Jake French, St. Edward return to win column against Guerin
September 28, 2015
On a Friday night with many happy returns for St. Edward, Jake French may have made the biggest.
The senior defensive lineman returned to his old position at linebacker due to injuries and made a critical third-quarter, game-changing interception and 43-yard return. That set up the go-ahead touchdown as the Green Wave started Metro Suburban East play with a 36-19 comeback victory over Guerin.
"That kind of stuff is fantastic," St. Edward coach Mike Rolando said. "It's just good to see the defense playing that well and not giving up when they give up a big play or get down there with their backs against the wall."
Dwayne Allen Jr. returned from missing a game with an ankle injury to gain 102 of his 119 yards rushing in the second half, including the go-ahead, 1-yard TD run in the third quarter after French's interception. And both Saveon Smith and Caleb Elam broke kickoff returns for 83-yard TDs in the first half.
Without French's interception, though, none of the other returns would have let St. Edward (3-2, 1-0) get back into the win column after two straight defeats.
"Unfortunately, we had a couple injuries the past couple weeks and I used to be a linebacker, so they decided to move me from nose guard back and let some other guys get in who they knew could play nose guard," French said. "I'm just glad I could make a play and help my team win."
In a game played at Geneva High School's field due to dead turf at St. Edward, Guerin (2-3, 0-1) overcame a 15-2 deficit in the first half to lead 19-15 and was driving.
That's when French leaped in the open field, tipped the ball to himself, and raced the pick back to Guerin's 19. Allen then took a direct snap and scored with a 1-yard run on third down for a 22-19 lead with two minutes left in the third quarter.
"I ran the ball once or twice the first half, but the second half I knew I had built confidence, and I told my line to pick it up a little bit and they showed up for me," Allen said.
Quarterback Richie Zacharias, who went 16-for-33 for 329 yards, found John Szczygiel on the next series for a 40-yard gain to St. Edward's 16. But Elam, who also had an interception, came up from behind and stole the football.
"I was just thinking about stopping him from scoring," Elam said. "He had the ball out there, so I just went for it."
St. Edward converted it to clinching points when Smith went 55 yards off the right side on a read-option to make it 29-19.
The Green Wave added Dylan Mlinarich's late 20-yard TD pass to David Madden, but their quarterback's bigger pass was an overhand backward lateral across half the field that Smith caught on the opening kickoff and took back for an 83-yard Music City Miracle-style TD.
St. Edward's Caleb Elam intercepts a pass intended for Guerin's Vinnie Caeti on Friday in Geneva. (Jon Langham / The Courier-News)
"Just some things we noticed on film that we thought they were kind of being overaggressive on," Rolando said. "They wouldn't kick it to Saveon, so we thought we could get him the ball that way."
After Elam's 83-yard TD return, however, Guerin scored on a 42-yard pass from Zacharias to Szczygiel. Then Zacharias had a 5-yard TD run to gain the lead.
"We played through the adversity and got it done," Rolando said.
According to St. Edward wideout Saveon Smith, it could be Geneva's Burgess Field, a parking lot or even a desert, the Green Wave really don't care where they play their home games the rest of the season.
As long as they get to do the things that gave them a 36-19 Metro Suburban East win over Guerin in Geneva Friday, winning takes care of it all.
In fact, on the game's opening kickoff, St. Ed looked as if they had some home cooking going on.
Smith took a lateral on a designed play before the game from quarterback Dylan Mlinarich on the opening kickoff 82 yards down the right sideline, and it wasn't the last time the special teams or big-play ability came through for the Wave to end a 2-game skid.
Caleb Elam, who grabbed an interception and forced a fumble, housed an 82-yard kickoff return of his own later in the first half, while Smith and Dwayne Allen each scored touchdowns in the second half to distance themselves from Guerin, which rattled off 14 points bridging the second and third quarters to take 19-15 lead.
"Coming from (last week's 41-6 loss to IC Catholic) we've been determined in practice," Smith said. "Hard work, no joking around. None of that. We came out strong ready to fight."
Although the Wave (3-2, 1-0) were edged by the Gators (2-3, 0-1) 381-288 in total yards, fight St. Edward did better.
Once the Wave lost the lead on Richie Zacharias' 5-yard run with 9:30 left in the third, senior nose guard Jake French, who moved to linebacker because of all the injuries, snagged a pick over the middle and returned it 41 yards to the Gator 19. That set up Allen's 1-yard run to end a 5-play drive and David Madden's extra point to give St. Edward the lead for good at 22-19 with 2:23 in the third.
Allen, who carried the ball twice in the first half, bounced back from a sprained ankle with 17 carries for 105 yards, with 15 runs coming in the second half.
"I just stuck it out the whole game," Allen said. "If (the injury) went down to 80 or 90 percent then I'd stop running. If it stays neutral or goes up then I'd keep on running and nothing happened to me so I kept running the ball."
It was also a good thing Elam kept running. He chased down wideout John Szczygiel, who caught the ball near the Wave 35, stripped and scooped up the loose ball at the Wave 16. That led to Smith's 55-yard scoring run for a 29-19 lead with 10:04 in the fourth.
"(The turnovers) could have not come at better times," said French. "They swung the momentum entirely in our favor and it was great to have them happen when they did."
Wave coach Mike Rolando echoed that sentiment.
"I thought the defense was outstanding tonight. We had the goal line stands down there. Bend but not break," Rolando said. "It's good to see the defense playing that well and not giving up when they give up a big play or when they have their backs against the wall."
Overall, the Wave bottled 3 turnovers and Smith finished with 54 yards rushing on 7 carries and 2 receptions for 44 yards. Elam rushed for 53 yards on 9 carries and Mlinarich added a 21-yard touchdown pass to Madden with 50 seconds remaining to finish 4 of 8 for 84 yards passing. Lost in it all was Zacharias' 306-yard day in the air on 16 of 34 passes. The Gator run was stopped to just 75 yards but Szczygiel caught 9 passes for 181 yards and a touchdown.
Field secured, St. Edward hopes for return of Dwayne Allen Jr.
September 24, 2015
St. Edward has a place to play this week, and now the Green Wave need players who will take that field.
Athletic director P.J. White said Geneva High School's artificial turf field had been secured for a 7:30 p.m. Friday home game with Guerin to open Metro Suburban East play. St. Edward's Greg True Field remains unplayable after a maintenance company accidentally destroyed much of the grass, so future home sites will be determined on a week-by-week basis.
"The outpouring of support we received has been tremendous, and we have to thank (Geneva athletic director) Jim Kafer for helping out," White said, pointing out Kafer's ties to St. Edward as the school's former athletic director.
Coming off a 41-6 loss at IC Catholic last week, the most pressing issue facing St. Edward (2-2) against Guerin (2-2) is manpower.
Coach Mike Rolando hopes running back Dwayne Allen Jr. returns from an ankle injury. The injury list in the backfield runs even deeper because backup Patrick Brown also missed the last game with a concussion he suffered against Riverside-Brookfield.
"When you've only got 22 guys out, and you take away several of them, then you're really in need of someone to step up," Rolando said.
Allen will be a game-time decision again this week, and Brown is out. Brown normally anchors the defense at linebacker.
Last week, junior running back Caleb Elam stepped in and rushed for 113 yards on 24 carries and a touchdown. Elam wasn't even on the roster when practice started this year, and it was the first game he was eligible.
"He had a fantastic game against IC, about our only high point," Rolando said. "He wasn't in our offseason program and didn't come out until late August when we had a few others come out late.
"It was good to see another quality running back."
Losing Allen also removed the team's most experienced cornerback, but sophomore Tyler Holte filled in a week after he played corner on the other side when starter Saveon Smith was away due to a death in his family.
The St. Edward secondary expects to be tested this week by Guerin quarterback Richie Zacharias throwing to 6-foot-4 receiver Keith Franklin and speedy slotback Felix King.
"We'll have our hands full, for sure," Rolando said. "They lost to Aurora Central Catholic (37-28). We did beat ACC (41-0), but we were a different team then. We're missing important parts now."
St. Edward's Dwayne Allen Jr.gains yardage during a game against Riverside-Brookfield. (Mike Mantucca / The Courier-News)
No comment: Rolando did not want to weigh in on the ongoing dispute between Guerin coach Glen Kozlowski, the former Chicago Bear, and ACC coach John Belskis.
In a Chicago Tribune article, Belskis accused Kozlowski of threatening to fight him, targeting his son — quarterback Johnny Belskis — with late hits and said Guerin players had thrown rocks at the team bus.
"We just got beat 41-6, and we've got enough of our own worries with injuries and other things, so we can't be concerned with sideline antics and beefs coaches have," Rolando said. "Guerin has a good football team. We got down to them 13-0 last year when we were an undefeated team, so we'll worry about ourselves."
"St. Edward (2-2) vs Guerin Prep (2-2)" has been scheduled
September 23, 2015
Click the link below to watch the 9/25 Guerin Game LIVE.
Dwayne Allen rushed for 224 yards and 4 touchdowns. And that was just in the first half.
For an encore, St. Edward's junior tailback returned the second-half kickoff for his fifth touchdown, and set up another score with a 50-yard run before taking the fourth quarter off.
Allen finished with 274 yards on just 14 carries, leading the Green Wave past Chicago Clark, 50-0, in nonconference action at Greg True Field Friday night.
"We came out in a little drought in the first couple minutes," said Allen. "The line picked it up a lot and they opened some holes for me. The quarterback Saveon (Smith) did a lot of good things, running downfield with me."
Allen scored on runs of 2, 43, 12, and 10 yards. Smith scored on a 2-yard run, and Benjamin Harrington scored the Wave's final touchdown on a 39-yard scamper.
Although the Wave (2-0) had much to celebrate, coach Mike Rolando was concerned about recurring mistakes, particularly penalties. The Wave was flagged 9 times for 84 yards.
"Really all that's on my mind right now is the mistakes offensively -- a lot of penalties," Rolando said. "There's a lot of things we wanted to clean up. We'll focus on that and we'll clean it up."
Rolando couldn't find much wrong with the defense.
"I'm really proud of the defensive effort again," he said. "We've got some good athletes. I thought we were there every step of the way on the pass plays, stepping up and making plays on the run games. I think our line on both sides of the ball did well, and if we can win that line battle, I think we win a lot of football games."
The Wave defense pitched its second straight shutout to open the season. St. Edward held the Eagles to 41 net yards and 6 first downs. Smith and James Harkins posted interceptions and Anthony Salvadore had a pair of sacks against two Clark quarterbacks.
Allen set the tone for the evening on the Wave's first offensive play, racing 49 yards around right end. He was finally dragged down at the 2-yard line, but finished the drive on the next play. Later in the first quarter, Allen accounted for a 43-yard, 1-play drive with his second TD run.
Dwayne Allen, Saveon Smith dynamic duo in backfield for St. Edward
St. Edward coach Mike Rolando made it clear to sophomore receiver/cornerback Saveon Smith what would be expected of him this season.
"Coach 'Ro' called me before the preseason, talking about running the Wildcat," Smith said. "Coach 'Ro' said people are going to key on (reigning Metro Suburban Offensive Player of the Year Dwayne Allen) when I do the fakes, and I can come out and surprise and just do my job.
Smith and Allen proved to be too difficult a combination for Aurora Central Catholic to handle in Friday's season opener. They combined to rush for six touchdowns in a dominant 41-0 win.
Allen rushed for three TDs in the first half to stake the Green Wave to a 21-0 lead and added a fourth in the second half. He rushed for 221 yards on 22 carries. Meanwhile, in his new position as Wildcat quarterback, Smith didn't attempt a pass but he rushed for 167 yards on 13 carries with two TDs.
Last year, St. Edward won a school-record 10 games, but the star quarterback of that team, Joe Mullen, is now playing at Tiffin University in Ohio. As a result, Rolando plans to rely on the ground game this season.
"They're both special athletes," Rolando said of Smith and Allen. "Last year, we ran Dwayne well and threw well. This year, our counter to Dwayne is another running back. You have to account for them both, and we can also throw out of it, too."
Throwing wasn't necessary in the first half.
Dwayne Allen, Saveon Smith are dynamic duo in backfield for St. Edward
Jon Langham / The Courier-News
Aurora Central Catholic quarterback Johnny Belskis escapes a sack by St. Edward's Haydn Hilton during Friday's game.
Aurora Central Catholic quarterback Johnny Belskis escapes a sack by St. Edward's Haydn Hilton during Friday's game. (Jon Langham / The Courier-News)
St. Edward sophomore quarterback Dylan Milnarich finished 6-for-9 for 46 yards with an interception, but only attempted two passes in the first half. It didn't matter, however, with Allen scoring on runs of 1 and 12 yards in the first quarter. ACC still felt in the game at that point, however.
An interception from Ben Ariano set up the Chargers at St. Edward's 22. They were unable to punch it in on fourth-and-goal from the 4, however, and Allen added to the lead with a 30-yard TD run with 1:37 left in the half.
"When they scored the one before the half, it kind of distanced things a little bit and took the wind out of our sails," Aurora Central Catholic coach John Belskis said.
It was Belskis' head coaching debut at ACC and his first appearance as a head coach since retiring from Downers Grove South in 2012.
"We got outhit," he said. "I don't care what you're doing scheme-wise, if you're getting outhit, you don't have a chance to win. I hope it was a learning lesson. That's all you can take away from it."
Belskis had the pleasure of coaching his son, Johnny Belskis, a junior who started at quarterback for ACC. He was 9-for-20 for 37 yards.
"During the game, he's just another player," John Belskis said. "I'm fortunate to be in this position. You see how fast they grow. In two years, he'll be off to college, so I'm cherishing every moment I have."
St. Edward knows it didn't play a perfect game. The Green Wave committed 10 penalties. For people who wondered if they could duplicate last season's success, however, 41-0 spoke loudly.
"It was a very good start, but we can do a lot more to improve," Smith said. "We can't play like this Week 10, come the playoffs."
Playing against unfamiliar opponents in the newly formed Metro Suburban Conference's East Division, the Green Wave rolled to an undefeated title and a 10-1 record, thanks to a talented roster that went two-deep at several positions.
Such depth is no longer a luxury. The program graduated 17 seniors, one of its largest classes in years.
That group is "replaced" by an incoming junior class of only five football players. It would have been four juniors had lineman AJ Salvadore not transferred from Prospect.
The sophomore and freshman classes boast healthy numbers, thus, the program should be fine in the long run. However, the situation leaves the defending champs a bit short-handed for the next two seasons. Several players will go both ways.
"Our depth is definitely in question, but our kids are in shape and they don't want to come off the field anyway," 11th-year St. Edward coach Mike Rolando said. "Luckily, some fringe and role players have stepped up, so we should be able to get some guys off the field now and then.
"Still, I think it's a very talented group and I think we can be very good this year. We just have to find ways to get our talent the ball."
What the Green Wave lack in depth they make up for in high-caliber talent. Unanimous MSC-East offensive player of the year Dwayne Allen returns at running back and unanimous MSC-East defensive player of the year Jake French is back at nose guard, where he made 77 tackles and sacked the quarterback 12 times.
A Class 4A All-State honorable mention selection, Allen carried 201 times for 1,573 yards and 19 touchdowns. He also made 6 catches for 104 yards and a pair of touchdowns.
"All he needs is a crease," Rolando said. "Some of his touchdowns last year were not on blocked plays. He created them. If we block, he can do well. If not, he can still make something out of nothing. He's a special runner with great vision and he's added a little beef since last year, so there's a little more of a power component to his game."
Sophomores replace graduated all-area quarterback Joe Mullen, now at Division-II Tiffin University in Ohio. Dylan Mlinarich (6-foot-1, 175 pounds) is a promising passer, Rolando said, and Saveon Smith will be under center in certain packages. Smith last year played in the secondary and defended 16 passes, 9 more than any of his teammates. He'll again start in the secondary and carry the ball occasionally.
Senior Patrick Brown (5-11, 165) lines up in the slot or in the backfield. Sophomore David Madden (5-11, 150) is the other slot receiver. Juniors Jimmy Harkins (5-11, 145) and Nolan Theriault (6-0, 180) are the wide receivers.
One starter returns along the offensive line: senior right tackle Haydn Hilton (6-3, 235). Salvadore will play center, seniors Will Stevens (6-1, 205) and Ruben Montiel (5-10, 202) can both play right guard and senior Michael Montes (6-2, 200) starts at left tackle. Though they didn't start last year, Stevens, Montiel and Montes saw regular playing time in the second half due to the lopsided nature of St. Edward's victories.
Joining the offensive line at left guard is French, who was able to play defense only in 2014. French plays nose in a five-man front and drops to linebacker in a four-man front.
A rare position with depth is defensive tackle, where Salvadore and Stevens will start and rotate with Montiel, Montes, junior Sam Reedy (5-11, 240) and senior Josh McFadden (6-1, 195).
Defensive ends Hilton and senior Joey Murray (5-5, 145) gained experience at that position a year ago.
Brown is the team's second-leading returning tackler. As a junior linebacker he contributed 52 tackles, a sack, 2 forced fumbles and a recovery.
Smith and Allen form one of the better pass-defending cornerback combinations in the area, giving defensive coordinator Marc Rusinko the flexibility to play man-to-man defense.
Keeping injuries to a minimum will be important with a 23-man roster.
"I love the kids that we have," Rolando said. "We have several tough, hard-nosed, coachable kids that have bought into the program and they expect to compete."
Dwayne Allen Jr., St. Edward gearing up for football rerun
For defenses attempting to stop him, St. Edward's Dwayne Allen Jr. offered up a scary thought.
"I think I got stronger this year," Allen said. "But my main improvement is my confidence. I've got more confidence than I've ever had."
Allen returns for his senior year after earning Courier-News Player of the Year honors with a school-record 1,573 rushing yards last season. He helped St. Edward achieve its first 9-0 regular season as well as a home playoff win and the Metro Suburban East title.
"I have to be more of a vocal leader than I was last year," Allen said. "This year I've got to teach the younger guys and still stay a strong player."
Allen, with his speed and sharp cuts, figures to be the focus of opposing defenses.
"Obviously people know what we've got back with Dwayne and they'll be keying on him," coach Mike Rolando said. "We'll rely on him a lot. He'll be tested.
"But we always try to be balanced. We'll do our best to spread the ball around."
The Green Wave will look a bit different this year on offense. There will be a two-quarterback approach, with sophomore lefty Dylan Mlinarich doing the passing and sophomore Saveon Smith adding speed.
Allen also plays cornerback and teams there with corner Smith.
"They're the best two cornerbacks we've had in my 11 years," Rolando said.
St. Edward returns conference defensive player of the year Jake French, a senior nose guard who will also move over and play guard on offense for the first time. Undersized last year, his quickness overwhelmed opponents and he had 12 sacks, four forced fumbles and four fumble recoveries.
"He's gained some weight, some muscle (to 175), but he still is always the one initiating contact first," Rolando said.
Junior center A.J. Salvadore and senior linemen Ruben Montiel and Michael Montes are not as experienced as last year's blockers, but earned Rolando's confidence.
"A number of our linemen got experience last year even if they weren't starters," Rolando said. "That was a benefit from our success -- being able to get guys playing time.
"We rotated a lot of them, too. We don't have the luxury of playing many guys one way."
French and linebacker Patrick Brown are the only players back from the defense's top 10 tacklers in 2014. Will Stevens, Haydn Hilton, Josh McFadden and Joe Murray will play in the defensive front, and several of the offensive linemen will fit into that rotation.
David Madden and Jimmy Harkins are at safety to combine with Allen and Smith in a quick secondary.
"With that group, it allows us to match up and play a lot of man," Rolando said.
Last year's 10-1 run to the second round of the playoffs could present a challenge for St. Edward. The Green Wave can't dwell on what happen last season, but Rolando said there's every reason to remember what was accomplished.
"We want to establish that tradition of winning, and expectation," he said. "So it's good to remember the guys that came before them and laid the bricks.
"At the same time this group hasn't won a game yet. They need to get that first win under the belt."
In 2014, St. Edward was the only team from the nascent six-school Metro Suburban Conference East Division to qualify for the state playoffs.
A year later, the defending division champion Green Wave will encounter teams that feel they've taken another step in the right direction.
Norridge-based Ridgewood, which finished second to St. Edward last year with a 4-1 East Division mark but was one of 22 teams with 5-4 records left on the 2014 playoff sidelines, returns 7 of 11 defensive starters from a year ago, including East defensive player of the year runner-up Seth Krueger (inside linebacker), along with a pair of returning all-conference defensive backs in Mike Ortiz and Eric Mangal, as well as an all-conference defensive tackle in Vinny Scaletta. Also back is linebacker Max Kalynuk and defensive end Anthony Giovanelli.
"If our defense can pick up where it left off last year we should be in every game," Ridgewood coach Chris Zack noted.
On the other side of the ball, the Rebels return playmakers at running back (Alex Rice, who also plays wide receiver) and receivers Ortiz and Jake Karkoska.
Key newcomers include Marco Vitale (RB-WR) and Vince Santore (WR).
"We are looking forward to the season," Zack said. "We had a very good and competitive off-season and summer. The coaches and I as well as the players feel we can be highly competitive this season and compete for the MSC East title."
Defending East champion St. Edward (10-1) returns some keys players, most notably league offensive player of the year, Dwayne Allen, Jr., and league defensive player of the year, Jake French.
Staying healthy will be a priority for the Green Wave. The junior class is a small one from a football perspective with only five players, leaving the varsity with a roster of 23. Several will be asked to go both ways, including Allen in the secondary and French along the offensive line.
"Coming off a good year last year, we expect to compete in all our games," veteran St. Edward coach Mike Rolando said. "We caught a couple of those schools like Ridgewood and Elmwood Park by surprise last year. Those are good opponents. Plus, Guerin has a couple of Division-1 caliber players, Chicago Christian has a new coach and Walther always has good athletes.
"The rosters in our league are such that the powers can change from year to year. I think you'll see a changing of the guard from year to year and teams can move up or down. We expect to compete. In a small conference a couple of impact players can really change the outcome of games."
River Grove-based Guerin College Prep, coached by former NFL player Glen Kozlowski, won a pair of conference games last year and is looking for even more improvement this fall.
The Gators return 8 starters on offense and 9 starters on defense. Top returners include senior all-conference defensive end Vinnie Caeti (6-3, 197) and senior all-conference linebacker Jarvis Davis (5-11, 219). Caeti registered 24 sacks last year, while Davis, the team MVP as a junior, led the team with 89 total tackles. Caeti was the team defensive MVP.
Senior wide receiver Keith Franklin (6-4, 214) earned all-conference accolades after hauling in 12 touchdown passes and averaging 21.7 yards per catch.
Key newcomers include junior quarterback Richie Zacharias (6-4, 184), sophomore running back Jaylen White (5-10, 189) and junior defensive back Felix King (5-10, 173).
"Our defense will be improved from last year," said Kozlowski. "All of our returners have improved. We believe we have an opportunity to compete for the conference title and should be a solid playoff contender if we stay healthy."
Kozlowski welcomed Hall of Fame coach Alan Marks (former coach at Ridgewood) to the staff as the new offensive coordinator.
Chicago Christian, under the direction of new coach Nick Cook, is coming off a 2014 season where it went 4-5 and 3-2 in East play.
The Knights return 5 starters on offense and 5 on defense. Key returners include seniors Luke Rattler (5-10, 210, RB-LB), Steve Gallagher (5-9, 160, RB-LB), Nathan Krygsheld (6-0, 160, WR-DB-LS) and Rich Gricus (5-11, 190, OL-DL), along with juniors Jessie Geaschel (5-10, 210, OL-DL), Josh Hill (6-1, 190, WR-LB), Jake Iwema (6-4, 185, OL-DL) and Cyril Nikolovski (5-11, 210, OL-DL).
Newcomers include seniors Tom Hassel (6-3, 190, TE-DL-K), Kevin Gallagher (5-9, 160, TE-LB) and Sam Gabral (5-7, 190, OL-DL), as well as junior Parris Williams (5-6, 140, RB-DB).
"We have strong leadership at key positions," said Cook. "We're utilizing a system that we hope our opponents will find to be complex and difficult to defend. On defense we have a presentation of multiple fronts we hope will put our best athletes in a position to make as many plays as possible."
Cook added the team has been focusing on three primary goals since he took over. "Becoming more Christ-like men, setting and meeting offseason goals and setting and meeting game-night goals," he stated. "Our outlook goes as far as those three areas and trusting that as we worship God by giving a winning effort in those areas that we will accomplish all we are supposed to accomplish as we focus on those things."
Elmwood Park is coming off a 2014 campaign where it went 2-7 and 1-4 in the league, while Walther Christian did not win a game (0-9, 0-5).
Guerin's Kozlowski sees St. Edward and Ridgewood as the top two teams in the division heading into Friday night's 2015 season kickoff. "All of us are trying to compete against them," said Kozlowski, who added all teams in the division are "well-coached."
St. Edward and Ridgewood square off in Norridge in Week 7 (Friday, Oct. 9). Guerin Prep visits Greg True Field in Elgin in Week 5 (Friday, Sept. 25).
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Football: St. Edward’s Mike Rolando honored as Coach of the Year
December 30, 2014
St. Edward football coach Mike Rolando (center) has been honored as Coach of the Year by Athletico. | File Photo
St. Edward coach Mike Rolando likes to call his football program more than an athletic endeavor.
After winning the Athletico Coach of the Year Award, it’s apparent quite a few others agree.
“One thing we always take pride in is the number of parents who tell us how much we’ve impacted their young men and if we’re able to help some get into college and learn some life’s lessons or keep their grades up in high school, then it’s worth my time and our other coaches,” Rolando said. “It’s about the type of kids we have here, and how we can help them achieve their goals.”
Rolando was nominated for the award online by multiple individuals affiliated with St. Edward and St. Edward’s Athletico trainer, Chris Hurkes. The award, given to coaches in Illinois, Wisconsin and Indiana at the high school or junior high levels, is based on both team success as well as off-field contributions to the community.
“We’ve had players available to help the City of Elgin, the Borden library, the Bartlett Challenger baseball program,” Rolando said. “Whether it was helping out at those or at different events, like Nightmare on Chicago Street, we’ve been on able to find some players to volunteer.”
Of course, the football success also is important. Rolando’s team completed a dream 9-0 regular season and finished 10-1, ultimately losing 25-20 to Coal City in the second round of the Class 4A playoffs.
“When we were starting off 0-9 our first two years, I never thought we’d be having 10-0 years,” Rolando said.
St. Edward went 0-9 in Rolando’s first two seasons and 1-8 his Year 3 before everything changed. The Green Wave have made the playoffs four of the last six years, winning the Metro Suburban East title this year. His record is 40-56 in 10 years, including 35-24 the last six.
Rolando called it a complete staff award.
“These are all guys — varsity on down to freshman — who coached with us coming up in youth football ranks and are used to volunteering time,” he said. “Really, we do it for the love of the game and to see the kids develop.”
His varsity staff consists of defensive coordinator Marc Rusinko, special teams coordinator Mike Childers, wide receivers/defensive backs coach Eloy Diaz, line coaches Steve McShane and Scot Brockner and varsity assistant Dave DeWitt.
In the early years, Rolando coached both the Crusaders youth program and St. Edward on weekends, then coached St. Edward JV games on Mondays.
“Back on that first day it was me and coach Marc and then a few days later Eloy and (sophomore coach) Gordon (Tourtellot) joined us,” Rolando said. “Gradually we got the rest in.”
Along with his wife Teresa, Rolando received his award at the Big Ten Championship Game in Indianapolis earlier this month.
Kelly wins scholarship
St. Edward’s Chris Kelly was named winner of the National Football Foudnation Scholar-Athlete Award, a $5,000 scholarship. He’ll receive the award at Halas Hall.
Kelly is the third St. Edward player since 2011 to win the award, which is based on academics, football performance, leadership, citizenship and community service.
