Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Hard hitters highlight all-area defensive team

By Greg Mast/Herald Sports Editor | 11/28/2012

The best defensive players like to hit. They use guile, speed and strength to move past blockers to wrap up ball carriers.

The 2012 Ottawa Herald all-area defense consists of athletes that made life tough on opposing offenses.

The best defensive players like to hit. They use guile, speed and strength to move past blockers to wrap up ball carriers.

The 2012 Ottawa Herald all-area defense consists of athletes that made life tough on opposing offenses.

The team members are:

Weston Gilbreth, Sr., LB/RB, Anderson County

Gilbreth hit people all over the field. He was perfect fit for his fullback/linebacker role for the Bulldogs.

He led the Bulldogs in rushing with 756 yards (6.75 yards per carry). He scored eight touchdowns. He paced the Bulldogs with 84 tackles. He was a three-year starter.

He was an all-league selection on offense and defense.

Zach Hilliard, Jr., DB/RB, Anderson County

Hilliard was a top-notch football player. He is a coach’s son with good football instincts.

On defense, he had 41 tackles and two interceptions. He led the Bulldogs in all purpose yards (981). He rushed for 592 yards and scored six touchdowns. He had 219 yards receiving for another score.

Dakota Snow, Sr., DL, Central Heights

It is hard for a defensive lineman to be a team’s leading tackler. Snow was an exception to the rule.

He led the Vikings with 63 tackles and five quarterback sacks.    

Snow is an all-league selection.

Kord Ferguson, Jr., OL/DL, Ottawa

Ferguson was a hard combination to block. He was strong, quick and has a big motor.

The junior finished with 49 tackles and seven quarterback sacks. He was a stalwart for the Cyclones along the offensive line.

Cory Peoples, Jr., LB, Ottawa

Peoples was hard to block. He was always lining up in different spots on the field to keep blockers guessing. Many times he blew right past the lineman and stuffed the play.

Peoples led Ottawa with 95 tackles, four quarterback sacks and three forced fumbles.

He turned into a weapon with his punting. He averaged 38 yards per punt.

Kaden Shaffer, Sr., LB/RB, Ottawa

Shaffer shouldered a lot of responsibility for the Cyclones. He played inside linebacker for Ottawa. He and Peoples made a nice tandem of linebackers.

He finished with 71 tackles in eight games. He paced Ottawa with 375 yards (4.2 per rush) and caught 13 passes for 177 yards (13.6 average) and scored five touchdowns overall.

He is a two-time all-area selection.

Willie Jackson, Sr., DE/TE, Wellsville

Jackson had a combination of strength and speed to get away from opposing offensive linemen. He was a disruptive force for the Eagles, who advanced to the second round of the playoffs for the third straight season.

He finished with 41 tackles, three quarterback sacks and two fumble recoveries. As a tight end, he had 10 receptions for 152 yards and a touchdown.

Jackson was an all-league selection on offense and defense.

Luke Meyer, Jr., QB/LB, Wellsville

Meyer had an unusual set of skills for the Eagles, playing quarterback and linebacker. He was a leader on both sides of the ball.

He did not shy away from contact. He led Wellsville with 82 tackles. He also had a quarterback sack, an interception and a fumble recovery.

On offense, he passed for 433 yards and seven touchdowns and rushed for 287 yards and five touchdowns.

He was all-league at linebacker.

Ethan Duda, Sr., LB/FB, West Franklin

Duda had a nose to where opponents were going to run the ball. He was always in the middle of the action in all phases of the game.

He led the Falcons with 117 tackles with a season-best 18 against Mission Valley. He had more than 10 tackles in every game but one. He was all over Herington with three quarterback sacks and three more tackles for losses.

As a fullback, he rushed for a 100 yards three times and had 203 yards against Osage City.

He averaged a net 41 yards per punt.

Mitch Walters, Sr., DE/OL, West Franklin

Walters was a standout throughout his high school career. Walters was a leader for the Falcons on and off the field. He put together a sterling senior season.

At defensive end, he racked up 39 tackles and four quarterback sacks. He compiled 15 tackles for losses.

On offense, he anchored the offensive line. The Falcons had nearly two 1,000-yard running backs this season. In one game, West Franklin had more than 500 yards rushing.

He is a two-time all-area selection.

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