By Mark Gregory
Editorial Director 

Lehr, Ranallo headline 2019 Football All-Area team


Last updated 12/12/2019 at 8:24am

Through the first seven games of the season, Notre Dame College Prep and Minooka were unbeaten and had themselves ranked among the elite teams in Class 8A.

Both battled through difficult schedules, made history for their programs, and advanced to the IHSA playoffs, notching at least one win before being eliminated.

Both teams are also connected as they produced the 2019 Enterprise Publications Football Players of the Year.




After the success it had in 2018 football season, and with several key players returning, Minooka knew this season could be special.

The Indians rolled off 11 straight wins, claiming the Southwest Prairie Conference West Division title with a win at Oswego and winning a pair of playoff games before falling at Brother Rice in the quarterfinals.

In the win over Oswego to complete a perfect regular season, it was a late game touchdown drive led by senior quarterback Seth Lehr.

It was that leadership, accompanied by his stats, that makes Lehr the 2019 Enterprise Publications Football Offensive Player of the Year.

On the season, Lehr completed 137 of 197 pass attempts, good for a 70 percent completion percentage. He recorded 1,893 yards and threw for 16 touchdowns and only four interceptions – a passer rating of 117. On the ground, Lehr carried the football 101 times for 356 yards and eight scores.

He was named to the Illinois High School Football Coaches Association Class 8A All-State First Team.

He accomplished all that in only 10 games after being knocked out of two games with a hard hit in week three.

"I don't think there is a harder position to play in any sport than quarterback of the football team with all the things you need to know and everything you need to execute," said Minooka coach John Belskis. "Seth had all the intangibles – he has an extremely high football IQ, his leadership skills were second to none. I have been a lot of good ones and Seth ranks up there at the top of the best I have had the opportunity to coach."

That leadership quality is something Lehr has possessed for a long time.

"At a young age, my parents always held me to a pretty high standard," Lehr said. "I knew these guys listened to me and that they trusted me the way I trusted them and we were able to get things done. It was awesome having so many weapons that I could go to and having the big guys up front. Coach put a lot of trust in my hands and developing the game to work 50/50 pass and run."

Lehr said that while he didn't pay attention to his individual stats throughout the season, he has been able to reflect after his Indian career as come to an end.

"I didn't really pay attention to that during the season, but I have been looking here lately and I am pretty proud of that, especially developing and evolving from last year, it was a pretty good year," he said. "As a team at the beginning of the year we had some pretty big goals and we knew as seniors we would have to make it the best we could and we did a pretty good job of that."




When the season ended for Notre Dame College Prep, it did so at the hands of eventual Class 8A state champion Lincoln-Way East, it did not end without a fight – especially by the vaunted Dons defense.

East won 23-13 but the Dons defense battled through short fields and facing the top-rated player in the state and blanked the Griffins in the second half.

That defense allowed an average of 11.7 points per game of the season, holding its opponents to seven points or less five times and one shutout.

At the center of that defense was 6-foot, 190-pound senior linebacker Anthony Ranallo who posted a total of 107 tackles for the season, 24 tackles for loss, eight sacks, two forced fumbles, one interception and a pair of pass breakups.

For his stats and leadership on a talented defense, Ranallo was tabbed as Enterprise Publications 2019 Football Defensive Player of the Year.

One of the things that made Ranallo as good as he was is that no matter how well he and the team played, he always wanted more from himself.

"I have pretty high expectations of myself and I always feel like I can make an impact in any game I play in," he said. "I feel like I could have done more."

What he did do was help the Dons open the season 7-0 against a tough schedule.

"This was probably the hardest schedule Notre Dame has ever played and we won seven games, but we felt we could have won every game," Ranallo said. "We always play like we have a chip on our shoulder. It is the neighborhood that we are from. High School football means a lot to the neighborhoods on the northwest side of Chicago and we like to hang our hats on our defense.

"We played D-I players all year long and we took pride in it because none of us are getting recruited by big time schools, so we take pride in shutting those guys down."

The rest of the Enterprise Publications All-Area team members are:

Jordan Anderson, JCA

Sophomore running back that rushed for 1,302 yards on 160 carries.

Averaged 8.1 yards per carry, with 16 touchdowns. Received the Most Outstanding Player Award in the ESCC/CCL White Division.

He was named Illinois High School Football Coaches Association Class 5A All-State Honorable Mention.

Hunter Campbell, Downers North

Senior offensive lineman that blocked for two 1,000-yard rushers. Graded out highest on the team and was All-Conference.