St. Edward's Rolando honored by Athletico
December 19, 2014
Daily Herald report
St. Edward football coach Mike Rolando was recently honored as the Athletico Phyiscal Therapy Coach of the Year, an award he received on Dec. 6 during the Big Ten championship game at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis.
The Athletico Coach of the Year Award recognizes coaches for all they do to serve their local communities, including sportsmanship, coaching success and classroom involvement.
Nominated by multiple individuals within St. Edward and within the community, Rolando has shown high levels of excellence within his role. The Green Wave finished the 2014 season with a 10-1 record with a second round appearance in the Class 4A playoffs. Finishing his 10th season as the head coach, the turnaround of the football program that Rolando has led has been remarkable. Winless in his first two years at the helm, the Green Wave have now reached the playoffs four of the past six seasons, and will be poised to continue to break new ground in the fall of 2015.
In addition to his success on the field, Rolando's focus on community involvement led to his selection. Rolando has organized volunteer events for his team throughout the school year and summer. These opportunities have helped the program extend their influence beyond the football field.
"I want to thank Athletico and their athletic trainer at St. Edward, Chris Hurckes, for this award." Rolando said. "The fact that nominations came from people that know our program well, and that the award takes into consideration efforts made off the field in the community and in the classroom, really makes us proud to be recognized. The off-field developmental opportunities for these young men, and their academic focus, are the real ‘wins' for our program. Whether we win 10 games or zero games, we will always have that focus."
The coach of the year award was open to any junior high or high school level coach within the states of Illinois, Indiana or Wisconsin. Nominations were open to the public and submitted via an online entry form. Nominators were required to explain why their coach deserved recognition. A selection committee within Athletico reviewed the nominations before selecting Rolando as the winner.
Football: St. Edward’s Dwayne Allen Jr. is Courier-News Player of the Year
November 25, 2014
St. Edward junior Dwayne Allen Jr. rushed for a school-record 1,573 yards and also set a school record with 19 rushing touchdowns. | Jon Cunningham/For Chicago Tribune Media Group
When coaches voted for the first Metro Suburban East Offensive Player of the Year, there was no show of hands for St. Edward’s Dwayne Allen Jr.
Rather, it was a case of hands down — Allen was the winner.
“There wasn’t even a vote,” Green Wave coach Mike Rolando said. “The coaches all started praising him so it was apparent he had no competition.”
Allen, like his team, enjoyed a historical season. The 5-9, 165-pound junior rushed for a school-record 1,573 yards on 201 carries, averaging 7.8 yards a carry. He set a school record with 19 rushing touchdowns and scored 21 TDs. Allen led St. Edward to its first perfect regular season, first 10-0 start and a conference title.
As a result, Allen was named Courier-News Player of the Year, the first St. Edward football player to earn the honor since John Schroeder in 1978.
“Definitely much of my offense is from the blocking I got from guards pulling or the tackles blocking off the side,” Allen said. “They allowed me to follow one person and cut back to the middle or outside, which made me successful.
“My favorite thing is cutting back and seeing the lanes open. With the way I cut, the blockers are able to get around to the side of a defensive guy, and they don’t have to have a pancake block. They can keep going downfield then, too.”
Allen saved his best for the playoffs, rushing for 294 yards on 23 carries against Rock Island Alleman in St. Edward’s 31-12 victory. In the regular season, Allen had 242 against IC Prep, 203 against Riverside-Brookfield, 220 against Guerin and 184 against Ridgewood.
“When Dwayne was a sophomore, we still had Davontae Elam and he was more of a between-the-tackles type,” Rolando said. “We saw Dwayne’s cutting ability and speed when he was running the ball out of the slot position. So we kind of changed the running game to more misdirection plays and things to get him around to the outside: traps and leads.”
Allen said the running backs he most patterns his style after are undersized speed back Darren Sproles of the Philadelphia Eagles and former NFL player LaDainian Tomlinson.
“I’ve liked Darren Sproles since back when he was on the Chargers,” Allen said.
Allen comes from an athletic family that lives in Hampshire. His father ran track in Philadelphia. His father and mother, La Tanya, were both in the Army.
“My grandparents were track athletes, too,” he added.
Allen’s skills were not confined to offense. He played cornerback and had 26 tackles, two interceptions and seven pass breakups. He returned kicks and caught six passes for 104 yards and two TDs.
“He might have been our best open-field tackler,” Rolando said. “One thing he’s also good at is blocking. When he was in the slot last yea, he was a good blocker, and this year he had a really nice block in our first game to spring Danny Favela on an 80-yard run against Genoa.”
For next season, Allen has his goals set at adding 10 pounds or more in the weight room and improving his speed to the 4.5-second range in the 40-yard dash or even faster.
“I might be working with a trainer to get to those goals,” he said. “It’s going to be totally different next year with all of the seniors gone from this team. We’ll have a lot of new players coming up and a lot of work to do.”
Dwayne Allen, Jr. St. Edward This junior running back's cutback ability and breakaway speed led to Class 4A All-State honorable mention recognition. The Metro Suburban East Offensive Player of the Year rushed for 1,573 yards and 19 touchdowns in 201 attempts (7.8 avg.). He also made 6 receptions for 104 yards and 2 more scores. "He was just magic with the ball in his hands," St. Edward coach Mike Rolando said. "He was a unanimous pick for conference offensive player of the year. The other coaches said there wasn't even a need for a discussion. And he's humble about it. He deflects all the credit to his teammates."
Jake French St. Edward Opponents regularly double-teamed or even triple-teamed this determined junior nose guard, mostly to no avail. The 5-foot-9, 160-pound junior unanimously was named defensive player of the year in the Metro Suburban East after registering 77 tackles and 12 sacks. French also forced 4 fumbles and recovered 4 fumbles. "He wreaked havoc in the backfield of our opponents," St. Edward coach Mike Rolando said. "For a 160-pound nose guard to have that kind of an impact, it just shows how tough a kid he is."
Chris Kelly St. Edward A two-way starter for two seasons, this academic all-state selection helped the Green Wave to a conference championship and program-record 10 wins with his all-Metro Suburban East play at linebacker and center. Defensively, the 5-foot-10, 200-pound senior finished the season with 64 tackles and 2 sacks, 2 passes defended and a fumble recovery. Offensively, he centered an offense that averaged 380 yards and 39.5 points per game. "He improved his speed so he could cover sideline to sideline, and he's so smart it was like having another coach on the field," St. Edward coach Mike Rolando said.
Joe Mullen St. Edward This 6-foot-3, 175 pound quarterback completed 54 percent of his passes (107 of 198) for 1,781 yards. An all-Metro Suburban East selection, the senior threw 27 touchdowns and 10 interceptions for the 10-1 Green Wave. "He's a quarterback who really grasped what we were doing and why we were doing it," St. Edward coach Mike Rolando said. "He's always had a strong arm but the mental toughness he developed this year became a key strength."
Honorable Mention St. Edward -- Nick Duffy (Sr., WR), Jack Tierney (Sr., OL/LB), Josh Von Rohr (Sr., DE)
St. Edward can’t hold on against relentless Coal City
Aptly nicknamed the Coalers, Coal City’s football team relentlessly pounded, dug and chiseled away at St. Edward’s defense all game Saturday until the Green Wave finally caved in during Saturday’s Class 4A playoffs at Elgin’s Greg True Field.
With Jack Dibble rushing 40 times for 304 yards and four touchdowns, Coal City scored a 25-20 victory to end St. Edward’s season at 10-1 and advance to the quarterfinals against conference rival Manteno.
“They were just too big for us — they were big dudes,” St. Edward coach Mike Rolando said. “Our kids tried their hardest, played great, but (Coal City) just brought a little too much.”
St. Edward overcame deficits of 7-0 and 19-14 to lead 20-19 starting the fourth quarter behind the passing of quarterback Joe Mullen, who connected on nine straight passes during a second-half stretch and finished 15-of-28 for 194 yards with two touchdowns. But Coal City’s Dibble rushed for 223 of his yards in the second half to lead the Coalers (9-2) back from 14-7 and 20-19 deficits.
“It’s that way some games,” Dibble said. “We come and we try get things going. They know we’re going to run, but as the game goes on we continue to beat on people, we continue to run hard, we continue to block hard.
“And teams just get tired out.”
After Mullen hit Trevor Loewen for a 21-yard touchdown pass for a 20-19 St. Edward lead, the Coalers went back to work pounding the ball behind 285-pound Matt Long, 275-pound Andrew Mathena and 265-pound T.J. Lightner. They drove 65 yards on nine runs to score on Dibble’s 17-yard burst for a 25-20 lead with 8:36 left.
“He’s a great runner,” St. Edward linebacker Chris Kelly said. “We would go and take on the lead blocker, we’d leave him no hole to go through. He’s not small but he could hit those small holes and slither through there.”
St. Edward had good field position at its 44 to try to regain the lead, but Mullen lost the ball on a fumble after a blind-side blitz by Kevin Myers. When he got the ball back and drove St. Edward to midfield with 5:12 left, Corey Jurzak picked off a long pass at the 18-yard line. The Coalers never gave it back with a drive to the St. Edward 2-yard line as time expired.
“We didn’t want to give them the ball with a minute-anything left because they were very dangerous and could make some plays,” Coal City coach Len Onsen said. “We were trying to eat clock, eat clock and get the heck out of Dodge.”
Dibble scored on a 2-yard run after a Brad Littleton interception had given the Coalers the ball at St. Edward’s 36 with three minutes left in the half, but the Green Wave countered with Dwayne Allen’s 3-yard TD run to end a 71-yard two-minute drill and trailed 7-6 following a blocked conversion.
Allen, who rushed for more than 1,500 yards, was limited to 23 yards on 21 carries, so Mullen went to the air and 6-foot-4 Nick Duffy six times total for 110 yards.
“He’s been my receiver since we were sophomores,” Mullen said. “I felt like when it came to that time, it was time to go to Nick.”
Duffy stole a 23-yard completion from Jurzak to set up Mullen’s 1-yard QB sneak, but that started four TDs in the last 5:01 of the third quarter.
Dibble broke a 28-yard TD, and, after a St. Edward punt, he got loose for a 33-yard TD run and a 19-14 Coaler lead.
A Saveon Smith 63-yard kick return set up Loewen’s TD catch, and Joe French’s point-after kick for a 20-19 St. Edward lead with 28 seconds left in the third quarter. But Coal City kept pounding away.
“There were a lot of big collisions, a lot of big hits,” Kelly said. “We did a good job of just getting after their back. It definitely was the most physical game I’ve ever played.”
Class 4A playoffs: Coal City ends St. Edward's run
The weight of playing in the second round of the Class 4A playoffs for only the second time in school history didn't get to the St. Edward football team.
The weight of Coal City's offensive line did.
Related Article Images: Football playoffs round two- Coal City at St. Edward
Giving away 100 pounds a man at some line positions, the St. Edward defense played the Coalers to a standstill for a half. But Coal City running back Jack Dibble and his mammoth offensive line capitalized on a 4-1 turnover advantage by gaining 364 rushing yards on 53 carries in a 25-20 victory at Greg True Field in Elgin Saturday.
Dibble, a senior who tore the anterior cruciate ligament in one knee as a sophomore and tore the other as a junior, carried the ball 40 times for 304 yards and 4 touchdowns. He rushed for 226 of those yards in the second half, including the 17-yard touchdown run that staked his team to a 25-20 lead with 8:51 left in the ballgame.
"That's just our game: tire them out and keep trying to run the football," Dibble said.
"He could hit those holes, just slither through there," St. Edward linebacker Chris Kelly said. "It was crazy. The kid was fast. He's a great, hard runner."
St. Edward's final 2 possessions ended in turnovers. One play after Dibble put his team ahead, Coal City's Kevin Myers blindsided Green Wave quarterback Joe Mullen, whose fumble was recovered by Brad Churnovic at the St. Edward 33-yard line.
However, the St. Edward defense forced a turnover on downs to give the offense another chance with 6:14 to play.
An 11-yard pass from Mullen to Petey deWindt followed by a pass interference call against the Coalers put the ball at the Coal City 36-yard line. Two plays later, Corey Jurzak intercepted a Mullen pass at his own 18 and returned it 22 yards.
Dibble then ran out the remaining 5:12 by carrying for 3 first downs behind huge linemen Matt Long (6-foot-5, 285 pounds), Andrew Mathena (6-5, 275) and L.J. Lightner (6-4, 260).
Already playing without defensive end Josh Von Rohr (concussion), the St. Edward defense was further diminished when senior free safety Danny Favela left the game in the second half due to injury. Twice in the first half Favela had tackled Dibble on fourth down to halt Coal City drives in St. Edward territory.
"They were too big for us," St. Edward coach Mike Rolando said. "They were big dudes. Our guys tried their hardest. They just brought a little too much. But I'm proud of them. They fought hard."
Rolando wasn't the only coach to leave the field impressed.
"That was a darn good football team," Coal City coach Lenny Onsen said of the Green Wave. "They played extremely hard. People can say what they want about their schedule and this and that, but those kids had a lot of heart out there playing. I know when they lost (Favela), that took a lot of wind out of their sail because he was a heck of a defensive player."
St. Edward's vaunted ground game was shut down by the Coalers. Junior tailback Dwayne Allen, Jr., who ran for 294 yards and 3 scores in a first-round win over Rock Island Alleman, was held to 20 yards and a touchdown on 21 carries. He also lost a first-half fumble.
St. Edward gained 194 of its 250 total yards through the air. Mullen completed 14 of 28 attempts. He threw for a touchdown and ran for another but was picked twice.
Coal City took a 7-0 lead with 2:04 left in the first quarter when Dibble parlayed Brad Littleton's interception near midfield into a 2-yard scoring run 3 plays later.
St. Edward answered with 16.6 seconds left in the first half on a 3-yard run by Allen. His touchdown was set up by a 37-yard catch from Nick Duffy, who ripped the ball out of the arms of the defender. Duffy finished with 5 catches for 102 yards. Parker Czaja blocked Joe French's extra point kick to preserve Coal City's 7-6 lead at the half.
St. Edward defensive lineman Jake French recovered a Dibble fumble midway through the third quarter. The Wave then drove 57 yards in 6 plays, including a 12-yard grab by deWindt, a 15-yard reception by Trevor Loewen and a 23-yard catch by Duffy to the Coal City 7.
Mullen scored on a 1-yard sneak on third-and-goal, then he threw to Duffy in the corner of the end zone for a successful 2-point conversion, giving St. Edward a 14-7 lead.
Littleton responded by returning the kickoff 48 yards to the St. Edward 28. Dibble ran for a touchdown on the next play to draw his team within 14-13. A high snap on the point-after attempt forced an incomplete pass, leaving St. Edward ahead by a point.
After the Green Wave offense went three-and-out, the Coalers traversed 72 yards in 4 plays. Jurzak's 24-yard tote set up Dibble's 33-yard scoring run, which gave Coal City a 19-14 lead with 1:48 left in the third quarter.
Unfazed, St. Edward quickly regained the lead. Freshman Saveon Smith returned the ensuing kickoff up the right sideline 51 yards to the Coal City 23. Two plays later, Mullen found Loewen inside the front right pylon with a 21-yard touchdown pass, which gave St. Edward its last lead, 20-19 with 27.9 seconds left in the third quarter. The conversion pass didn't connect.
The defeat ended the best season in 71 years of St. Edward football. The Green Wave eclipsed the previous school record of 8 wins, became the first team from the Elgin school to finish 9-0 in the regular season, won the Metro Suburban East title and earned the program its second playoff victory.
"If you look back, we did something that's never been done before in history. That's great," Kelly said. "Even more than that we just bonded together as a team and tried to pave the ground for even more success at St. Ed's. That was the big thing, trying to leave the place better than we found it."
Rolando embraced his seniors individually after the game, thanking them for a memorable ride.
"Great year," the 10th-year coach said. "Great group of kids that learned how to buy into a team concept and how to overachieve. Together they can really achieve great things, and individually we're all nothing. They learned that lesson, and they learned to do what they were told and play for someone else. They're going to take those lessons on for the rest of their life and be successful because of it."
St. Edward not ready for sun to set on season
November 7, 2014
Purchase Photo | St. Edward’s John deWindt hauls in a pass against Rock Island Alleman last week. The 10-0 Green Wave host Coal City Saturday in a Class 4A second round playoff game. Laura Stoecker | Staff Photographer
The St. Edward football team drilled on Greg True Field until daylight faded around 5 p.m. on Friday.
Getting practices in before the November sun sets is a new problem for the Green Wave, who have advanced to the second round of the playoffs for only the second time.
"It's nice to worry about it getting dark early and all these other problems I didn't know existed," coach Mike Rolando said.
To keep the learning experiences coming -- like practicing in next week's predicted cold snap -- No. 2 St. Edward (10-0) must defeat No. 7 Coal City (8-2) in Elgin on Saturday at 2 p.m.
The respective offenses of the Coalers and Green Wave are near mirror images. Well, funhouse mirror, anyway. The Coal City line features three players larger than anyone on the St. Edward roster: Matt Long (6-foot-5, 285 pounds), Andrew Mathena (6-5, 275) and L.J. Lightner (6-4, 260).
"They are not just big, they are giants," Rolando said. "They are significantly bigger at a few positions, but most of the others are just like us. They are big, but our D-line will have a quickness advantage."
Coal City's big linemen blaze a trail for senior Jack Dibble, a 5-10, 180-pound running back. Dibble's 1,941 yards and 25 touchdowns, 24 rushing, are a testament to his resilience. He tore the anterior cruciate ligament in one knee as a sophomore. He reclaimed his spot in the lineup the following season only to tear the ACL in his other knee in Week 1.
"He's really battled back," Coal City coach Lenny Onsen said. "He's the kind of young man you want to root for."
Dibble and Co., will face a St. Edward defense that was similarly undersized against playoff teams Riverside-Brookfield and Rock Island yet yielded only 19 points combined. Rolando said St. Edward will be without defensive end Josh Von Rohr and his team-high 13 sacks due to an injury suffered in the playoff opener. Junior Nathan Witt gets the start in his place.
The Green Wave defense limits opponents to 9.6 points per game, led by linemen Jake French (70 tackles, 11 sacks), inside linebackers Jack Tierney (67 tackles, 3 sacks) and Chris Kelly (54 tackles, 2 sacks) and secondary men Saveon Smith (14 passes broken up, Int.), Bryan O'Neill (8 PBU, 2 Ints.), Devin Warner (8 PBU) and Allen (2 Ints.).
St. Edward's offense features junior running back Dwayne Allen, Jr. A fluid ball carrier able to cut at high speed, Allen rushed for 3 long touchdowns and nearly 300 yards last week in a 31-12 win against Alleman. He has collected 1,547 yards and 18 touchdowns in 180 attempts (8.6 avg.).
The Coalers aspire to run the ball 60 percent of the time but of late have run it closer to 70 percent, according to Onsen. Quarterback Nick Micetich has thrown for a bit over 600 yards.
The Green Wave strike a balance between rushing yards (2,229) and passing (1,696). Senior quarterback Joe Mullen has completed 91 of 168 attempts (54.1 percent) for 1,593 yards and 26 touchdowns. He has been intercepted 8 times.
"They have a lot of speed," Onsen said. "(Allen) runs extremely well and if you try to take that away, they can throw the ball. They execute really well and mix things up. It's going to be a challenge."
A win would thrust the Green Wave into unchartered territory. No St. Edward football team has reached a state quarterfinal. This team hopes to do so while drawing some motivation from message board chatter predicting their demise.
"We're still not getting a lot of respect," Rolando said. "People say Alleman was just a 5-5 team, and they are picking us to lose this game. That's fine. Being a 10-0 underdog is an interesting position to be in. It's just more motivation.
"The kids are excited. If they do what they did last week, if they follow the same recipe for success from when they handled a bigger team like Alleman, we'll be winners."
Two playoff football games to watch for Elgin area in Round 2
November 7, 2014
Coal City (8-2) at St. Edward (10-0), 2 p.m. Saturday
Last week: St. Edward 31, Alleman 12. Coal City 40, Mendota 14.
Next up for winner: Manteno (9-1) or Dixon (8-2).
Key players: Coal City — Matt Long OL-DL, Andrew Mathena OL-DL, Jack Dibble RB, Nick Micetich QB. St. Edward — Joe Mullen QB, Dwayne Allen Jr. RB, Kasey Cooke OL-DT, Dan Favela S.
Outlook: St. Edward faces another lineup of larger players, but the Coalers lack the breakaway speed that Allen provides the Green Wave. Dibble is a downhill runner, who can make the one cut and get off the edge and has nearly run for 2,000 yards. But Micetich rarely throws. He had one pass in the opening round and threw only 62 on the year. The Green Wave offense has to deal with a Coal City defense that gives solid pursuit out of a three- or four-man line. Long and Mathena both weigh in more than 270 pounds and rotate in on the defensive line, in addition to playing full-time on offense. Mullen has completed 91-of-168 for 1,593 yards with 26 touchdowns and eight interceptions, and often goes to Trevor Loewen and Santos Gomez for big plays, Nick Duffy in the red zone, and Petey DeWindt to move the chains. The 21st century Green Wave passing attack is complemented by Allen, who is a big play waiting to happen with 1,547 rushing yards and 18 TD runs. St. Edward’s defense hasn’t received much notoriety, but 56 sacks shows the Green Wave can bring the heat. Much depends on if the St. Edward linemen can use their quickness to beat bigger blockers and tacklers at the point of attack.
St. Edward keeps breaking new ground during unbeaten season
November 6, 2014
It’s one feel-good story pitted against another when St. Edward tries to reach the state quarterfinals for the first time in history Saturday with a Class 4A second-round game against Coal City.
“I think we just need to go in with a chip on our shoulder again,” said St. Edward offensive and defensive lineman Kasey Cooke.
The Green Wave last week overcame the perception they played an easy schedule in a new, supposedly softer conference to go 10-0 for the first time in history, and did it by beating an established, physical, larger Alleman team.
In Saturday’s 2 p.m. home game, St. Edward again faces a team with a good size advantage from a small-school power conference, but also with a running back whose story tugs at heart strings.
Coal City senior running back Jack Dibble rushed for 1,926 rushing yards and 24 touchdowns after he overcame a torn anterior cruciate suffered in the fourth game his sophomore year and one in the other leg suffered starting his junior year.
“With a lot of kids, you never know how they’ll handle that, but he has worked his tail off to get back,” Coal City coach Len Onsen said.
Dibble benefits by running behind a line that includes 6-5, 285-pound Division 1 prospect Matt Long, 6-5, 275-pound Andrew Mathena and 6-4, 260-pound L.J. Lightner.
“Their back is tough,” St. Edward coach Mike Rolando said. “He’s a real deal. He reminds us of some of the tough north-and-south running backs we’ve had in the past like (Jim) Mathisen and Moises Quiroga.
“The difference from Alleman is they run a lot out of different formations like we do, which is less predictable.”
St. Edward players feel they proved last week they can be plenty tough enough to stop power-style teams. The senior-dominated team traces this back to cutting their teeth in the Suburban Christian Conference.
“Definitely for us switching conferences this year a lot of people questioned our toughness,” St. Edward center/linebacker Chris Kelly said. “Our old conference was a physical conference.
“We’re a little bit of a smaller school and got beat up a bit in there, but we’re still a physical team. We can’t control the schedule we played against this year, but we beat teams we needed to beat. Riverside-Brookfield was a playoff team and we handled them pretty well. And then last week.”
St. Edward’s offense looks flashy and well-balanced with speedy junior Dwayne Allen running for 1,547 yards and quarterback Joe Mullen throwing for 1,593 yards.
Allen’s cutting, breakaway style may have made it easier for linemen to battle larger opponents.
“Dwayne is a great runner who reads it whichever way you go with a block,” Kelly said. “A lot of the plays we’re just trying to put a body on a body. We’re definitely not big enough where we can manhandle the kid we’re blocking. But we’re just trying to get angles and get out there quickly.
“He can hit that hole. We can then get on our horse and go try to block downfield on those really long runs where he cuts back.”
St. Edward has thrown 172 times and Coal City (8-2) just 62 times.
“Our passing game has been efficient, and sufficient,” Onsen said.
Rolando said the passing game against Alleman left room for improvement beyond a huge 27-yard TD pass sophomore receiver Trevor Loewen caught. St. Edward had just 87 passing yards.
“I don’t think we executed the way we normally do,” Rolando said. “They put a little extra pressure on us.
“We can play better offensively, so I would hope to see that.”
The Green Wave of St. Edward, Coal City’s next opponent in the IHSA Class 4A playoffs, have put up some staggering numbers this season. In compiling a 10-0 record, St. Edward has outscored its opponents 415-108.
Quarterback Joe Mullen is the trigger man for the explosive Green Wave, as he has completed 91 of 168 passes for 1,593 yards and 26 touchdowns against just eight interceptions.
He spreads the ball around to a quartet of receivers. Nick Duffy has a team-leading 22 receptions for 299 yards and eight touchdowns, while Petey DeWindt has caught 21 passes for 286 yards and two scores. Trevor Loewen is the big-play receiver, racking up 461 yards and nine TDs on his 18 receptions, while Santos Gomez has caught 17 passes for 300 yards and four scores.
The Green Wave isn’t a one-dimensional, pass-only offense, however. Freshman running back Dwayne Allen has gained 1,541 yards and scored 18 touchdowns on the ground, including a 288-yard performance against Rock Island Alleman in last week’s opening round 31-12 win.
“They can move the ball,” Coal City coach Lenny Onsen said. “Allen is a good back, and they have good team speed. Their quarterback throws the ball well and they have some pretty good receivers. We are going to try and contain them the best we can.
“They are pretty similar to Manteno [which beat Coal City, 24-23] in the way they run the spread. They aren’t as big as Manteno, but they have a lot of team speed.”
The Coalers have been displaying a high-powered offense of their own of late, outscoring their past two opponents 98-14, including a 40-14 win over Mendota in the first round last week.
The driving force in the Coal City attack is running back Jack Dibble, who has amassed 1,941 yards and 24 touchdowns on the ground this year behind the Coalers’ massive offensive line.
Quarterback Nick Micetich also gave future opponents something to think about last week when he ran for more than 100 yards and a TD. Micetich also has thrown for 456 yards.
“The best defense is when your offense is on the field,” Onsen said. “We want to control the clock with our running game and not turn the ball over. When you get to the second round of the playoffs, you have to be playing pretty good football.
“We are hoping that our size helps us. We’ll see how it goes and hope we can keep it going a little bit.”
The Coaler defense will be tested, but with players like Andrew Mathena up front, linebackers Parker Czaja and Matt Norton and sure-tackling defensive backs D.J. Budde and Corey Jurzak, the Green Wave might just hit a breakwater.
“We are pretty quick to the ball,” Onsen said. “We are going to have to continue to do that, and be good tacklers when we get there. The kids are looking forward to it. We like the matchup and the kids know they are playing well right now.
“They also know that if they lose, they are done. There’s nothing to save anything for, so we are going to go out there and get after it.”
In a season of firsts for the St. Edward football team, this was the most important one yet.
This year's record-breaking squad was the first in program history to open a season with 6 straight wins, the first to finish a regular season undefeated and the first to win a title in the new Metro Suburban Conference.
Related Article Images: St. Edward vs. Rock Island Alleman, football playoffs
Noteworthy achievements all, but they pale in comparison to Saturday's accomplishment at Greg True Field in Elgin, where the 2014 Green Wave became the first team in program history to win a home playoff game with a 31-12 victory over Rock Island Alleman.
The postseason win was the second for St. Edward since the IHSA initiated the state playoff system in 1974.
"We've been making history all year long," said defensive lineman Augustus Nottolini, a 5-foot-8, 178-pound defensive lineman who registered a sack and a tackle for loss. "It's just fantastic. It's the greatest feeling in the world."
