POPLAR GROVE, Ill. - The numbers speak for themselves. But if they didn't, the postseason accolades said plenty as well.
North Boone quarterback Britton Morris is the 2018 Beloit Daily News All-Area Player of the Year after what can only be described as a dominant senior season.
Morris was named to the IHSA Class 3A All-State team after he led the Vikings to the second round of the playoffs, throwing for 3.131 yards, 36 touchdowns and just 10 interceptions. He also played a terrific safety on the defensive side, and left North Boone head coach Aaron Sullivan impressed week after week.
"I've never seen anything like the season he just had," Sullivan said. "He's just got an unbelievable work ethic. He's a great leader, a great teammate and he brings it every day in the weight room and on the practice field. I think that's what separates him from some other really good quarterbacks we've had here."
Sullivan said Morris is currently weighing a couple of preferred walk-on opportunities from Western Illinois and Illinois State. Sullivan believes that Morris is being overlooked.
"I've heard from a bunch of schools that if he were 6-foot-2 instead of 5-11, he'd already have a scholarship," Sullivan said. "Well, nobody can spin it like Britton can. Whatever school gets him, I think they are getting a diamond in the rough. They are going to love him when they get to see him work every day."
Morris heads an impressive All-Area squad that also includes Beloit Memorial's Matthew Wedig, who was named first-team All-State by the Wisconsin Football Coaches Association at the linebacker position.
Wedig was a terror in all three phases, rushing for 379 yards and five touchdowns, catching for another 130 yards and a score, registering a team-high 62 tackles and averaging 37.7 yards per punt.
"We used him wherever we had to and moved him around on a week-to-week basis," ex-BMHS head coach Rodney Wedig said. "He was a four-year letterwinner who worked really hard all four years and kept getting better. I think he deserved all the recognition he got."
Brian Zimmerman was an obvious choice for Coach of the Year. His Hononegah Indians went a perfect 9-0 in the NIC-10 for the second straight year. Each time the Indians also won a playoff game before falling in the second round.
• JEFFREY WILLIAMS, Brodhead-Juda, RB: Williams rushed for 1,095 yards on just 160 carries, good for a healthy 6.8 yards per rush. He also scored 11 touchdowns, caught 12 passes for 149 yards and was third on the team in tackles with 47.
• BRAYDEN TRACY, Parkview, RB: In just seven games, Tracy rushed for 1,071 yards on 163 carries, good for a 6.6 yard-per-carry average. "He would've been a first-team all-conference player for sure, but they only put two backs on the team. He was a great player for us this year," Parkview coach Bob Meyers said.
• NICK PIERSON, Hononegah, TE: Pierson caught 31 passes for 379 yards and four touchdowns for the Indians. "He was a big-play guy for us," Zimmerman said. "We used him as an H-Tack as well, and he had great hands and a knack for finding the open space. He also helped us make plays on the edge as a blocker."
• SAM DICKERSON, Big Foot, OL: Dickerson was a first-team All-Rock Valley Conference selection following his senior season. "He had great feet, very good size and was a smart player for us," Big Foot coach Greg Enz said. "He was a terrific all-around athlete."
• SAM DUGGAN, Clinton, OL: Duggan was also a first-team selection on the RVC team. "He worked extremely hard for four years and developed into a very good football player," Clinton coach Jacob Standiford said. "He could play all five positions on the offensive line for us."
• PAUL FAY, Hononegah, OL: Fay helped anchor the offensive line on Hononegah's explosive offense. "Paul was a really strong run blocker for us. He worked diligently in the offseason to add strength, and he's a three-sport athlete. He's going to have a great wrestling season, and he throws shot and discus in track." Fay has a preferred walk-on offer from Illinois, among other schools.
• KADEN CARNES, Hononegah, OL: Like Fay, Carnes was a key contributor to Hononegah's offensive success. He is also weighing his collegiate options, and might end up at Drake.
• JHALEN BANKS, Beloit Memorial, OL: Banks emerged as a second-team All-Big Eight lineman for the Knights. "He's been a quiet leader on our line," Wedig said. "He was a two-year starter that was a great kid on and off the field."
• ETHAN RYDELL, North Boone, WR: "He was just an unbelievable route runner," Sullivan said. "He was so great in and out of his breaks. He was very tough for defenders to stay with. We moved him all over the field and tried to create mismatches wherever we could."
• AIDEN GRECO, Big Foot: Greco finished second in the Rock Valley Conference with 649 yards receiving. "He had a great sense of space and he knows how to get open," Enz said. "He really took a step forward as a competitor this season. That's what separated him from the pack, and that was an awesome thing to see as a coach."
• KOREY YARC, North Boone,PK: "The guy was incredible for us," Sullivan said. "I've never had a kicker perform like he did. He had more touchbacks than the rest of the league combined, and he was automatic on extra points. We had numerous close games this year where that really was the difference. He was a very valuable guy for us."
• SEAN DAVIDSON, Hononegah, DL: Davidson earned first-team All-NIC-10 honors for the second year in a row. "He was a nose tackle that controlled the middle of the line and handled double teams," Zimmerman said. "He was very quick and had outstanding technique as a big man."
• CHRISTIAN WINFIELD, Beloit Memorial, DL: "He was another really hard worker," Wedig said. "I kept him on JV as a sophomore even though he probably could have played for us just because I wanted to keep that group together. But he had two really good seasons on varsity for us. He was very quick off the ball and a very strong, too."
