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Cook County 2012 All-Area Football Team

20 local stars from the gridiron season

(Staff photo by Bill Ackerman)
Lyons Township's Jemari Burks returns a Downers Grove South punt on Friday, Aug. 31, 2012.

Brad BednarYEAR SeniorSCHOOL Riverside Brookfield Bednar led RB with five sacks and 8.5 tackles for loss, including one for a safety, from the defensive line. He also was second on the Bulldogs in tackles.

Jemari BurksYEAR SeniorSCHOOL Lyons Township While Matt Harris was hurt in the middle of the year, Burks stepped up as the Lions’ top offensive threat. Burks was LT’s leading receiver with 941 yards and a team-high 13 touchdowns. The speedy wideout was also deadly on kick returns, averaging just short of 34 yards per return.

Gino CavalieriYEAR JuniorSCHOOL Fenwick There’s a lot of pressure on the quarterback, and Cavalieri stepped up big time in his first year starting on varsity. The Friar passer threw 21 touchdowns on the year and averaged more than 10 yards per completion.

Danny DeSimoneYEAR SeniorSCHOOL Nazareth DeSimone keyed the Roadrunners in just about every major defensive category to earn an all-conference nod in the East Suburban Catholic. The linebacker had team highs in tackles and tackles for loss and was second in sacks.

Anthony DorseyYEAR SeniorSCHOOL Proviso West Dorsey was one of the best dual-threat quarterbacks in the West Suburban Silver. His athleticism helped him rack up rushing yards, and he was able to keep defense off balance with the air game as well.

Deonte EilandYEAR SeniorSCHOOL Proviso West The fullback and defensive lineman did a lot of the dirty work for the Panthers. Eiland was one of the keys to the program’s turnaround. The Panthers made the playoffs all four years Eiland was on varsity.

Jake ElliotYEAR SeniorSCHOOL Lyons Township As one of the top kickers in the state, Elliot gave the Lions a huge edge in special teams and an extra scoring weapon. The LT crowd would get excited for his booming kickoffs that regularly went into or out of the end zone. Elliot made five field goals in the playoffs including four in the second-round win over O’Fallon.

Emilio EngleYEAR JuniorSCHOOL Morton The Mustangs’ quarterback led the team in rushing and passing. Engle ran for 455 yards and four touchdowns and passed for 970 and eight more scores. He was also Morton’s primary punter and converted four extra points as a kicker.

Matt Harris (MVP)YEAR SeniorSCHOOL Lyons Township Harris missed three games during the regular season so his overall numbers aren’t tops on the Lions, but his impact was made clear by his absence. The Lions were 2-4 before Harris’ return and won the next five games to make the Class 8A quarterfinals for the third year in a row. He totaled seven touchdowns on offense and had two more on defense.

Pat HartYEAR SeniorSCHOOL Fenwick If there was a play to be made on defense, Hart wasn’t far from it. The linebacker averaged 12.5 tackles per game and had four interceptions, two of which he returned for touchdowns against St. Laurence in Week 5. He also received the Chicago Catholic League’s Lawless Player of the Year award.

Patrick KelleyYEAR SeniorSCHOOL Lyons Township Kelley was the source of a number of big plays for the LT defense. The linebacker had 31 tackles and 30 assists while also contributing a fumble recovery and blocked punt. His standout performance came in the first-round win at Marist where he had two key interceptions.

John LattnerYEAR SeniorSCHOOL Fenwick The namesake grandson of the 1953 Heisman Trophy winner did the name proud this fall. The defensive back was second on the team in tackles and had an interception and a fumble recovery in the Friars’ 10-9 win over Huntley in the playoffs. It was Fenwick’s first playoff win since 2008.

Zach MahoneyYEAR SeniorSCHOOL Lyons Township The LT quarterback was the maestro pulling the strings for the Lions’ talented offense. Mahoney passed for 2,173 yards and 21 touchdowns this fall and was LT’s second leading rusher with 515 yards and three more scores.

Jamaal PaytonYEAR SeniorSCHOOL Proviso West Payton’s strong season got off to a hot start with a four-touchdown performance against Hubbard. The running back helped the Panthers return to the playoffs.

Leonard RossYEAR SophomoreSCHOOL Lyons Township Ross wasn’t the top threat for the Lions’ offense, but by the end of the year it was clear that he was a blossoming talent. The running back had 550 yards and eight touchdowns during the season. Three of his touchdowns came in the postseason.

Robert SpillaneYEAR JuniorSCHOOL Fenwick The physical running back anchored the Friars’ offense and eclipsed the 1,000-yard mark as a rusher. Part of what made Spillane so impressive was that he led the Friars in both rushing and receiving touchdowns.

Jameer ThurmanYEAR SeniorSCHOOL Proviso West The defensive back has drawn interest from Division I programs because of his standout play. Thurman used his skills as a standout wrestler to be a tough safety.

Joe UrbanskiYEAR SeniorSCHOOL Riverside Brookfield Urbanski was the main man for the Bulldogs’ defense. The linebacker made a team-high 103 tackles, 8.5 for loss. He also had three sacks and a team-high three interceptions. Urbanski was good for a couple tricks on offense, rushing for a touchdown and even passing for one.

Pat VitekYEAR SeniorSCHOOL Nazareth Vitek was a two-time all-conference pick in the East Suburban Catholic Conference for his strong play on the defensive line. He led the Roadrunners with 5.5 sacks.

Aeneas WhiteYEAR SeniorSCHOOL Nazareth White was a two-way weapon for the Roadrunners. As a running back he totaled three touchdowns and as a linebacker he had two interceptions and a pair of forced fumbles.

Honorable mention

Zach Laszkiewicz, Danny Lattner

Lyons Township Billy Cramsie, Jimmy Heim, John Phillipp

Morton Adrian Cardenas, John Duarte

Nazareth Robbie Brindley, Josh Moore, Tyler Van Dahm

Proviso West Demetrius Streeter, Denzel Tolliver

Riverside Brookfield Louis Grigoletti, Mitch Malloy, Joe Odeh

St. Joseph Robert Calvin

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