The win means another first for the Wave: a second home playoff game in the same season. No. 2 St. Edward (10-0) will host No. 7 Coal City (8-2) next weekend, time to be determined. Coal City defeated Mendota 40-14 on Friday.
The victory meant vindication in a way for St. Edward, which played with a chip on its shoulder after facing only one playoff team during the season: Riverside-Brookfield.
"Everybody tells you your schedule is soft," coach Mike Rolando said. "We always thought our kids were good, but you never know how good. When we looked at (Alleman's) roster -- and their average lineman was 243 (pounds) and they range from 230 to 280 and their linebackers are 230 -- I really didn't think we'd be able to control the line of scrimmage. Or survive the line of scrimmage. And we dominated the line of scrimmage."
St. Edward outgained Alleman 369 total yards to 109. Offensively, running back Dwayne Allen, Jr., a 5-foot-8, 166-pound junior, ran for a career-high 288 yards on 24 carries, including touchdown runs of 75, 61 and 50 yards. It was the fourth time this season Allen has rushed for over 200 yards.
"I think they knew that we were going to run the ball a lot," Allen said. "We were ready for it and they were ready for it. We opened up with the passing game and when the passing game started slowing down, that's when we started running."
The impressive outing improved Allen's season totals to 1,541 rushing yards and 18 touchdowns in 181 attempts (8.5 avg.).
"He was one of the best we've seen all year, absolutely," Alleman senior linebacker Kier Murphy said. "He's a stud in the backfield. He can move around a lot. I'm looking forward to seeing what he has to do the rest of the season."
Allen opened the scoring with a 75-yard touchdown run with 4:24 left in the first quarter, but Western Big 6 tri-champion Alleman countered with a 35-yard touchdown pass from junior Kelan Whan to senior running back Kylee Dorsey, who was left uncovered on a blitz. St. Edward maintained a 7-6 lead when the extra point snap was bobbled.
St. Edward's next 2 possessions resulted in a missed a field goal and an interception at the Alleman 8-yard line by Whan.
The Green Wave broke through via a 1-play drive with 55 seconds left in the second quarter. Following a short punt, St. Edward quarterback Joe Mullen threw a 27-yard touchdown pass to Trevor Loewen, who made the catch at the goal line. Joe French's extra point kick staked the Wave to a 14-6 lead.
Alleman muffed a third-quarter punt that Jake Harrington recovered at the Pioneer 26-yard line, but Zach Sheets intercepted a tipped Mullen pass to keep it an 8-point game.
However, the St. Edward defense held three-and-out, and Allen capitalized. After senior offensive lineman Dan Howell had to leave the field for one play due to blood on his jersey, defensive lineman Kasey Cooke entered at left tackle and Allen bounced a 33 lead to the outside of Cooke for a 61-yard touchdown and a 21-6 lead with 2:09 left in the third quarter.
"I just had to hook my guy and (Allen) bounced it out," Cooke said.
Alleman answered with another touchdown pass from Whan to Kylee Dorsey, this time for 27 yards, to pull the Pioneers within 21-12 with 9:44 left to play.
St. Edward went on to ice the game with 2 more scores. Joe French kicked a 39-yard field goal. Then, after Allen snared an interception on defense, he polished off possibly the most important victory in the history of Greg True Field with a 50-yard run up the right sideline.
Coordinator Marc Rusinko's St. Edward defense, led by linemen Nottolini, Cooke, Jake French and Josh Von Rohr, inside linebackers Chris Kelly and Jack Tierney and defensive back Danny Favela (2 PBU), forced 7 punts and grabbed 2 interceptions. They held the Alleman flexbone triple option to 42 yards rushing and 67 yards passing.
"They refused to let each other down. They wouldn't let us down," Rolando said. "They just focused on what their job was and they executed flawlessly on defense all day."
St. Edward, Dwayne Allen throw wrench into Alleman’s plans
The 288 yards rushing with touchdowns of 75, 61 and 50 yards mattered far less Saturday to St. Edward junior running back Dwayne Allen Jr. than one other number.
“Ten and 0 is a good feeling right now,” he said.
Allen’s three touchdowns and game-clinching interception, and a much smaller defense that dominated bigger Rock Island Alleman, led to St. Edward’s 31-12 victory in the first round of the Class 4A playoffs.
“It kind of makes me speechless,” St. Edward coach Mike Rolando said, after the Green Wave won a playoff game on their own field for the first time. “I’m oozing with pride for my boys.
“Their average line was 243 pounds and their range from 230 to 280 and their linebackers are 230, so I really didn’t think we’d be able to control the line of scrimmage or survive. And we dominated the line of scrimmage.”
A St. Edward defense led by Augie Nottolini, Josh Von Rohr, Jack Tierney and Jake French repeatedly stuffed the wing-T power running of Alleman (5-5), allowing only 66 yards rushing as the Green Wave (10-0) earned a shot at Coal City in the second round.
“For us, size doesn’t mean anything,” Nottolini said. “It’s all about our heart. Coach Rolando always says heart is what wins high school football games.”
St. Edward’s defensive dominance — 165 total yards — let its offense be patient and probe with the passing game and Allen, until their running threat started breaking big gains to put it away.
“Their running back could make a play at any point,” Alleman coach Dave DeJaegher said. “Our kids played hard and hung in but couldn’t get it done against a very good football team.
“They’ll be dangerous for any team to deal with.”
Allen broke straight up the middle and turned on the burners for a 75-yard TD run to start the Green Wave’s third possession, but Alleman countered with a 35-yard TD pass from Kelan Whan to Kylee Dorsey at 10:18 before halftime. However, Joe French had made the first of his four extra point kicks and a bad snap wiped out Alleman’s conversion try so St. Edward led 7-6.
The Green Wave took advantage of good field position when Joe Mullen rolled out and found Trevor Loewen for a 27-yard TD strike 55 seconds before halftime to make it 14-6.
“Trevor read it, he saw me rolling and I told him if he saw me rolling, just flow with me,” said Mullen, who was 8-for-21 for 67 yards. “We had the connection and I just shot it to him.”
Alleman stayed within striking distance until Allen took a handoff out of the spread and cut off the left edge all the way for a 61-yard TD.
“The cutbacks were real open,” said Allen, who had 24 carries. “It opened up the passing game, and our passing game started to slow down, and that’s when we started running more.”
A 27-yard TD pass from Whan to Dorsey got the Pioneers back within 21-12, but still two scores down with 9:44 to play because of a botched snap on the PAT.
French made a 37-yard field goal with 2:44 remaining for a 24-12 lead, and Allen capped it by breaking a 50-yard TD around right end with 2:06 left following his own interception.
“We tried to spread things out a little for Dwayne,” Rolando said. “When we play these bigger teams, they have trouble with a guy like Dwayne.”
Alleman unable to stop big plays in loss at St. Edward
November 3, 2014
By Daniel Makarewicz, firstname.lastname@example.org | Updated 2 days ago
ELGIN -- Reflecting on a painful end to a game that offered so much promise, Alleman senior linebacker Kier Murphy pointed to five plays as the difference.
Elgin St. Edward capitalized on each of them.
"Those were daggers," Murphy said. "Those killed us."
Gaining 258 of their 368 yards on those five plays, the second-seeded Green Wave were able to frustrate an Alleman defense that was getting consistent stops. St. Edward scored on four of those plays and had the other set up a field goal, moments that eventually handed the 15th-seeded Pioneers a 31-12 loss in a Class 4A first-round playoff game at Greg True Field.
"Those five plays," Alleman senior defensive end Luke Saskowski said, "just killed our momentum and really made us suffer."
Before reaching that conclusion, Saskowski praised the Pioneers' overall defensive performance and pass coverage. Take away those five big plays, St. Edward (10-0) averaged 2.4 yards on its 46 snaps.
"A few broken plays made the difference," Saskowski said.
Dwayne Allen Jr. made the first one hurt, taking a delay handoff up the middle for a 75-yard touchdown with four minutes left in the first quarter. That was the first play of the St. Edward drive.
Alleman (5-5) offered its response early in the second quarter when Kylee Dorsey's caught a fourth-down, wheel-route pass from Kelan Whan and scored from 35 yards out. A bad snap on the extra point resulted in the holder being tackled, but the Pioneers were within 7-6.
The score remained the same as St. Edward started a drive at the Alleman 27 with 62 seconds left in the first half. Despite facing heavy defensive pressure, Joseph Mullen lofted a pass to his left that was caught in the end zone by Trevor Loewen. After the extra point, the Wave took a 14-6 lead into halftime.
"We wanted to finish hard," Allen said.
In the second half, St. Edward made sure the Pioneers were finished.
On the Wave's second possession, Allen took a first-down carry 61 yards for a touchdown and a 21-6 lead. After the Pioneers got within 21-12 on Dorsey's 27-yard touchdown reception early in the fourth, Allen's 45-yard run set up Joseph French's 37-yard field goal with 2:44 left and a 24-12 advantage.
Allen capped his 284-yard performance with a 50-yard touchdown run late in the contest. Take away his four attempts of 45 yards or more, Allen had 53 yards on 17 carries.
"My vision gets me most of my touchdowns," Allen said. "I know (the defense) flows to where I'm going, so the cutback is good. That's how I did it."
Alleman had Allen corralled on three of his long runs, but he changed direction, found a hole and bursted through it.
"He was one of the best (backs) we've seen all year," Murphy said. "He's a stud."
Despite the final score, the Pioneers did enough to stay in this contest. The problem was their offense could not sustain anything. St. Edward put 10 defenders in the box, including both safeties, to suffocate the Pioneers' rushing attack.
In 50 plays, Alleman had 106 yards. Sixty-two came on two pass plays to Dorsey.
"It seemed like every time we ran the ball, all 11 of them were at us," said Saskowski, who had 41 yards on 13 carries. "We ran it inside and outside, and they were there every time. You've got to give them props for that.
"It's like they knew our playbook."
Other than five plays, the Pioneers did the same to the St. Edward playbook.
"It hurts to play well," Murphy said, "but give up big plays and lose like that."
ELGIN, Ill. — After a slow start to the season, defense is what got the Alleman Pioneers a share of the Western Big Six Conference title and a spot in the postseason.
Facing the high-powered offense of unbeaten Elgin St. Edward on Saturday in the opening round of the Class 4A playoffs, that defense showed just a few cracks, but those cracks allowed a Green Wave to rush through.
St. Edward running back Dwayne Allen Jr. broke off three touchdown runs of 50-plus yards and piled up 288 yards rushing as the Green Wave extended its historic season with a 31-12 victory over the Pioneers.
Four runs by Allen accounted for nearly two-thirds of St. Edward's total offense and broke the back of a Pioneers defense that had held its previous six opponents to an average of 10 points per game.
“We played well for most of the game. We'd hold them to a few three-and-outs, we'd make them earn their yards, and then they'd spring a big one,” Alleman senior linebacker Kier Murphy said. “If that's all it takes, that will kill you. You can't give up big plays like that.”
St. Edward (10-0), which recorded the first perfect regular season in school history this year, notched the program's first-ever home playoff victory and second win all-time in the postseason Saturday. Next, the Green Wave will attempt to advance further than any St. Edward team has gone before when they face seventh-seeded Coal City (8-2) in the second round.
Alleman, which reached the state semifinals the past two years, ends its season at 5-5. The team was held to 120 total yards and eight first downs and was forced to punt seven times by the Green Wave's stout defense.
“It feels incredible right now. We came out hyped and ready to play,” said Allen, who also recorded a fourth-quarter interception and has over 1,500 yards rushing on the season. “We were really fired up on defense and created a lot of momentum for our offense.”
The Pioneers got off to a solid start Saturday, forcing a Green Wave team that averaged 42.7 points per game to punt on its first two possessions. The third possession was just one play. Allen found a hole up the middle, sprinted through it and raced into the end zone.
Alleman responded two drives later. Facing fourth-and-three from the St. Edward 35, the Pioneers scored when Kylee Dorsey bobbled but reeled in a pass from Kelan Whan and dashed in for the score. Alleman's extra-point attempt failed and the Pioneers trailed 7-6 early in the second quarter.
After forcing Alleman to punt from near its own end zone in the final minute of the half, St. Edward added to its lead when quarterback Joseph Mullen scrambled and found Trevor Loewen for a 27-yard touchdown pass that gave the Green Wave a 14-6 lead going into halftime.
The Pioneers' third quarter consisted of three punts and a fumbled punt return while Allen extended St. Edward's lead to 21-6 with a 61-yard touchdown run.
“We just couldn't consistently get any offense going,” Alleman coach Dave DeJaegher said. “We needed to keep the ball in our hands but we just weren't able to do that and it put a lot of pressure on our defense. Eventually, they made a couple of big plays that kind of put the game out of reach.”
With St. Edward stacking the box, Whan went to the air and found Dorsey again for a 27-yard touchdown pass but the extra point failed again and Alleman trailed 21-12 with 9:44 left in the game.
One final big scoring run by Allen in the closing minutes, this one a 50-yarder, sealed the victory for the Green Wave.
Though this season didn't end with a lengthy playoff run like in recent years, Murphy said the team has plenty to be proud of after bouncing back from a 2-3 start to the season.
“I think that's the gold star on our season is the conference title. We share it with two other teams, but that's neither here nor there,” Murphy said. “We played great competition all year, including this game, and every game the guys fought week in and week out and I love them for that. You can't knock the effort.”
Four playoff football games to watch for Elgin area in Round 1
October 31, 2014
Rock Island Alleman (5-4) at St. Edward (9-0), 1 p.m. Saturday
Next up for winner: Mendota (6-3) or Coal City (7-2).
Key players: Rock Island Alleman — FB/DE Luke Saskowski, RB Kylee Dorsey; St. Edward — DL/LB Jake French, RB/CB Dwayne Allen.
Outlook: An intriguing, classic matchup. St. Edward is the passing team with a wide-open offense, undefeated but having faced only one playoff team. Alleman played a torturous schedule, has plenty of past playoff success, and relies on its defense and running game. Much for St. Edward will depend on whether defensive players like French (11 sacks), DT Dan Howell, LB Chris Kelly and DL Augie Nottolini can stand up to a bigger offensive line and Alleman’s wing-T attack, and whether the Green Wave offensive line can generate holes for Allen while keeping QB Joe Mullen clean against a 3-2/4-2 defensive alignment. A victory would be St. Edward’s first at home in the playoffs.
Gene Chamberlain’s football notes:
October 30, 2014
St. Edward (9-0) wants to follow up its first perfect regular season and first Metro Suburban East title with the first home field playoff victory in school history Saturday against Alleman (5-4).
“They’ve been playing so far this year not to lose and to maintain that undefeated record and go 9-0,” coach Mike Rolando said. “That’s nice. But your season’s not over if you lose because 8-1 ain’t that bad.
“But if we lose now, the season’s over. The kids need to know they have to come out and play like they haven’t yet this year, and be at an added level of intensity and physicality because that’s what the playoffs take.”
The Green Wave’s other homefield playoff game still stings Rolando. In 2010, they were a 28-yard Mark Olenek field goal from the win.
St. Edward has savvy offensive leader in quarterback Joe Mullen
October 30, 2014
St. Edward senior quarterback Joe Mullen and coach Mike Rolando seem to have found that ideal place all coaches and their signal callers seek to attain.
The goal is for the quarterback to know the offense so well that the two seem to read each other’s mind.
Mullen’s 25 touchdown passes to three interceptions over his last eight games testify to his talent level and mastery of Rolando’s offense, as the Green Wave (9-0) head into Saturday’s Class 4A home playoff game (1 p.m.) against perennial state power Rock Island Alleman (5-4).
“It’s like having my eyes out there on the field,” Rolando said. “He knows why I called a certain play, why we ran a certain motion, which route might be a dummy route to run some guys off and which one we’re trying to hit, and which defensive guy we’re trying to fool. All of those things Joe and I have been on the same page with.
“We went into the season opener and we were able to run our entire offense out of no-huddle if we wanted to. For us, that’s definitely a first. That’s rare, but Joe’s talent level is very rare.”
The 6-2, 190-pound Mullen has played with the varsity since his sophomore year, but became first-team quarterback last year after an early-season battle with Bryan O’Neill. He completed 58-of-120 for 957 yards with 10 touchdowns and seven interceptions then.
After a torrid finish to this regular season — 18 TD passes and one interception the last five games — Mullen is 83-off-148 for 1,526 yards with 25 TD passes and six interceptions. Thanks to this, and running back Dwayne Allen’s 1,253 rushing yards, St. Edward averages 42.7 points per game.
“The whole thing about this offense is it’s so well-balanced that we can run it to open up the pass or pass to open up the run,” Mullen said.
Mullen has a lot to do with the balance. He favors no one receiver.
Four Green Wave receivers have between 13 and 22 catches. Nick Duffy, at 6-4, has emerged the top possession receiver with 22 catches and 299 yards, but Petey DeWindt has 18 catches and 248 yards. Santos Gomez (13-280) and Trevor Loewen (16-432) are the big-play guys.
“It’s all just pre-snap reads (of the defense) which one of them I want to go to; if I want to go to Nick and use his height, or Trevor’s speed,” Mullen said. “Coach Ro is good at making the offense adjust to what the defense is showing us.”
Rolando recalled his own quarterback experience at Larkin under former coach Bob Krieger, and the advantage once his own understanding of the offense became a strength.
“We only had one year together and I was very inefficient at first, but about the middle of the year we started getting on the same page and he had me audible many different calls by the playoffs,” Rolando said. “When you can be a quarterback and you’re able to look at the defense and say I’m going to something else that will work better, that’s a pretty powerful thing.
“Most of the time high school defenses are probably not going to change out of what they’ve called.”
Whether St. Edward can operate this way and beat an Alleman team that defeated four teams with enrollments of 1,353 or more is the question.
“I think we have a monumental task in facing Alleman,” Rolando said. “That’s a seasoned team that’s been to state.
“We know we have our work cut out for us, but we think we’re a pretty good football team, too.”
Others receiving votes: Columbia 26, Johnsburg 5, Althoff 5, Canton 3, Dixon 2, Alleman 1.
Gene Chamberlain’s football notes:
October 28, 2014
Big play Wave
St. Edward’s passing attack has featured numerous receivers catching passes from Joseph Mullen, but the player who has emerged as a threat after being an unknown early is sophomore Trevor Loewen.
“He’s a big-play guy,” coach Mike Rolando said. “Nick Duffy and Petey DeWindt have been more the possession guys, but Trevor and Santos (Gomez) have been big-play types. Trevor’s playing time really increased when we lost Danny (Favela) to injury for a while or he would have been rotating in.
“He’s really blossomed and he’s still a young player.”
Loewen finished the regular season averaging 27.0 yards per catch. He had 16 receptions, half of which went for touchdowns, and 432 yards. Gomez had 13 catches for 280 yards and four TDs.
The Green Wave (9-0) host Rock Island Alleman (5-4) at 1 p.m. Satuday at Greg True Field in the 4A playoffs.
Elation, dejection for Fox Valley football teams
October 27, 2014
Saturday's announcement of the IHSA football playoff pairings left four area teams elated, two dejected.
Everyone wearing St. Edward green and gold sported a broad smile at Danny's on Douglas, a pizzeria in downtown Elgin where approximately 100 members of the St. Edward football community gathered in front of a big screen to find out which opponent the Green Wave would draw in the wake of a 9-0 regular season.
The crowd erupted in cheers when St. Edward was named the No. 2 seed of the 16 teams in the northern half the of Class 4A bracket. The Green Wave will square off against No. 15 Rock Island Alleman, a 5-4 team that finished in a three-way tie for the Western Big 6 Conference title with Galesburg and Quincy.
Alleman, which owns five state runner-up trophies, reached a 4A semifinal last season before bowing out to eventual state champion Rochester, 46-21. The Pioneers are 32-19 all-time in the postseason.
"I think it's going to be a really good football game. They've got a great history," St. Edward coach Mike Rolando said. "They've been in the playoffs the last four years. We've made the playoffs four of the last six years, but we're still relatively new to it. I think we have a good football team and we have a lot of weapons. We're excited to have a home game and play in front of our crowd."
The second home playoff game in St. Edward history will be played on Saturday at 1 p.m.
Rolando said winning at least one playoff game is the primary goal. That may seem like a low bar for a 9-0 team, but St. Edward's all-time postseason record is 1-4.
"We don't want to look too far ahead, just take one game at a time," St. Edward senior wide receiver Nick Duffy said. "We'll just focus on Rock Island."
St. Edward was ousted in the first round last year after a 40-22 loss on a wet field in Harvard.
"Obviously, we want to go as far as we can, definitely farther than last year," St. Edward sack leader Josh Von Rohr said. "We'll try our best. There are some tough teams out there."
Elsewhere, the area's other undefeated team, Cary-Grove, earned the No. 1 seed of 16 teams in the northern bracket of Class 7A. The Trojans will host No. 16 Niles North (5-4). That's bad news for the Vikings since Cary-Grove has won a first-round playoff game every year since 2004.
The winner moves on to play the winner of No. 9 St. Charles North (7-2) at No. 8 Rolling Meadows (7-2). If Cary-Grove makes a deep playoff run as expected, the Trojans potentially could face No. 4 Geneva in a quarterfinal and No. 2 Highland Park (9-0) or No. 3 Addison Trail (8-1) in a semifinal, if seeds hold.
In Class 8A, Huntley (8-1) returns to the playoffs for the second time in three years under coach John Hart. Seeded No. 7 of the 16 teams in the northern half of the bracket, the Red Raiders will host No. 10 Palatine (7-2).
The winner of that game gets the winner of No. 15 Fremd (6-3) vs. No. 2 Glenbard West (9-0). Coach Chad Hetlet's Hilltoppers reached a Class 7A semifinal last season. They won Class 7A in 2012.
In Class 5A, Burlington Central (6-3) earned the No. 7 seed of 16 schools in the top half of the bracket, which means the Rockets get a first-round home game despite only 6 wins. It will be the school's first playoff game on Rocket Hill since 2006.
Central, making its 16th playoff appearance and first since 2011, is matched up against No. 10 Sterling (6-3). The Golden Warriors, making their 27th postseason appearance, are 16-26 all-time in the postseason.
Not every team was left smiling Saturday. Statewide, four teams with 5-4 records and at least 39 playoff points (combined wins by opponents) were left out of the tournament, including Jacobs.
Another six schools with 5-4 records and 38 playoff points were also left out of the dance. South Elgin was among that group. The threshold last season was 36 points. It was 38 points in 2012.
For Jacobs, not making the playoff means the end of two streaks. The Golden Eagles has reached the postseason four straight years since coach Bill Mitz took over the program.
For Mitz, a hall-of-famer who made the playoffs 21 straight years as the coach at Stevenson, it means the end of a 25-year streak of consecutive playoff appearances.
"That part's not important," Mitz said of the personal streak. "I just feel terrible for our kids. (Friday) night, the bus ride home (after a win at McHenry) was very exciting. The kids were looking at those stupid iPhones and saw that St. Charles East won, Barrington won. With 39 points I thought for sure we were a lock. We looked at it (the IHSA website) in the morning and started thinking about possible matchups. Then we went back and looked at it later and thought, ‘Oh my God, we might not make it.'
"It's tough. It's tough. I feel bad for the kids."
The St. Edward football family -- players, coaches, parents, administrators and alumni -- lingered so long on Elmwood Park's field celebrating the completion of the first 9-0 regular season in the program's 71-year history that the host school finally turned out the lights.
Earlier, the Green Wave turned out the lights on Elmwood Park with a 54-14 win.
"Our coaches asked us at the beginning of the year on our seven-on-seven trip down to Washington (Ill.), what do you want to do this year, what do you want to accomplish?" said senior Jake French, who notched 2 sacks. "We all said 9-0. They said if you guys work for it, you can do it. And we did it."
With the victory St. Edward (9-0, 5-0) wins the Metro Suburban Conference's East Division outright in its first year in the league.
"It's the greatest feeling on earth," said senior quarterback Joe Mullen, who completed 6 of 10 passes for 129 yards and 4 touchdowns.
Elmwood Park (2-7, 1-4) caught the Green Wave off guard on the first play of the game with a trick play. Quarterback Jason Polito-Carlson threw a lateral pass to Dominic Cadetto. With several Green Wave defenders closing in, Cadetto threw a double pass to wide open receiver Julian Moscatello for a 69-yard completion to the St. Edward 1-yard line. Brandon Romero scored on a 1-yard run 2 plays later to give the Tigers a very short-lived 7-0 lead.
St. Edward lost a fumble on its first possession, but the defense held and the Green Wave responded with 54 unanswered points. St. Edward led 47-7 at halftime.
"It was just a minor setback for 30 seconds and then we came out and played football the way we're supposed to," coach Mike Rolando said.
Mullen directed the attack by throwing touchdown passes to Trevor Loewen (22 yards), Dwayne Allen, Jr. (27 yards), Santos Gomez (48 yards) and Nick Duffy (16 yards).
Allen, who carried the ball 9 times for 77 yards, staked St. Edward to a 15-7 lead with a 13-yard run followed by his 2-point conversion run.
Senior running back Santos Gomez provided the highlight of the night with a zigzagging 39-yard touchdown romp that featured two cutbacks. His big run was part of an attack that outgained the Tigers 316 total yards to 117.
"Luckily, my offense kept blocking," Gomez said. "I couldn't have done it without them."
Finishing a regular season 9-0 is a far cry from Rolando's first two seasons as St. Edward's coach in 2005 and 2006, when his teams did not win a game.
"They've truly embraced the team concept, which has allowed them in my mind to overachieve with undersized guys at a lot of positions," Rolando said. "It's a special time for them. I'm just proud of them."
Unbeaten St. Edward bests Elmwood Park for bevy of firsts
October 27, 2014
Friday’s Metro Suburban East game at Elmwood Park marked the possibility of a number of firsts for St. Edward.
A first undefeated regular season in school history, the first conference title since 2010, and a title in the first year of its new conference were all on the line.
“I’m so proud of these kids — they’ve got a good vibe,’’ St. Edward coach Mike Rolando said. “They’re playing for each other, unselfish, no matter who it is, they’re out there cheering for them and have overachieved.’’
“We talk about the old days, the guys that came before them, laid the bricks for this program, and this day is for them.’’
The Green Wave owned the day, defeating the Tigers 54-14.
“It hit me and everyone else in the offseason, that we had it,’’ St. Edward quarterback Joseph Mullen said. “It was then I knew and said that we’re going undefeated. To do it, though, is really awesome.’’
Elmwood Park came out strong, throwing a 68-yard double pass on the first play of the game, scoring two plays later, and then promptly recovering a St. Edward turnover.
“We knew they were going to try some trick plays,’’ Rolando said. “We had six guys around the guy who threw the ball but it was just a minor setback.’’
But that’s where the good news ended for Elmwood Park (2-7, 1-4).
St. Edward (9-0, 5-0) forced a three-and-out on the Tigers’ next possession and scored in three plays. The Green Wave then scored on their next seven possessions, each of which started no deeper than the St. Edward 45-yard line. Four started at the Elmwood Park 37 or closer.
Mullen, who would finish with 156 yards on 7-of-11 passing, threw all four of his touchdowns in the first half.
“The line, receivers and Dwayne Allen are what drive this offense,’’ Mullen said. “There’s a reason he’s the rushing leader in the area, and he just makes it that much easier for me to pass.’’
The Green Wave wouldn’t need much of Allen as he rushed only six times for 53 yards and a touchdown. He also had one of Mullen’s four passing TDs.
While the offense gets all of the accolades, the Green Wave defense has been stout. The defense has shut out or kept its opponents in single digits five times this season.
After Elmwood Park’s first drive, the St. Edward defense stiffened and held the Tiger offense to negative 20-yards and no first downs.
