The former Wawasee High School standout was one of four players selected as captains for the North squad for the Indiana Football Coaches Association North-South All-Star game which was played Friday night at North Central High School in Indianapolis.
Essex, who will play at Trine University, was not the only player from the Northern Lakes Conference tabbed as a North captain. Former Concord High School standout linebacker Jarrett Settles, who will play at Marian University, was also selected for the honor. Both Essex and Settles were captains for their respective high school teams.
Essex had eight receptions for 157 yards and three touchdowns, while mainly being used as a blocker, during his senior season as a tight end for the Warriors. He had a strong season at defensive end with 19 solo and 39 assisted tackles, to go with seven tackles for loss, two sacks and a fumble recovery.
The South All-Stars defeated the North 16-7 Friday night in the annual All-Star contest. Lance Magee (Avon) returned an interception 20 yards on the game’s first play to give the South the lead. The winners built a 16-0 lead. Kicker Ryan Frain (Scecina), who will play at Illinois, booted a 52-yard field goal for the South.
The North scored in the final quarter as former South Bend Clay quarterback Justin Laureys tossed a 56-yard touchdown pass to Danny Anthrop. Laureys finished 7-12 for 93 yards with one interception for the North team.
Anthrop, a Lafayette Central Catholic product, had eight receptions for 104 yards. The talented wideout, who will play at Purdue, was named MVP for the North team.
Also on the North team roster were Evan Chanley (NorthWood), Abraham Hall (Bremen), Sam Laidig (Penn), Dylan Heyvaert (Penn), Dominique Stauffer (Elkhart Central), Alfonso Mack (South Bend Washington), Collin Hickey (South Bend St. Joseph’s) and Jason Mulligan (South Bend St. Joseph’s).
Scott Hoover, the NorthWood High School head coach, was one of the assistant coaches for the North squad.
Laidig, who played linebacker at Penn, was the recipient of the Ralph Everman Award for mental attitude for the North team. Laidig will join Essex to play at Trine University.
The South now leads the all-time series 25-21. Proceeds from Friday night’s game go to Camp Riley, the Riley Children’s Hospital and the Indiana Football Hall of Fame.