Drew Cassens, Downers North

Senior quarterback who rushed for 1,513 yards on 218 carries and 18 touchdowns. Threw for 620 yards while completing 53 percent of his passes and had four touchdown passes. Cassens was All-Conference and West Suburban Silver MVP. He was also named to the Illinois High School Football Coaches Association Class 7A All-State First Team.

Dale Dambek Jr., Plainfield East

Senior linebacker who had 120 tackles, one interception for a touchdown, eight tackles for loss, four sacks, two forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries.

He was named to the Illinois High School Football Coaches Association Class 8A All-State First Team.

Noah Ellens, Minooka

Senior running back who rushed for 1,221 yards on 212 carries and scored 14 times for the Indians. Ellens also contributed in the passing game where he had 36 catches for 352 yards and two touchdowns. Ellens was first team Southwest Prairie West All-Conference.

Jaquan Howard, Bolingbrook

Sophomore running back that was the lead rusher for the Raiders in 2019. Howard had 1,061 yards off of 133 carriers and scored 11 times.

Trent Howland, Joliet West

The junior running back rushed for 1,401 yards on 178 carries and scored 14 touchdowns. Howland also got involved in the passing game where he had 87 yards and two touchdowns. He was named Illinois High School Football Coaches Association Class 8A All-State Honorable Mention.

Trent Hudak, Minooka

Senior wide receiver and kicker for the Indians who started all 12 games and had 47 receptions for 884 yards with 11 touchdowns. Hudak was first team Southwest Prairie West All-Conference.

D'Mauryon Hunter, Bolingbrook

Senior linebacker who totaled 62 tackles. Hunter also had 14 tackles for loss, four sacks and two pass break ups.

Ryan Kilburg, Maine South

Senior wide receiver and safety that started 34 games for South. Offensively, Kilburg had a 98-yard kickoff return for a touchdown, 44 receptions for 560 yards and seven touchdowns.

On the ground, Kilburg had 31 carries for 270 yards and three touchdowns. Defensively, Kilburg had 56 tackles, three interceptions, three fumbles caused, one fumble recovery and two tackles for loss. Kilburg was a two-time All-Conference selection as well as Offensive POY in the CSL South this year, he will be playing college football at Western Michigan.

Antonio King, Bolingbrook

Senior wide receiver and running back that caught 34 passes for 341 yards with two touchdowns. On the ground, King had 92 carries for 641 yards and seven touchdowns. He was named to the Illinois High School Football Coaches Class 8A All-State First Team.

Conor Kovas, JCA

Senior offensive lineman who was the anchor for the Hilltoppers. Kovas was a two-year starter for JCA, was the captain of the offensive line, was All-Conference and helped pave the way for an offense that totaled 4,633 yards (386.1 yards per game) and averaged 33 points per game.

Jayden Lambert, Downers South

Senior who was an overall athlete who is a preferred walk-on at NIU was the MVP of his team. Lambert was a three-year All-Conference Player who rushed for 434 yards, had 307 yards receiving, 198 kick return yards and seven offensive touchdowns. Defensively, Lambert had 19 solo tackles, six assists, one sack, two tackles for loss and eight pass breakups. For his efforts, he was CO-Most Outstanding Offensive Player WSC Gold Conference.

Dan Lazic, Maine South

Senior who played quarterback, wide receiver and kick returner. In 10 games, Lazic had 1,700 all-purpose yards and 10 touchdowns, 651 yards receiving, 335 yards rushing, 287 yards passing and 452 return yards. Learned to play quarterback in four days at practice and beat Fremd.

Luke Leongas, Maine South

Junior quarterback played in only seven games with with a torn ACL. He had a 63 percent completion rating, threw for 1,433 yards and 12 touchdowns.

Lavarion Logan , JCA

Sophomore defensive end that recorded 42 tackles, 12 sacks, 10 quarterback hurries, five tackles for loss and forced one fumble.

Josh Lumpkin, Downers North

Senior running back who rushed for 1,100 yards on 158 carries and scored 11 times. Lumpkin was All-Conference.

Tyler McLaurin, Bolingbrook

Junior linebacker who had 52 total tackles. McLaurin also had four tackles for loss, one sack, two pass break ups, one interception and two fumble recoveries.

Brady Moore, Downers North

Senior offensive lineman who blocked for two 1,000 rushers, also was All-Conference.