Santos Gomez added two TDs, while Brandon Romero’s 1-yard run and a 6-yard pass from Xavier Vega to Jesus Carrillo accounted for the Elmwood Park scoring.
“For something like this to happen, everything had to bounce the right way and for us they did,’’ Rolando said. “We won the games we were supposed to, showed up in the games that were tight and won, and set this up to be a magical season.’’
Five games to watch in the Elgin area for Week 9
October 24, 2014
St. Edward (8-0, 4-0) at Elmwood Park (2-6, 1-3), 7:15 p.m. Friday
Last year: Did not play.
Key players: St. Edward — WR Trevor Loewen, WR/DB Santos Gomez. Elmwood Park — RB/LB Ernest Deangelo, DB Corey Simmons.
Outlook: Coming off 35-14 win over Walther Christian, Elmwood has struggled defensively against run, but has plenty of speed on offense. Look for Green Wave to hand it to area rushing leader Dwayne Allen Jr. early and often, then tune up passing game for playoffs. St. Edward’s defense has turned it around, allowing only six points combined for three teams after giving up 21 to Guerin to open conference.
Gene Chamberlain’s football notes:
October 24, 2014
The Perfect Wave
Metro Suburban East champion St. Edward can complete the first perfect regular season in school history by winning at Elmwood Park, and 10th-year coach Mike Rolando can’t help but think back to where it all started.
The Green Wave went 0-9 his first two years.
“It’s kind of surreal to think of 9-0,” Rolando said. “At the beginning, those first years, people didn’t think we could win any games let alone make the playoffs.”
St. Edward’s depth and secondary gets a boost this week with senior defensive back Dan Favela returning.
“What a tough year he’s had, with appendicitis, then he fractured a toe, had a sprained ankle and then a hand fracture,” Rolando said. “Now he’s healed. It gives us another bigger (6-1) athlete in the secondary and allows us to give Santos Gomez and Dwayne Allen, who also play on offense, some rest.”
St. Edward on brink of first 9-0 season
October 20, 2014
With standout freshman running back Dwayne Allen filling up the stat sheet every week opponents are already well aware of St. Edward's ability to run the ball. However, it's easy to fall into the trap of overlooking the Green Wave's passing game.
That passing attack was on full display Friday night at Greg True Field in Elgin. Quarterback Joe Mullen threw for 365 yards and 5 touchdowns to lead the Green Wave to a 45-6 Metro Suburban East win over Chicago Christian. St. Edward (8-0, 4-0) is now just one win away from its first unbeaten regular season. The eight wins ties a school record set in 1978 and 2010. The Green Wave also clinched at least a share of the Metro East title, their first conference title since 1978.
"Every week the pressure builds a little more to keep the undefeated season going," St. Edward coach Mike Rolando said. "But the kids continue to respond and I have been really impressed with the way they keep their focus."
Mullen had touchdown tosses of 27, 64, 63, 68, and 11 yards. He hooked up with Nick Duffy on the Green Wave's first possession for a 27-yard strike to open the scoring. Then he found Santos Gomez deep for 64 yards on the second possession to make it 14-0.
"In getting prepared for the game we thought they would probably be geared up to stop the run," Rolando said. "So we wanted to come out ready to throw. We are a very well-rounded team and Joe is a good passer, so if the passes are there we are not going to hesitate to throw it. Everybody in the passing game did a great job tonight. The line did an excellent job of protecting, and the receivers did a great job of getting open, and Joe was on target."
Mullen completed 15 of 19 attempts.
"It's amazing what having a running back like Dwayne does for the rest of the offense," said Mullen of Allen, who had 93 yards on 17 carries. "Other teams come in planning around stopping him and that just opens up the passing game for us. We were going to take whatever the defense gave us and today they gave us the pass. And the O- line did an amazing job to give us time to throw That's the only way this is able to happen."
Sophomore Trevor Loewen was Mullen's favorite deep target with long bombs of 63 and 68 yards for touchdowns in the first half. St. Edward led 31-6 at the half. Loewen finished with 6 receptions for 194 yards.
"I did a lot of offseason work with Joe," said Loewen. "So we have a good feel for one another. And we have so many other guys on our offense that can make plays it just takes the pressure off and gives everyone a lot of opportunities."
Mullen added an 11 yard touchdown pass to John deWindt on the first possession of the third quarter. Later in the fourth M. Dziurgot ran for a 2-yard touchdown.
On defense the Green Wave held the Knights to just 130 total yards. Josh Von Rohr had a pair of sacks and Saveon Smith had an interception.
St. Edward passing attack perks up with cup of Joe Mullen
October 20, 2014
St. Edward quarterback Joe Mullen and his receiving corps lit up the Friday night sky in Elgin.
Mullen connected with Nick Duffy and Santos Gomez once and Trevor Loewen twice on touchdown passes before halftime, giving the unbeaten Green Wave control of a game they never relinquished.
St. Edward’s 45-6 win over visiting Chicago Christian maintained the Green Wave’s unbeaten season record and clinched their first Metro Suburban East title.
“They had it going on,” Chicago Christian coach Jim Bolhuis said. “They really looked sharp. Our guys were out of position but those were four devastating pass plays in the first half that took us out of the game.”
St. Edward (8-0, 4-0) led 31-6 at halftime, with Mullen racking up more than 250 yards passing. The senior found John deWindt in the second half to finish with five touchdown passes and 360 yards passing on 15-for-19.
Mullen applauded his offensive line and tipped his hat to running back Dwayne Allen Jr., who finished with 91 yards rushing and went into Friday’s game with 1,075 yards and an 8.1 yards-per-carry average.
“Having a back like Dwayne is amazing,” Mullen said. “Teams game plan against him and he’s unselfish. He doesn’t mind not carrying the ball forty times and he opened up the passing game.”
St. Edward led 14-0 after one quarter on a 27-yard TD pass from Mullen to Duffy and a 64-yard TD reception by Santos Gomez.
Chicago Christian (4-4, 2-2) got a 25-yard TD pass from quarterback Christian Bolhuis to Nathan Wigboldy in the second quarter, but Mullen found Loewen on TD passes of 64 and 68 yards to take a 31-6 halftime lead.
“I knew that if I could get by (the Knights’ defense), they wouldn’t be able to catch up with me,” Loewen said. “The line was giving (Mullen) a lot of time and Joe delivered the ball to me in good spots.”
Loewen finished with 186 yards receiving.
“We haven’t faced a good passing team like (St. Edward) this year, and it showed,” Jim Bolhuis said. “We were tough in certain cases but it was spotty.
“Our running back (Colby Rountree) has had some really good games but when teams key on him, we need to have a next step. We got some other people involved, but we couldn’t match that success with the stops we needed.”
St. Edward got a late 11-yard TD run from Mike Dziurgot, but it was the passing attack that owned the night.
“Six of our eight games have been in the rain and Dwayne has been running the ball great,” St. Edward coach Mike Rolando said. “But [Friday] Joe was really on and the offensive line was fantastic.”
Scouting Week 8 in the Fox Valley
October 17, 2014
Chicago Christian (3-4, 2-1) at St. Edward (7-0, 3-0)
When/where: today at 7 p.m. at Greg True Field
Last year: St. Edward 53, Chicago Christian 6
Last week: Chicago Christian 38, Elmwood Park 34; St. Edward 38, Ridgewood 0
Outlook: St. Edward, the No. 8 team in Class 4A according to the latest poll by The Associated Press, seeks to tie a school record while improving its playoff seed. A victory would tie the record of 8 wins in a single season, previously achieved in 1978 (8-1) and 2010 (8-3). A win would also clinch at least a share of the Metro Suburban East title. The Green Wave face a Chicago Christian squad fighting to remain in the playoff hunt. The Knights must defeat St. Edward and Guerin (3-4) to be considered at 5-4. They enter the weekend with 29 playoff points. "They are a strong group with a lot of personal desire to make the playoffs," St. Edward coach Mike Rolando said of the Knights. "It's high school sports; teams can play above their ability when they're playing for each other and a common goal like making the playoffs and knocking off a 7-0 team. They have a lot of reasons to play inspired football. We've stressed to our kids we have to match the level of intensity Chicago Christian will bring." It'll be a tall task for the Knights to upset St. Edward based on recent results. Two weeks ago Chicago Christian lost to Ridgewood, 24-14. St. Edward defeated Ridgewood 38-0 last week.
Next week: Chicago Christian at Guerin (3-4); St. Edward at Elmwood Park (1-6)
Five football games to watch for the Elgin area in Week 8
October 17, 2014
Chicago Christian (3-4, 2-1) at St. Edward (7-0, 3-0), 7 p.m. Friday
Last year: St. Edward 53, Chicago Christian 6.
Key players: Chicago Christian — QB Christian Bolhuis, RB Colby Roundtree. St. Edward — RB Dwayne Allen Jr., DL Jake French.
Outlook: St. Edward is in pursuit of its first perfect regular season and takes the first Metro Suburban East title with a victory. Chicago Christian comes in off a 38-34 win over Elmwood Park, and has an offense that relies almost solely on the run. Roundtree, who averages 132.3 yards, is the running threat. Bolhuis is a threat running the read option. The Wave defense could be in line for a third straight shutout win because this opponent scored just 14 against the Ridgewood team St. Edward beat 38-0 last Friday.
Gene Chamberlain’s football notes:
October 17, 2014
St. Edward coach Mike Rolando had called his team’s offensive effort in last week’s second half “a little bit sloppy” despite the 38-0 win over Ridgewood.
Cleaning up execution in the passing game will be a goal against Chicago Christian as the Green Wave attempts to clinch the first title in the new Metro Suburban East at home Friday.
The blocking was there all game last week, even if the second-half points weren’t.
“The O-line really impresses me week in and week out,” said Rolando, whose team was ranked eighth in this week’s AP Class 4A poll. “Regardless of who’s getting the ball we’re gaining yards — and we’ve got a little bit of an undersized line but they’re doing a great job.”
Anticipate St. Edward’s defense playing a five-man line against a team that relies greatly on the run.
The Green Wave used an extra defender up front in Week 7 and held Ridgewood to one first down in recording a second straight shutout.
“Depending on the team we’re playing, on what they run, we can go with a five or a four,” Rolando said of the line. “It’s back and forth for us.”
Daily Herald Week 7 MVPs
October 16, 2014
Josh Von Rohr, St. Edward: This 6-foot-1, 185-pound defensive end terrorized Ridgewood's offense throughout a 38-0 homecoming victory. The senior led undefeated St. Edward to its seventh win and second straight shutout with a season-high 9 tackles. Von Rohr registered 3 sacks, increasing his team-best total to 10.
Josh Van Rohr, Jake French fire up St. Edward ‘D’ to top Ridgewood
October 11, 2014
Unbeaten St. Edward has piled up some pretty big numbers in its run to the top of the Metro Suburban East, but in Friday night’s 38-0 victory over Ridgewood, the low numbers were more impressive.
Thanks to a speedy front led by linemen Josh Van Rohr and Jake French, St. Edward (7-0, 3-0) met its biggest conference challenge of the season by limiting the Rebels (3-4, 2-1) to one first down and 27 yards of offense while recording a second straight shutout.
“We’re not the biggest team around so we strive at working on speed more than power,” said French, after the Green Wave piled up four sacks and held Ridgewood rushing threat Chris Serna to 38 yards on 10 attempts.
“We’re doing really good with the five-man front,” Van Rohr said. “I think coach did a good job with that, and Jake French can really shoot through those gaps while the other linemen take up some room.”
There was no running room for Rebel backs, and Ridgewood quarterback Chris Jacobsen completed only 3-for21 for zero yards before leaving in the second half following a big hit.
“A lot of what we do is based on our ability to run and kind of open up the passing game, but their D-line was doing a great job and we weren’t able to get that running game going,” Ridgewood coach Chris Zack said.
St. Edward broke out a new set of black and neon yellow uniforms for homecoming, and looked energized early on offense by the wardrobe change, marching to touchdowns on the second, third and fourth possessions behind Dwayne Allen Jr.
The junior running back had 175 yards on 16 carries and rushing TDs of 40 and 62 yards. He also flashed in the passing game by turning a swing pass into a 35-yard TD. His 40-yard twisting run gave St. Edward a 7-0 lead.
The Green Wave also had a 5-yard TD run by linebacker-turned-tailback Jack Tierney in their elephant power package.
“The O-line really impresses me week in and week out,” coach Mike Rolando said. “Regardless of who’s getting the ball, we’re gaining yards. We’ve got a little bit of an undersized line but I thought we responded to a pretty good test, especially early.”
Green Wave quarterback Joe Mullin went 14-for-30 for 152 yards and two TDs. Besides the one to Allen, he threw a 22-yard lob on fourth-and-2 that 6-4 tight end Nick Duffy stole out of defensive back Mike Ortiz’s hands before falling into the end zone 3:19 before halftime. That made it 32-0.
Special teams got in on the effort, as well. Jake French blocked a punt and recovered at the 7 to set up a 23-yard Joe French field goal halfway through the second quarter for a 24-0 lead.
“I honestly think that was just another play that just happened to happen,” Jake French said. “I think I got lucky.”
They got lucky again a minute later when the snap went over the head of Rebels punter Max Kalynyuk, and he took an intentional grounding in the end zone for safety and 26-0 Wave lead.
St. Edward can lock up its first conference football title since 1948 by beating Chicago Christian Friday at home.
“It is fantastic to see our team coming together and getting it done,” Jake French said.
St. Edward makes it 7-0
October 11, 2014
As the St. Edward football team gets to rewrite history every week with win after win that inches the Green Wave closer to its 9-0 goal, head coach Mike Rolando learns something new about his team each week.
For the second-straight week of scoreless football and third time this season, the Wave (7-0, 3-0) tossed out possibly is toughest competition to date -- Ridgewood -- 38-0 at Greg True Field Friday in Elgin in Metro Suburban East action.
Related Article Images: St. Edward vs. Ridgewood football
In this case, a potent run game by Ridgewood (3-4, 2-1) was held to 30 yards while its pass dipped into the negatives (-11 yards) to total just 19 yards of offense with only 1 first down to show. All this by 5-man defensive front headlined by Josh Von Rohr, Jake French, Chris Kelly and Augustus Nottolini that held the Rebels to an 0-for-12 mark on drives, their deepest reaching the Wave 18 in the first half via a kickoff return.
"You never know what you got when your winning games like this, you keep waiting for that test and I thought tonight was a pretty good test and our kids responded real well early," Rolando said. "We were real concerned about their running game. They ran the ball real well in the games we saw on film. We put five guys on the line and I don't think the linebackers had to clean up much. I think the D-line got to all those tackles."
The front 5 made the big plays and dominated the interior consistently as Von Rohr notched a sack for a three-and-out on the game's first drive while Kelly and French pressured Ridgewood quarterback Chris Jacobsen and running back Chris Serna relentlessly. French's blocked punt that he recovered at the Rebels' 5-yard line set up his brother Joe French's 23-yard field goal to put St. Edward up 24-0 with 6 minutes to go in the second quarter. Serna rushed just 11 times for 38 yards and Jacobsen was pulled at half.
"We knew they were pretty athletic on the D-line, we've gone against some pretty big schools so far and been able to handle them pretty well," said Rebels coach Chris Zack. "I think we were a little caught off guard with a little bit of their quickness on the interior D-line."
The Wave's pressure also forced a safety when Ridgewood botched a snap on a punt and threw the ball out of bounds in the end zone.
"Every week we try to improve and we watch film and we see how is this offense different from the last one, how can we adapt to it and we're really doing well with the 5-man front, I think coach did a great job with that," Von Rohr said. "(French) can really shoot through those gaps while other linemen pickup some room."
"I just think that was just another play that happened, I think I got lucky," French said. "I think what really made our defense tonight was everyone coming together, pulling ourselves up and stopping them whatever chance we got to. We're not the biggest team around but we strive on working on speed and more than power. "
Talk about speed. Don't forget about Dwayne Allen, who ran 17 times for 185 yards with touchdown runs of 40 and 70 yards. He also added 2 catches for 48 yards, including a 35-yard touchdown reception where he broke a tackle in the early part of the second quarter. St. Edward moved the ball on offense efficiently in the first half scoring 32 points. That included Jack Tierney's 5-yard touchdown run in the first quarter for a 14-0 lead and Nick Duffy's (6 catches, 75 yards) sort-of-miracle catch where he wrestled the pass away from Ridgewood's Mike Ortiz at the goal line to make it 32-0. Joe Mullen went 15-for-32 for 154 yards and 2 touchdowns as the Wave piled up 458 yards of offense.
Five football games to watch for the Elgin area in Week 7
October 10, 2014
Ridgewood (3-3, 2-0) at St. Edward (6-0, 2-0), 7 p.m. Friday
Last year: Did not play.
Key players: Ridgewood — LB Seth Krueger, RB Chris Serna. St. Edward — LB Jack Tierney, TE Nick Duffy.
Outlook: It’s a battle for first place in the Metro Suburban East, with the winner a strong favorite to take the title. St. Edward’s defense has to worry about a Ridgewood attack that spreads out teams and runs inside with Serna, who reminds Green Wave coach Mike Rolando of Riverside-Brookfield’s explosive Matt Chapp. Alex Rice is another running threat for Ridgewood, which lost to bigger schools Fenton, Niles West and Glenbard South. St. Edward linebackers Chris Kelly and Jack Tierney will be challenged to control the line against a bigger unit than they’ve been used to facing.
Ridgewood (3-3, 2-0) at St. Edward (6-0, 2-0)
October 10, 2014
Ridgewood (3-3, 2-0) at St. Edward (6-0, 2-0)
When/where: today at 7 p.m. at Greg True Field
Watch: Streaming broadcast via highschoolcube can be seen at football.dailyherald.com
Last week: Ridgewood 24, Chicago Christian 14; St. Edward 61, Walther Christian 0
Outlook: With a playoff berth secured, St. Edward seeks to improve its postseason seed and put a stranglehold on first place in the Metro Suburban Conference's East Division with a homecoming victory. The Green Wave and the Rebels are tied atop the MSC East standings. "I think they're pretty good," St. Edward coach Mike Rolando said. "I compare them a lot to Riverside-Brookfield. They're a school twice our size and they have some big, tough kids, especially up front. They have a really good running game and some good athletes on defense. It's a guessing game as to what they'll try to take away defensively. Our job is to figure that out and find a way to be successful." The Rebels may load the box to try to take away St. Edward junior running back Dwayne Allen, who has rushed for 891 yards and 12 touchdowns in 115 attempts (7.7 avg.). If so, it could give quarterback Joe Mullen a chance to add to his totals of 845 yards and 14 touchdowns on 47-of-86 passing. Mullen's top targets have been Trevor Loewen (10 rec., 230 yards, 5 TD), Nick Duffy (11 rec., 157 yards, 5 TD) and Santos Gomez (7 rec., 155 yards, 2 TD). Offensively, the Rebels ran the ball successfully last week with senior Chris Serna and sophomore Alex Rice combining to rush for 212 yards and 3 touchdowns.
Next week: Guerin (2-4) at Ridgewood; Chicago Christian (2-4) at St. Edward
Running back Dwayne Allen Jr. energizes St. Edward offense
October 9, 2014
St. Edward's Dwayne Allen Jr. finds running room against Walther Christian on Saturday. | Jeff Krage/For Sun-Times Media
For two years, Dwayne Allen Jr. watched St. Edward running back Davontae Elam, and learned.
Now Allen is showing how well he paid attention as he handles the ball as many times as a bigger back might, but does it with his own flair during a season that has the Green Wave (6-0, 3-0) closing in on the school’s first conference title since the 1948 team won the old Northeast Catholic Conference crown.
“We expect when you feature a guy that it might mean 20 carries a game, but he’s gotten it 43, 44 times before,” St. Edward coach Mike Rolando said. “He’s a durable, tough kid in real good shape with good muscle mass.
“Part of the reason he is so durable is he doesn’t get hit hard. Like a lot of good backs, he has that ability to avoid being hit.”
At 5-9, 160 pounds, Allen has a much different style than the 190-pound Elam, who was more north-south with power. Allen, who developed as a youth player with the Elgin Bears and Junior Royals, has speed and moves, and on one run earlier went 61 yards from sideline to sideline and then back.
“The linemen know to keep blocking downfield and stay with their blocks because he might be coming back their way,” Rolando said.
It isn’t all natural ability — some was learned.
“The biggest thing I learned from watching Davontae was patience with my running,” Allen said. “I was always full speed. Watching him, I’d see him change speeds to follow them through a hole and let a play develop.”
Allen’s debut didn’t go as planned with 11 yards on 15 runs against Genoa-Kingston. Since then he has been the dominant force in a multifaceted offense. With 891 yards on 115 carries, Allen leads the area in rushing.
Allen ran for more than 200 yards in consecutive weeks against Riverside-Brookfield (203), IC Prep (242) and Guerin (220). He could have done it five times but had only five carries in routs of Clark and Walther Christian. He still went over 100 yards in each game.
“Part of the reason I’m not getting hit is the line I’ve got is doing a terrific job,” Allen said. “They’re low key without publicity, but I’m not juking anyone without them.”
Originally Rolando intended to use Dan Favela to take carries from Allen, but the senior had appendicitis and now suffers from a toe fracture that could keep him out until the regular-season finale.
Allen has only two catches, but can do that, as well.
“We’ve got a lot of targets in the passing game and haven’t really gotten to it,” Rolando said.
So Allen has displayed his hands in another way — as a starting cornerback.
“At the beginning of the year I was getting plays off and then going to defense, but now I’m used to going right back out,” he said. “At corner you have to have a short memory and I do. I don’t hang on to stuff, if they beat you on a long one. You have to lose that real quick and do your job.”
St. Edward will no doubt need help from Allen on both sides of the ball Friday with a homecoming game against Ridgewood (3-3, 3-0) in a battle between Metro Suburban East leaders.
“Their losses came to 5A, 6A and 8A teams so they’re going to be a strong opponent,” Rolando said.
Added Allen: “We had a few games earlier this year where it seemed like we didn’t come out ready to play but we’ll be ready for this one.”
Gene Chamberlain’s football notes:
October 7, 2014
St. Edward coach Mike Rolando gave a tip of the cap to defensive coordinator Marc Rusinko for an early tweak after Walther Christian started with a few first downs. The Green Wave (6-0, 2-0) went on to a 61-0 rout.
“He made a slight adjustment with our linebackers when they were able to get a couple things done,” Rolando said. “I think that’s something coach Marc does real well is make adjustments, whether at halftime, in the first quarter or after we see a couple things happening that we weren’t expecting. The ACC game last year comes to mind. We gave up 124 yards the first quarter and negative yards the rest of the game.”
St. Edward plays its biggest game of the year — and its homecoming game — Friday against Ridgewood (3-3, 2-0).
“They’ve got alomst twice as many kids as we do,” Rolando said. “It’s not going to be easy.”
History for St. Edward -- 6-0 for first time
October 6, 2014
In the 71 years that St. Edward has played football, there have been more days the Green Wave tried to forget than there have been days to remember.
Saturday will most certainly go down as one to remember.
The fact the Green Wave rolled to a 61-0 Metro Suburban East win over Walther Christian in Melrose Park was almost secondary to the real accomplishments on a bitterly cold and rainy early October afternoon. Not only did St. Edward secure a playoff bid for the second-straight year and the fourth time in 10 seasons under coach Mike Rolando, but the Green Wave also became the first team in the history of the program to go 6-0.
"I guess its just a culmination of a lot of hard work and a lot of good people," said Rolando, well after his team and the decent number of fans who braved the elements had finished their celebration.
"You think of all the people who put so much into this. It's a great community. It's a football community and that's what makes this program what it is. I'm really happy for the kids right now and I'm happy to hear from all the alumni. They're proud of the way the program's being rebuilt and where it's at right now."
Where the program is right now is poised to win a conference championship possibly for the first time, or at least since 1978 when the Wave went 8-1 in the old West Suburban Catholic. Wins the next two weeks over Ridgewood and Chicago Christian would send St. Edward (6-0, 2-0) to the Class 4A playoffs as a conference representative for the first time. Then, a win over Elmwood Park in Week 9, would cap off the best regular season in school history.
But, wait, says Rolando. Next week is all that matters right now.
"The kids all along have had pretty lofty goals," Rolando said. "They've had a goal of being 9-0 but we slow them down and take them week by week. They know Ridgewood is probably the biggest one they have left. Right now it's the biggest game in school history and the biggest game in their history. It's a homecoming game and we won't have any trouble getting up for this game. They know how huge this one is. You can't get to 8 and 9 if you don't get 7. They'll show up and they'll be excited."
Getting win No. 6 was about as easy as the final score would indicate, as the Green Wave scored the most points in any game records are available for, eclipsing the 60 they put up against Wheaton Academy last year.
St. Edward scored on all eight of its possessions in the first half, rolling up 54 of its points in the first 24 minutes, mercifully evoking the running clock rule in the second half. And after last week's slow start against Guerin, getting out of the gates quickly Saturday was the main focus all week.
"All week Coach Ro had us going through a bunch of drills because we started out flat against Guerin and we didn't want to do that today," said senior quarterback Joe Mullen, who got the second half off after going 8-for-10 for 167 yards and 4 touchdowns in the first half.
"We came out focused and ready. The whole team was ready and we brought our A game today."
Senior Nick Duffy started the scoring when he caught a 29-yard TD pass from Mullen on the third play of the game. Then Mullen hooked up with sophomore Trevor Loewen (3 catches, 65 yards) for a 12-yard scoring pass. Junior Dwayne Allen (4 carries, 99 yards) scored the next 2 TDs, from 19 yards out and 22 yards. and the Green Wave had a 28-0 lead before the hot chocolate could get cold.
"Having a great back like Dwayne helps and we can also open up a lot of stuff in the package," Mullen said.
Senior Jon deWindt caught a 12-yard TD pass from Mullen, Allen ran in from 52 yards away, Loewen caught a 41-yarder for a score and junior Patrick Brown went in from 23 yards out. Senior Joe French made 6 of 8 PAT kicks and it was 54-0 at halftime.
Junior Aaron Jefferson's 5-yard TD run with 7:57 left in the third quarter made it 9 possessions and 9 touchdowns for the Wave, who only had to run 31 offensive plays the entire game. The running clock limited the second half to a total of 32 plays combined.
St. Edward ran for 153 yards on the day and had 313 total yards to 184 for the Broncos (0-6, 0-2). Walther sophomore Jaylen Pugh did have a big game with 147 yards rushing on 24 carries. The St. Edward defense, though, only let Walther into the red zone once -- on the final possession of the game -- and the Broncos only penetrated St. Edward territory three times all day.
And the postgame celebration gave everyone clad in green and gold a great sense of pride and accomplishment.
"To finally be the first team to go 6-0 is just so meaningful," said Mullen. "I just want to thank everybody -- the fans, and the coaching staff for giving us this opportunity It's been a great time. It really has.
"Coach Ro and the coaching staff ... we treat every game like it's the Super Bowl so next week we want to carry it over and go 7-0."
St. Edward makes school history with 6-0 mark
October 6, 2014
St. Edward players shouted and sang the fight song after drubbing Walther Christian on the road 61-0 Saturday to become the first 6-0 team in school history, but the real celebrating occurred several minutes earlier.
That was during the fourth quarter when the Green Wave’s David Groves caused a fumble and teammate Patrick Brown recovered for the fifth forced turnover of the game by St. Edward’s defense. The noise on the sideline hit its highest decibel level at that moment.
“We were all really excited because coach promised us burritos if we got five turnovers,” defensive captain Chris Kelly said. “We all wanted some hot burritos after a nice, cold day out here.”
St. Edward played like a hungry team from the very start, which hadn’t occurred the previous week when the Green Wave (6-0, 2-0) fell behind Guerin 13-0 before winning 38-21.
The Green Wave piled up a 47-0 lead by halftime and had a running clock the entire second half, as quarterback Joe Mullen threw four TD passes to help the Green Wave secure a playoff berth.
