Daily Journal Staff Report
Coal City football reached its seventh state semifinal in school history and had the program’s fourth undefeated regular season in program history.
The Coalers were rewarded in the conference awards department for their domination, as they had eight players selected to the first-ever Illinois Central Eight All-Conference team.
Daniel Jezik, the only area running back to top 2,000 yards, led the way for the Coalers. The senior running back and linebacker was joined by classmates Austin Pullara, Payton Hutchings, Brady Crawford, Jacob Jasnoz and Jack Bunton, as well as juniors Asa Cooper and Blake Strnad on the all-conference team.
Wilmington, whose lone regular season loss came to the Coalers, had seven players selected. Led by running back and linebacker Jake Rodawold, the Wildcats also were represented on the team by Keaton Hopwood, Hunter Doherty, Cam Holman, A.J. Meyers, Trey Shaw and Dave Schnittger.
Manteno and Peotone were also playoff qualifiers and had healthy representation. The Panthers had a six-pack of selections — Jeremy Gesky, Josh Gesky, Luke Trepanier, Caleb Borkenhagen, Tyson Creek and Davey Wurster.
Peotone was right behind with five all-area players, all seniors — Logan Heflin, Cam Hartsfield, Max Gesswein, Jack Lally and Sam Biedron.
Herscher’s Cody Zugenbuehler and Camden Berns slotted themselves in as selections, as did Reed-Custer’s Evan Pickard.