By Beau Wicker Pharos-Tribune
---- — With an enrollment of 393 students, Winamac is one of the largest Class A schools in football.
The Warriors had the luxury of having one of their standout players play on defense only this season, a rarity in Class A, at least for the public schools. And it paid big dividends, as Mitch Reed had a monster season at middle linebacker for the Warriors.
The 5-9, 170-pound junior was credited for 121 tackles, 94 assists, 17 tackles for a loss, three forced fumbles, a fumble recovery, a sack and an interception.
He was named to the Junior Class A All-State team by the IFCA, and he is the Loganland Defensive Player of the Year.
“It helped Mitchell that he only played one way,” Winamac coach Tim Roth said. “He was one of the guys who strictly played defense and special teams. He had high energy and played with a lot of emotion and energy. He loves to go play and hit people.”
Roth added entering the season he did not expect Reed to have the type of season he had.
“We were pleasantly surprised with Mitch. He was a backup defensive back last year,” he said. “He’s a really aggressive kid that wasn’t real dedicated. He found out for himself he needed to work harder in the offseason to get stronger. He worked harder in the offseason and got stronger and switched positions and played in the middle of Tyler [Katschke] and Keegan [Kasten] at linebacker. I had no idea he’d produce the results he had this year. That’s a credit to Mitch and the hard work he put in. It also helped tremendously having [Dalton] Button and [Quest] Fritz ahead of them.
“He made plays from sideline to sideline and I look for him to only get better next year.”
Reed enjoyed playing for the Midwest Conference, sectional and regional championship Warriors squad this year.
“I credit our seniors. They led us far this year. We owe it to them. They were a good bunch to play with,” he said.
Reed was in the middle of a dominating linebacker group that included Katschke and Kasten.
“I knew those guys on and off the field and they were awesome to play with,” Reed said. “We really clicked well when us three were together.”
The Warriors finished 10th in the state in points scored (45.9 ppg), sixth in defensive scoring average (10.2 ppg) and sixth in average margin (plus-35.7 ppg).
But those numbers don’t tell the whole story, as the first-team defense allowed just two scores during the undefeated regular season. In fact the Warriors were such a dominating team that their backups — consisting of JV and freshman team players — had over 1,200 yards of offense for the varsity this season while playing in garbage time of blowout victories.
Those numbers could foretell good things for the Warriors in the future. They’ll have four of their five starting offensive linemen and starting quarterback Parker Fox on offense. Reed and Fox and some of the linemen will be leading returnees on defense as well.
Reed will play on offense too next year, Roth said, likely at either halfback or fullback.
Reed expects the Warriors to field another strong team.
“I think we’ll have a good team. We lost a lot of good seniors but we have a lot of good juniors and sophomores who should be really good next year. Parker Fox, Dalton Button, Wyatt Spence ... we’ve got a lot of guys back. We’ll be really good because of those guys,” he said.
The following are capsules of the rest of this year’s All-Loganland defense.
DL — Ryan Coffing, Caston
The 6-1, 230-pound junior had 41 tackles which included 13 solo tackles, 28 assists, 7.5 tackles for a loss and a fumble recovery.
He also started on the offensive line for the 3-8 Comets and helped them gain 2,799 yards of offense including 1,923 on the ground.
“He’s a solid football player, a good-sized kid that works hard in the weight room and in weight class and it shows,” Caston coach Chris Ulerick said. “He has progressively gotten better, especially since his freshman year. He’s probably the most consistent linemen we had all year long.”
DL — John Hartley, Cass
Hartley, a 6-foot, 187-pound senior defensive end, had 29 tackles, which included 28 solo tackles, a sack and 11 tackles for a loss.
“He was a first-year starter. He played mostly on the JV team as a junior,” Cass coach Scott Mannering said.
“He really came into his own this year as a senior. He was a strong defensive lineman in terms of pass rush and tackles for a loss. He was very active.”
DL — Tyler Shaw, Pioneer
The 6-1, 220-pound junior had a team-high four sacks for the Panthers this season. He had 14 solo tackles and 22 assists.
“He got an injury and when he came back he played with a vengeance,” Pioneer coach Mike Johnson said. “He’s a good-sized kid and when he got back from his knee injury he played with a big motor and got a lot of tackles up and down the line of scrimmage.”
LB — Khalil Carter, Logansport
Carter, a 6-2, 210-pound senior inside linebacker, led the Berries in tackles with 72 and tackles for a loss with nine. He had 46 solo tackles, 52 assists, 1.5 sacks and an interception.
“Khalil had a big turnaround from last year,” Logan coach Brad Urban said. “He tried to step up and be a leader for us. He made a positive move to the linebacker position. He asked if he could do that and we weren’t sure, but obviously he proved he was a legitimate linebacker on this team.”
LB — Quentin Douglass, Caston
The 6-foot, 170-pound senior was named to the Senior Class A All-State team as a linebacker.
On defense he had a team-high 78 tackles which included 42 solo tackles and 36 assists. He added eight tackles for a loss, two interceptions and a fumble recovery.
He was also the Comets’ starting quarterback. He led them in rushing with 722 yards and eight touchdowns. He was 66-of-171 passing (38.6 percent) for 876 yards with nine touchdowns and nine interceptions.
“Quentin is just a great all-around athlete and kid,” Ulerick said. “You couldn’t ask for a better kid or a better student of the game. He works hard no matter what sport. He works hard and gets better and makes everyone around him better.”
