Meet the offensive football honorees for 2021 Central Illinois High School Sports Awards

Stan Morris
Journal Star
Peoria High running back Eddie Clark ran for 1,050 yards and 7 touchdowns in six games for the undefeated Big 12 Conference tournament champions. He also returned two kickoffs for TDs.

We break with tradition this season in the world of high school football. For the first time, the Journal Star will be naming two players of the year for football — one on defense and one on offense.

Here are the 24 offensive honorees for the 2021 Central Illinois High School Sports Awards, which debuted June 30, with POY first followed by finalists and the rest in alphabetical order. The 24 defensive players were announced Friday morning and can be found here.

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Eddie Clark, Peoria High

PLAYER OF THE YEAR: The 5-foot-10, 179-pound junior running back was tough to stop in an offense that averaged 45.8 points per game. He ran around and through defenders for 1,050 yards and 7 touchdowns in six games for the undefeated Big 12 Conference tournament champions. He also returned two kickoffs for TDs. The first-team all-league selection was named the Offensive Player of the Year in the Big 12.

Darius Beckum, Peoria High

POY FINALIST: The 6-4, 201-pound senior led the high-powered Lions offense with his elusive running and as a threat to pass when needed. The first-team Big 12 all-conference pick ran for 899 yards and 16 touchdowns, while averaging 11.1 yards per carry. He also passed for another 519 yards and 5 TDs.

Seth Glatz, Morton

POY FINALIST: The 5-foot-11, 180-pound junior finished the season with a flurry, rushing for 1,004 yards in his final three games for the 3-3 Potters — highlighted by a 360-yard game against Jacksonville and a 368-yarder versus East Peoria.  He finished with 1,194 yards and 16 touchdowns in five games and added another TD receiving. A two-time first-team Mid-Illini all-conference pick. 

Jett Bachman, Eureka

The 5-foot-10, 160-pound senior was the Hornets’ go-to receiver with 14 catches for 225 yards and 4 touchdowns (16.1 yards per catch) for a 3-1 team. A first-team Heart of Illinois Conference selection. Finished his career with 52 catches on 53 targets for 678 yards.

Thomas Cahill, Eureka

The 6-foot-2, 265-pound senior was a unanimous first team Heart of Illinois Conference selection for the 3-1 Hornets. Recorded 48 pancake blocks and was a three-year starter that played every position on the line. A recruit of Division-III Washington University.

Gabe Calhoun, Dunlap

The 6-2, 170-pound senior was a force on both sides of the ball as a wide receiver and defensive back. The first-team Mid-Illini all-conference pick caught five touchdowns on 11 receptions in the Eagles’ 4-1 season, despite defenses focusing on him. He also was a threat as a kick returner, with a punt return TD against Richwoods.

Jaxon Cusac-McKay, Fieldcrest

The 5-foot-10, 150-pound two-time all-area pick was a unanimous first-team all-Heart of Illinois Conference selection on both sides of the ball for the 4-0 Knights. Finished with 278 yards rushing and two touchdowns, 24 catches for 256 yards and two more scores, plus an interception and a 90-yard kickoff return for a score. Also, all-state and all-area in basketball.

Jared Evans, Richwoods

The 6-foot-2, 195-pound senior was a shining light in the Knights’ COVID-19, injury plagued 0-3 season. He caught eight passes for 250 yards and was named first team all-conference in the Big 12.

John Finch, Notre Dame

The 6-foot-1, 210-pound senior fullback averaged 6.5 yards per carry in running for 549 yards in five games for the 3-2 Irish, with 12 touchdowns and earned first-team Big 12 all-conference honors. The bruising back also had 26 tackles at outside linebacker.

More:Meet the defensive football honorees for 2021 Central Illinois High School Sports Awards

Grant Foes, Princeton

The 6-foot-3, 275-pound offensive tackle is a two-time all-area selection, all-stater and four-year starter for the Class 3A No. 2 ranked Tigers. An Indiana Wesleyan signee.

Peyton Garcia, Princeville

The 6-foot, 295-pound senior lineman and two-time all-stater was a force on both sides of the ball for a 5-1 Princeville team that shared the Lincoln Trail Conference title. A unanimous all-conference pick on each side of the line. Named the LTC Defensive Player of the Year. A St. Ambrose recruit.