Marcellus Moore, Plainfield North

Senior wide receiver that rushed for 191 yards and two touchdowns while catching 25 passes for 284 yards and five receiving touchdowns.

The talented Tiger will be playing college football for Purdue next fall. He was named Illinois High School Football Coaches Association Class 8A All-State Honorable Mention.

Joey Morgan, Plainfield East

Senior quarterback who threw for a school record 1,906 yards and 21 touchdowns. Completed 58 percent of his passes.

Jimmy Murphy, Notre Dame

Senior defensive back that had 70 total tackles, five tackles for loss, four pass break ups and two interceptions. He returned 16 punts for 159 yards and recorded seven special teams tackles.

Brian Pitt, Notre Dame

Senior defensive end and tight end that caught four passes for 30 yards and a touchdown offensively. Defensively, Pitt had 36 total tackles, 12 sacks, one forced fumble and three pass deflections.

Ernesto Ramirez, Minooka

Senior defensive back who started all 12 games for the Indians. Ramirez recorded 42 tackles with 27 being solo and had 15 assists. The senior also had five pass breakups, eight interceptions (tied school record) with one being returned for a touchdown. Ramirez was first team Southwest Prairie West All-Conference.

Eli Reed, Downers South

Sophomore who was an overall athlete who had 41 catches for 595 yards and 10 touchdowns, had 134 punt return yards and 95 kick return yards. Defensively, Reed had seven solo tackles; four assists, one tackle for loss and four pass breakups. Reed was a Co-Most Outstanding Offensive Player in the WSC Gold Conference.

Anthony Sayles, Notre Dame

Senior quarterback who threw for 1,380 yards and 12 touchdowns, while adding 513 yards and six touchdowns on the ground on 74 carries. He was named Illinois High School Football Coaches Association Class 8A All-State Honorable Mention.

Julian Schurr, Notre Dame

Senior running back that rushed for 619 yards on 112 carries with 11 touchdowns. Schurr also caught 27 passes for 239 yards.

Kinsyn Shelby, Joliet West

Senior defensive back that had 34 tackles, seven interceptions, one touchdown, two forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries.

Jake Shipla, Minooka

Senior offensive tackle and defensive tackle that started 12 games for the Indians. Shipla recorded 81 tackles with 38 being solo and 43 assists.

He added nine sacks and 16 tackles for loss. Shipla was a three-year varsity starter who played every snap both ways for the past two seasons.

He was first team Southwest Prairie West All-Conference.

Peter Skoronski, Maine South

Senior offensive and defensive lineman who started 35 games and was named to the Illinois High School Football Coaches Association Class 8A All-State First Team. He was selected to play in the NBC All-American Game in San Antonio, TX on 1-4-20. Set school records of 74 pancakes in a season, breaking his old record of 56nd school record with 171 total pancakes. Defensively, he had 32 tackles, three sacks, four tackles for loss, four deflections and one fumble recovered for a 48-yard score

"Peter is the best player I have ever coached. He is the hardest worker I have ever coached and he may be the smartest player I have ever coached. And upon all that Peter is the most humble player I have ever coached," said South head coach David Inserra.

Adam Smith, Plainfield North

Junior quarterback who threw for 1,233 yards and completed 62 percent of his passes. Threw for 18 touchdowns on the season.

Jacob Snell, Benet Academy

Senior defensive end that had 47 tackles, 21 solo tackles, 16 tackles for loss, 4.5 sacks and eight quarterback hurries. Snell was the Catholic League/East Suburban Catholic Conference Orange Defensive Lineman of the Year. Snell will be playing college football at Miami of Ohio next fall.

Pat Strocchia III, JCA

Junior defensive end that was All-Conference, recorded 50 tackles, 11 sacks, 13 quarterback hurries and three tackles for loss.

Jabril Williams , JCA

Junior defensive back that was All-Conference, recorded 56 tackles, three tackles for a loss, five pass break ups and two interceptions with one that was returned for a touchdown. He was named Illinois High School Football Coaches Association Class 5A All-State Honorable Mention.

Kenyetta Williams, JCA

Senior running back for the Hilltoppers who rushed for 1,023 yards on 142 carriers. Averaged 7.2 yards per carry, with 13 rushing touchdowns.

Williams also contributed in the passing game, as he had 13 catches for 293 yards and four touchdowns. Williams was All-Conference and the offensive MVP for the ESCC/CCL White Division.

Selections are made by the Enterprise Publication staff and are based on statistics provided by the coaches.


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