2018 SEASON (11-1)
Coach: Nate Andrews
Aug. 17 at Jimtown W 26-0
Aug. 24 at Fairfield W 71-0
Aug. 31 Concord W 29-20
Sep. 7 at Goshen W 43-14
Sep. 14 at Wawasee W 57-13
Sep. 21 Northridge W 63-30
Sep. 28 Elkhart Memorial W 49-6
Oct. 5 Warsaw W 14-13
Oct. 12 at Plymouth W 56-8
Oct. 19 Plymouth W 40-7 Sectional
Oct. 26 at East Noble W 46-35 Sectional
Nov. 2 at Angola L 26-27 Sectional Championship
Yoder headlines The Truth's All-Area team
- BY KEN FOX - email@example.com
- Dec 2, 2018
The 2018 Elkhart Truth All-Area high school football team begins and ends with NorthWood High School senior Bronson Yoder.
Yoder had an Indiana Mr. Football-worthy season for the Panthers this year, leading NorthWood to a Northern Lakes Conference title and eleven straight wins, before falling to Angola in the Class 4A sectional title game. Coach Nate Andrews' team was ranked No. 1 in the state going into that contest.
Yoder made our all-area team for the third straight season, this time at both quarterback and defensive back. He's joined on the first-team by six teammates, two from the offense and four other defensive players.
Our 2017 All-Area team featured 10 players that had made the team the year before and featured mostly seniors. The one sophomore on the team, Penn's Tate Johnson, moved and was not part of the Kingsmen's 7-3 season.
But this year, just three players from last year's squad made our roster this season and all are at different positions, led by Yoder, who moved to quarterback this season. Jimtown's Tyler Norment, a choice on the defensive line in 2017, is an offensive line selection this year, while Elkhart Central's Ricky Rocha – a choice at linebacker last season – is a two-way player in 2018, tight end and as an at-large selection defensively for his all-around play in the Blue Blazers secondary.
Meanwhile, there are five sophomores on the team this season, including Elkhart Central teammates Vinny Ambrose and Rodney McGraw.
But the year's biggest story was Yoder, who many believe ranks just behind Goshen's Rick Mirer as the best high school player to come out of Elkhart County.
For the year, Yoder carried the ball 230 times for an eye-opening 2,302 yards and 28 touchdowns, while also completing 26 of his 42 passes for 427 yards and six more scores. When Andrews moved Nate Newcomer to quarterback during games, Yoder even caught 12 passes for 139 yards an a pair of touchdowns.
Defensively, Yoder was almost as dominant, finishing with 62 total tackles from his defensive back spot. In addition, the talented senior had seven interceptions – three of which he returned for scores – and forced three fumbles.
Oh yes, the William & Mary commit returned both a punt and kickoff for a touchdown.
Mr. Football worthy? Definitely. Will the talented senior win it? It's doubtful, since the only player north of Lafayette to ever win the award was current Dallas Cowboy Jaylen Smith from Fort Wayne Luers.
• SEASON OVERVIEW: The game of the year came in Week 8, as a one-loss Warsaw team traveled to Nappanee to face the unbeaten NorthWood Panthers.
Warsaw's only loss was in its NLC opener, as they fell in overtime to Plymouth on a controversial field goal. Coach Bart Curtis' team had won five straight and had a chance to tie for the conference lead with a win.
NorthWood grabbed a 14-0 lead, before Warsaw stormed back to within one with 1:40 to play. Curtis decided to go for two, but NorthWood's Jaden Miller came in untouched to make the tackle. After Yoder – who else – recovered the ensuing onside kick, the Panthers had clinched a share of the title. An easy 56-8 win over Plymouth the next Friday, gave NorthWood its second title in three years.
The Panthers would beat Plymouth again in the first round of the sectional and then post a wild win over East Noble in the second round. But Northwood would fall to Angola 27-26 on a muddy field in the sectional finals, as this time the Hornets held the Panthers on a fourth down late in the game to end a great 2018 season.
• After winning the 5A regional with a senior-laden team in 2017, Concord had an up and down season with a more inexperienced group.
