Thursday, January 1, 2009

High School Football Defensive Players of the Year

Ken Altarac, Sr. La Salle - Defensive Lineman
A strong and physical defensive player, Altarac was in on 74 tackles, including 35 solo takedowns. He also recovered two fumbles and blocked two field goals.
A two-time national champion wrestler, Altarac won a New York State title at the end of the 2007-08 season in the 285 pound weight division and is ranked as the No. 1 scholastic heavyweight in the nation.
Altarac, a team captain, was the only returning offensive lineman for the Cadets and led a relatively inexperienced group to La Salle’s third Section II title in four years.

James Torres, Sr. Bishop Maginn - Defensive Lineman
Torres was named the Class A Southeast Division Outstanding Defensive Player and his physical play took the Griffins all the way to the Class A Super Bowl.
He spearheaded a defensive unit that held opponents to an average of 10.8 points per game.
On offense, Torres led the team with 15 receptions and Bishop Maginn head coach Joe Grasso called him "the best blocking tight end ever at Maginn."
Torres was an integral part of Bishop Maginn’s 2007-08 Class AA state champion basketball team as well.
Steve Weaver, Sr. Cohoes - Defensive Lineman
Weaver was named Reinfurt Division MVP particularly for his offensive exploits, but he was also a disruptive force on the defensive line, making 8.5 sacks. He sacked the quarterback three times in Cohoes’ season-opening victory over Johnstown and was also in on 24 tackles during the season.
Weaver made a crucial sack on fourth down in the third overtime of a regular season game at Ravena which allowed him to score the game-winning touchdown on offense two plays later.
As the Tigers’ tailback and team MVP, he ran for 1,271 yards and carried a Cohoes offense that scored 280 points and advanced to the Section II Class B semifinals.
Connor Hadcock, Sr. Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake - Linebacker
Hadcock made a number of big tackles this season, but perhaps none was bigger than his fourth quarter sack in the New York State regional game against Nyack which sealed a 14-13 victory for the Spartans. He was named the Class A Northwest Division’s Outstanding Defensive Player.
"He’s a very good athlete that did a good job as a linebacker dropping back into pass coverage," said Burnt Hills head coach Matt Shell. "He transformed himself from his junior to his senior seasons, because he knew he had to improve. He really focused and made it his goal."
Burnt Hills defensive ends Jacob Meyers and Zach Morton also deserve some credit for holding up blockers, freeing Hadcock to make one-on-one tackles.
Bobby Peluso, Sr. Columbia - Linebacker
Peluso was named the Blue Devils’ Defensive Player of the Year four times: twice as a JV player and twice as a varsity player. A middle linebacker, he led the Columbia defense during his senior campaign with 78 tackles, 43 of those solo stops. A two-year team captain, he also caused two fumbles and made two sacks.
Columbia made a late-season surge with victories over Bethlehem, Colonie and Shaker to qualify for the Section II Class AA playoffs.
He also played as the blocking back on offense and is considering a host of Division III colleges. Peluso also plays baseball at Columbia.

Dan Desbiens, Sr. Schenectady - Linebacker
Desbiens was part of a crushing defense that took the Patriots on the best run in school history. He was named the Class AA Liberty Division Defensive Player of the Year.
It was only the second winning season for Schenectady since Linton and Mont Pleasant High Schools merged in 1988. 2007 was the first. Schenectady finished the season 8-2 and made their first-ever appearance in a Section II Super Bowl.
He also played right guard on offense and paved the way for running back Marc Thompson and pass blocked for quarterback Nick Ottati, who passed for 1,299 yards and 14 touchdowns.

Tyrone Nichols, Jr. Lansingburgh - Linebacker
The Knights’ inside linebacker, Nichols made 88 tackles and was a leader on the defensive side of the ball during his first year on the varsity squad.
Lansingburgh struggled this season after having advanced to the Class A New York State championship game in 2007, but Nichols is one of the many players that has the team looking forward to 2009.
Nichols was named a first team Class A Southeast Division linebacker.
Bunduka Kargbo, Sr. Bishop Maginn - Defensive Back
A two-time Class A Southeast Division Player of the Year, Kargbo was one of the hardest-hitting safeties in all of Section II. Kargbo made 179 unassisted tackles in four seasons on the Maginn defense, the second-best total in school history.
In his four years as the Griffins’ quarterback, he passed for 3,196 yards and 30 touchdowns and rushed for 15 scores.
He was a third team New York State defensive back in 2007 and on the basketball court, he was the point guard on Maginn’s Class AA state title-winning team in 2007-08.
Kargbo is considering offers from a host of Division I colleges.

Austin Bateman, Jr. Schuylerville - Defensive Back
Bateman was in on 47 tackles this season and five of those were for negative yardage. He also made two interceptions and one sack.
Schuylerville’s defense was one of the finest in Section II, having allowed 122 points through ten games. The Black Horses made an undefeated run through the Class C North Division and advanced to the Super Bowl.
As quarterback, Bateman rushed for 1,164 yards on 114 attempts – a 10.2 average - and scored 21 touchdowns. He also passed for 597 yards. Bateman also served as the team’s punter and averaged 31.8 yards per punt.

