Monday December 3, 2012

BY THE BANNER SPORTS STAFF

For the second year in a row, we have surveyed the area, studied the game from the sideline and quizzed local coaches on the top high school football players around.

Many were worthy of recognition for their exploits this fall, but the process, ultimately, results in only a handful of honorees. Our selections should in no way diminish the outstanding performances of those not included in our squad.

While important, statistics and league honors were only partial factors in our lineup, which attempts to recognize players from all positions. Based on the information and input we received, as well as our own observations about players' production, importance to their squad and individual skill-sets, we present the 2nd Annual All-Banner All-Star squad.

OFFENSE

Jake Stalcup - Sr., QB - Burr and Burton Academy

* Stalcup followed up an amazing 2011 season with an even better campaign in 2012. The 6-foot-4 senior, who plans to play at Middlebury College next fall, completed 63 percent of his passes for 2,640 yards and 31 touchdowns against nine interceptions as BBA averaged 43 points every time it took the field. The yardage was a school record (in only nine games) and the touchdowns tied his 2011 mark. "Jake has been unbelievable for us, not only on the field but off it as well," said BBA coach Jason Thomas. "He made it difficult for teams to gameplan against him. He throws a nice deep ball, fades, out routes and the [bootleg] was a big play for us.


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Matt Parmenter - Sr., RB - Cambridge

* Parmenter was the focal point of the Cambridge offense, the feature back in a run-first team. In eight games, Parmenter rushed for 1,253 yards and 22 touchdowns, an average of 156.6 yards per game. His best game came against Hoosic Valley, when he ran for 301 yards and five scores. "We knew Matt would have a good year; we expected it and got it," said coach Doug Luke. "He was not one of our mysteries coming into the year."

Randy Tutunjian - Sr., WR - Hoosick Falls

* Tutunjian quietly had a 10-touchdown season and with 768 yards receiving, one of the best in Section II history. "He is such a threat, I can't remember him losing a battle to get the football," coach Ron Jones said. "Bill [Pine] has such trust in Randy, knowing he can put it there and Randy will go get it."

Chris Redding - Sr., WR - Burr and Burton Academy

* Redding re-wrote the BBA record books for receiving in 2012. He caught 71 passes for 1,160 yards and 15 touchdowns, an average of 16.3 yards per reception. But the Mount Anthony transfer wasn't just a pass-catcher, scoring five different ways and 30 times overall. He rushed for 514 yards and nine touchdowns on the ground and even threw for 248 yards and three more scores. He also scored on punt and kick returns. "Chris was a toy because he can catch, run and throw," Thomas said. "Teams couldn't match up. With his skill-set, he was perfect in our offense."

Wilson Vickers - So., WR - Burr and Burton Academy

* After Redding, Vickers was a clear No. 2 receiver for the Bulldogs. The first-year varsity starter caught 12 touchdowns, including two in wins over MAU and North Country. Vickers also came up big against Bellows Falls, catching 10 passes for 215 yards on a record-setting day. "You need to have that No. 2 receiver because [a defense] can't double your top guy," Thomas said. "He made some monster catches this year."

Zach Bahan - Sr., Flex - Mount Anthony

* Bahan moved from offensive line to fullback when one of the Patriots' starters went down in Week 3. The transition was seamless as Bahan, a bruising runner, led MAU with 503 yards and four touchdowns on the ground. He also had 138 yards and three touchdowns through the air. "It was huge to make that transition, especially on a young team with not much depth," said coach Bill Hay.

Lance Rice-Wilder - Sr., OL - Hoosick Falls

* At 240 pounds, Rice-Wilder was literally the biggest cog of an offensive line that rushed for 271.7 yards per game. "He was such a good player all year and he did his best against the best teams," Jones said. In the regional championship game, Rice-Wilder led the second-half comeback. "He's naturally strong and a force on both sides of the ball."

Mike Plaisance, Sr., OL - Mount Anthony

* Plaisance led the offensive line in the Patriots' option attack, which had four players rush for more than 300 yards. "He worked hard in the offseason to get better and he had a lot of experience," said Hay, who said Plaisance started every game in the past two seasons. "He was durable, never missing any time."

Grady Beck - Sr., OL - Hoosick Falls

* At center, Beck, another member of the Class C all-star team, directed the offensive line during Hoosick Falls' march to the state title. "Grady makes all the line calls and sends me great information about the defense," Jones said.

