Hendricks County Flyer
None of Hendricks County’s football teams made it out of sectional play this year, as the six programs went a combined 31-33 after posting a collective 39-24 mark last season. Still, there were plenty of quality performers, and 15 have been named to the Hendricks County Flyer All-County team.
Tri-West quarterback Jake Hendershot made the Bruins’ potent offense go this season. Hendershot threw for 2,372 yards and 17 touchdowns, and had 774 rushing yards on 133 carries (5.82) and 16 scores. Hendershot will be one of the state’s top returning QBs regardless of class, and will have a shot at multiple school records in his final season.
Bruins outside linebacker Rick Perry was a force on defense, and finished with 75 solo tackles, 43 assists, seven tackles for loss, two sacks, three fumble recoveries and an interception. Perry was an emotional leader and one of the Bruins’ toughest players.
Left tackle Andrew Saunders was a three-year starter and helped Tri-West accumulate over 4,600 yards of offense this season. Saunders’ athleticism and hustle made him a dependable blocker who could be counted on to win his match-up each week.
Colton Jobe was also a key cog in Tri-West’s offense. Jobe had 563 rushing yards on 62 attempts (9.3) and nine TDs, and 808 yards on 54 receptions (14.9) and five more scores. Next to Hendershot, Jobe was the Bruins’ top offensive threat.
Avon defensive tackle Mack Duffin led the Orioles’ front-seven, and finished with 38 solo tackles, 28 assists, eight tackles for loss and three sacks. The two-year starter has verbally committed to Miami (Ohio).
Three-year starter David Griffith made plays all over the field for Avon from his free safety spot. Griffith had 65 solo tackles, 19 assists, five tackles for loss and four interceptions, including two that were returned for TDs.
On the other side of the ball, Jake Higginbotham anchored Avon’s offensive line. The three-year starter had an 82-percent blocking grade for the season and had 20 pancake blocks.
Cascade’s Zach Batts did as much for his team as any player in the county. Offensively, Batts had 775 receiving/rushing yards and 11 TDs. On defense, he had a school-record 136 tackles, five forced fumbles and two TDs. He also had 37 punts for a 30.5 average, five kickoff returns for 170 yards and a TD and 10 punt returns for 76 yards and a score.
Fellow two-way standout Zac Butler was another big reason the Cadets posted their first winning season in seven years. Butler set a new school record with 1,643 rushing yards and had 17 TDs. Defensively, he recorded 91 tackles and six interceptions.
Brownsburg’s Toks Akinribade followed up his solid freshman campaign with another strong effort. Akinribade ran for 1,112 yards on 178 carries (6.2) and nine TDs, including a 55-yard score against Avon. Through two seasons, Akinribade has 1,967 rushing yards and 22 TDs.
Bulldogs kicker Brandon Dowers went 19 of 20 on extra points and 6 of 10 on field goals. Dowers became the school’s record-holder for points in a season (61), career field goals (19), career extra points (99) and career kicking points (160).
Plainfield’s Josh Miller might’ve been the most valuable player to his team in the county. The Quakers went 4-1 with the two-way athlete in the lineup, 0-5 after he was lost to injury. Miller had 388 yards and seven TDs on 40 carries (9.7), two catches for 33 yards and a score, 45 tackles and two interceptions.
Quaker Jacob Maple burst onto the scene with 1,428 rushing yards on 223 carries (6.4) and 19 TDs, including a season-long run of 69 yards. Maple also had 174 receiving yards on 14 receptions (12.4) and another score.
Danville’s Nick Hall had a season one would expect from a player twice his size. Hall broke the school records for most tackles for loss in a season (28) and game (8.5, in sectional against Northwest). His impressive tally included nine sacks.
Warrior Autry Pickens was the Sagamore Conference’s top rusher for the second straight year. Pickens tallied 1,806 yards on 262 carries (6.89) and 24 TDs. He finished his career with 3,052 yards and 41 scores and had just four fumbles in 481 carries.
HONORABLE MENTION: Avon: Cress Kimbrough, Chad Piatek, Joe Belden; Brownsburg: Brad Guilinger, Evan Mallory, Mac Dutra; Cascade: Lukas Stoutenour; Danville: Tanner Holland, Dylan Boyd, Ben Jones; Plainfield: Brady Nichols, Bobby Jensen, Garrett Patton; Tri-West: Carlos Branson.
— Follow Hendricks County Flyer sports writer Brent Glasgow on Twitter @BGlasgow37.