With starting quarterback Nathan Cain on the sideline with a knee injury early in the year, junior Cater Neveraski filled in and ran the Minutemen's offense very well, before Cain came back. Neveraski then moved to halfback, although Concord coach Craig Koehler did use him some at quarterback at times.
A 27-7 loss to Jimtown, followed by a loss to Plymouth would drop the Minutemen to 3-4. After edging Northridge, Concord lost 45-3 at Warsaw in the final game of the regular season.
But Koehler would rally his team to repeat as sectional champions, as Concord first won a tough road game with Elkhart Memorial, before edging Elkhart Central 17-14 at Jake Field in the sectional title game. The Minutemen would lose to an explosive Michigan City team in the Class 5A regional the next week.
If not for Yoder's monster year, Neveraski would have gained more notoriety for his all-around season. The junior rushed for 998 yards, passed for 573 and caught 20 passes for 255 total yards. He would finish with 14 total touchdowns.
Neveraski also had a big interception in the sectional title game that would lead to the Minutemen's first touchdown.
• In addition to Concord losing Cain, injuries played a big role at both Elkhart Central and Northridge.
Coach Tom Wogomon's Raiders were 3-1 to open the year and leading Warsaw 10-0 when quarterback-defensive back Julius Graber went down for the season with a knee injury.
Northridge would go on to win just two more games the rest of the year – including a victory over Wawasee in the Class 4A sectional – to finish 5-6. However, the Raiders had a number of young players gain valuable experience, especially late in the year.
But what Graber did through those first four-plus games was impressive enough to get the senior on our team as an at-large choice.
Central junior running back Mark Brownlee was on his way to an All-State season when he suffered a high ankle sprain early in the Blazers' week 8 game against Penn. Although he would attempt to return in the playoffs, he was not the same explosive back he was early in the year.
Brownlee still finished with 1,547 yards and 15 touchdown in 10 games for the Blazers and was over 200 yards three times, including a 277 yard effort against South Bend Adams and 256 against Memorial, where he attended his first two years of high school.
The Blazers also lost quarterback Brycen Sherwood to a shoulder injury prior to the third game of the season.
• Veteran coach Scot Shaw looks to have Elkhart Memorial on its way back to prominence and a number of coaches have the Chargers as a darkhorse candidate to win the NLC in 2019 – likely the final year of the school before the projected merge with Central in 2020.
Despite juggling running backs due to injuries for much of the year, Memorial not only broke an 18-game NLC losing streak, but posted three wins. In addition, Shaw's team, loaded with sophomore talent, lost three other games by eight points or less.
Two of those sophomores, Derrick Woods and Clayton Lundy, are on our all-area team. Shaw will also return quarterback Tyler Lehman, already a two-year starter and a member of Memorial's state championship Unified Track team last spring.
• While the injuries to Brownlee and Sherwood were disappointing for second-year coach Josh Shattuck, he still led Elkhart Central to its first six-win season since 2012 and the runner-up finish in the Class 5A sectional. In addition to Rocha, Central has six other players on the all-area team.
Four of the six Central losses were by a touchdown or less this season, including Northern Indiana Conference losses to South Bend St. Joseph (2 points), Mishawaka (7) and Penn (3). The other was a three point loss to Monroe (Mich.).
But there is hope for the future, as Brownlee returns next season, as does quarterback Isaiah Chandler.
• Jimtown posted a .500 record for the second consecutive season, with three of those losses to sectional champions Marian and Angola, along with an opening-night loss to NorthWood. The Jimmies lost for the first time ever in the opening round of the sectional, falling to Knox on a cold and rainy night at Knepp Field.
But this was still a young Jimtown team, which like Concord, Central and Memorial, will have its quarterback (Clay Campbell) and top running back (Trey Washington) returning for the 2019 season.
Next season, Jimtown will play Elkhart Central in Week 3, replacing Angola for one year.
• The Penn Kingsmen finished the season at 7-3, which included a crazy overtime loss to Mishawaka in the NIC North title game in Week 9 and a loss to Valparaiso in the 6A sectional championship contest a few weeks later.