Lucas Motsiff - So., OL - Cambridge

* Motsiff led the way in the middle of the line for one of the top rushing attacks in the section. "We put him there and you hope you get a lot and he came through for us," Luke said. "We use a lot of man-on and angle blocking and you have to be quick. The nice thing about Lucas is that he's still got two years left."

Cam Senecal - Jr., OL - Burr and Burton Academy

* For a quarterback to throw for nearly 300 yards every game, he needs good protection and that started with Senecal. The 5-foot-10, 205-pound guard is best on the move. "He's not the biggest kid but he's physical and athletic," Thomas said. "He does a great job at inside pass blocking and is good at pulling and kicking out."

DEFENSE

Bryan Sherman - Sr., DL - Hoosick Falls

* Pound-for-pound, Sherman may be the strongest player on the All-Banner team. Outweighed at times by 50 to 100 pounds, Sherman still managed to make 69 tackles, 12 for loss, and record six sacks. "He's so powerful and fast, his heart is so big," Jones said. "He never stops hustling and gave us a nice spark on defense."

Nathan Winchester - Jr., DL - Cambridge

* As the nose guard, Winchester saw countless guard-center double teams. Despite that, he still managed to wreak havoc. "There was a three- or four-game stretch where he controlled the center and caused a bunch of fumbles on the [snap]," Luke said. "In our system, a noseguard doesn't make a lot of tackles but he gives the linebackers a better chance."

Perle Webb - So., DL - Mount Anthony

* Webb ended his first varsity campaign with 25 solo tackles, 17 assisted tackles, two sacks, two fumble recoveries and eight tackles for loss, all while fighting off double teams most of the season. "For him to produce those numbers dealing with doubles is great," Hay said. "He's worked hard and has tons of potential."

Tyler Mattison - So., LB - Mount Anthony

* Mattison, a first-year starter, led the Patriots with 48 tackles, including six for loss, while making plays from sideline to sideline. "He grew throughout the season and was the best tackler on the team," Hay said. "Being a wrestler helped him on the football field."

Brandon Hodges - Jr., LB - Hoosick Falls

* Hodges had 81 tackles on the season, second on the team, but also six sacks, 13 tackles for loss and three fumble recoveries -- none bigger than the one against Saranac Lake that led to the game-winning drive. "Brandon has lots of strength and good quickness," Jones said. "He's hard to stop and a smart player."

Mike Matatt - Jr., LB - Hoosick Falls

* Matatt, yet another undersized linebacker for the Panthers, made 66 tackles, 11 for loss, and had two sacks on a defense that gave up 7.5 points per game for the season. Playing the inside linebacker spot next to Burns and Hodges made it a tough go for Class C running backs.

Dalton Blackwell, Jr., LB - Burr and Burton Academy

* Blackwell played both middle and outside linebacker for the Bulldogs, racking up 92 tackles in nine games to lead the team. "He made big plays when he needed to," Thomas said. "We changed some personnel in the middle of the season, but Dalton was the constant."

Billy Pine - Sr., DB - Hoosick Falls

* Not many runners did, but if they reached the secondary against the Panthers, Pine was there delivering the blow. Along with his remarkably efficient offensive numbers, he made 65 tackles (7 for loss), snagged three interceptions and recovered two fumbles. On special teams, he returned two punts for scores. "He's super tough and explosive," Jones said. "He did a great job coming up to the line of scrimmage to play the run. He is not afraid of anyone."

Levi Brewster - Jr., DB - Hoosick Falls

* Brewster led Hoosick Falls with five interceptions on the year, saving his best performance for the end with two huge picks in the state title game against Hornell. "He was very solid from the start; the best corner all year long," Jones said. "He's got surprising range and battles for every jump ball. He almost treats it like a rebound."

Carson Cushman - So., DB - Mount Anthony

* Cushman was all over the field for the Patriots, making 42 solo and 27 assisted tackles. He also recovered a fumble and had two interceptions. "He was our most improved player through the year," Hay said. "It was great to see him grow. As a 10th-grader, he had to contribute right away but he grew into the position."

Josh Brogue, Sr., DB - Hoosick Falls

* Brogue was a terrific receiver for the state champion Panthers, but it was his defense that gets him on the list. He had four interceptions as part of a team effort that was tops in Section II. Two of those interceptions came in state play to seal games against Saranac Lake and James I. O'Neill. "He's a smart player, disclipined, and when opportunities presented themselves, he made a lot of big plays," Jones said.