69 rushes, 933 yds, 13 TD; 16 rec., 413 yds, 5 TD; 34.0 punting average

Raves: This stat machine is just getting started, and likely will be a high DI recruit.

Linebacker — Lukas Nossem, Munster senior

Stats: 93 tackles (60 solo), 150 career solo tackles

Raves: A four-year starter at linebacker, Nossem also is an academic all-state performer with a 4.2 grade-point average.

Linebacker — Darryl Peppers, Merrillville senior

Stats: 97 tackles, 1 FF, 1 FR, 1 INT; 193 rushes, 1,120 yds, 13 TD

Raves: One of three Pirates to play both ways, Peppers was a physical force on both sides of the ball, cracking the shell of a helmet once, according to Zac Wells.

Linebacker — Ike Spearman, Lake Central senior

Stats: 79 tackles, 17 TFL, 2 sacks, 2 FF, 2 FR, 2 TD

Raves: The Ole Miss recruit rounded out one of the most remarkable linebacking corps the region has ever seen. So versatile, he often switched to strong safety.

Linebacker — Mitchell Stevenson, Wheeler senior

Stats: 170 tackles, 4 FR, 3 INT, 1 sack, 1 TD; 26 rec., 466 yards, 7 TD

Raves: As Dan Klimczak put it, “a defensive monster.” Stevenson broke the school record for tackles and had his best games vs. the likes of Andrean and Rensselaer.

Defensive back — Will Isabell, Merrillville senior

Stats: 67 tackles, 5 INT, 5 TFL, 12 pass breakups, 3 FF, 1 FR, 1 blocked kick

Raves: Equally effective against the run or the pass, Isabell was hailed by many coaches as one of the most physical corners in the region.

Defensive back — Torre Hopson, West Side junior

Stats: 46 tackles, 3.5 TFL, 1 FF; 28 rushes, 173 yds, 1 TD

Raves: Everyone who played against him raved about him. Jason Johnson says he can be one of the top defensive players to come through West Side.

Defensive back — Michael Minix, North Judson junior

Stats: 56 tackles, 6 INT

Raves: The safety had six picks in his first four games, and rarely saw the ball again the rest of the season as opponents wouldn’t dare throw his way.

Punter — Ryan Nix, Valparaiso senior

Stats: 38 punts, 1,360 yards, 35.8 average, 8 punts inside 20

Raves: Versatile senior was 34-of-34 on PATs, 4-of-7 on FGs, booted 18 touchbacks and made 27 receptions for 579 yards as a first-year starter.



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