LB — Tyler Hanna, Pioneer
The 5-8, 160-pound senior had a team-high 56.5 tackles which included 38 solo tackles, 37 assists, 6.5 tackles for a loss and a sack.
“He was a cornerback that we moved to linebacker the second week of the season and he ended up leading us in tackles and was second in the conference,” Johnson said. “He was a really good linebacker. He weighed under 150 but played very, very fast.”
Hanna added 455 yards rushing and six touchdowns with an average of 8.6 yards per carry at running back.
LB — Keegan Kasten, Winamac
Kasten, 6-foot, 213-pound senior, had 58 tackles, 53 assist, six tackles for a loss, four sacks, four forced fumbles, two fumble recoveries and a safety for the Warriors.
On offense at running back he had 299 yards rushing, 6 TDs and averaged 7.9 yards per carry. He added 10 catches for 175 yards and 4 TDs.
“Keegan was our glue guy this year,” Roth said. “He was one of our captains and out of the four of them he was the godfather of the team. He took care of the younger guys and instilled in them what was instilled in him as a freshman.
“He was just solid. He had an injury at the start of the season and just played defense the first few games and worked through that. He was solid on both sides of the ball and a lot of Katschke’s yards came because Keegan was leading the way.
“He’s a great kid to be around and he finds the good in everybody. He was very coachable. He was ornery like a lot of them were but in football that’s a good thing a lot of times.”
LB — Michael Leonard, Logansport
The 5-11, 180-pound senior had 65.5 tackles which included 37 solo tackles and 57 assists. He added 7.5 tackles for a loss including 1.5 sacks and an interception.
Urban noted as the season went along Leonard played better and better.
“He was a move-in from Rochester and we didn’t know what to expect from him. As the year went on he got more comfortable and made bigger and bigger plays for us. He made tackles for a loss and interceptions and was all over the field, and he never complained about anything and was the consummate team player,” he said. “He played offense too when we got banged up on the O-line and we got a great effort from him.”
LB — Conner Martin, Caston
Martin, a 5-6, 153-pound senior, had 63 tackles for the Comets which included 24 solo tackles, 39 assists and eight tackles for a loss.
He was also the team’s starting fullback and had 609 yards of offense which included 497 yards on the ground and a team-high nine touchdowns and six 2-point conversions to go with seven PATs for a total of 67 points.
“He’s an undersized kid with an oversized heart. He gave his all out there all the time,” Ulerick said. “He scored the most touchdowns for us this year. He had nine touchdowns and we didn’t score as much as we had the last couple years but he found a way to get in the end zone in multiple ways. He had a blocked punt and a fumble recovery and the rest were on the ground. He’s a solid football player.”
LB — Nick Price, Pioneer
The 5-8, 170 pound sophomore led the Panthers in tackles for a loss (7) and was the second-leading tackler (51.5). He had 32 solo tackles and 39 assists and added 1.5 sacks.
“He was second on the team in tackles. He’s under 150 pounds but is a very mentally tough kid and physically he works extremely hard in the weight room,” Johnson said. “He became a better linebacker as the year progressed, too.”
DB — Jacob Brown, Logansport
Brown, a 6-1, 185-pound junior, led the Berries with three interceptions on the season. He added 65.5 tackles, which included 48 solo tackles, 35 assists and 7.5 tackles for a loss. He also had a rushing touchdown on offense.
Brown was also a weapon on kickoff returns and had 370 return yards, averaging 28.5 yards per try. He had a 94-yard return for a touchdown against Peru.
“Jacob Brown was obviously one of our better athletes,” Urban said. “Marcus [Record] may be a little faster but I’m not sure. They’re both quick.
“He did a great job defending the pass. He was also a big weapon as a kick returner. He returned one for a touchdown against Peru and had many more big returns. Against Anderson he almost had a 108-yard interception return but was tackled near the goal line at the end of the first half. He was a big-play guy and next year he’ll be our main featured back. Next year will be a big year for him. He’s a good, athletic, smart kid that you can stick anywhere and he’ll make plays.”
DB — Brayton Jellison, Caston
The 6-2, 165-pound sophomore had a team-high five interceptions for the Comets. He added 45 tackles which included 30 solo tackles, 15 assists and three tackles for a loss.
On offense he had 374 yards from scrimmage and four touchdowns.
Jellison had six interceptions as a freshman and already has 11 for his career.
“Brayton has a great knack for finding his way to the football, especially when it’s in the air,” Ulerick said. “As slow as it looks like he’s running he can cover ground in a hurry and has big strides and breaks on the ball. He still has two more years. I don’t know what the school record for interceptions it should be his goal to break that record.”
DB — Marcus Record, Logansport
Record, a 5-10, 180-pound senior, was one of the few Berries who started on both sides of the ball throughout most of the season.
On defense he had 26 tackles which included 19 solo tackles, 14 assists and three tackles for a loss and an interception.
On offense from his halfback position the speedster had 535 yards rushing and 4 TDs and averaged 9.9 yards per carry. He added a receiving TD.
“Marcus on both sides of the ball was a phenomenal athlete and obviously was our most explosive big-play guy,” Urban said. “He was a team player. On Shelton’s biggest runs, Marcus was the lead blocker. When we threw the ball people had to worry about stopping him. The biggest thing offensively is we made sure to get him the ball because the more we did that the more chances we had of him making a big play and that was a big factor for us.”