After leading the Kingsmen to the state title game in 2017, junior quarterback Ryan Lynch – who has already committed to play baseball at Notre Dame – decided to concentrate on the sport at Penn. Head coach Cory Yeoman went with sophomore Ron Powlus as his QB, to go with halfback Dustin Whiteman and receiver Brock Boynton.
Boynton was a sensation, catching 52 passes for 713 yards and showing up on ESPN after a spectacular touchdown catch against Elkhart Central. For his part, Powlus threw for 1,389 yards and 14 touchdowns in his first year as a starter.
Then Penn defense was the strength of the team, as Adam Berta, Rockne Hurley, Drew Schneider and Caden Paquette all made the all-area team to go with Boynton. All five Kingsmen were seniors.
• For the second straight year, Goshen coach Kyle Park dealt with a number of injuries, which was part of the reason for the RedHawks' disappointing 1-9 season.
However, Goshen showed improvement as the year went on and played Elkhart Central tough in the sectional before losing 19-0. The RedHawks dropped a 52-6 decision to the Blazers in Week 2.
Park had a great year from senior Daveyon Sandford who rushed for 411 yards, caught passes for 670 and returned punts and kickoffs for a total of 676 more yards. In addition, linebacker Drew Marlow finished with 107 tackles.
• The rebuilding of the Fairfield program will continue for coach Matt Thacker next season, after the Falcons finished 0-9 after one-win seasons in 2016 and '17.
While it was a tough year – which included a forfeit to Culver Academy when Fairfield was hit by injuries – there is some hope, as Thacker returns all but one player next year, while the middle school programs at Fairfield were solid.
• Pro and college kickers have been in the headlines at time this season for missing extra points and field goals, but for the second straight year Concord and Elkhart Central had few worries in the kicking game.
Although both teams replaced all-area kickers, the newbies proved to be just as good.
Concord junior Ariel DeLaPaz was a perfect 35-35 on extra points and 11-15 on his field goals – with a long of 47. Meanwhile, Central senior Brian Mullins was nearly as good, connecting on 38-of-39 extra points and eight of his 13 field goal attempts.
Rushing - Carter Neveraski 175-998 (9 TD's), Romello Moon 32-225 (5 TD's), Max Welch 48-200 (2 TD's). Passing - Ethan Cain 94-174-1,225 (9 TD's), Neveraski 39-75-573 (5 TD's). Receiving - Julius James 42-682 (6 TD's), Trayvon Sheppard 39-439 (2 TD's), Neveraski 20-255 (1 TD), Amarion Moore 13-159 (3 TD's). Tackles - Max Welch 42 solo-57 assists (99 total), Grayson Mast 32-52 (84), Spencer Arnold 37-38 (75), Cameron Lain 33-26 (59).
Rushing - Mark Brownlee 219-1,547 (15 TD's, in 10 games), Isaiah Chandler 46-216 (2 TD's). Passing - Chandler 88-174-1,409 (7 TD's). Receiving - Kyran Pearson 41-740 (6 TD's), Ricky Rocha 24-295 (1 TD). Tackles - Vinny Ambrose 43-61 (104), Rocha 43-40 (83), Laz Miller 24-33 (57), Tycory Edwards 25-30 (55), Jayson Zelaya 21-33 (54), Jake Shreiner 27-26 (53).
Rushing - Derrick Woods 152-784 (13 TD's), Ivan Soeun 139-688 (6 TD's, in seven games). Passing - Tyler Lehner 112-214-1,216 (7 TD's). Receiving - Javon Forester 32-385 (3 TD's, in eight games), Tyren Mason 26-298 (1 TD), Woods 18-296 (3 TD's). Tackles - Clayton Lundy 62-17 (79), Nathan Sabas 43-15 (58, in eight games), Marquez Hudson 41-15 (56), Dylan Rost 33-11 (44).
