The Illinois High School Football Coaches Association released its annual list of All-State players, even as the season continues into the playoff semifinals round.
Southwestern Illinois is well represented, with seven players players included in four competition classes.
Kendall Abdur-Rahman, QB, Edwardsville: The catalyst of an Edwardsville squad, which will take a nine-game winning streak into a Class 8A semifinal on Saturday against Wilmette Loyola Academy, Abdur-Rahman has rushed for 1,380 yards and his 26 touchdowns is one shy of the school record of 27 set by Dionte Rodgers a year ago. The elusive Abdur-Rahman also has nearly 700 yards passing and nine touchdowns.
Kriston Davis, RB, Belleville West: The workhorse of the Belleville West offense carried the ball 227 times for 1,303 yards (5.7 yards per carry) and was top on the team with 19 touchdowns. He was rock-steady consistent with seven 100-yard games for the Maroons, who at 6-4 made their sixth straight playoff appearance. The effort was enough to make the senior West’s all-time leading rusher. He was almost as steady defensively, leading the team with 64 tackles to go with a fumble recovery and an interception.
Darrell Smith, RB, Alton: The Redbirds senior topped 100 yards six times during the regular season, including a 258-yard breakout performance against Quincy in Week 2 and 263 yards with five touchdowns against Granite City. Behind the 5-foot-11, 175-pound running back, Alton finished 5-4 and qualified for the playoffs. Smith then helped the Redbirds to a stunning win over Chicago-Lincoln Park in the first round. He finished the season with 1,324 yards on 126 carries for a 10.5 yards-per-carry average. He also scored 16 touchdowns.
Sam LaPorta, WR, Highland: Still just a junior, LaPorta already ranks as one of the top receivers in the St. Louis area. His 1,191 yards is the most in Southern Illinois and his 58 catches are third. Last season, as a sophomore, he caught 50 passes for 857 yards. Another 1,000-yard season would make LaPorta one of the top five receivers in Illinois history. At 6-4, 210 pounds he’s already drawn the attention of NCAA Division-I programs.
Garrett Marti, QB, Highland: Marti’s senior season has been by far the best of the three he’s started under center for the Bulldogs and he’s not finished yet. Highland, 12-0, faces Rochester in the 4A state semifinal game Saturday. Marti has led the way by completing 67 percent of his 249 pass attempts for 3,051 yards, 42 touchdowns and just one interception. The 6-foot, 190-pound quarterback also has carried 85 times for 839 yards and another 11 scores. He’s completed six touchdown passes in each of the Bulldogs’ last two victories and 14 in the playoffs alone.
Justin Strong, DB/WR, Althoff: The 6-2, 190-pound senior did a lot of everything for the Crusaders, who finished the season 9-2 with advancement to the playoff second round. Strong was second on the team in rushing (76 carries for 978 yards and 11 touchdowns), second in receiving (18 catches, 156 yards, touchdown), first in interceptions with six, and among leaders with 43 tackles. He even completed a pass. Strong’s playing career will continue at Southern Illinois University Carbondale.
Tyler Siever, WR, Carlyle: The 6-foot-3, 180-pound senior wide receiver was the favorite target of quarterback Alex Huels, leading the Indians with 62 catches for 785 yards and 12 touchdowns. Defensively, he contributed 44 tackles with four interceptions. Carlyle won four straight road games to reach the second round of the Class 2A playoffs.