“I think we kind of overlooked Guerin,” Kelly said. “We definitely didn’t want to do that again. We learned our leasson without having to lose a game.”
The defense had interceptions by Groves and Christopher Martinez and fumble recoveries by Joe McFadden and Bryan O’Neill in addition to Brown, helping St. Edward stay atop the Metro Suburban East.
Walther Christian (0-6, 0-2) was held to negative yardage until the Green Wave went up 41-0 in the second quarter, and the offense executed flawlessly all day.
“All week coach Ro (Mike Rolando) had us going through a bunch of drills because we started off flat against Guerin, and we didn’t want to do that,” Mullen said. “The whole team was ready to go and we came out and brought our ‘A’ game.”
Mullen found tight end Nick Duffy for a 29-yard TD pass on the first Green Wave possession, and the offense capitalized on great field position provided by the defense and poor Walther Christian punting to get a 12-yard Mullen-to-Trevor Loewen TD pass, a 24-yard Dwayne Allen TD run and a 21-yard Allen TD run all before the first quarter ended. A 13-yard Mullen-to-Petey DeWindt TD pass, a 40-yard TD pass to Loewen, and scoring runs of 19 yards by Brown and 51 yards by Allen followed.
Allen finished with 100 yards rushing and Mullen with 130 yards passing.
By the time it was over, the poor start in that win over Guerin was a distant memory.
“There was a great sense of embarrassment on my part, on the coaches’ part, on the players’ part, with the whole program to be down 13-0 in that,” Rolando said. “Nothing against Guerin because they came out hard and played well and they beat (Elmwood Park) last night so they’re not a real bad football team. But we shouldn’t have been down.
“The talk all week was starting out fast.”
It also was about making history, although a 6-0 start means very little if a team doesn’t go on to win the conference title.
“I’m happy for the kids right now and I’m happy to hear from the alumni like we have been about our good start,” Rolando said. “We had a couple alumni on the sideline with us [Saturday]. They’re proud of us. We may be the first team from here that’s 6-0 but they don’t look at it as getting records broken. They (alumni) look at it as we’re something they’re proud of.”
St. Edward's story is waiting for a championship ending
October 2, 2014
I've been kidding St. Edward coach Mike Rolando for the last couple of years to hurry up and win a state championship so we can write a book already.
Well, partly kidding anyway.
Of all the interesting stories on the Fox Valley prep sports beat over the last decade, none would merit elaboration in book form more than the revival and eventual rise to a state championship of St. Edward football.
That's because everyone loves a good rise-from-the-ashes-against-all-odds tale, a story in which the team everyone writes off rides off into the sunset.
The revival chapters are already written. Heck, they practically wrote themselves.
St. Edward has reached the playoffs three of the last five seasons, and a win this Saturday at Walther Christian would make the Green Wave 6-0 for the first time in their 71-year history.
But that's post-turnaround.
For those too young to remember St. Edward football as anything but highly competitive, here's an outline of the first few chapters of "For Whom the Victory Bell Tolls" (working title):
It's 2003, late July. The previous St. Edward coach and staff quit without notice weeks before fall practice is scheduled to open. The players don't find out until they show up at the Elgin Sports Complex for practice only to find a note taped to a porta-John that reads "season canceled."
The Elgin Catholic school turns to a well-known, former local athlete to guide the football program: Rolando, who quarterbacked Larkin to a state quarterfinal in 1990.
At the time he has no experience coaching at the high school level. His experience encompasses seven seasons with various Elgin youth football teams, including the Crusaders, which he led to the eighth-grade Super Bowl title a year earlier.
Several St. Edward upperclassmen give up on the program, advised by others to transfer to public schools. The job of continuing the St. Edward football program falls mainly to underclassmen.
Seventeen of Rolando's players from the Super Bowl champion Crusaders join him as freshmen at St. Edward. Due to low varsity numbers after transfers, eight freshmen must start on the varsity right away. It's literally boys against men.
If the book is someday made into a movie, these chapters will be condensed into a video montage of St. Edward freshmen and sophomores getting the snot knocked out of them by upperclassmen from state championship-caliber teams from Montini, Driscoll, Marian Central, etc. St. Edward goes winless in 2005 and 2006.
Finally, in Week 7 of the 2007 season, Rolando and his players break into the win column, beating St. Francis 28-26 by denying a 2-point conversion that would have tied the game in overtime. Tears are shed. Hugs are exchanged between strangers. The school's 26-game losing streak comes to an end. The victory bell rings for the first time since the 2004 season.
The Green Wave win 4 games in 2008, including a 22-0 win over IC Catholic Prep, which goes on to win a Class 2A state title, and a 20-8 victory over Marmion in Week 9.
Just as importantly, the Green Wave hang tough with the big boys in the final year of the old Suburban Catholic Conference. They lose 21-12 to eventual Class 4A quarterfinalist Driscoll (9-3), they lose 28-12 to eventual 5A state champion St. Francis (13-1) and they drop a 33-27 decision to eventual 5A quarterfinalist Montini (11-1).
They play well, but the Green Wave still lose with one of their better teams. The 2008 season perhaps more than any other shows the need for St. Edward, a school of between 400-420 students depending on the year, to find a less-tilted playing field. But that doesn't happen until 2014.
These chapters cover the playoff years. St. Edward reaches the postseason three of the next five seasons, including 2013. However, because of the difference in size and philosophy between St. Edward and the SCC powers, the Green Wave will always face an uphill battle, outmanned in at least 3 games per season by schools more than twice their size. No matter how hard Rolando, his players and his staff work to improve, they will struggle to earn a high seed in Class 4A against a mostly Class 5A schedule.
That's why St. Edward and six of the smaller members of the SCC left and merged this season with the Metro Suburban Conference. St. Edward now finds itself in the conference's East Division with Ridgewood (2-3), Chicago Christian (2-3), Guerin (1-4), Elmwood Park (1-4) and Walther Christian (0-5).
The MSC West includes Glenbard South (3-2), Riverside-Brookfield (3-2), IC Catholic Prep (2-3), Wheaton Academy (4-1), Aurora Central Catholic (4-1) and Fenton (4-1).
It does not mean St. Edward will annually have an easy path to the playoffs. Several MSC schools boast three or four times St. Edward's enrollment and could well develop strong programs that enjoy a string of successful seasons.
However, the level of competition is simply fairer now. In its better seasons, like this one, St. Edward will have the opportunity to win 7, 8, perhaps 9 games. That means a high seed, a first-round home game and a more realistic chance to get past the second round of the playoffs, something this program has yet to achieve.
In fact, several more firsts could be on the way in coming years. More wins tend to beget more players, and more players beget more wins.
"Success breeds success," Rolando said Wednesday. "It's no longer like the old days against the big schools we played where we were a third or half their size, but we're also not playing Class 1A and 2A teams either. We're playing schools that are equivalent or bigger than us. In some cases, much bigger. It's a little different landscape, but now our schedule is filled with teams we could be seeing in the playoffs like Ridgewood. The schedule now sets us up to have more success, but we still have to earn it."
Making the move from the SCC to the MSC not only gives the talented 2014 squad a chance to go 6-0 for the first time in school history, it means Green Wave teams of the future will have the opportunity to reach the playoffs with a high seed if they work as hard as their predecessors who saved the program a decade ago.
It could eventually mean a deep playoff run, maybe even that long-sought state championship.
It means sometime in coming years we might finally get to write that book.
St. Edward comes back to make it 5-0
September 27, 2014
The Guerin Prep faithful was in stunned silence after St. Edward spoiled the Crusader homecoming 38-21 Friday evening in River Grove.
After a 13-0 deficit stared the Green Wave (5-0) in the face, St. Edward junior running Dwayne Allen was not ready to bow out early. Allen and St. Edward retaliated from the 13-point hole to post 38 unanswered points on the scoreboard.
For the fourth week in a row Allen registered yardage on the ground over the century mark, and for the second week in a row recorded over 200-yards (205 yards).
"I just have to stay positive," Allen said of the slow start to the game. "I had a feeling I'd break a run. I have the benefit of my offensive line that didn't give up for me. This is the first time in my football career that we've gone five in a row. I'm looking forward to the next game."
And run he did. With Allen's 241 all-purpose yards and one touchdown game, he not only extended St. Edward's undefeated record, but he also had his best performance of the year.
The first two offensive series the Green Wave tossed an interception and coughed up a fumble. This led to consecutive hook ups between Guerin Prep sophomore Richie Zacharias, who connected with junior receiver Keith Franklin for corner of the end zone touchdown (35 yard and 14 yard) throws.
However, the St. Edward defensive unit tightened up its play. After they chased a 13-0 lead, they wouldn't relinquish a score to Guerin Prep until there was a mere 14 seconds left in the entire game.
With the help of St. Edward junior linebacker Jake French (2.5 sacks, onside kick recovery), senior Jack Tierney (one sack for a safety) and freshman cornerback Savion Smith (didn't allow a single catch to Franklin after his first quarter touchdowns), nothing got past the St. Edward defense. St. Edward senior safety Bryan O'Neil also added an interception.
"It's no secret that we had an embarrassing start to the game," French said. "We came back because it's never a one-man show. We listen to what the coaches say, and we perform as a team.
"We have to keep our hearts throughout the entire game. If we got our head on right, we can get the win the right way."
In addition to the offensive showing that Allen displayed, Green Wave senior quarterback Joseph Mullen (11-for-21, 146 yards) threw for 3 touchdowns. Two of the Mullen scores were tossed to senior receiver Santos Gomez (5 catches, 56 yards), while the other from 4 yards out was gripped by senior receiver Nick Duffy.
The final St. Edward score was set up emulating the 1985 Chicago Bears in the Super Bowl where William ‘The Fridge' Perry rushed a ball into the end zone. In this version of the T-formation from the biggest man on the team was Green Wave senior lineman Kasey Cooke taking in a 1-yard run for the touchdown.
Although the St. Edward defense ended up allowing 65 yards in penalties that led to a final Guerin Prep scoring drive, Green Wave coach Mike Rolando was proud of the tenacity that all three phases exhibited in the final three quarters.
St. Edward will try to keep its perfect season alive as the Wave travel to Walther Lutheran next Saturday.
"I'm proud of the boys responding after the beginning," Rolando said. "Joe led the team well at quarterback, and I have a number of freshmen that played well. Dwayne is a phenomenal runner hitting a lot of good holes, and he make good plays out of nothing.
"It is a great way to learn (from the slow start) because you can't look past anyone. We're making history with every win. It's going to take a lot of heart to keep (the undefeated record)."
Scouting Week 5 in the Fox Valley
September 26, 2014
St. Edward (4-0, 0-0) at Guerin (1-3, 0-0)When/where: today at 7:30 p.m.
Watch: Streaming broadcast via highschoolcube can be seen at football.dailyherald.com
Last meeting (2010): St. Edward 49, Guerin 14
Last week: St. Edward 35, IC Catholic Prep 28; Aurora Central Catholic 48, Guerin 18
Outlook: After passing two major tests in two weeks, the Green Wave find themselves tied for No. 10 in The Associated Press poll of Class 4A teams. It's the first ranking for St. Edwards since 2010, when the program was ranked No. 10 for two weeks but fell out of the poll after losing to IC, which was ranked No. 7 at the time. Coach Mike Rolando said the intention this week is to stay the course in the inaugural Metro Suburban Conference East Division game for both teams. "We've made it through some of the games we thought were among the toughest on our schedule, now we have to play well against our conference opponents," Rolando said. "We can't look past any one week. We have to continue to execute, improve our game and develop our playbook." The Crusaders like to throw the ball around. "They throw it a ton," Rolando added. "They'll go five wide. Whenever you have five receivers running around, there's always the possibility of one of them getting loose for a quick score and it's a touchdown. We have to be leery that we don't give up the big play. After watching film we're focusing on what we need to fix in our kitchen." Junior tailback Dwayne Allen leads the Wave with 570 yards and 8 touchdowns on 93 carries (6.1 avg.). Josh Von Rohr leads the defense with 4 sacks and Jake French has 3 sacks. Linebacker Jack Tierney leads the team with 33 tackles.
Next week: St. Edward at Walther Christian (0-4); Guerin at Elmwood Park (1-3)
Others receiving votes: Carterville 8, Aurora Central Catholic 6, Breese Mater Dei 6, Coal City 4, Richmond-Burton 3, Mt. Zion 2, Freeburg 2, Dixon 1, Alleman 1.
Gene Chamberlain’s football notes:
September 23, 2014
Gene Chamberlain’s football notes: Historical Wave
St. Edward had just knocked off IC Prep to go 4-0, and coach Mike Rolando wondered aloud if there’d been many 4-0 teams from St. Edward.
They had just done it three years earlier, but this week when they open their first Metro Suburban East schedule with a game at Guerin, a win would make St. Edward 5-0 for the first time in 30 years.
The 1984 team, coached by John Pergi, went 5-0, then collapsed with four straight defeats. St. Edward had an unbeaten team in 1960 under coach Greg True, for whom the field is named, although it wasn’t perfect. The team went 6-0-1.
The best season in terms of total victories came in 1978 under coach Tim McVey at 8-1, but the Green Wave failed to beat IC Prep and make the five-class state playoffs, which started in 1974.
St. Edward (3-0) at IC Catholic Prep (1-2)
September 19, 2014
St. Edward (3-0) at IC Catholic Prep (1-2)When/where: Saturday at 1 p.m. at Jack Lewis Stadium at Plunkett Park
Last year: IC Catholic Prep 21, St. Edward 17
Last week: IC Catholic Prep 35, Walther Christian 0; St. Edward 33, Riverside-Brookfield 7
Outlook: St. Edward and IC have played each other for decades dating back to the days of the West Suburban Catholic Conference, but the rivalry deepened in 2009. After losing 5 straight games to the Knights and 9 in 10 years, the Green Wave rose up to defeat the then-defending Class 2A state champions 46-38. It was the turning point in modern St. Edward football history. After years spent struggling to develop a competitive program, coach Mike Rolando proclaimed afterward "it was time to put that rebuilding word to sleep." St. Ed's went on to make the playoffs for the first time since 2003 and defeated IC again in 2010, 42-0. The teams didn't meet in 2011. IC won each of the last two seasons, including a nail biter last year as the Knights stopped a St. Edward run on fourth-and-3 at the IC 36 to seal the win. "It's definitely a rivalry game, and it has been since we were good enough to be considered a rival." Rolando said. "These kids compete against each other in multiple sports. They have no trouble getting up for this game. This is a critical game in the season and another true test. Each week seems to be a real test for us. Riverside-Brookfield was a good one last week and I thought the boys rose to the occasion. They'll have to do that and then some to compete with IC. It's a good team. We're not fooled by their record. They played ranked teams and lost." In Week 1, the Knights lost their season opener 41-0 to Bishop McNamara, currently ranked No. 6 in Class 4A. They lost 22-14 in Week 2 at previously ranked Breese Mater Dei (2-1). Both IC touchdowns against Mater Dei came on 98-yard runs by 6-foot-2, 190-pound sophomore Jordan Rowell. He scored again last week on a 68-yard screen pass. Against Walther, IC quarterback Rashaun Epting ran for more than 117 yards on only 4 carries, including touchdown runs of 48 and 46 yards, according to mysuburbanlife.com. Epting is a Division I basketball prospect who was visited this week by Furman, according to a tweet from ICCP Basketball. St. Edward ran the ball successfully last week behind junior Dwayne Allen, who finished with 3 touchdowns. He has rushed for 328 yards and 5 touchdowns in 64 attempts (5.1 avg.).
Next: IC Catholic Prep at Aurora Central Catholic (3-0); St. Edward at Guerin (1-2)
Elgin area football games to watch in Week 4
September 19, 2014
Elgin area football games to watch in Week 4
St. Edward (3-0) at IC Prep (1-2), 1 p.m. Saturday
Last year: Immaculate Conception 21, St. Edward 17.
Key players: St. Edward – QB Joe Mullen, DE Augie Nottolini. IC Prep – OL/DL Michael Perrone, RB Jordan Rowell.
Outlook: St. Edward travels to Elmhurst’s Plunkett Park to face its longtime rival, which is now in the other division, the new Metro Suburban East. Rowell, only a sophomore, is a threat to go all the way with good size and great speed, and the Green Wave defense that refused to break last week will be tested. St. Edward ran for over 400 yards against IC last year but lost due to mistakes. The Wave is anxious to get RB Dwayne Allen loose on the artificial turf.
Gene Chamberlain’s football notebook
September 12, 2014
Santos Gomez (26) gets ready to celebrate with St. Edward teammates Trevor Loewen (8) and David Groves (7) after intercepting a Chicago Clark pass and returning it for a touchdown in Week 2. | Jon Cunningham/For Sun-Times Media
There’s no better time to get back one of your bigger boys than when you’re going up against the big boys.
St. Edward (2-0) hosts the biggest school in the new Metro Suburban, Riverside-Brookfield with a 1,503 enrollment, in a crossover game Friday night.
The Green Wave will feature the return of lineman Kasey Cooke after he missed the first two games with a shoulder injury. The 6-0, 280-pound Cooke had been mentioned by coach Mike Rolando in preseason as a potential college prospect.
“He’ll be a welcome addition considering their size and the number of big kids they have,” Rolando said. “It will be nice to have more beef on the line.
“It’s going to be a tall task for us considering they’re a school four times our size but the kids are used to playing 5A and 6A teams in the past so it’s nothing new.”
The Green Wave will be without flanker Dan Favela a second straight game. He became ill Thursday evening with what ended up being appendicitis. He had an appendectomy Friday and could miss a couple games.
Without Favela, the Wave turned to playmakers like Dwayne Allen and Santos Gomez. Allen produced a zig-zagging touchdown run that not only got six points, but also earned him the national play of the week from the website hudl.com (at http://bit.ly/WFtK7f).
The Green Wave has been nothing if not balanced this year with nine touchdowns coming from 11 players.
“They will really test us on defense with their passing game,” Rolando said. “They’re 60-40 pass heavy and have good players.”
Danny Favela adds more punch to St. Edward offense
September 4, 2014
St. Edward’s Danny Favela made the transition from basketball player to football player this summer, and now he’s made the transition to team leader.
The Green Wave slot back/defensive back quickly assumed a big-play and leadership role like former player Mike Castoro had, and helped lead a 24-20 victory over Genoa-Kingston in the season opener.
“I don’t know if I can be exactly like Mikey was because he played with such heart and I’m also a little taller, but I want to be the guy they look to when things are tough, want to be seen as a leader,” Favela said.
“Most of the guys are younger than me, and I want to set a good example for them.”
Favela did more than set examples Friday. With the Green Wave offense stymied by a Genoa-Kingston defense keyed on running back Dwayne Allen, Favela broke a 79-yard touchdown run. He also produced a 39-yard TD return on a punt, and came up with almost 200 combined yards for the game, including 138 from scrimmage.
On defense, Favela made six tackles, including a sack.
“We’ve got a lot of playmakers but I think we saw Dan break out Friday night similar to last year when Devontae (Elam) did it for us in the opener,” Green Wave coach Mike Rolando said. “He hadn’t had a breakout game before, but had showed signs of greatness with runs and receptions. He did that Friday, and also in the return game and on defense.”
The 6-foot-1 senior had been a sixth man and starter for coach P.J. White’s basketball team.
“Between my sophomore and junior years, that’s when summer basketball and football ran into each other,” Favela said. “I told coach Rolando then that I had to do summer basketball because I want to play it in college.”
Favela was playing travel basketball on a team with football and basketball teammate Nick Duffy, but opted this year to focus on summer 7-on-7 football instead. This included missing a trip with the travel basketball team to Las Vegas.
“You know, coach Rolando told me when I was a sophomore that I was going to end up playing football in college, anyway — the more I thought about it, he’s right,” Favela said.
Favela went to football camps at South Dakota State and Northwestern and visited Hope College in the offseason.
Now he’s fit well into the slot position in St. Edward’s offense, where he uses his versatility.
“It’s a tough position, especially blocking-wise,” he said. “The blocking angles are sometimes tough but I like the position best in the offense because I’m either catching passes or going in motion and getting to run and use my speed.”
Favela also lined up in the tailback spot in the third quarter Friday and broke the 79-yard TD run to give St. Edward breathing room.
“We had Dwayne (Allen) line up as lead blocker and put Brandon Ostrander at tight end and went with Danny as a big back,” Rolando said. “He has the speed to break it if he sees daylight.”
While there were several problems in the win over G-K that St. Edward’s coach said can’t be repeated against Chicago Public League team Clark in Friday’s home opener, Favela’s effort in the slot went exactly as planned.
“It was very much how we used Mikey (Castoro) last year,” Rolando said. “He doesn’t get a lot of carries, but can get around 100 yards with misdirections and sweeps, and Mikey was the leading receiver. Danny, in the slot, will be someone we throw to quite a bit.
“And then there’s the return abilities.”
Also there’s the leadership.
“We can’t make some of the same mistakes we did against Genoa,” Favela said. “We don’t know that much about them (Clark). They may not be as good. They could be even better.”
MSC should provide St. Edward more level playing field
St. Edward’s Jack Tierney will help anchor the Green Wave defense this season.
It's the dawn of a new era for St. Edward football and the outlook has never been brighter.
The Green Wave fought the good fight for decades against larger private schools like Montini, Marian Central, St. Francis, Marmion and now-shuttered Driscoll in the Suburban Catholic Conference and its expanded successor, the Suburban Christian. The odds were usually against the Elgin Catholic school, which has an enrollment of 406 students, according to its website.
St. Edward, seeking a more level playing field for its athletes in general and its football program in particular, was among seven of the smaller SCC schools to leave for the Metro Suburban Conference, which is now a 12-team, two-division league comprised of seven private schools, five public.
The Green Wave finds itself in the MSC East with division games scheduled against Guerin, Walther Christian, Ridgewood, Chicago Christian and Elmwood Park -- respectable opponents, all, but not comparable to the state champion-caliber teams the Wave faced regularly in the SCC with rare success.
"We'd jump up and beat somebody now and then but the stars had to line up," tenth-year St. Edward coach Mike Rolando said of playing in the SCC. "Your kids had to be on, they had to not be intimidated and you had to catch the other guy on an off day maybe.
"Now we look at our schedule and there are 9 games we can compete in. The kids have a great attitude. They're confident and prepared. If the players do what they need to do and we do our job as coaches, there's no reason we can't put together a team that competes in all 9 games."
The veteran coach's optimism has reached the high-water mark, and the reasons go well beyond the new schedule. Ironically, Rolando has a team this season that might have fared as well in the SCC as any under his watch. The roster of 33, the program's largest in 10 seasons, is loaded with talented veterans. St. Edward welcomes back eight full or part-time defensive starters from a team that went 5-5 in its final SCC season and secured the program's third playoff berth in five years.
The defense drips with experience at each level. Senior inside linebacker Jack Tierney returns for his third season as a starter. Tierney last year had 1 interception and made 63 tackles, third on the team and the most of any returnee. Playing alongside him is senior linebacker Chris Kelly, a returning starter who recorded 42 tackles.
Danny Favela is a three-year starter at free safety. Also a basketball player, the 6-foot-3 senior snared 2 of the defense's 9 interceptions and made 44 tackles last year. He is joined again in the secondary by junior returning starter Jake French at cornerback. Seniors Devin Warner (5-11, 165) and Bryan O'Neill (6-0, 173) both saw significant playing time at safety.
"We have some solid defensive players, really good coverage guys," Rolando said. "A lot of teams like to throw now and I feel we've got six or seven defensive backs who are really good. We have several who can go man coverage, which allows us to do other things."
The defensive line is just as experienced. Senior tackle Kasey Cooke (6-0, 285) returns along with ends Brandon Ostrander (6-4, 240) and Josh Von Rohr (6-1, 185). Von Rohr is coming back from a season-ending injury suffered in Week 5. Dan Howell will get the starting nod at tackle after notching 4 sacks off the bench as a junior. Combined, that foursome was responsible for 90 tackles and 12 sacks in 2013.
Senior Joe Mullen emerged from a quarterback competition last fall and started throughout the second half of the season. He completed 58 of 120 pass attempts for 957 yards and 10 touchdowns and threw 7 interceptions. Rolando said Mullen added 17 pounds of muscle in the off-season and returns a more polished, more confident player ready to lead the offense.
Mullen enjoys the luxury of tall, seasoned receivers. Slot man Favela (6-3) made 8 receptions for 226 yards and 2 touchdowns last year, senior Nick Duffy (6-4) had 14 catches for 187 yards and 2 scores and Petey DeWindt had 9 grabs for 82 yards. Mullen gains another tall target with the 6-4 Ostrander at tight end.
Junior tailback Dwayne Allen didn't get many carries last season while biding his time behind record breaking running back DaVontae Elam, who graduated with single-season and career program records in attempts, rushing yards and rushing touchdowns. Quietly, Allen posted the third-highest average yards per carry in modern St. Edward history with 9.3 per attempt. He gained 475 yards and scored 5 touchdowns on 51 carries and made 6 catches for 101 yards and another score.
The line features multiple two-way players: Kelly, Cooke, Tierney and Von Rohr. Juniors Haydn Hilton, Michael Montes and Ruben Monteil are vying for the open starting job, but all will see playing time in an effort to keep the team's two-way linemen as fresh as possible deep into games.
"I'm optimistic, mostly because of the depth of talent, the wide range of talent," Rolando said. "I like the well-balanced team we have."
January 3, 2014
St. Edward High School Football 1978, 2010 Conference Champions... 1983, 2003, 2009, 2010, 2013 IHSA State Playoffs... 2014 we enter the Metro Suburban Conference...Let's get to work!
Week 1 @ Genoa Week 2 Chicago Clark Week 3 Riverside Brookfield Week 4 @ IC Week 5 @ Guerin *(Metro Suburban Conf Game) Week 6 @ Walther *(Metro Suburban Conf Game) Week 7 Ridgewood *(Metro Suburban Conf Game) HOMECOMING Week 8 Chicago Christian *(Metro Suburban Conf Game) SR. NIGHT Week 9 @ Elmwood Park *(Metro Suburban Conf Game)
Most should be Friday night, but not if they don't have lights. So IC could be Saturday afternoon, unless they get portable lights... TBD.
Congratulations to Davontae Elam
January 27, 2014
Congratulations to Davontae Elam on his verbal commitment to play football for Northern Michigan University. Davontae will still be wearing Green & Gold for the Wildcats. After setting career and season rushing records for the Greenwave, we are excited to see what's next in his football and college career. Congrats D! We know you'll continue to make us proud...
Congratulations to Collin Holte
December 6, 2013
Congratulations to Collin Holte on the National Football Foundation Scholar-Athlete Award and $5,000 Scholarship! The NFF National High School Scholar-Athlete Awards have become one of the most prestigious and competitive high school academic honors in the country. Criteria for the award include academic achievement, athletic accomplishments and community leadership. Collin's well-rounded character and dedication on and off the field, at school, and in the community make him a perfect fit for this award and have set the stage for him to be successful in whatever he does in life. Collin is a great example for young people to follow in holding up the pillars of the football program: Pride, Discipline, Respect, Teamwork, and Academic Excellence.
Collin will be honored at the Annual Awards Ceremony on Monday, February 17 at Halas Hall. The Voice of the Chicago Bears Jeff Joniak will be the Master of Ceremonies, members of the Chicago media will be there and current/former NFL and college football players will attend along with many more special guests.
St. Edward rallying around injured Mikey Castoro
October 31, 2013
By Erik Jacobsen email@example.comOctober 30, 2013 4:10PM
St. Edward's Mikey Castoro is out for the playoffs after tearing the ACL in his right knee last week against St. Francis. | Jon Langham/For Sun-Times Media
Updated:October 30, 2013 7:10PM
One player does not make a football team, but there is no denying the outsized contributions Mikey Castoro provides as St. Edward’s emotional leader.
