One of our favorite things to do is trying to figure out which players had the best season. Which games were the most memorable and even which mascot stood out. Here are our annual Sports Connection postseason awards.
We begin with the Stateline’s top home run threat…Dixon running back Arthur Cox…small but fast like the roadrunner. When he’s in the open field there is no stopping him.
Our most improved team of the year award goes to Guilford. The Vikings won only one game last year, and they started off poorly this year with blowout losses to Hononegah and Harlem, but by the end of the season this was a team that no one wanted to play. The Vikings came up just short in the final week losing to Auburn 12-10. If not for a one point loss to East in week five, the Vikings would have made the playoffs.
Our top underclassman award goes to Harlem freshman quarterback James Cooper. He only played half a season because of an injury, but that was enough to see the potential this young man has. The Huskies will be set at quarterback for the next few years.
Our pick as the ‘break through’ team of the year is East. The E-Rabs continued their rise that they started last year by going 6-3 and by breaking through and making the playoffs for the first time since 2001.
Our pick for the best mascot goes to Bolt of Belvidere North. His enthusiasm is unmatched.
Our pick for the best band goes to Byron.
(Scott) Our adversity award goes to Auburn. The Knights battled through a slew of key injuries this season and still managed to finish in second place in the NIC-10. They also survived a nasty bus fire in mid-season on their way to Belvidere North. They shook that off and won the game.
Our award for the best duo goes to Freeport quarterback Major Dedmond and running back Deion McShane. They are threats to break a big play every time they touch the ball. Pick your poison when defending these two.
Our award for the biggest heart goes to Our Lady Of Sacred Heart. Sure the Guardians didn’t win a game, but they showed a lot of heart simply by fielding a team with only 14 players. They showed up every week and battled with all they had.
The best single game performance by a defensive player goes to Lutheran junior middle linebacker Christian Bonacquisti for his 41 tackle performance at Stillman Valley.
Our best single game performance by an offensive player goes to North Boone quarterback Britton Morris. Against Dixon he accounted for 531 totals yards of offense and seven touchdowns.
Our pick for the best game of the year was the week nine finale between North Boone and Dixon. A wild 48-47 shootout won by North Boone when the Vikings made a furious fourth quarter comeback.
Our pick for the team of the year is a split decision between Byron and Lena-Winslow. Not only did these two teams run the table and go 9-0 they dominated quality competition from week one through week nine.
Our small school MVP pick is North Boone junior quarterback Britton Morris. He’s the best passing quarterback in the area. He’s also the best running quarterback in the area at the small school level. His ability to run, throw on the run and extend plays reminds us of former NIU Heisman Trophy candidate Jordan Lynch.
Our large school MVP was a tough call. We’re going outside the box and going with Hononegah’s offensive line. The bigs up front won the battle in the trenches every week enabling the Indians to go undefeated and claim their first outright conference championship since 1996.