7 from re­gion make coaches’ all-state team, in­clud­ingWest’s Ran­dolph

Belleville News-Democrat (Sunday) - - Sports - BY TODD ESCHMAN [email protected]

Seven play­ers from the metroeast were named to the Illi­nois High School Foot­ball Coaches As­so­ci­a­tion All-State Team.

The se­lec­tions rep­re­sent seven area high schools, each of them a play­off qual­i­fier, and five of the eight classes es­tab­lished by the IHSA

Top­ping the list is Belleville West se­nior de­fen­sive line­man Keith Ran­dolph, whose in­tro- duc­tion to foot­ball just two sea­sons ago has brought him a whirl­wind of at­ten­tion.

At 6-foot-5 and 245 pounds, he’s en­ter­tain­ing schol­ar­ship of­fers from no fewer than 19 Divi­sion I schools. He has said Illi­nois, Pur­due and Wy­oming are among his top three picks, but that was be­fore Michi­gan State en­tered its bid last month.

Ran­dolph helped the Ma­roons to their sev­enth straight Class 7A play­off berth. West fin­ished the reg­u­lar sea­son 7-2 be­fore fall­ing to Wheaton War­renville South, 20-12, in the first round. De­spite fre­quent dou­ble teams, he was among team lead­ers with 56 tack­les, nine of them for loss. Ran­dolph also sacked the quar­ter­back seven times and re­cov­ered a pair of fum­bles.

Dar­rell Sim­mons, a 6-4, 290pound of­fen­sive line­man also was an all-state pick as a ju­nior. Be­hind him and oth­ers on a siz­able of­fen­sive line, the Fly­ers av­er­aged more than 50 points per game and reached a state quar­ter­fi­nal game, which it lost on the road to Chicago Mount Carmel, 29-19.

Like Ran­dolph, Sim­mons has re­ceived mul­ti­ple D-I of­fers, but has al­ready given ver­bal com­mit­ment to Iowa State.

South­west­ern Con­fer­ence

ri­val Ken­dall Ab­dur-Rah­man, a se­nior quar­ter­back from Edwardsville, was the area’s lone all-state pick in class 8A.

Ab­dur-Rah­man has been an ad­e­quate passer, hav­ing com­pleted 27 of 56 passes for 515 yards and 12 touch­downs as a se­nior. But his value is as a play­maker un­der cen­ter. He rushed for 806 yards and 17 touch­downs on just 89 car­ries.

Al­ready com­mit­ted to Notre Dame, Ab­dur-Rah­man likely will find a dif­fer­ent role in the col­lege ranks, per­haps as a wide re­ceiver of de­fen­sive back.

Ri­val class 5A schools from the Mis­sis­sippi Val­ley Con­fer­ence also placed play­ers on the IHSFCA All-State team.

De­fen­sive end Ma­lik Green helped Mas­coutah to its best sea­son in years by record­ing 42 solo tack­les and 13 quar­ter­back sacks. He also fell on three fum­bles.

The In­di­ans, 6-3 in the reg­u­lar sea­son, qual­i­fied for the play­offs for the first time since 2009, fall­ing in the first round to Mat­toon, 28-24.

High­land wide re­ceiver Sam LaPorta once again was cen­tral to a po­tent of­fense that car­ried the Bull­dogs to 11 straight vic­to­ries be­fore their quar­ter­fi­nal play­off loss at Joliet Catholic.

The 6-4, 215-pound se­nior caught 68 passes for 1,457 yards and 19 touch­downs to cap a re­mark­able ca­reer at High­land. As a ju­nior last year, LaPorta 64 passes for 1,295 yards and 20 TDs to earn all-state hon­ors.

Coaches from Big Ten, Mid-Amer­i­can and Ivy League con­fer­ence foot­ball pro­grams are among those who have been in con­tact with the Bull­dogs’ three-sport star. Ac­cord­ing to Ri­vals, LaPorta al­ready has of­fers from Eastern Michi­gan, Cen­tral Michi- gan, South­ern Illi­nois Univer­sity Car­bon­dale, Illi­nois State, North­ern Iowa, Western Illi­nois and Yale.

Nic Seel­hoe­fer again an­chored the Mater Dei de­fense for his se­nior sea­son to earn his all-state se­lec­tion. The 6-2, 259 pound line­backer had 63 tack­les and a pair of sacks to take the Knights back to the play­offs.

He’s been con­tacted by coaches from South­ern Illi­nois-Car­bon­dale, Lin­den­wood, McKen­dree, Lin­den­wood-Belleville and Mis­souri Bap­tist.

Round­ing out the list of metro-east all-state picks is Dy­lan Kwiatkowski, a6-3, 280-pound line­man from Nashville. The Hor­nets fin­ished the sea­son 8-2 af­ter a first round play­off loss to Tri-Val­ley.

TODD ESCHMAN [email protected]

Belle­vue West de­fen­sive end Keith Ran­dolph bears down on a Riverview Gar­dens run­ning back dur­ing the Ma­roons’ 41-16 win this sea­son. Ran­dolph helped the Ma­roons to their sev­enth straight Class 7A play­off berth. West fin­ished the reg­u­lar sea­son 7-2.

East St. Louis High School

East St. Louis’ Dar­rell Sim­mons, a 6-4, 290-pound of­fen­sive line­man, was an all-state pick as a ju­nior.

DERIK HOLTMANN dholt­[email protected]

Cen­tral’s Dal­ton Wise is brought down by Mater Dei de­fend­ers Nic Seel­hoe­fer and Trevor John­son. In his se­nior sea­son, Seel­hoe­fer again an­chored the Mater Dei de­fense.

CHRIS JOHNS

Edwardsville QB Ken­dall Ab­dur-Rah­man was the area’s lone all-state pick in Class 8A. He rushed for 806 yards.

Jody Becker Pho­tog­ra­phy

High­land wide re­ceiver Sam LaPorta was part of a po­tent of­fense that car­ried the Bull­dogs to 11 straight wins.

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