“Mikey is a very relentless player,” St. Edward senior Davontae Elam said. “He won’t give up, and that fires everyone up to play like him.”
Coach Mike Rolando calls the 5-foot-8, 140-pound Castoro the Green Wave’s heart and soul, so it stands to reason there was major cause for concern when Castoro heard a pop in his right knee during the second quarter of last Friday’s game at St. Francis. Test results Monday confirmed the team’s worst fears that Castoro suffered a torn ACL, and he underwent surgery Tuesday to repair the injury.
Rolando said adepressionhung over the team last weekend as it dealt with the prospect of being without a player who lives up to his Twitter handle @The_Workhorse by making key contributions in every phase for St. Edward. The injury has since turned into a source of inspiration for the Green Wave going into Friday’s trip to play undefeated Harvard in the first round of the Class 4A playoffs.
“There’s such a strong brotherhood and bond between the boys,” Rolando said. “I know they’re sad for Mikey, but they will rally around the situation. They don’t want to let him down, and winning Friday would give him a moment of joy”
Replacing Castoro won’t be easy as he leads St. Edward with 357 receiving yards and is the team’s second-leading rusher behind Elam with 485 yards on 39 carries, which is good for a ridiculous average of 12.4 yards per attempt. He also returns kicks and punts, serves as the holder on field goals and helps lead the defensive secondary with 38 tackles and seven pass deflections.
Staying true to form, Castoro remains determined to make an impact this week. He was at practice Monday offering advice to teammates who will fill his positions, and before scheduling his surgery he made sure the doctor cleared him to be on the sidelines wearing a headset for Friday’s game.
“I’m going to try and help the team as much as possible,” Castoro said. “I’ve been able to play in the games, so I’ll be able to see what’s going on and tell the coaches.”
The silver lining is Castoro should be back in time for baseball season in the spring. His dream of playingcollegefootball also appears to still be within reach.
Rolando envisions Castoro making a perfectslotreceiver or wing back at the Division III level, and Wisconsin-La Crosse made contact this week to reiterate its interest despite the knee injury.
St. Edward (5-4) has plenty of talent to go around without Castoro, starting with Elam, the area’s leading rusher with 1,382 yards. Sophomore Dwayne Allen has been a solid complementary back all year, and seniors Collin Holte and Zach West are a pair of three-year varsity starters who anchor an offensive line that has paved the way for close to 3,500 total yards this season.
“When these types of injuries happen to a team with 26 kids it hurts, but the 26 we have are solid football players,” Rolando said. “There is depth there. It’s not numbers depth, but it’s quality depth where every guy can play.”
For Rolando, the toughest thing about Castoro’s injury is knowing a player who worked so hard for the chance to take the field in a playoff game won’t get the opportunity.
Castoro can find consolation in knowing he helped St. Edward secure only its fifth trip to the postseason inprogramhistory. The Green Wave has just one victory in its previous four playoff appearances, and raising the bar is something this year’s team has had its eye on all along.
“We want to finish as the best team that St. Ed has ever had,” Elam said. “It’s going to be tough this week and I know we’re the underdogs, but I think playing some of the biggerschoolsin our conference prepared us for this game. So I think we’re ready.”
“Nothing changes and we’re still in the playoffs,” he said. “Our team has fought through adversity before, so they’ll be ready to go. I’m not worried about that.”
Scouting first-round pairings in the Fox Valley
October 28, 2013
No. 15 St. Edward (5-4) at No. 2 Harvard (9-0)
Playoff history: St. Edward is making its fifth playoff appearance overall and third in five seasons. The Green Wave own a 1-4 postseason record. Harvard is making its fourth straight appearance and 16th overall. The Hornets are 11-17 in postseason play.
The skinny: St. Edward believes playing in the rough-and-tumble Suburban Christian Conference against Class 5A state contenders prepares the team for success in the Class 4A playoffs. The Green Wave gets a chance to prove it against the Hittin' Hornets, the undefeated Big Northern East champions, led by retiring football and wrestling coach Tim Haak. The 26-man St. Edward roster may have been diminished by one due to Friday's injury to running back/safety Mike Castoro. The senior's availability will be determined on Monday when he goes for a medical evaluation, according to his coach.
Coach Mike Rolando says: "First and foremost, we're just excited about the opportunity. This is only the fifth team in St. Edward history to make the playoffs and we're excited to be a part of it for the third time in five years. We talk about this for nine months of the year, getting that fifth win and getting to the postseason, so whoever we play it's a blessing. Obviously, Harvard is a solid football team that has learned to play and win close games with a veteran coach. I expect our guys to return to playing the way they did in the middle of the season when our backs were against the wall and we had to win."
Looking ahead: Winner plays either No. 10 Aurora Central Catholic (6-3) or No. 7 King (7-2)
Football: Tough challenges loom in playoffs
October 28, 2013
St Edward (5-4) also faces a tough draw after landing a 15th seed in Class 4A. The Green Wave travels to play No. 2 Harvard (9-0) in the first round.
Champions of the Big Northern East, the Hornets are looking to make a deep playoff run in longtime coach Tim Haak’s final year at the helm. St. Edward will have to brace for Harvard’s physical style of play, but the Green Wave is certainly battle tested going into its fifth playoff appearance in program history after playing a grueling Suburban Christian Blue schedule.
“For us it’s a great opportunity to play in Week 10,” St. Edward coach Mike Rolando said. “Not a lot of St. Edward teams have been able to do that. We’re here, we’re excited and we look forward to the challenge.”
Football: St. Edward pile up points
October 16, 2013
St. Edward proved it can go from zero to 60 in less than three quarters as it overcame a scoreless first quarter to post a 60-21 victory over Wheaton Academy on Friday. The offensive display marked the highest scoring total for the Green Wave in at least 33 years.
Seniors Mikey Castoro and Davontae Elam and sophomore Dwayne Allen all had at least 145 rushing yards for St. Edward. Castoro led the way with 174 yards and three touchdowns on nine carries to go along with a team-high eight tackles on defense.
The Green Wave became playoff eligible with the lopsided win, which came on the heels of a 53-point scoring output in Week 6 against Chicago Christian. Given the way St. Edward’s offense is clicking right now, it looks like coach Mike Rolando’s team might be poised to make some noise in the Class 4A playoffs.
Jacobsen’s Top 5
1. Jacobs (5-2): Mooney’s magic has Golden Eagles on track for first conference title since 1979, but a tough trip to Huntley looms Friday.
2. St. Charles East (5-2): Saints looked a little shaky in win over Streamwood and need to take it up a notch this week at Batavia.
3. St. Edward (5-2): Don’t count out the Wave to pull off a surprise or two in their next two games against Marian Central and St. Francis.
4. Dundee-Crown (5-2): Chargers were able to rebound from their first loss of the year. Can they do it again after ugly 42-0 defeat at Prairie Ridge on Friday?
5. Hampshire (5-2): Whip-Purs steadily picking up wins, confidence on their way to first playoff trip since 2008.
St. Edward rout leaves little doubt
October 12, 2013
St. Edward helped its playoff chances and dealt Wheaton Academy a serious blow to its hopes Friday night.
The Green Wave became playoff eligible by beating the Warriors, 60-21, in Suburban Christian crossover action at Greg True Field for their fifth victory.
Story Continues Below
Related Article Images: Wheaton Academy vs. St. Edward football
"If we don't make it with 42 or 43 (playoff points), that would be pretty freakish," Green Wave coach Mike Rolando said. "I think we're sitting pretty with five (wins) with the competition we play."
St. Edward (5-2) likely will have enough playoff points to make its first trip to the postseason since 2010. The Green Wave play at Marian Central and at St. Francis to finish the regular season in hopes of getting a sixth victory, which would guarantee a playoff spot.
Wheaton Academy (3-4) will have to win its final two games — at Chicago Christian and home against Marian Central — to get to five wins.
"We just told our guys it makes the road tougher," Warriors interim coach Brad Thornton said. "We've got to move on. We've got to learn from this."
Despite 81 points being scored Friday, the teams played a scoreless first quarter.
The Green Wave broke the scoreless tie on an 11-yard touchdown run from Mikey Castoro with 8:19 remaining in the second quarter.
Wheaton Academy answered on its next play from scrimmage as David Thrasher connected with Marino Costello for a 72-yard touchdown to tie the game at 7-7.
St. Edward scored the next 22 points, capped by a Danny Favela 85-yard interception return for a score and 2-point conversion run from Castoro with 1:11 remaining in the first half, to take a 29-7 lead.
Castoro finished with 171 yards on just 8 carries, including an 89-yard touchdown run early in the fourth quarter. Dwayne Allen had 161 yards and 2 scores on the ground and Davontae Elam added 145 and a touchdown as the Green Wave rushed for 502 yards.
"When Davontae gets his carries, teams are going to start keying on him," Castoro said. "Our line and my backs blocked for me and everything was wide open."
Thrasher threw for 334 yards on 12 of 22 passing. The sophomore's 3 touchdowns all went to Costello, who had 101 yards receiving. Sam Martinez had 3 receptions for 97 yards.
ST. EDWARD 60, WHEATON ACADEMY 21
After a scoreless first quarter, St. Edward exploded for a its highest point total in more than 30 years in a 60-21 win over Wheaton Academy. The Green Wave improved to 5-2 and all but secured a third playoff berth in the past five years.
St. Edward broke a 7-7 tie with 6:07 left in the second quarter on a 47-yard touchdown pass from Joe Mullen to Danny Favela. The Green Wave tacked on two more touchdowns before the half, including an 84-yard interception return by Favela to lead 29-7 at halftime.
St. Edward senior Mikey Castoro rushed for 180 yards on eight carries and scored three touchdowns on runs of 11, 67 and 89 yards.
BY THE NUMBERS
Standout running back Davontae Elam was held to just 11 yards on six carries in the first quarter, but recovered to finish with 145 yards on 23 attempts. Castoro and Dwayne Allen, who rushed for 166 yards on 10 carries and scored two touchdowns, helped carry the load.
“Words can’t describe the feeling right now. Since my freshman year we have wanted to get back to the playoffs. It’s an exhilirating feeling.” – Castoro
Football: St. Edward’s Davontae Elam primed for final season
September 5, 2013
By Erik Jacobsen firstname.lastname@example.org September 4, 2013 9:35PM
St. Edward's Devontae Elam (34) started his senior season on a high note by racking up 214 rushing yards and five touchdowns in Week 1. | Submitted photo
Fully healthy for a change, Davontae Elam is looking to put an exclamation point on his four-year varsity football career.
The St. Edward senior running back got off to a good start in Saturday’s win against Genoa-Kingston when he racked up 214 rushing yards and scored five touchdowns, including one on an acrobatic 79-yard reception for what was his only catch of the game.
It wasn’t a bad day of work considering Elam touched the ball only 14 times as the Green Wave blew things open in the second half, leaving him rested and ready for his next performance.
“Seeing the way Davontae ran the ball Saturday night is really what we expect out of him, and to tell you the truth we probably expect more because he only had 13 carries,” St. Edward coach Mike Rolando said. “He’s a big back, he’s a strong back and he’s a guy we expect to give the ball to 30 times and carry the load.”
At 6-foot-2 and 190 pounds, Elam gives St. Edward the best of both worlds as a powerful north-south runner who can also make people miss with nifty moves.
The key for Elam this season will be staying healthy after a nagging toe injury bothered him for much of his junior year and an abdominal injury plagued him as a sophomore.
“It’s frustrating when you can’t help your brothers out 100 percent,” Elam said. “I just tried my hardest and did what I could.”
To Elam’s credit, he still earned All-Suburban Christian Blue honors last fall despite never fully recovering from the toe injury that forced him to sit out St. Edward’s Week 3 game against Marmion. He finished the year with 918 yards and eight touchdowns on 168 carries.
One thing working in Elam’s favor this fall is the Green Wave’s added depth, which means he likely won’t have to contribute at defensive back as much as he did in past seasons.
“We don’t really talk much about injuries and we try to keep that stuff close to the vest during the season,” Rolando said. “Even when (Elam) was hurting he was still a really good back, and I’m excited to see what he can do with a full season if we can keep him healthy.”
Elam said his goals this year include topping 1,000 yards rushing and helping the Green Wave reach the playoffs, which is something the program hasn’t accomplished since Elam was a freshman in 2010.
Also a key member of St. Edward’s basketball team, Elam’s future figures to be on the gridiron. Rolando said the standout has generated a good deal of interest among college football coaches, most of whom are waiting to see film from Elam’s senior year before making an offer.
While Elam’s skills and big performances are certain to attract attention, there are less noticeable areas where he’ll have a big impact for the Green Wave. This year his younger brother Desean is a freshman up with St. Edward’s varsity team, giving Davontae one more teammate to mold.
“I’ve improved my attitude and become a better leader these four years,” Elam said. “I can help the younger guys out with tips and small things to make their game better. I just try to be a role model for them.”
Adds Rolando: “It would be easy for a four-year running back to have a chip on his shoulder and not be likable on a team, but Davontae is just the opposite. He’s well-liked in the school, he’s well-liked by his classmates and he’s well-liked on the team because of the way he carries himself.”
Expectations are high at St. Edward
August 26, 2013
St. Edward football coach Mike Rolando knows what playoff teams look like. After all, he's coached two of them since he revived the program in 2005.
The Green Wave finished 6-4 in 2009 and 8-3 in 2010 and reached the playoffs both years, but Rolando said this team might be the best he has ever coached at the Elgin school.
"We've got a power running back with Davontae Elam, some speedy running backs, some good receivers and depth all around," Rolando said. "I don't see why we can compete with anybody on our schedule this year. We'd like to make a good showing in our last round with some of these guys in the conference."
Fortified by a roster of 30-plus players — a healthy total for a team that began last season with 24 — the Green Wave is preparing for one last tour of the Suburban Christian Conference. St. Edward is among seven members of the current SCC set to merge with the Metro Suburban Conference next fall.
Rolando's optimism centers on a defense that returns nine players, a deep junior class responsible for more position battles than normal and a talented, four-year varsity running back in Davontae Elam.
Elam showed flashes of brilliance as a junior when healthy, but staying on the field was a challenge for him in 2012. Despite missing multiple games he managed to rush for 918 yards and 8 touchdowns on 168 carries (5.5 avg.).He has gained the interest of Northern Illinois along with several Division-I programs who intend to track his progress as a senior, according to his coach.
"He's a four-year varsity guy," Rolando said. "He's going to be playing like a man this year. We've seen some great running backs in this area. I'm hoping Davontae has a healthy season so we can mention him in the same breath as some of the great ones."
Complementing Elam's power-rushing style will be speed backs Mikey Castoro (77 carries, 494 yards), who played quarterback last season out of necessity, and sophomore Dwayne Allen, who gained a bit of varsity experience late last season. Also returning are seniors Will Bothwell (57 carries, 240 yards) and multisport athlete Danny Favela (28-161-1 TD). Also in the mix is Davontae Elam's freshman brother, Deshawn Elam (5-8, 145).
Rolando said he is equally happy with junior quarterbacks Joe Mullen (6-2, 162) and Brian O'Neill (6-1, 165), who battled for the starting position deep into fall camp. Both got their feet wet at the varsity level last season. O'Neill saw more action, completing 13 of 30 attempts for 228 yards and 3 touchdowns with 4 interceptions. They will both rely on senior wide receiver Austin Murray (6-0, 150) and 6-4 junior tight end Nick Duffy (2 rec., 53 yards, 1 TD).
The offensive line is a strong point, anchored by three-year starters Collin Holte (5-10, 235) and Zach West (6-2, 255). Starting middle linebacker Jack Tierney (6-0, 195) will play guard in addition to his defensive duties. They are joined by Chris Kelly (5-10, 205), who played center and middle linebacker last year on the sophomore level, and senior Matt Colasuono (6-1, 195), who recovered from a preseason injury to play late last season.
"We're pretty excited about our O-line," Rolando said. "Our smallest player is around 195 (pounds) and a couple of them are around 250-260. Those are pretty good-sized kids for our level of football."
The veteran defense is led by a stout front line, featuring Holte, West, junior Kasey Cooke (5-11, 260) and multisport athlete Tighe Koehring (6-2, 200) at defensive end. Junior Brandon Ostrander (6-3, 220) and sophomore end Josh Von Rohr (6-0, 180) will also see playing time at end.
Linebacker Bothwell (82 tackles, Int.) was the team's second-leading tackler last season. He returns alongside Tierney (45 tackles) and Colasuono (15 tackles).
Rolando said St. Edward's veteran, athletic secondary "goes two-deep at every position." Davontae Elam and Murray return at cornerback while the 6-foot-3 Favela and speedy Castoro play safety.
Junior kicker Joe French made 3 of 5 field goals and 10 extra points last season.
St. Edward opens with nonconference games against Genoa-Kingston and at West Hancock Hamilton, a pair of must wins if the Wave expects playoff eligibility.
"At this point we're expecting to compete with everybody," Rolando said. If a 5A or 6A (school) overlooks us, I think we can beat just about anybody. A lot of things still have to develop and take place, but the confidence level is there. I think we have a lot of talent at a lot of different positions."
Football: Summer showcase at St. Edward a smash
July 29, 2013
By Erik Jacobsen email@example.com July 27, 2013 2:59AM
Camaraderie and good-natured competitionwere on full display Friday night when Elgin, Larkin, South Elgin and Streamwood gathered at St. Edward’s Greg True Field for a 7-on-7 tournament and lineman challenge.
The event came just over a month before the start of the 2013 season, and the countdown to kickoff will likely create more than a little anxiety for new Maroons coach Kyle Rohde, new Storm coach Pat Pistorio and new Sabres coach Mark Orszula.
The circumstances surrounding the three new coaches vary, but they all face the same challenge of trying to get their teams to adapt to a new way of doing things. Pistorio’s tenure as South Elgin’s coach has particularly been a whirlwind as his hiring as the replacement for Dale Schabert wasn’t announced until July 15.
“It’s all a blur,” Pistorio said of the past few weeks. “I haven’t had much sleep. My list of things to do seems to grow and grow every day.”
Pistorio at least had some familiarity with this players given his status as a social studies teacher at South Elgin. He also helped out for two weeks at the start of the Storm’s summer camp prior to being hired as the head coach.
“I feel like I’ve been able to carve out a lot of quality time with the kids,” Pistorio said. “They’re really picking up the system and meeting our expectations.”
Rohde didn’t need any introduction when he began his first summer camp as Elgin’s head coach after spending the past three years as the varsity team’s defensive coordinator under former coach Dave Bierman.
Nonetheless, the past few months have been a time of transition for the Maroons as they switch gears under the guidance of Rohde, a 2002 Elgin graduate who is charged with helping the program rebound from back-to-back 1-8 seasons.
“The kids are working hard and doing what I ask of them,” Rohde said. “Coach Bierman and I are different personalities, so it’s a different dynamic. With me being a little younger it changes the interaction between the players and coach.”
Of the three new U-46 football coaches, Orszula is the only one coming in from out of the school district. He is also the only one with previous head coaching experience having led Westmont the past five years.
“The good thing about football in the summer is you get to spend a lot of time together,” Orszula said. “The kids have kind of learned my expectations and how I want things to be done. I feel like they’ve responded well.”
Storm sweeps 7-on-7 competition
South Elgin capped a perfect 4-0 night in 7-on-7 action by defeating Larkin in its final matchup of the round-robin tournament. The Royals finished second with a 3-1 record while St. Edward took third with a 2-2 mark.
Senior quarterback Rob Cuda is back to guide the Storm’s new-look offense after throwing for 1,711 yards and 20 touchdowns as a junior.
“It’s good to show what we’ve done the past couple weeks of camp with a new coach,” Cuda said. “(Pistorio) has really worked with us well and gotten us into a new offense. It’s a change, but it’s nothing we can’t handle.”
Cuda arrived late Friday after attending a football camp at the University of Chicago earlier in the day, allowing a chance for junior quarterback Hayden Nelson to show off his strong arm.
Green Wave wins lineman challenge
St. Edward’s big boys continued to impress by taking first place in the lineman challenge with a total of 29 points. Larkin was second with 19 points followed by Streamwood (15) and South Elgin (9).
Among the events that made up the challenge were a bench-press competition, a tire-flip contest, a relay race and a tug of war. The Green Wave’s victory comes on the heels of a first-place showing out of 26 schools at a lineman challenge in downstate Washington the previous weekend.
“We gain confidence when we win these lineman challenges, but we have to know that winning a lineman challenge isn’t like playing a football game,” St. Edward senior guard/tackle Collin Holte said. “Going ahead we have to work on getting our line scheme down. We still need some fine tuning, but everything is looking pretty good right now.”
Royals getting ready to rumble
Friday marked the end of a productive summer camp for Larkin.
Royals coach Mike Scianna said more than 70 players regularly attended the team’s workouts across all levels, which marks the biggest turnout during his four years at the helm.
Larkin’s varsity team is loaded with talent at the skill positions with senior quarterback Kemmerin Blalark and senior running back Damion Clemons back in the fold. Seniors Donte Bonds and Jarelle Shipp are two other big-time playmakers who made headlines this spring by helping the Royals track team advance to the state finals in the 400-meter relay.
There were some key losses on the offensive and defensive lines for Larkin, but senior Quentyn Jackson will help serve as an anchor up front. The 6-foot-2, 300-pound offensive tackle and defensive end knows his main priority is creating a little space for the team’s speedsters.
“I think we’ve got some of the best talent skill-player wise in the conference,” Jackson said. “Once doubles come we’ve got to keep on progressing, but I feel like we’re a lot more of a team than in the past. I’ve got high hopes.”
Football: Local talent to gather at St. Edward
July 25, 2013
By Erik Jacobsen firstname.lastname@example.org July 24, 2013 5:28PM
Running back Davontae Elam (left) is one of the top returning players for St. Edward, which is hosting a 7-on-7 tournament and lineman challenge Friday night at Greg True Field. | Mary Beth Nolan~For Sun-Times Media
With a productive summer program soon drawing to a close, St. Edward’s football team is ready to show off its progress for the community at large.
The Green Wave’s annual 7-on-7 tournament and lineman challenge will take place at 7:30 p.m. on Friday night at Greg True Field. This year there is more local interest than ever as Elgin, Larkin, South Elgin and Streamwood round out the five-team field.
For St. Edward, the gathering offers a chance to try and build on its recent success. Last weekend the Green Wave traveled to a 26-team event in downstate Washington where its linemen dominated while taking first place in a lineman challenge and its skill position players went undefeated in 7-on-7 pool play.
The strong showing only added to coach Mike Rolando’s contention that this group could go down as one of the deepest and most talented teams he has led during his nine years at St. Edward.
“We are pretty optimistic, and what’s leading us to the optimism is the kids’ work ethic this summer,” Rolando said. “We’ve added some conditioning and weight room days that we didn’t have in prior summers because the kids came to us and said they wanted more since they felt those sessions were beneficial. So we’ve got 20 to 30 kids showing up to those strength and conditioning nights two or three times a week.”
St. Edward’s 7-on-7 tournament features a round-robin format where each school plays four games. The games will last 30 minutes with a running clock, and in between games there will be a 10-15 minute break when various events that make up the lineman challenge will take place on the field.
The annual event offers a first glimpse at the local talent for Elgin-area football fans, and there is added intrigue this year with new coaches at the helm at Elgin, South Elgin and Streamwood.
“These kids all know each other from youth football and they like to compete against each other,” Rolando said. “It’s a neat opportunity for the city of Elgin and the surrounding area to see pretty much all of the local talent on one stage.
“If you’re a St. Eds fan, it doesn’t mean you’re not interested in how Elgin and Larkin are doing. This provides a chance for people in the area to see all the local teams and put a face with the names when they read about these teams in the paper.”
St. Edward is looking to improve on last year’s 2-7 finish this fall, but as usual it will face an uphill climb in the ultra-competitive Suburban Christian Conference. The Green Wave’s hope is that competing against bigger schools during summer events like this will make it better prepared for the challenges ahead.
Senior running back Davontae Elam headlines St. Edward’s big group of returning players after running for 918 yards and eight touchdowns as a junior. Senior Mikey Castoro is another key returning playmaker who will move into a running back/receiver role after chipping in at quarterback last season.
Collin Holte and Zach West are two of the big men to watch on the offensive line while Will Bothwell and Matt Colasuono are among the defensive leaders. Juniors Bryan O’Neill and Joe Mullen are competing for the quarterback job.
“It’s a very talented group and we have probably the most depth we’ve had since I’ve been at the school,” Rolando said. “We have about 31 kids on our varsity roster, which for us is a lot and much more than the 18 or 19 we had at times last year. When you have some depth it obviously makes things better, and we’ve got competition at virtually every spot.”
July Football Under The Lights
Helmet Safety Campaign
January 21, 2013
St. Edward Football would like to reduce the risk of injury to our players for the 2013 season.
WE'VE MET OUR GOAL OF $3,000! EVERY PLAYER WILL BE EQUIPPED WITH A GUARDIAN CAP FOR THE 2013 SEASON!
November 20, 2012
2013 Football Players are invited to TEAM workouts every Monday night from 7:30-8:30pm in the small gym. All levels are invited. We hope to see many of you there as often as possible.
Mike Rolando rebuilds St. Edward program
December 1, 2010
By Erik Jacobsen email@example.com
Nov 29, 2010 05:01PM
Mike Rolando led the St. Edward football program to new heights this season and has been named the 2010 Courier-News Coach of the Year. | Andrews A. Nelles~For Sun-Times Media
In six years, St. Edward’s football program went from doormat to conference champion.
In that same six-year span, Green Wave coach Mike Rolando and his staff went from trying to figure out how to get a first down to trying to figure out how to make a deep run in the Class 4A state playoffs.
The 2010 season represented a watershed moment for St. Edward’s up-and-coming program. The Green Wave won its first-ever playoff game, tied a single-season school record for wins by finishing 8-3 and claimed the team’s first league title since 1979 by capturing the outright Suburban Christian Conference Gold Division championship.
At the center of that success is Rolando, a 1991 Larkin graduate and a natural leader who took on the thankless task of rebuilding St. Edward’s football program in 2005. Six years later he is the 2010 Courier-News Coach of the Year.
“I consider this a Coaches of the Year award,” Rolando said. “I’ve got a great coaching staff, and several of the guys have been with me since the first year.
“To tell you the truth, what we consider ourselves good at is motivation. We are honest with the players, help them set realistic goals and then motivate them to reach those goals. In terms of X’s and O’s, there’s probably a lot of coaches out there that are better than us. But as far as motivating the players, I think we do a really good job.”
Starting from scratch
To understand how far St. Edward has come under Rolando, it is important to understand where he started.
Rolando took over as the Green Wave’s coach in July 2005, one month before the start of the season. The program was in disarray after the abrupt resignation of former coach Rich Sanders only days before Rolando’s hiring.
Rolando had been the sophomore coach on Sanders’ staff, and he brought with him additional experience from his days coaching the Crusaders youth football team. He also brought to his staff Marc Rusinko, a friend and fellow Crusaders coach who to this day remains a right-hand man to Rolando as the Wave’s defensive coordinator.
Eloy Diaz and Gordon Tourtellott arrived to pick up their sons from some of those first practices under Rolando and noticed the thin coaching ranks. They offered to help, and six years later Diaz still coaches receivers and defensive backs for St. Edward while Tourtellott guides the program’s sophomore team.
When Sanders bolted the program, so did a large number of players expected to contribute on the varsity level. That left Rolando with a squad made up predominantly of underclassmen who were unprepared for the challenges that awaited in what was then the highly competitive Suburban Catholic Conference.
The results weren’t pretty in 2005 as the Wave finished 0-9 and was outscored 404-74.