Rashaun Moore, Sr. Troy - Defensive Back
Moore was a big tackler for the Flying Horses out of the secondary as he was a part of 56 takedowns this season. He made 35 solo tackles and assisted on 21 others.
His pass coverage smothered opposing wide receivers and helped Troy hold the opposition to 98 points through the nine games they played. Moore, a team captain, made one interception this season.
Also a contributor in the offensive backfield, Moore finished the season with 273 rushing yards on 44 attempts and scored four touchdowns.
A three-year varsity player, Moore also participates in track and field and plans to major in mechanical engineering in college.

Ben Miseikis, Sr. Amsterdam - Defensive Back
Miseikis made 46 tackles and recovered two fumbles out of the Rugged Rams’ defensive backfield and was named the Class A Northwest Division All-Purpose Player of the Year.
Amsterdam got off to a slow start, losing three of their first four games, but rebounded to go 4-1 within the division and earn a home playoff game.
As a running back, Miseikis gained 1,015 yards on 179 attempts and scored 18 touchdowns. He also caught three touchdown passes.


The Record's Defensive Player of the Year
Pos. Player School Yr. Ht. Wt.
DL Joe Hughes Watervliet Sr. 5-10 230

First Team Defense
Pos. Player School Yr. Ht. Wt.
DL Ken Altarac La Salle Sr. 6-0 260
DL Steve Weaver Cohoes Sr. 5-7 170
DL James Torres, Bishop Maginn, Sr. 6-3 240
LB Connor Hadcock Burnt Hills Sr. 6-2 230
LB Bobby Peluso Columbia Sr. 5-8 190
LB Dan Desbiens Schenectady Sr. 5-10 205
LB Tyrone Nichols Lansingburgh Jr. 6-0 225
DB Bunduka Kargbo Bishop Maginn Sr. 6-2 185
DB Austin Bateman Schuylerville Jr. 5-10 170
DB Rashaun Moore Troy Sr. 5-8 160
DB Ben Miseikis Amsterdam Sr. 5-10 195

Second Team Defense
Pos. Player Yr. School Comment
DL Josh Panasik, Jr. Bishop Maginn Made 10 sacks and scored two defensive touchdowns as a hard-nosed defensive end
DL DaQuan Davis Sr. Lansingburgh Made 55 tackles and two sacks, was a Section II Senior Bowl participant
DL Jacob Meyers Jr. Burnt Hills Along with teammate Zach Morton, the Spartans’ ends really stepped up their game in the postseason
LB Mike Siler Sr. Watervliet The quiet leader on a stingy defense, Siler also intercepted two passes and scored a defensive touchdown
LB Marc Thompson Sr. Schenectady A tenacious linebacker, Thompson also gained 1,254 yards and scored 12 touchdowns as RB
LB Chris Van Alstyne Sr. Burnt Hills First team Class A Northwest linebacker, anchored a defense that allowed 8.7 points per game
LB Isaiah Oliver Sr. Bishop Maginn Oliver led the Griffins in solo tackles with 58 stops made also served as a hard-nosed RB
DB David Fox Sr. Tamarac A multi-dimensional player, Fox kicked 6 FGs and also passed for 1,200 yards as the Bengals QB
DB Mike Melville Sr. Troy Melville was among the tackle leaders on the Troy defense, a unit that held opponents to 98 points through nine games
DB Tyler Paluba Jr. Burnt Hills One of the Spartans’ toughest players, named a first team Class A Northwest defensive back
DB Chris Hughes Sr. Watervliet Hughes made 23 tackles in the defensive backfield and was the team’s leading rusher and passer as QB

Third Team Defense
Pos. Player Yr. School Comment
DL Mike Blais Sr. La Salle Blais made 40 tackles and also blocked a FG as a defensive end also caught 11 passes as tight end
DL Nico Rios Jr. Bishop Maginn Was a threat both at clogging the run and rushing the passer
DL Nick Huban Sr. Shaker The Blue Bison’s defensive MVP, Huban also participated in the Senior Bowl
LB Jashem Hamilton Jr. Rensselaer One of the most ferocious tacklers in the area, he ran hard, too scored 19 touchdowns
LB Andy Goyer Sr. Averill Park Goyer made 62 tackles and also caught three touchdown passes as a tight end
LB Bobby Smith Sr. Columbia Smith made 32 tackles and one interception and he also played quarterback for the Blue Devils
LB Vince Gallo Jr. Schalmont, A punishing linebacker, Gallo gained 1,609 yards as an RB, leading the Sabres to their first seven-win season since 1964
DB Josh Nethaway Sr. Fonda-Fultonville Threw for 2,072 yards in the Class C South Division, had a knack for making interceptions, too
DB Parker Niles Sr. Chatham Niles was named the Class C South MVP after leading the Panthers to an undefeated regular season division title
DB Mark Seager Jr. Ballston Spa Seager was also the best rushing QB in Section II, gaining 1,265 yards on the ground
DB Mark Gallerie Sr. Cohoes Gallerie was a tough-nosed safety who made 23 tackles, snared one interception and recovered a fumble

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