• JACK HERELEY, Big Foot, DL: Hereley finished with 35 tackles and four sacks on the season. "He's the best athlete for a kid his size that I've been around," Enz said. "He's a 180-pound athlete in a 250-pound body. He punts, kicks, is disruptive on the defensive line and could easily be an H-Back or a tight end."
• ZACH HALE, Hononegah, LB: Hale was a dominant linebacker, finishing with 86 tackles and an incredible 10 sacks. Hale earned all-NIC-10 honors for the second straight season. "He did everything for us. A two-time defensive MVP, and he relayed all the calls in as well," Zimmerman said.
• CHRISTIAN BALDERAS, South Beloit, LB: Baldereas finished the season as the team's leading rusher with 499 yards and six touchdowns, and led the team in tackles with 72. He added three interceptions and two fumble recoveries.
"He was a dominating force on both sides of the ball for us," South Beloit coach Sam Cady said. "On defense, he was a sideline-to-sideline defender, patrolling the middle of the field and taking on a leadership role on that side of the field."
• NICK NOONAN, Brodhead, LB: Noonan was the quarterback of the Brodhead-Juda defense and finished with 51 tackles. "I thought he was really what made our defense go," Brodhead-Juda coach Jim Matthys said. "He missed one game due to injury and was still our second-leading tackler. He called all the signals and was a big part of the reason our defense continued to improve as the season went on."
• JOSH RYDBERG, Hononegah, DB: Rydberg anchored an outstanding secondary and had 39 tackles and four interceptions. His all-area resume was bolstered by a terrific job as the Indians' kicker as well. "He was a consistent defender for us and deserved the all-conference honor that he received."
• SEAN MCMILLAN, Beloit Turner, DB: McMillian finished with 43 tackles, including five for loss, to go along with three interceptions. "He was such a great story for us," Beloit Turner coach Derek Diehl said. "Last year, he was 5-foot-6, 140 pounds. He hit a growth spurt, and he did everything right in the weight room. He was very athletic and he had an ability to play small when he wasn't small. He had a knack for the ball and was a wonderful surprise."
• SAM TRESEMER, Hononegah, DB: Tresemer was a terrific two-way player for the Indians, Tresemer finished with 36 tackles, one sack and two interceptions. He also rushed for three touchdowns and caught four TD passes."He was a true athlete who made big plays when we needed them," Zimmerman said.
• RILEY ANASTASI, Clinton, DB: Anastasi was an excellent player his entire youth, but didn't go out for football in the previous two years. "He was a pleasant surprise as a late addition to the team this year. He's one of the best leaders I've been around in my time coach football," Standiford said. "He did anything we asked of him."
• EMILIANO REYES, Turner, UT: Reyes earns a spot on the roster as a utility guy, a player who could do just about anything on the field. He threw for a TD pass, ran for seven more, caught two, and had 31 tackles to boot. "He was a true football player," Diehl said. "He was the heart and soul of our program. He did the off-season right, he played hard all the time and he will be missed."
• SETH ALLEN, Brodhead-Juda, P: Allen receives this honor not only for his punting (he was second-team all-RVC with a 38-yard average), but also for his work on both sides of the ball.
Allen led the team in receiving with 501 yards and played in the defensive secondary a bit as well.
"He had a phenomenal year," Matthys said. "We didn't get the ball to him on offense as much as we would've liked to. Punting-wise, he came out of nowhere and was really a threat back there who had great hang time. He's got a chance to punt next year at the Division 3 level if he wants to."
2018 BELOIT DAILY NEWS All-Area Team: QB: Britton Morris, North Boone, sr.: RB: Jeffrey Williams, Brodhead-Juda, sr.: Brayden Tracy, Parkview, sr.; WR: Aidan Greco, Big Foot, sr.; Ethan Rydell, North Boone, sr.; TE: Nick Pierson, Hononegah, sr.; OL: Kaden Carnes, Hononegah, sr.; Paul Fay, Hononegah, sr.; Sam Dickerson, Big Foot, jr.; Sam Duggan, Clinton, sr.; Jhalen Banks, Beloit Memorial, sr.; K: Korey Yarc, North Boon, sr.; DL: Sean Davidson, Hononegah, sr.; Jack Hereley, Big Foot, sr.; Christian Winfield, Beloit Memorial, sr.; LB: Nathan Hale, Hononegah, sr.; Nick Noonan, Brodhead-Juda, sr. Matt Wedig, Beloit Memorial, sr.; Christian Balderas, South Beloit, sr.; DB: Josh Rydberg, Hononegah, sr.; Sean McMillan, Beloit Turner, sr.; Riley Anastasi, Clinton,sr; Sam Tresemer, Hononegah, sr.; P: Seth Allen, Brodhead-Juda, sr. UTIL: Emiliano Reyes, Turner, sr.
HONORABLE MENTION: QB: Ryan Van Schelven, Hononegah, sr.; Logan Eischeid, Big Foot, sr.; RB: Isiah Richardson, Hononegah, sr.; Jackson Nelson, Clinton, sr.. OL: Charles Ellis, Hononegah, Sr.; Chase Carratt, sr., Parkview. Colby Glackin, South Beloit, Sr.; DL: Nevin Crane, Parkview, sr.; Kevin Griffin, Beloit Memorial, jr.; DB: Gage Christiansen, Hononegah, sr.