In year two, Scot Brockner and Mike Childers joined the coaching staff, but the Wave endured another 0-9 season. Nonetheless, the foundation of the coaching staff was in place, as evidenced by the fact that Brockner and Childers remain in the fold as St. Edward’s offensive line coach and special teams coach, respectively.
The Green Wave finally notched its first victory under Rolando in Week 7 of the 2007 season, snapping a 27-game losing streak that extended to the Sanders era. Then came a 4-5 finish in 2008 and finally a breakthrough in 2009 as St. Edward went 6-4 and reached the playoffs for only the third time in school history.
Not until this season had the Wave made two consecutive playoff appearances. St. Edward came within three points of advancing to the state quarterfinals this fall and also boasted the area’s best defense, which limited opponents to 11.7 points per game. Despite those gains, the sweat poured early on is not forgotten.
“We would probably look at some of our better coaching accomplishments coming in years one, two and three,” Rolando said. “In our minds that’s probably where we did some substantial work getting kids to buy in to a program that was 0-27.
“Now we’ve got athletes that know how to play football and kids that have won football games at all levels. It’s a little easier to sell this to them than it was to those kids in those first couple years.”
Like a big family
Despite those lean years, St. Edward began attracting more and more players to the program by stressing hard work in the offseason and an overall positive environment.
All of that fit into Rolando’s goal of building a consistent winner.
“If we didn’t think there was a light at the end of the tunnel, I don’t think we could have gotten up every morning and continued to work so hard,” Rolando said of his staff. “We believed that if we did it the right way and focused on academics, discipline and respect that people would want their kids to be a part of a program like that.”
Rolando wanted to make sure that everyone involved in the program felt like a stakeholder. In return he got strong support from St. Edward’s administration, faculty, parents and boosters.
That all-together environment is now a main attraction for the Green Wave.
“Everyone is basically like a big family,” St. Edward senior Sam Pozezinski said. “The coaches are basically father figures to all the kids and it’s just a great atmosphere.”
As the years went on St. Edward’s family grew to include Steve McShane as the team’s defensive line coach, Joe Guistino as the strength and conditioning coach, Chet Arciuch as a general assistant, Dave DeWitt as assistant offensive coordinator and Ryan Lasota, Chris Reynolds, Vince Castoro and Mike West as lower level coaches.
Beyond his group of coaches, Rolando says he wouldn’t be where he is without the support of his wife Teresa Rolando, their children Veronica, Jillian, Ezekiel and Luciano and his mother Dee Rolando.
“I couldn’t ask for a better coaches’ wife,” Mike Rolando said. “She’s one of the loudest fans and she’s always asking me questions about the game. With all the time we have to put in and spend away from our family, I couldn’t do it without her support at home.”
A love of coaching
Rolando has always had a fiery persona on the sidelines, but these days he isn’t as inclined to go easy on his players when they make mistakes. Simply put, he has become more demanding.
Nonetheless, St. Edward’s players respect Rolando’s dedication and coaching style.
“Coach Ro is definitely a motivator,” Pozezinski said. “He’s always willing to put forth the effort and he’s always working hard and balancing his family, job and football. He does it all.”
Added senior Jon Keokanlaya: “Coach Rolando definitely demands a lot, but I think it’s good that he expects a lot out of us because then we perform better and play to the best of our abilities.”
Rolando also earned softball Coach of the Year honors in 2008. He has since stepped down from his head softball coaching post, but he is only the third person to be recognized as C-N Coach of the Year in two separate sports.
Those leadership qualities have been with Rolando throughout his life, including when was the starting quarterback at Larkin and guided the Royals to the 1990 state quarterfinals.
Rolando carried those leadership skills to Valparaiso — where he was mostly a backup quarterback during his college football playing days — and into his professional career in the human resources field.
In many ways, it seems as if Rolando was born to coach.
“There’s always the stress behind the scenes, but I think this was my calling,” Rolando said. “My ability to communicate and motivate kids is what I guess I would say I’m good at. I guess it’s a gift to be able to do that and to get people to buy into what you’re delivering.”
Unsatisfied St. Edward craves more
November 3, 2010
By Erik Jacobsen firstname.lastname@example.org Nov 2, 2010 07:06PM
St. Edward's head coach Mike Rolando celebrates with Luke Duffy (8) after their victory at Lane Tech High School in Chicago. | Andrew A. Nelles~For Sun-Times Media
St. Edward’s current group of football players is well informed when it comes to program history.
Granted, it’s not exactly a storied history for the Green Wave, which prior to this year had only 14 winning seasons since 1944, only three appearances in the state playoffs and no postseason victories.
Nonetheless, the 2010 St. Edward squad is in tune with the hard work that came before, particularly since coach Mike Rolando took over a decimated program shortly before the start of the 2005 season.
The reminders of the past were there for the Wave before its Class 4A first-round playoff game against Chicago Uplift on Saturday at Lane Stadium.
There was the presence in the stands of Matt Ardiente, a hard-working 2008 graduate who endured a 1-26 record on the varsity level during Rolando’s first three years at the helm. There was the letter of encouragement from Shane Finnane, a 2010 graduate who was in the trenches with many of the current team members last season and now suits up for Army’s football team.
It was with all the former Green Wave players in mind that St. Edward claimed its first playoff victory in program history. In some ways, it was as if the Wave was making up for decades of frustration by trouncing the Titans 44-8 on a sun-splashed afternoon.
“All the blood, sweat and tears these guys put in before us, this is all for them,” St. Edward junior Luke Duffy said after the win. “This is awesome.”
It might be a bit early to tag this St. Edward team as the finest in program history. The squad that went 6-0-1 in 1960 or the team that finished 8-1 in 1978 might still have a claim to such a title.
But this much is for sure: This year’s Green Wave claimed the outright Suburban Christian Conference Gold Division title, the program’s first league championship since 1978. This team also tied the 1978 squad’s record for single-season victories, became the first to win a playoff game, will host the school’s first postseason game this week and became the first team in school history to return to the postseason in consecutive seasons.
That’s a pretty good list of accomplishments so far.
“These guys respect all the teams that have come before us, and they play for them,” Rolando said. “But the first playoff win and the second team to win eight games (in a single season), that’s a lot of history. They’re a darn good team.”
St. Edward will try to continue its dream season when it takes on Mendota this week with a trip to the state quarterfinals on the line. Adding even more incentive for the Wave is the fact that its season ended in a 27-13 defeat against the Trojans in the first round of the playoffs last year.
The playoff rematch will offer an idea of just how far St. Edward has come in the past 12 months. Mendota (6-4) may have graduated a few players from the squad that reached the quarterfinals last year, but the North Central Illinois Conference champions will still be a formidable opponent. That much was evident during its resounding 39-15 win against previously unbeaten Rockford Christian on Friday night.
“Just like last year they run the ball hard and they are a great team,” Rolando said of Mendota. “They were great hosts to us and we hope to return the favor and be a great host to them. We also hope to return the favor and send them home with a loss.
“If our kids do what they know how to do and play disciplined football, they can play with anybody. They just need to rise to the occasion. This is a huge, huge game for us. We couldn’t be more excited to have another crack at Mendota at home.”
‘Just an awesome day’
October 31, 2010
By Erik Jacobsen email@example.com Oct 30, 2010 09:38PM
CHICAGO — St. Edward is starting to run out of major milestones to accomplish.
The Green Wave crossed another landmark achievement off the list Saturday, notching its first postseason victory in program history by pounding Chicago Uplift 44-8 in the first round of the Class 4A state playoffs at Lane Stadium.
It was a dominating effort from start to finish for St. Edward (8-2), which tied the 1978 team’s program record for most victories in a single season. The eighth-seeded Titans didn’t record a first down until the game’s final series, and the ninth-seeded Wave enjoyed a running clock throughout the fourth quarter.
The triumph sets up St. Edward’s first home playoff game in school history next week at Greg True Field against Mendota. The Wave lost to Mendota in the first round of the playoffs last year.
“Every year the team has taken it a step further,” said St. Edward coach Mike Rolando, who is in his sixth year at the helm. “As a coach that’s an ideal situation, but eventually that’s got to end because you can only go so far. For six years in a row we’ve gotten better and better and I’m just proud of these guys for accepting that challenge and taking it to the next level.
“They laid out their goals early in the season. They wanted to win the conference, they wanted to win a playoff game, they wanted to play a home playoff game and they wanted to improve on last year’s team. In one fell swoop here today they took care of the home playoff game and a playoff victory. It’s just an awesome day.”
St. Edward wasted no time taking command, marching 47 yards in four plays for a touchdown on the game’s opening possession. Luke Duffy scored on an 8-yard run and then ran in the two-point conversion, giving the Wave an 8-0 advantage 1:13 into the contest.
The rout was on shortly thereafter as junior Ryan Johnson intercepted a pass from Uplift quarterback Jameel Carter on the third play of Uplift’s ensuing drive, setting up sophomore Mo Jackson’s 4-yard touchdown run. St. Edward then recovered an onside kick, and Duffy made it 22-0 when he scored on a 1-yard run with 1:20 left in the first quarter.
While the offense started with a burst, the story of the day was without a doubt the Wave’s defense. Uplift (7-3) had negative-32 yards in the first half and finished with 69 total yards. St. Edward’s defense even got in on the scoring act when Carter recovered two fumbles on the same play but was dropped in the end zone for a 28-yard loss and a safety in the second quarter.
The Titans’ only points came on the final play of the game against St. Edward’s second-string defense when Carter connected with Marcus Sanders for a 21-yard touchdown strike on a pass that was tipped by a Wave defender near the goal line. Carter then hooked up with Sanders again for the two-point conversion.
“We don’t want to give the other team anything,” said Duffy, who in addition to his running back duties also starts at linebacker. “We’re looking for a shutout every game. That’s our mentality.”
In another sign of the lopsided nature of the game, St. Edward started 10 of its 12 drives in Uplift territory. The Wave’s worst field position came when it started at its own 43-yard line on its only possession of the fourth quarter.
A string of dropped passes and a pair of interceptions thrown by St. Edward quarterback Ben Lehman in the second quarter were the only things that kept the Wave from adding on to its scoring total.
Jackson tacked on two more touchdown runs in the third quarter and finished with a game-high 80 rushing yards on six carries. Lehman racked up 121 passing yards, connecting with Sam Pozezinski for his lone touchdown in the second quarter.
“We knew what we had to do, we had to take it to them,” Duffy said. “We took it to them, but I think we might have relaxed a little bit. It came back to bite us (in the second quarter), but we finished and we’re going on. We definitely can’t do that next week.”
Carter tallied 67 of his 71 passing yards on the final drive of the game for Uplift, which was making its first playoff appearance.
The outcome provided plenty of satisfaction for the big and boisterous group of St. Edward fans that traveled to Chicago for the afternoon affair.
“They are just the best fans anywhere,” Rolando said. “I can only imagine what Greg True Field is going to be like next week.”
Added Pozezinski: “It’s an amazing feeling right now. I’m glad about how the team came together and played well. I’m looking forward to playing Mendota again and getting a little rematch with them.”ST. EDWARD 44, CHICAGO UPLIFT 8
St. Edward -22 - 9 - 13 - 0 -- 44
Uplift - 0 - 0 - 0 - 8 -- 8
STED – Duffy 12 run (Olenek kick), 10:47
STED – Jackson 4 run (Olenek kick), 5:25
STED – Duffy 1 run (Olenek kick), 1:20
STED – Safety, 7:06
STED – Pozezinski 12 pass from Lehman (Olenek kick), 5:58
STED – Jackson 37 run (Olenek kick), 4:49
STED – Jackson 19 run (kick failed), 1:35
CU – Sanders 25 pass from Jameel Carter (Sanders pass from Jameel Carter), 0:25
CU: Sanders 2-67, Slaughter 2-4, Jamal Carter 1-0.
Wave surges ahead; You've come a long Wave, baby
September 13, 2010
Daily Herald Article You've come a long Wave, baby: St. Edward has enjoyed the No. 10 ranking in the Associated Press poll of Class 4A schools for two weeks, and the Green Wave stand to gain more votes in the wake of Friday's 42-0 victory over Immaculate Conception, which entered the game ranked No. 7 in Class 3A.
Folks around St. Edward can't remember a time in the school's history when the football program attained statewide recognition, an amazing accomplishment considering it survived a near-death experience in 2005.
Green Wave football had to be rebuilt from scratch after the previous coach suddenly resigned in mid-July of 2005. Several top athletes abandoned ship for public schools. Only a scant few remained.
Youth football coach Mike Rolando, a former Larkin player under Ray Haley and Bob Krieger, volunteered to take the head coaching position when no one else wanted the job. The Wave went 0-18 in Rolando's first two seasons and 1-8 in 2007, a period during which 14-year old freshmen were asked to play varsity football against seniors twice their size just to keep the program alive.
Those players faced "bloodshed" and several left games with concussions and other injuries, Rolando said, but they kept the program's heart beating when it could have coded.
"I'll never forget the sacrifices players like Matt Ardiente, Jim Waclawik, Ryan Eighenhauser, Moises Quiroga and Shane Finnane made by playing four years of varsity football, and I'll never forget people telling us it was impossible," Rolando said. "That helped drive us. People saying we were crazy, that helped drive us. But we maintained a positive attitude and didn't dwell on the negatives. We took something positive out of every game and we built on that."
The fact St. Edward is now a ranked football team under its sixth-year coach is a testament to perseverance, dedication and determination, not only by the former and current players and Rolando's staff, but the entire St. Edward community.
The reward for the slow, steady rebuilding process is a healthy football program and a varsity squad now recognized well beyond the Elgin city limits. However, the 2010 team is not satisfied with a mere poll ranking. These players have their sites trained directly on earning the Gold Division title in the Suburban Christian Conference and winning the first playoff game in school history.
"We tend to downplay the ranking," Rolando said. "The first week we were ranked we didn't even talk about it until game day. We only brought it up then because the kids had heard it from everyone else. It's nice to be recognized as an up-and-coming team, but it doesn't mean anything on Friday night. "
Rolando, St. Edward rebuild by doing things the right way
October 30, 2009
By John Radtke of the Daily Herald
You can scour the IHSA football records Web page until your eyes are blurry, but you won't find more than a mention or two of St. Edward anywhere.
That's because for all the pride there is in athletics on the corner of Elm and Locust streets in Elgin, there hasn't been a whole lot of success on the football field named for Greg True over the years. Let's face it, 12 winning seasons in 65 years of varsity football and a .333 all-time winning percentage does not qualify one for juggernaut status. Heck, only one time in those 65 years has the program had an unbeaten season, that when the Green Wave went 6-0-1 under True in 1960, long before the IHSA sponsored football playoffs. What some feel was St. Edward's best team ever, the 8-1 Tim McVey bunch of 1978 didn't even make the playoffs because in 1978 there were five classes and you had to be more than just good to get into the postseason.
Neither of the Green Wave's two playoff teams, not John Pergi's in 1983 nor Rich Sanders' 20 years later, won their first-round playoff games.
No, football and St. Edward are not two things commonly confused with equaling success.
But Mike Rolando is leading the charge to change all that.
Now in his fifth season as St. Edward's head coach, the 1991 Larkin graduate has resurrected a program that has not had an above .500 season since Jim Hoffman went 5-4 in 1994, long before the IHSA invited 5-4 teams to the postseason party unless they won a conference championship. Sanders' 2003 team finished 5-5.
Enter the 2009 Green Wave, a solid 6-3 team that will travel to Mendota Saturday afternoon for the first round of the Class 4A playoffs. From 0-9, 0-9, 1-8 and 4-5 to 6-3 and a playoff berth in five years. Hey, Rome wasn't built in a day, right?
"It's uncharted territory for us," Rolando said earlier this week. "It's a pretty cool time. The boys are excited for the opportunity to do something special. It's been a great season but now we're excited for the opportunity in front of us. Once we got on the practice field this week it was business as usual. We're going against an unknown. After being on Cloud 9 and getting that sixth win and that being so special, now we've shifted back and we're working hard."
But, boy, that sixth win sure didn't come easy. After a 5-1 start, the Wave needed just one win its final 3 games - all home games -to etch its place in the 256-team playoff field. First up was Aurora Christian. Tough 23-18 loss. Then Marian Central came to town. Ouch, a 48-7 whoopin'.
"Aurora Christian was just a tough game but then we came out flat against Marian and we weren't expecting that," said Rolando, who led the 1990 Larkin team to a state quarterfinal appearance before the Royals lost 49-42 to East St. Louis in one of the best high school football games ever played in Elgin.
"We just didn't show up to play and that was discouraging," Rolando said of the Marian Central loss. "It put our backs against the wall. But the kids knew if they didn't back down we could beat Wheaton Academy."
They had to. With a paltry 30 playoff points heading into Week 9, everyone in Green Wave Nation knew they weren't goin' dancin' at 5-4.
And with a little over 2 minutes to go in that Week 9 game last Friday, they were getting ready to ring the bell. But wait. Wheaton Academy erased a 12-point St. Edward lead quicker than you could yell "Playoffs!!!" and suddenly, with less than 30 seconds to play, the game was tied and St. Edward's postseason was in jeopardy. Then, boom, senior David Hoebbel ran back a kick 79 yards for a touchdown, the final seconds ticked away and the party was on.
"In the huddle before the kickoff we talked about making something happen," Hoebbel said this week. "We knew time was running out and we wanted to make something happen. We got more than we thought. There was relief and it felt good."
Worried? Who was worried?
"I had full confidence we were going to pull it out," said senior lineman Shane Finnane, who has been a varsity player for four years. "We wanted it real bad."
Rolando, who played his college football at Valparaiso, points to two key plays before Hoebbel's TD as being equally as important in the biggest win at Greg True in, well, a long time.
"Luckily our special teams came up big and blocked two extra points," he said. "It was quite the roller coaster game. The kids' backs were against the wall and they responded."
Finnane more than any single player can remember well when things weren't so exciting around St. Edward.
"It's been four tough years," he said. "The 0-9s, getting beat up. But then we stepped it up last year and this year has been amazing. We've never gone to the playoffs. It felt good to be on the field (this week)."
What's behind the evolution of the program is no question to the 6-foot, 240-pound Finnane, who would love to play college football at Indiana or Colorado.
"The first thing is the coaching," he said. "They've been with this senior class since we were in seventh grade. They know us. They've taught us how to be football players and how to be men. The most important thing they've taught us is heart. No matter how you play, just bring the heart."
Rolando, who has also taken the St. Edward softball program to new heights the last two years, has no intention of this being a one-year thing. The Green Wave's sophomore team was 9-0 this season, and the Crusader feeder teams claimed Super Bowl championships at the middleweight and heavyweight levels last weekend.
"This is not just a flash in the pan," Rolando declared. "We played solid football last year, we added a nice junior class this year and we did more offensively. But it's not just one great class. We only brought one sophomore (Evan Finnane) up this year and our sophomores went 9-0. We've got some good freshmen, and the Crusaders won two Super Bowls. We want to sustain this and do it right away."
Rolando is also rightfully proud of the way St. Edward has rebuilt. The program earned the Suburban Christian Gold sportsmanship award this season, something Rolando says tells him that he, his staff and the St. Edward community are doing things the right way.
"We are doing it right and we're doing it with respect," he said. "The other schools and their fans appreciate the way our kids play and the way our fans and student body act. We focus on academics. Our players have mandatory study halls and we give them college exposure. When you build a program that way and sustain it, winning becomes a byproduct and kids want to come play for you."
And win or lose on Saturday or whenever in this postseason, something tells us St. Edward is going to be an easier name to find on the IHSA's football Web site in years to come.
Dangerous weapons on display in Week 2
September 4, 2011
By Erik Jacobsen firstname.lastname@example.org September 4, 2011 12:33AM
Updated: September 4, 2011 12:33AM
By piling up big and balanced offensive numbers Friday night, Bartlett, St. Edward and Streamwood all served notice that future opponents will have to pick their poison.
Keep in mind all three teams blasted inferior competition in Week 2, but the high-powered and multi-dimensional offensive attacks displayed by the Hawks, Green Wave and Sabres were eye openers nonetheless.
In the case of Bartlett, senior quarterback AJ Bilyeu and his teammates looked downright unstoppable while doing all of their scoring before halftime in a 42-0 rout of Elgin.
Granted, the Maroons were without injured senior standout Dennis Moore, but it is hard to believe Moore’s presence would have done much to slow a Hawks attack that amassed 149 passing yards and 177 rushing yards for a 292 total in the first half before calling off the dogs after the intermission.
Of Bartlett’s six touchdowns, four came on passes from Bilyeu and two came on running plays. More impressively, all six touchdowns were scored by different players.
“We’re definitely versatile,” Bartlett senior receiver Zach Karys said. “We’ve got players at every position that can get the ball and do something with it.”
Karys, a three-year varsity starter, was the recipient of a 24-yard touchdown strike from Bilyeu in the second quarter, but it was senior tight end Lorenzo Mitchell who stole the show.
The 6-foot-3, 230-pound Mitchell picked apart what is usually a competent Elgin secondary by catching the first five passes from Bilyeu for 52 yards. In doing so Mitchell showed off his skills by hauling in passes over the middle as well as near the sideline, with his best reception coming on spectacular one-handed grab on a fade pattern in the back left corner of the end zone in the first quarter.
“(Mitchell) looked like a pro receiver there,” Meaney said. “That was an awesome catch, one of the best catches I’ve seen in the end zone.”
While Bartlett was proving it has the weaponry needed to live up to its lofty expectations, Streamwood was busy reassuring any doubters that its resurgence this fall isn’t a fluke.
The Sabres piled up a whopping 523 yards of offense while stomping Dundee-Crown 40-17. The Chargers had hoped to bottle up Streamwood’s star running back Alex Morrow, but that plan backfired when senior quarterback Dalton Lundeen completed 12-of-14 passes for 251 yards and three touchdowns.
With the passing game in high gear, Morrow still managed to rack up 171 rushing yards and three touchdowns on 15 carries as the Sabres won consecutive games for the first time since 2003 and improved to 2-0 for the first time since 2002.
If Streamwood can continue to strike the kind of offensive balance it did while amassing 266 passing yards and 257 rushing yards against D-C, expect even more success to follow.
Last but not least, St. Edward got a dose of what the doctor ordered when it went on the road and pounded Iroquois West 55-6.
The Green Wave lost five fumbles in its Week 1 triumph, so cleaning things up on offense was a top priority Friday night. St. Edward accomplished that and then some as senior quarterback Bob French passed for three touchdowns and sophomore running back Davontae Elam ran for three touchdowns.
The 55-point outburst matched St. Edward’s second-highest scoring total during coach Mike Rolando’s seven years at the helm. More importantly, it built confidence in an offensive unit that will need to hold its own to support a stout Green Wave defense as the team rolls into Suburban Christian action starting this week.
Elam leads St. Edward to easy triumph
September 3, 2011
By Dan Chamness For Sun-Times Media September 2, 2011 11:54PM
Updated: September 3, 2011 1:47AM
For the St. Edward offense, it was simply the Dovantae Elam show.
While Elam was scoring three touchdowns, the St. Edward defense was busy holding the Iroquois West Raiders to just one touchdown and 59 yards of offense, in the visiting Green Wave’s 55-6 victory.
Elam, who finished with over 200 rushing yards, rushed for the final four yards in a seven-play drive, which took the Green Wave (2-0) only 2:35 to complete. Elam entered the end zone with 40.8 seconds to play in the first quarter to give St. Edward its second touchdown of the contest. Joe French tacked on the extra point for a 14-0 lead.
“I love getting a lot of touches,” said Elam, who had 19 carries on the evening. “The offensive line helped tremendously. There was so much push.
“I learned a lot on how to run from my family. I also watched a little bit of Walter Payton.”
Elam rushed for 26 yards two different times during the drive as St. Edward started the drive from its own 42-yard line. Before the half was over, Elam had a second touchdown, dashing 65 yards and scoring at the 3:18 mark of the second quarter. He scored on a 75-yard touchdown run with 11:42 left to play.
Iroquois West earned its only touchdown by running the option, running Keaton Zirkle up the middle and depending on the speed of Tyler Clay as he dashed to the outside. The quarterback, Jordan Hansen, scored on a 3-yard run, cutting the lead to 14-6.
The Raiders had other drives, but the defense of St. Edward stopped them cold. Early in the third quarter, the Raiders used the option, driving down the field 27 yards, but a fumble recovered by Evan Finnane abruptly ended the drive and set up another St. Edward score as Green Wave QB Bob French found Troy Gudino with a 17-yard strike.
“Everything clicked,” said French. “My wide receivers and my offensive line made me look real good tonight. I had a ton of time. I just looked for the right guy.”
St. Edward held a 28-6 lead at halftime as French hit Matt Brockner with a 15-yard touchdown pass in the final 15 seconds of the first half. In the final play of the first half, Sean Richmond intercepted a pass to give him an interception for the second consecutive week.
“The coaches expect me to intercept passes,” said Richmond. “We were disappointed that they scored. It fired us up a little bit. The coaches had us well prepared. They surprised us on their scoring drive. They hit harder. When they brought Zirkle up the middle, they hit us harder.”
Besides the performance of Elam, French completed 6-of-12 passes for 153 yards. He completed three touchdown passes. Brockner caught two passes for 45 yards. Both were touchdown strikes.
St. Edward rolls over Iroquois West
September 3, 2011
By Bill Carey
GILMAN — As St. Edward running back DeVontae Elam reached the secondary on a run in the first half of his team’s game with Iroquois West on Friday, a defender closed in on him.
The sophomore juked left just before contact, quickly regained full speed and raced down the center of the field for a 65-yard touchdown run that broke the game open for the Green Wave. “I watched a lot of Walter Payton,” said Elam, with a smile, about his move after a 55-6 win Friday in Gilman.
With teammate Luke Duffy nursing a sore hamstring, Elam took the bulk of the carries for St. Edward, which ran again and again against an overwhelmed Iroquois West defense. Elam totaled 267 yards and 3 touchdowns on 16 carries.
“He’s a very special, gifted running back,” said St. Edward coach Mike Rolando. “When he gets in the open field, he can make some great things happen.”
St. Edward missed opportunities early in the game and allowed Iroquois West to stay close. The Green Wave failed to score on a fumble recovery deep in Raiders’ territory, and a pair of passes went off the fingertips of St. Edward receivers. Midway through the second quarter, it was a one-touchdown game.
After Elam’s run gave the Green Wave (2-0) breathing room, the St. Edward defense forced a punt. With 1:33 left in the half, the Green Wave engineered a 77-yard touchdown drive, running the team’s two-minute offense to perfection. Senior quarterback Bob French completed 3 passes on the drive, including a touchdown toss to senior Matt Brockner with 12 seconds left.
“We had been working on it all week,” French said. “That’s the first thing we did at the beginning of practice, and out here, everything started to click.”
The game quickly turned lopsided in the second half, and 3 late turnovers by Iroquois West added to the damage. In all, St. Edward recovered 4 fumbles and intercepted 2 passes, including one that was taken back 48 yards for a touchdown by linebacker Dennis Turnquist.
But that doesn’t mean the unit was happy.
“The defense was disappointed with giving up those six points,” Rolando said, “but they ran that option a lot better than we anticipated. That quarterback ran it great.”
The Raiders only score came in the second quarter, when Iroquois West quarterback Jordan Hansen faked a handoff and kept the ball. St. Edward was momentarily fooled, giving Hansen just enough time to slip into the end zone.
“We don’t like to be scored on,” said St. Edward defensive back Sean Richmond. “We like to get as many shutouts as possible. We all just buckled down. We started getting on each other and that’s what we really needed to be more disciplined.”
From there, Iroquois West struggled to move the ball, and St. Edward rolled to an important victory. With the conference season looming, wins in the first two weeks were crucial.
“If we want to get five wins and make the playoffs, we have to win our two preseason games,” Rolando said. “These two games for us are like playoff games. It’s huge.”
