Listed are capsules of the 2007 All-Evening Sun football all-star team:
Nate Whittaker, jr., Greene, 6-0, 175 pounds
Whittaker was a model of efficiency throwing for an area-high 816 yards and 11 TD passes. He also established the best completion percentage in head coach Tim Paske’s five-year tenure hitting 56 percent of his strikes. “He was willing to learn a new position and we were really happy with his progress,” Paske said. “By the end of the year, he had a good hold of it.” A dangerous runner as well, Whittaker ran for five TDs and also returned a punt for a touchdown. “Our game plan this year and for next year is to put him in a position to be successful,” Paske said. “He’ll be a fun kid to watch.” Whittaker threw for a season-best 215 yards against Unatego, and had a TD pass or TD run in all but one game. On the defensive side of the ball, Whittaker showed his nose for the pigskin finishing with a team-high five interceptions.
Chris McGinnis, sr., 6-1, 220 pounds
McGinnis combined for 16 TDs – rushing and passing – throwing for 642 yards and rushing for 317 yards this season. A converted lineman, McGinnis improved in all areas of the quarterback position, and most important, led B-G to a 6-3 record, its best in several years. “He showed leadership on the field and was a good role model for us on and off it,” said B-G coach Tim Mattingly. “It’s not his natural position, but he really did what we asked him to do. Moving him to quarterback made us more successful.” McGinnis threw for a career-best 206 yards and three touchdowns against Harpursville, and either ran or threw a touchdown in seven of nine games.
Nate Foote, sr., Norwich, 5-8, 140 pounds
Perhaps the greatest compliment Foote received this season was the respect he garnered from opposing coaches – and he was really respected throughout Class B’s Division III, said Norwich head coach John Pluta. “Obviously we don’t throw the ball a lot, but I look to the Oneonta game that really defines Nate’s play,” Pluta said. “Oneonta was playing us tough and our offense was struggling. Nate made two huge plays to help us win that game.” Foote ran a quarterback trap out of the shotgun formation for a long TD, then threw a TD pass for the Tornado’s win over the Yellowjackets. In the Tornado offense, usually the three backs got the bulk of the rushing work. Foote’s elusiveness and threat as a runner made Norwich’s offense all the more effective. “In terms of faking and when the quarterback becomes a fourth running threat, that made us real tough to defend,” Pluta said.
Billy Northey, sr., S-E, 5-11, 190 pounds
Northey took the rushing lead from week one, and never relinquished it rushing for a county-best 1,347 yards to go with 10 rushing touchdowns. “Coach Jasper (Mike) said he was the best player on the field just about every game – no matter who we played,” said Marauders second-year coach Mickey James. “The work he put in during the offseason helped him step up to another level.” Running out of the “I” formation, Northey was one part breakaway threat, and one part workhorse interior runner. His 213 carries were 55 more than the next most of any back, and he carried the ball at least 20 times the first seven games. He had a 324-yard, three TD game against Ilion, and added a 221-yard game against Clinton. “He did the things he needed to do to get better,” James said, “And he’ll do that to go to the next level.”
Chris Mattingly, sr., Norwich, 6-0, 178 pounds
The senior running back had his breakout year after steady 640-plus-yard seasons as a sophomore and junior. In a testament to his consistency and determination, Mattingly actually had the best two games of his career in his final two games – a stretch when you might think a workhorse running back might start to wear down. “He’s certainly one of the best backs we’ve had,” said Norwich coach John Pluta. “He was a great dive back in our offense; he hits the pile then pops out.” Mattingly surpassed the 1,000-yard mark in a career-high 218-yard game against Ithaca, and he did it in just three quarters of play. He finished with 2,363 career rushing yards in 27 games.
Dustin Ross, jr., B-G, 5-8, 152 pounds
Ross has that rare opportunity to post back-to-back 1,000-yard seasons, something that was done by Eric Finch of B-GA in the late ‘90s. “He is just an unbelievable natural talent,” said Bobcats coach Tim Mattingly. “Not only is he fast, he is quick and is probably our toughest back. You would think at 150 pounds he couldn’t take a hit. He would lower his shoulder and get the extra yards.” Ross totaled 1,047 yards, an amount cut short after suffering an injury in the first half of week nine’s game against Sidney. He had five 100-yard games reaching a high of 237 against Hancock.