An elite eight.
Highland Park High School placed eight players on the 2016 all-Central Suburban League North Division all-star football team.
Running back/outside linebacker DJ Penick and two-way lineman David Barrette were the headliners for the CSL North co-champs. Penick was named Offensive Player of the Year. Barrette was the Lineman of the Year.
Penick put up phenomenal rushing numbers. The senior averaged 10.2 yards per carry and ended up with 1,718 yards.
Defensively, Penick came up with 44 tackles. He registered four-and-a-half sacks, six tackles-for-loss and two forced fumbles.
Barrette not only anchored the offensive line, but the senior also came up with 20 tackles, including two for losses.
HP’s other honorees include seniors Jeremy Allen, Bobby McCraren, Joey Sereda and Jacob Swartz; junior Noah Spitz; and sophomore Tommy Motzko.
Allen was a highly productive two-way player. As a wide receiver/running back, he ran for 329 yards (22-329) and two TDs and also caught six passes for 96 yards. On the defensive end, he had 30 tackles.
McCraren led the Giants (7-3, 4-1) in tackles with 68. He had one sack and nine tackles-for-loss.
Spitz, a wide receiver and defensive back, was the team’s leading receiver (140 yards). On the defensive end, he had 32 tackles to go along with three interceptions and three fumble recoveries.
Motzko, a two-way lineman, turned some heads on the defensive side. He finished with 61 tackles, including six sacks and five tackles-for-loss.
Swartz is one of the state’s top special teamers. The kicker/punter, a three-year starter, received a scholarship offer from Tulane in early September. He visited Tulane in mid-November. Kohl’s Kicking Camps ranks him as a 5-star kicker and punter.
Along with Barrette, center Sereda was one the stalwarts on the O-line for the Giants.
Under the guidance of second-year head coach Joe Horeni, the Giants finished 7-3 overall. They were eliminated from the playoffs by the Class 7A state runner-up, Plainfield North.
HP’s other offensive stat leaders included junior quarterback John Sakos (36-59-2, 432 yards), senior quarterback David Adelstein (13-35-1, 214 yards), junior wideout/running back DJ Westbrook (10 catches, 119 yards; 14 rushes, 155 yards) and junior wideout Justin Goodman (10 catches, 117 yards).
HP’s other defensive stat leaders were junior defensive back Luke Baldwin (36 tackles, 2 interceptions), senior lineman Nathan Korn (31 tackles, 2.5 sacks, 2.5 TFLs), sophomore linebacker Giancarlo Volpentesta (30 tackles, 2 TFLs, 2 INTs), senior defensive back Sam Stone (28 tackles), senior lineman DeAngelo Alonzo (21 tackles, 4 TFLs), senior lineman Nick Siegel (20 tackles, 5 TFLs) and junior lineman Marcus Shaw (18 tackles, 5 TFLs).