Mitchell Gore, Dunlap

The 6-foot, 230-pound senior and two-time all-Mid-Illini Conference pick was a tough matchup for opponents as a punishing running back on a 4-1 Eagles team that shared the league title with Metamora and Washington. Also, a dominating presence at linebacker for one of the area’s best defenses. He ran for 448 yards and eight touchdowns on offense and recorded 23 tackles on defense. A Truman State commit.

Griffin Lucas, Washington

The 6-1, 255-pound senior offensive tackle was a steady force on the line for the 5-1 Panthers and a first-team Mid-Illini all-conference pick.

Josh McMillan, Farmington

The 6-foot-1, 215-pound unanimous first-team Prairieland Blue Conference pick at quarterback threw for 401 yards and 9 touchdowns, with just one interception for the 4-0 Farmers. He also ran for another 224 yards and two TDs in guiding an offense that averaged 45.8 points per game.

Peoria High quarterback Darius Beckum was one of three Lions players named to the 2021 Central Illinois High School Sports Awards offensive football team.

Nick Oldfield, Canton

The 6-foot-1, 195-pound Little Giants junior was a dual threat for the Little Giants in earning second-team Mid-Illini all-conference honors. He passed for 982 yards and 12 touchdowns and ran for 327 more yards with three TDs.

Andrew Polhemus, Metamora

The 6-foot-3, 290-pound senior was a first-team Mid-Illini all-conference pick as a lineman, after helping the Redbirds to a 3-1 record and a share of the league title. Accepted a preferred walk-on offer at Ole Miss of the Southeastern Conference.

Coltin Quagliano, Annawan/Wethersfield

The 6-foot, 167-pound Titans senior completed a four-year starting career as a two-time all-stater, two-time all-area pick and three-time unanimous Lincoln Trail Conference selection. He led the Titans to a 5-1 record and a share of the LTC title with 920 yards passing and 12 touchdowns with just two interceptions. He also had 33 carries for 134 yards rushing and four TDs. Named the LTC Offensive Player of the Year. Finished his career with 8,064 yards of total offense (6,424 passing and 1,622 rushing) with 99 touchdowns (75 passing).

Corbin Rutledge, Farmington

The 6-foot-3, 175-pound junior was the Farmers deep threat receiver with breakaway ability. A first team Prairieland Blue all-conference pick for a 4-0 team that finished ranked No. 9 in Class 3A. Caught seven passes for 177 yards, an average of 25.3 yards per catch, with four touchdowns. Caught a 40-yard or better TD pass in 13 of his 15 varsity games.

Looking back:Final 2021 Illinois high school football state rankings

Ben Seaton, Notre Dame

The 6-foot, 240-pound senior left guard was the anchor of an Irish offense that averaged 314 yards rushing and 40.2 points per game in a 3-2 season. The St. Ambrose commit earned first-team Big 12 all-conference honors. He also had 24 tackles as a defensive tackle.

Darius Thomas, Peoria High

The 6-foot-4, 300-pound senior was the leader on an offensive line that paved the way for the Lions to punish defenses with 3,090 total yards in just six games (515 yards per game). The first-team Big 12 all-conference pick is a Nebraska-Kearney recruit.

Kanye Tyler, Pekin

The 5-foot-11, 175-pound sophomore broke onto the scene as a two-way standout as a running back and defensive back for the 2-3 Dragons. The first-team Mid-Illini all-conference pick ran for 337 yards, averaging 6.9 yards per attempt, and scored five touchdowns, despite being hampered by a shoulder injury midway through the season.

Brooks Wilkinson, Morton

The 6-foot-1, 265-pound two-time all-area and two-time first-team Mid-Illini Conference pick as a left guard led an offensive line that helped the Potters average 361 yards per game. He also had 17 tackles, with four tackles for losses and two fumble recoveries as a defensive lineman.

Kam Wollard, IVC

The 6-foot-5, 205-pound senior wide receiver caught 25 passes for 351 yards and 6 touchdowns in five games for the 3-2 Grey Ghosts. He was a unanimous first-team Illini Prairie all-conference selection and two-time all-area pick. A Wisconsin-Whitewater recruit.

Ronde Worrells, Princeton

The 6-foot-2, 220-pound senior running back and two-time all-area pick was a unanimous Three Rivers Conference pick for the third year in a row. The two-time all-stater led the Tigers to a 6-0 record and No. 2 ranking in Class 3A and finished with career school records of 4,225 yards rushing and 75 TDs. A Northern Illinois signee.

Stan Morris is a Journal Star sports reporter. Email him at Follow him on Twitter @StanMorrisPJS.