Daily Chronicle 2023 All-Area Football Team

DeKalb’s Davon Grant tries to fend off Naperville Central's Aidan Sheehy after a catch during their game Friday, Oct. 6, 2023, at Naperville Central High School.

2023 Daily Chronicle Football Player of the Year

Burke Gautcher, jr., QB/DB, Sycamore

Kaneland's Troyer Carlson looks for a receiver as he rolls away from the Lake Zurich pass rush Saturday, Nov. 4, 2023, during their Class 6A second round playoff game at Kaneland High School in Maple Park.

First–team offense

Troyer Carlson, Kaneland, sr., QB – The four-year starter finished in the top 10 all-time in career passing touchdowns in state history with 90, and that was with the COVID-shortened spring of 2021 season hampering his freshman season. He completed 65% of his passes for 1,995 yards, 22 touchdowns and six interceptions despite missing almost two games with an injury. He also ran for 363 yards and a score.

Aric Johnson, Kaneland, sr., WR – The three-time all-conference selection caught 38 passes for 882 yards and 10 touchdowns. He was also a ball-hawking cornerback with three interceptions and four pass breakups. And he ran a lot too, carrying 50 times for 354 yards and four touchdowns.

Davon Grant, DeKalb, so., WR/DB – Grant exploded onto the scene for the Barbs with 42 catches for 936 yards and six touchdowns. He’s wracked up offers from Illinois, Iowa and Akron. He also plays in the secondary and had a 100-yard interception return for a touchdown this year. He also had 40 tackles and four interceptions.

Dom DeBlasio, Kaneland, sr., WR/QB/RB/DB – Normally a receiver, DeBlasio filled in where needed for the Knights. When Troyer Carlson was hurt, DeBlasio filled in at quarterback. He played running back to spell Josh Mauthe. He caught a team–high 39 passes for 694 yards and six touchdowns. He ran 50 times for 345 yards and seven touchdowns. He had five touchdowns in one game.

Talen Tate, DeKalb, sr., RB – The workhorse for the Barbs had 106 touches for 556 yards and 11 touchdowns. He also had 19 catches for 278 yards and two scores. He also was a key component of the Barbs’ blocking schemes, with coach Derek Schneeman calling him one of the best blocking running backs he’s seen.

Tyler Curtis, Sycamore, sr., RB/DB – The lead back for the Spartans, he ran 124 times for 884 yards and 12 touchdowns. The all-conference selection also had two tackles for a loss and an interception this year.

Brett Larson, Kaneland, sr., OL – A run-blocking beast, Larson was a bulldozer for the Knights this year, leading the rushing attack. He earned all-conference honors in the Interstate 8.

Josh Jones, DeKalb, sr., OL – Jones went where he was needed on the line, starting the season at tackle but moving to guard after injuries forced some shuffling. His combination of size (6-4, 250) and athleticism made him a key part of both run and pass protection for the Barbs.

Gable Carrick, Sycamore, sr., OL – The two–time all-conference pick was a huge force on an absolutely loaded Sycamore offensive line. Sycamore averaged 6.8 yards per carry and quarterback Burke Gautcher was sacked twice all year, with Carrick a big part of that.

Owen DePauw, Sycamore, so., OL – The sophomore made an immediate impact on the team with an all-conference selection. Four different players averaged 4.7 yards per carry with at least 59 touches, and DePauw was a part of making sure whoever was running would get those yards.

Nick Alstott, Kaneland, sr., DL – Alstott was a stalwart on both lines for the Knights. He made 50 tackles, including 10 for a loss, with a sack and an interception. He was an all-conference selection as well.

Genoa-Kingston’s Brady Brewick picks up yards Thursday, Sept. 14, 2023 in a game at Dixon High School.

First–team defense

Tristan Countryman, Sycamore, sr., OL/DL – The two–time I8 all-conference selection not only made his presence felt on the offensive line, he was a disruptive force going against other teams’ offensive lines. He had 23 tackles, with nine of them going for a loss and three sacks.

Travis Moore, DeKalb, so., DL – Moore played on both the interior and at defensive end, consistently performing at both spots. He had 45 tackles, five for a loss, and two sacks. He forced two fumbles and recovered one.

Pierre Cathina, DeKalb, jr., DL – A disruptive force at defensive end, he had a team-best 13 tackles for a loss. He had five sacks and 35 tackles on the year.

Daniel Roman-Johnson, DeKalb, sr., LB – The lone returning starter on the DeKalb defense at the start of the year, Roman-Johnson had 78 tackles, three for a loss, and an interception. His lateral speed helped the Barbs keep opponents’ short passing game in check.

Josh Mauthe, Kanleand, sr., RB/LB – Mauthe made the switch from the defensive line to linebacker early in the season, finishing the season with 10 tackles for a loss and a sack along with 10 hurried passes, a pass breakup and a forced fumble. In addition to his 63 tackles, he became the lead back for the Knights with 125 carries for 957 yards and 15 touchdowns.

Diego Garcia, Sycamore, sr., LB/RB – When there was a big play to be made for the Sycamore defense, Garcia more often than not was at the center of it. He had 60 tackles on the year, nine for a loss and two sacks. He also had a pair of interceptions and caused and recovered a fumble. He also had 78 carries for 368 yards and eight touchdowns.

Miles Galindo, Sycamore, sr., LB – Third on the team with 55 tackles, the all-conference pick had two sacks among nine tackles for loss. He also forced and recovered a fumble.

Sebastian Chavez, Kaneland, sr., LB – Chavez had a team-high 91 tackles, with nine of them for a loss. He notched four sacks, had three quarterback hurries and three pass breakups.

Brady Brewick, Genoa–Kingston, sr., LB/RB – Brewick had an impact on both sides of the ball for the Cogs. On defense, he made 66 tackles, five for a loss. He also ran for 813 yards on 156 carries with 11 touchdowns.

Tony DeBlasio, Kaneland, sr., DB/WR – A shut-down defensive back for the Knights, he made a team-best 91 tackles and seven interceptions. He also served as an occasional target for Carlson with 10 catches, 113 yards and two touchdowns.

Carter York, Sycamore, sr., WR/DB – The all-conference pick showed off his catching ability on both sides of the ball. He made 46 tackles this year including one for a loss, while grabbing two interceptions and forcing a fumble. He also had highlight-reel catches throughout the year, hauling in a team–best 20 catches for 401 yards and four touchdowns.

Sycamore’s Kyle Prebil (5) celebrates in the end zone after scoring a touchdown on an interception against Woodstock North in varsity football in Woodstock Saturday.

Honorable mention: Kyle Prebil, Sycamore, jr., WR/DB; Lucas Norvell, Hiawatha, sr., RB/S; Xavier Dandridge, DeKalb, sr., WR; Tommy Butler, Hiawatha, jr., LB; Cole Latimer, DeKalb, so., QB; Zach Edwards, Hiawatha, sr., DE; Blake Wiegartz, Hiawatha, sr., QB/CB; Braeden Ross, Hiawatha, jr., DT