Rushing - Bryant Grewe 122-574 (6 TD's), Daveyon Sandford 70-447 (5 TD's). Passing - Colin Turner 60-106-723, Wesley VanHooser 19-49-143 (3 TD's), Jack Immel 8-21-74. Receiving - Sandford 37-611 (1 TD), Mason Schrock 18-171 (2 TD's, in seven games). Tackles - Drew Marlow 67-40 (107), Dominic Sosa 50-38 (88), Grewe 50-32 (82), Julio Navarro 38-28 (66), Sandford 47-17 (64).
Rushing - Trey Washington 142-831 (8 TD's), Ethan Devol 87-480 (6 TD's), Riley Lundy 56-297 (2 TD's). Passing - Clay Campbell 58-96-840 (9 TD's). Receiving - Dustin Whitman 22-386 (4 TD's, in nine games). Tackles - Tyler Norment 37-18 (55), Lundy 26-23 (49), Tony Pletcher 31-17 (48), Campbell 32-14 (46).
Rushing - Caid Lacey 83-615 (3 TD's), Julius Graber 66-432 (4 TD's), Tug Modglin 77-420 (6 TD's), Oliver Eveler 95-349 (6 TD's). Passing - Eveler 49-93-599 (5 TD's), Graber 23-54-290 (2 TD's). Receiving - Aidan Berger 24-389 (3 TD's), Austin Floria 28-221. Tackles - Zack Howey 37-32 (69), Brandon Mahoney 25-35 (60), Dom Crowder 19-32 (51), Austin Floria 35-16 (51).
Rushing - Bronson Yoder 230-2,302 (28 TD's), Jaden Miller 58-632 (6 TD's), Nate Newcomer 95-627 (10 TD's). Passing - Yoder 26-42-427 (6 TD's), Nate Newcomer 24-43-285 (3 TD's). Receiving - Miller 18-301 (4 TD's), Yoder 12-139 (2 TD's). Tackles - Nic Bontrager 36-49 (85), Newcomer 41-38 (79), Jake Lone 25-52 (77), Ben Mestach 28-43 (71), Yoder 29-33 (62), Eddie Hildebrant 23-38 (61).
Rushing - Ryan Whiteman 177-919 (6 TD's), Trenton Horvath 89-338 (3 TD's). Passing - Ron Powlus 117-221-1,389 (14 TD's). Receiving - Brock Boynton 52-713 (8 TD's), George Ohlson 37-426 (3 TD's). Tackles - Adam Berta 77-17 (94), Ryan Schmitt 64-23 (87), Johnny Ho 59-12 (71), Drew Schneider 57-11 (68).
QB: Bronson Yoder sr. (NorthWood)
RB: Mark Brownlee jr. (Elkhart Central), Carter Neveraski jr. (Concord)
WR: Brock Boynton sr. (Penn), Julius James sr. (Concord), Austin Pearson sr. (Elkhart Central).
OL: Braden Mikel sr. (NorthWood), Tyler Norment sr. (Jimtown), Ryan Williams jr. (Penn), Garret Anglemyer jr. (NorthWood)
C: Blake Garretson jr. (Jimtown).
TE: Ricky Rocha sr. (Elkhart Central).
At Large: Derrick Woods soph. (Elkhart Memorial), Julius Graber sr. (Northridge), Daveyon Sandford sr. (Goshen).
K: Ariel DeLaPaz jr. (Concord).
DL: Rodney McGraw soph. (Elkhart Central), Trae Brubaker sr. (Jimtown), Rockne Hurley sr. (Penn), Reece Lueking sr. (Northridge), Jake Lone jr. (NorthWood).
LB: Drew Marlow sr. (Goshen), Clayton Lundy soph. (Elkhart Memorial), Adam Berta sr. (Penn), Max Welch sr. (Concord), Nic Bontrager sr. (NorthWood).
DB: Bronson Yoder sr. (NorthWood), Vinny Ambrose soph. (Elkhart Central), Drew Schneider sr. (Penn), Nate Newcomer soph. (NorthWood), Caden Paquette sr. (Penn).
P: Brian Mullins sr. (Elkhart Central).
AT LARGE: Ricky Rocha sr. (Elkhart Central), Jaden Miller jr. (NorthWood).