Tackling their assignments
November 4, 2010
By Erik Jacobsen email@example.com Nov 3, 2010 10:22:00PM
St. Edward’s defense provides a lesson in what teamwork is all about.
The Green Wave entered the season lacking size and experience on defense, but that hasn’t stopped the unit from becoming the area’s stingiest squad, statistically speaking.
Going into Saturday’s showdown against Mendota (6-4) in the second round of the Class 4A state playoffs, St. Edward (8-2) boasts a defense that is holding opponents to 10.7 points per game. The 107 points allowed by the Wave this season is more than 50 points fewer than the next area team.
Those accomplishments seem even more impressive when it is taken into account that St. Edward’s defense returned only four starters from last season and primarily uses a group of 12 players who average about 180 pounds.
So what is the key to success? Coach Mike Rolando says it is all about the players understanding the team’s system.
“All the guys are very coachable,” Rolando said. “They understand their assignments within the defense and they don’t try to make too much happen. They understand that their job may not be to make tackles, but to contain or to not let receivers behind them.
“The big thing is they understand each other’s roles and they count on each other to get the job done. They’re not selfish and they don’t go outside of their own discipline to try to make plays.”
Rolando admits that the defense was a big question mark coming into the season.
Senior defensive tackle Derek Porto, junior defensive tackle Evan Finnane, senior linebacker Jon Keokanlaya and senior safety Sam Pozezinski were the only returning starters for the unit, meaning there would be several new faces at every level of the defense.
It didn’t hurt that the incoming junior class was fresh off an undefeated sophomore campaign, but questions still remained.
“Any time you make the leap from the sophomore level to the varsity level it’s a huge disparity in the speed and the physicality of the game,” Rolando said. “We were hoping they’d be able to play at this level, but when they make that jump you just never know.”
It didn’t take long for the juniors to assert themselves and take on leading roles.
Junior linebackers Luke Duffy and Mark Sink rank as the team’s top two tacklers with 90 and 79, respectively. Junior defensive end Zack McQueen has a team-high seven sacks while junior cornerback Ryan Johnson and junior safety Sean Richmond are tied for the team lead in interceptions with two apiece.
“We knew that our defense was going to mainly be made up of juniors,” said Sink, the son of Hampshire defensive coordinator Rod Sink. “We knew we had to step up and play big and play for our seniors. We didn’t want to let them down.”
Junior cornerback Matt Brockner (44 tackles) is another key piece to the puzzle along with Finnane, who is the only junior on the team in his second varsity season. Finnane has 54 tackles, six sacks and six forced fumbles.
Given the production of the Class of 2012, it’s safe to say defense won’t be a major concern going into next season.
“Luckily we’re at this point where we’re in November and we’re not thinking about next year yet,” Rolando said. “But in the back of your mind you do catch yourself thinking ‘That (junior-dominated defense) does bode well for the future.’”
Rolando adds that the success of the juniors is in part due to the leadership provided by the team’s seniors, who also play an important role.
Keokanlaya (73 tackles), Porto (4 sacks) and Pozezinski (11 pass deflections) have all stepped up their games this season. Meanwhile, senior defensive end Kevin Danikowski has taken his game to a whole new level.
Danikowski didn’t get much playing time last season, but he doesn’t come off the field this year. In addition to his 64 tackles and five sacks on defense, he also starts at offensive tackle.
Senior linebacker Bobby Waclawik (58 tackles) is yet another important contributor for the Wave, which gets a boost from the scouting and preparation of defensive coordinator Marc Rusinko and the rest of the coaching staff.
“Coach prepares us well,” Porto said. “We always change things up depending on what the offense on the other team does, and we watch a lot of film to get ready.”
St. Edward allowed a season-low 69 yards in last week’s win against Chicago Uplift, which marked the first playoff victory in program history. The Wave hasn’t allowed more than 29 points in a game this season, and in its eight victories it hasn’t given up more than 14 points.
Along the way St. Edward held three opponents scoreless, including back-to-back shutouts in Weeks 2 and 3. Not since 1984 had the program accomplished such a feat, which proved to be a sign of things to come for a Wave team that is setting the bar higher than ever this year.
“We strive to get a shutout every game,” Keokanlaya said. “We want to set an example and play hard-nosed defense every time out.”
Momentum deserts St. Edward
November 7, 2010
Momentum deserts St. Edward
By Jerry Fitzpatrick
Momentum's fickle nature was on display at St. Edward Saturday.
The Green Wave seemed to have momentum squarely on their side when they took an 8-point lead, courtesy of Ben Lehman's 57-yard touchdown pass to Daniel Jaimes on the final play of the first half.
By the time 3:40 had elapsed in the third quarter, however, momentum had switched sidelines.
No. 16 Mendota scored 16 points in a 30-second span and later survived a missed 28-yard field goal attempt to escape with a 22-20 victory over No. 9 St. Edward in a Class 4A second-round playoff game at Greg True Field in Elgin, the first IHSA state football playoff game ever hosted by St. Edward.
"The kids tried and played their butts off," St. Edward coach Mike Rolando said. "Unbelievable effort and attitude out there. Just a couple of missed opportunities where we couldn't execute."
Leading 14-6 at halftime, St. Edward (8-3) kicked off to Konner Stremlau of Mendota (7-4). The junior returned the ball 55 yards to the St. Edward 35-yard line, and the Trojans scored 6 plays later on the second of Robert Watson's 3 rushing touchdowns. Watson ran for the 2-point conversion to tie the game, 14-14, with 8:50 left in the third quarter.
Mendota then seized momentum fully when it forced a fumble on the ensuing kickoff return. Albert Munoz recovered the loose ball at the St. Edward 39-yard line.
"After the fumble everybody was up and ready to put it in," Watson said.
After a 31-yard gain by senior Zachery Lewis with penalty tacked on, Watson scored from 4 yards out to stake Mendota to its first lead, 20-14, with 8:20 left in the third quarter.
"We had more mistakes and they capitalized on them," said St. Edward linebacker/running back Jon Keokanlaya, whose team lost the turnover battle 2-0.
Watson again converted the 2-point try to make it 22-14. He scored all of Mendota's 22 points.
St. Edward drove to the Mendota 12-yard line on its next possession, but Lehman's pass over the middle on second-and-10 was intercepted by leaping linebacker Adam Sondgeroth at the 3-yard line.
Passing was a theme for St. Edward. Lehman completed 12 of 26 attempts for 273 yards. The Wave gained only 92 yards rushing on 23 attempts.
"They kept, eight, nine, 10 guys in the box, and we were able to really open it up and go to the air," Lehman said. "But again, missed opportunities and everything. It was hard to put points on the board."
St. Edward did draw closer on its next possession. The Wave drove 50 yards in 6 plays, capped by Keokanlaya's 17-yard run up the middle with 2:53 left in the third quarter.
St. Edward went for the tie, but the timing of Lehman's conversion pass to Matt Brockner was off, leaving Mendota with a 22-20 lead.
The Green Wave let another golden opportunity slip away on its next possession. After a 14-yard run by Lehman and a 19-yard gain by Keokanlaya set the Wave up with a first down at the Mendota 25-yard line, St. Edward ran for no gain and threw 3 straight incompletions to turn the ball over on downs with 11:07 left in the game.
The Wave got the ball back one last time at their own 30-yard line with 7:04 to play. They drove 60 yards in 10 plays but were eventually forced to settle for a 28-yard field goal attempt by Mark Olenek with 2:44 left in the game.
The field-goal snap was high, which forced the holder, Brockner, to stand to catch the ball before he placed it down. The delay threw off Olenek's timing. He hit the ball fat, and it drifted short of the crossbar to the right.
"It's one of many things that add up," Rolando said of the high snap and missed kick. "We didn't play perfect. We had a lot of little execution errors. The effort was there."
Mendota's offense ate up the final 2:44 with 3 first downs. Overall, the Trojans rushed 53 times in the triple option for 226 yards.
"We stayed right with them," St. Edward two-way lineman Derek Porto said. "It could have gone either way."
St. Edward took a 7-0 lead in the first quarter. The Wave advanced 69 yards in 6 plays on its second possession, a drive keyed by Lehman's 58-yard pass to DeVontae Elam.
Mendota didn't answer until 21 seconds remained in the first half. Watson finished a 10-play, 60-yard drive with a 1 yard run, but the point after try went wide, leaving the Green Wave with a 7-6 lead.
Rather than run out the clock with 18 seconds left, Lehman threw a 12-yard pass to Sam Pozezinski. The St. Edward coaches noticed the Mendota safety doubling Pozezinski over the top, so they called a deep fade for Jaimes with 11 seconds left in the half.
Lehman's pass was underthrown, so Jaimes adjusted, made the catch and scored on a 57-yard reception as time ran out. Olenek's extra point gave the Green Wave a 14-6 halftime lead. It was the first time Jaimes had been on the field in the game.
"I felt like we were doing really good right there and we were going to step up and beat them," Jaimes said.
Step forward for St. Edward despite loss
November 7, 2010
By John Radtke
Things were looking good for St. Edward’s black-clad Green Wave Saturday afternoon.
The stands were full and they were two-and-three deep down the sidelines. Mendota’s healthy crowd, the air filled with the aroma of burgers and pork chops cooking on the grills, not a cloud in the sky. An estimated 2,500 fans. Yep, it was set up to be a special day in the history of St. Edward football.
And an improbable 57-yard touchdown pass on the last play of the first half to give the home team a 14-6 lead at the break.
Oh yes, Elgin, a high-school football team from the city was headed to the state quarterfinals for the first time since their coach’s alma mater Larkin had gone that deep in 1999.
Yep, it sure was looking good for coach Mike Rolando’s Green Wave.
But then a 30-second span of the third quarter turned things very cloudy on this bright and splendid November Saturday.
A big runback and a touchdown 6 plays later made it 14-14. A turnover on the ensuing kickoff, a big run and a short run and suddenly the victory bell seemed as far away as the state title game in Champaign.
The fight wasn’t over though. The heart and fortitude that has become Green Wave football in Rolando’s 6 years at the helm took over and the Wave clawed and fought their way back in, scoring late in the third quarter to make it 22-20. An errant 2-point conversion pass prevented the game from being tied but you sensed that maybe the momentum had shifted again. Heck, they now had the whole fourth quarter to win the game.
But Mendota toughened up and the one good chance the Wave had to go ahead didn’t materialize. But St. Edward’s defense held the Trojans at bay and there was one last shot for the home team to send its crowd into a frenzy. But, again, the opportunity didn’t come to fruition when a high snap caused kicker Mark Olenek’s timing to go awry on a 28-yard field goal attempt with 2:49 to play that would have put the Wave back on top.
Mendota ran out the clock on St. Edward’s season and while the Trojans celebrated, St. Edward’s coaching staff implored the Green Wave to keep their heads held high. Rolando proudly congratulated his boys on a great season.
Great? How about super-great. The goals were met win the conference, win a playoff game, and host a playoff game. An 8-3 record? Well, St. Edward has been playing football since 1944 and only one other Green Wave team the 1978 Tim McVey squad managed 8 wins in a season.
“It’s always nice when you have to re-establish goals because that means you’ve achieved the ones you set,” said Rolando after spending several moments hugging his players one by one.
“I’m very proud of what they’ve done. Every year we’ve just wanted to improve and these guys can definitely say they left the program better than they found it.”
Senior quarterback Ben Lehman, who had a stellar day passing, acknowledged there were missed opportunities but preferred to not dwell on the negative.
“There were plenty of missed opportunities but you can’t look at the bad things,” he said. “You have to look at the success we had. We won the conference. After every game there’s been a sense of satisfaction. I’m so proud of what we’ve done this year.”
Junior running back Luke Duffy says this is no flash-in-the-pan type of thing going on on Elm Street.
“Each year coach Ro has been here, every team has gone farther than the last one,” Duffy said. “Our goals were to win the conference, win a playoff game and get a home game in the playoffs. Unfortunately we didn’t come out on top.
“A lot of our defense is coming back and the seniors showed us juniors how do get it done. We’ll definitely carry on their legacy.”
While Rolando chose to emphasize how much this moment was for his seniors ”We’re thinking about the seniors right now and how they played their hearts out,” he said he also spoke to the future.
“It’s up to the junior class to raise the bar again,” Rolando said. “I think these guys learned what it takes to get better. The opportunity to improve on this year will be a 12-month commitment. It won’t be long until these guys are in the weight room and setting their goals for next year.”
One thing that’s pretty clear is this the days of losing football seasons at St. Edward are over.
St. Edward football ranked 10th in state
September 1, 2010
September 1, 2010
From Staff Reports
St. Edward's football team is getting a greater measure of respect, and if you don't believe it just check the rankings.
The Green Wave climbed into the 10th spot in the Associated Press Class 4A state poll this week.
"It's nice to be recognized as at least a competitive football team," Wave coach Mike Rolando said. "In years past we were everybody's homecoming, but now at least we've won enough games and played in a tough conference long enough and turned a couple heads.
"(Being ranked) is great, but it really doesn't matter on Friday night. We just need to keep our nose to the grindstone and continue to strive towards our goal of getting better every year."
The Wave is coming off a Week 1 21-13 win against Hampshire in which its defense made several key plays in the second half.
That was an unexpected turn of events in that St. Edward expected a prolific offense to lead the way.
"We've obviously got a lot of work to do," Rolando said. "We were fortunate to get out of Hampshire with a victory last week."
The Green Wave will visit Rockford Lutheran (1-0) on Friday.
St. Edward QB Lehman excels as student of the game
October 27, 2010
By Erik Jacobsen firstname.lastname@example.org Oct 27, 2010 01:12AM
Credit St. Edward’s coaching staff for making a good snap decision with regard to Ben Lehman.
After playing outside linebacker and running back during junior high, Lehman got a new assignment upon joining the Green Wave program.
“I came into freshman summer camp and they just said they wanted me to play quarterback,” Lehman said. “There was no rhyme or reason to it. They just didn’t have anyone else to fill the spot and they figured they’d give me a shot.”
Four years later, Lehman is regarded as one of the top quarterbacks in the area as he prepares to lead St. Edward back into the Class 4A state playoffs this Saturday against Chicago Uplift at Lane Stadium in Chicago.
In his second varsity season, Lehman has completed 83 of 165 passes for 1,406 yards and 12 touchdowns. He’s been intercepted only five times and also has 357 rushing yards on 48 attempts.
This weekend Lehman will likely surpass his passing yardage total from last year when he led the area with 1,417 yards through the air. While the totals are almost the same, the skills that make Lehman the player he is have evolved.
A big reason for that progress is Lehman’s ability to accept coaching. He attended no fewer than 20 college camps last summer, picking up countless tricks of the trade in addition to what he already learned from St. Edward coach Mike Rolando, a former quarterback who starred in high school and college while playing at Larkin and Valparaiso.
“Ben is a real a student of the game,” Rolando said. “Sure, he heard me give him some tips and teaching along the way, but he went out and went to 20 camps this summer and he’s heard it from a lot of different coaches. They are all teaching him different ways to fake and improve his footwork.
“He’s just had a lot of different instruction and he brings it all together, and that’s what makes him Ben Lehman. He learns from everyone who has taught him and takes the pieces he can use to kind of mold himself as a quarterback.”
The son of Mike Lehman, the golf operations director in the city of Elgin, Ben Lehman didn’t have much time to hit the links this summer.
The 6-foot-1, 195-pound quarterback started his odyssey at an Eastern Illinois camp one day after St. Edward’s school year ended. He then travelled everywhere from Missouri to Massachusetts, displaying his talents along the way.
Lehman felt particularly comfortable in the company of coaches from Valparaiso, Georgetown, Southern Illinois and Indiana State. It comes as no surprise that those four NCAA Division-I Football Championship Series programs rank highest on Lehman’s list of potential destinations following this season.
Lehman is blessed with a talented offense at St. Edward that includes senior receiver Sam Pozezinski. The Wave is averaging 30.1 points per game this season, and a formidable ground attack has helped lighten the pressure on St. Edward’s passing game.
For Lehman, all the offseason work has helped make him feel more sure-handed under center.
“My mechanics have really changed a lot,” Lehman said. “Last year I was just kind of slinging the ball, and over the summer I worked with Jeff Christensen, who has a program and works with a lot of quarterbacks. A lot of it was just reading defenses and learning easy ways to get the ball moved around.”
The Wave certainly hasn’t had much trouble moving the ball this year, and as a result St. Edward claimed the outright Suburban Christian Conference Gold Division title — its first league championship since 1978.
Now Lehman hopes to finish his high school career by leading the Wave to its first-ever playoff win and perhaps even greater spoils during the next few weeks.
“We’ve done a lot of good this year and I think we’re right on track to accomplish our the rest of our goals,” Lehman said.
For St. Edward seniors Shane Finnane and Nathan Gaige, a long varsity football odyssey reaches uncharted territory this weekend.
No two players represent the Green Wave's progression from woebegone program to playoff qualifier more than Finnane and Gaige, who have been through every step of the transition the past four years as varsity starters.
As freshmen, the duo was part of a 2006 team that hardly stood a chance from week to week while finishing 0-9. They helped St. Edward break through and end its 26-game losing streak as sophomores and played a part in leading the Wave toward respectability with a 4-5 finish as juniors.
Now comes the climax of the journey as Finnane and Gaige lead St. Edward into its first postseason game since 2003 on Saturday at Mendota in the first round of the Class 4A state playoffs.
"Going 0-9 my freshman year, then 1-8 and then 4-5, I feel like I've been through the whole progression," Finnane said. "Ending my senior year like this is definitely a great thing to do."
The contributions of Finnane and Gaige have been enormous this season as St. Edward matched its highest win total since 1992 with a 6-3 regular season.
The 6-foot, 240-pound Finnane leads the defense with 91 tackles to go along with two sacks. In addition to his middle linebacker duties, he's also helped the Wave offense rack up 236.9 rushing yards per game with his play at left tackle.
Meanwhile, Gaige is second to Finnane with 87 tackles. The 5-11, 205-pounder is also tied for the team lead with three interceptions and two fumble recoveries in his fourth season at outside linebacker.
"(Gaige) is just a great athlete, his motor is always going and he practices hard," St. Edward coach Mike Rolando said. "(Finnane) is the strongest kid in the program. For a high school boy, he's got a work ethic like no other."
Rolando is the reason Finnane and Gaige decided to attend St. Edward in the first place. He coached the duo to a championship in 2004 when Finnane and Gaige were seventh-graders with the Crusaders youth football team.
The following year Rolando took over at St. Edward. When it came time for Finnane and Gaige to enroll in high school, the opportunity to play for their former coach outweighed the prospect of enduring a rebuilding project with the Green Wave.
"This group of seniors right now, a couple of us played with these coaches since seventh grade," Finnane said. "They've been like another set of parents for us. They brought us up and made us who we are today.
"(Rolando) is the reason we came to St. Ed. We knew he could turn the program around as fast as he did."
Finnane is in his fourth season as a two-way starter, and Gaige started both ways the previous three years before focusing more on his linebacker duties this fall.
While that service is impressive, it's not exactly ideal to have players three and four years younger than most opponents never leave the field.
Yet that's the reality St. Edward faced when Rolando took over a program that was left in shambles following former coach Rich Sanders' abrupt departure a month before the 2005 season.
"I knew when coach Ro needed guys like me and Shane to play on varsity as freshmen that we weren't going to be that good," Gaige said. "But I knew we were just growing as a program."
That growth is evident now as the Green Wave counts only one sophomore as a regular varsity starter. St. Edward could barely field a sophomore team when Finnane and Gaige arrived, but this year the Wave fielded a full sophomore squad that rolled to a 9-0 record.
"Back in Shane and Nathan's day they were two-way starters as freshmen, but those days are kind of over," Rolando said. "We've got a sustained program where juniors and seniors play varsity with maybe an exceptional sophomore here and there. But for the most part we want to have juniors and seniors on the field."
And therein lies what may be the most lasting legacy Finnane and Gaige will leave behind at St. Edward.
While both players have aspirations to play in college -- Finnane is drawing considerable interest from Army while Gaige has been in contact with NAIA Quincy University -- their sacrifices and hard work have helped create an even brighter future for Green Wave football.
"We don't want to look at this good year as a flash in the pan," Rolando said. "We want to sustain this for the long run."
October 27, 2009
The SCC Coaches met for our Conference Meeting Monday night and the St. Edward Program and Football Community got another BIG WIN!
St. Edward was awarded the Sportsmanship Award for the SCC Gold Division for 2009!
Congrats to the Green Wave faithful for making such a strong and positive impression on our conference.
St. Edward clinches playoff berth
October 24, 2009
St. Edward's first postseason bid in six seasons
October 24, 2009
By ANDY ROHR For The Courier-News
ELGIN – St. Edward's postseason-clinching sixth win of the season bordered on the surreal on Friday night at a muddy Greg True Field.
After seeing a double-digit lead slip through its grasp in the final two and a half minutes, the Green Wave needed a blocked extra point try and 79-yard kickoff return touchdown to finally knock off Wheaton Academy 34-28, securing the sixth win that had been eluding it the last two weeks and giving the school its first playoff berth since 2003.
St. Edward's Jon Keokanlaya (36) and (51) Glenn Fortune (51) lead their fellow teammates in celebration after their victory over Wheaton Academy Friday night in Elgin. (Dave Shields/For The Courier-News)
With 33.1 seconds on the clock and the score knotted at 28, Jack Cholewa blocked Wheaton Academy's ensuing PAT try to keep St. Edward from falling behind. The Warriors kickoff then sailed out of bounds, giving the Green Wave (6-3, 3-2 Suburban Christian Conference Gold Division) the opportunity to take the ball from the 35.
Instead, the coaching staff declined the penalty and had Wheaton Academy (5-4, 3-2) re-kick.
"We saw a lot of clean jerseys on their kickoff team," coach Mike Rolando said. "Worst-case scenario, they onside kick it, we recover it on hopefully a short field or they kick it deep and something good can happen. I asked (special teams) coach (Mike) Childers which way we were going and he said, 'Left. There's a lot of clean jerseys over there.' "
Childers' instincts paid off.
David Hoebbel took the return 79 yards on a criss-crossing run that put the Green Wave ahead 34-28 with 15.7 seconds left.
"We worked so hard," said Hoebbel, who ran for 89 yards on 14 carries. "I had confidence in all of my teammates when we started that play. Coach called a return to the left. I knew as soon as I touched the ball that I was going to score a touchdown."
After a missed extra point try, St. Edward kicked off and three plays later, Nathan Gaige came away with an interception to seal the heart-stopping victory. The turnover was Wheaton Academy's only of the night. St. Edward turned the ball over four times.
"As soon as Nathan caught that ball I went straight into tears," senior lineman Shane Finnane said. "It's been four really, really long years. I've worked hard. Seven in the morning every day in the weight room, just trying to make me and my team better. It finally paid off."
The heavy drama began to unfold just two minutes after Jordan Torres (19 carries, 134 yards) galloped into the end zone to put St. Edward up 28-16. A Wheaton Academy TD reception less than a minute later might have put a little doubt into the final result but a Torres fumble with 1:24 remaining definitely did.
The Warriors completed their miraculous comeback with 33.1 seconds remaining, when Academy's Brian Pell hit Anthony Ritchie for the score to tie the game at 28.
"Anything that could happen on a football field seemed like it was going to happen there," Rolando said. "I think I already forgot the whole first half already. The second half was so stressful. The seniors, the boys, all the players, stepped up and got it done when they had to.
"They never quit. We talked about playing with enthusiasm instead of emotion, because emotion, you can get down when something bad happens. Enthusiasm, you stay up, it's always positive."
With the extra point looming, the Green Wave faithful was in a hysterical panic. But with brutal field conditions crippling both sides' special teams units, the Green Wave kept the score all square at 28. Jack Cholewa became the second St. Edward player of the night to block an extra point.
"It was huge," Rolando said of the block. "(If it's good), then you're in desperation."
What led to the frenzied finish seems pedestrian by comparison. After a Jim Cholewa 35-yard field goal and a 50-yard Torres run, St. Edward led 9-0 with 3:47 left in the first.
A Sam Pozezinski fumble on a punt late in the quarter set up the first of Pell's four touchdown passes, with St. Edward's lead trimmed to 9-7 at the end of the first quarter.
Wheaton Academy capitalized off another St. Edward turnover late in the second, as a Ben Lehman pick led to a Warriors field goal that gave them a 10-9 halftime lead.
St. Edward went ahead 15-10 on its opening drive off the third on a 5-yard Hoebbel run but fell behind again 16-15 with 1:48 left in the quarter.
In what was the biggest play of the game up until that point, the Green Wave went back up with 6:17 left when a newly gloved Zach Von Ahnen made a quick catch up the middle, rambling 69 yards to put St. Edward up 21-16.
"He (went to the sideline and) put his gloves on," Rolando laughed. "I'm like, 'Nothing like giving it away.' We had been pounding the ball. First (Wheaton Academy) is bringing six and then they're bringing eight, then 10. As long as he wasn't getting jammed at the line, we were pretty sure he was going to be open."
Torres' TD run with 2:32 left put the Wave up 28-16, prompting what turned out to be some premature celebrations.
St. Edward was penalized seven times for 55 yards.
ST. EDWARD 34, WHEATON ACADEMY 28
Wheaton Academy 7 3 6 12 -- 28
St. Edward 9 0 6 19 -- 34
STED – FG Cholewa 35, 5:11
STED – Torres 50 run (kick failed), 3:47
WA – Libby 30 pass from Pell (Cote kick), 1:07
WA – FG Cote 25, 1:22
STED – Hoebbel 5 run (run failed), 9:14
WA – Johnson 4 pass from Pell (pass failed), 1:48
STED – Von Ahnen 69 pass from Lehman (run failed), 6:17
STED – Torres 15 run (Cholewa kick), 2:32
WA – Ritchie 32 pass from Pell (kick blocked), 1:42
WA – Ritchie 5 pass from Pell (kick blocked), :33
STED – Hoebbel 79 kickoff return (kick failed), :15
Team statistics WA STED
First downs 11 10
Comp.-att-int. 11-25-1 2-5-2
Passing yards 187 88
Rushing-att-yds. 29-70 39-248
Total yards 257 336
Fumbles-lost 0-0 4-2
Penalties-yards 5-43 7-55
WHEATON ACADEMY — Pell 17-34, Libby 10-38, Cote 2-(minus)2.
ST. EDWARD — Torres 19-134, Hoebbel 14-89, Lehman 5-23, Godfrey 1-2.
WHEATON ACADEMY — Pell 11-25-1 187.
ST. EDWARD — Lehman 2-5-2 88.
WHEATON ACADEMY — Ritchie 7-135, Johnson 2-12, Libby 2-40.
ST. EDWARD – Von Ahnen 1-69, Hoebbel 1-19.
St. Edward gets No. 6 - and a playoff bid
October 24, 2009
St. Edward's David Hoebbel breaks the last Wheaton Academy tackle attempt on his way to a 79-yard kickoff return for the game-winning touchdown Friday night at Greg True Field.
Photo Courtesy of Jim Finnane
1 of 1
St. Edward gets No. 6 - and a playoff bid
The St. Edward football team can finally rest easy. The Green Wave is in the playoffs.
Wheaton Academy probably is too, but the Warriors will have to wait and see.
In a battle of two five-win teams looking to clinch a playoff spot, St. Edward beat Wheaton Academy, 34-28, on David Hoebbel's 79-yard kickoff return for a touchdown with 15.7 seconds left at Greg True Field to earn its first playoff berth since 2003 and only its third in school history.
"As soon as Nathan (Gaige) caught that ball, I went straight to tears," said St. Edward senior Shane Finnane of Gaige's game-ending interception. "It's been four really, really long years."
The Green Wave (6-3, 3-2) would have needed some help to reach the postseason with a loss, but 19 fourth-quarter points stopped them from having a nerve-racking Saturday waiting for the playoff teams to be announced.
St. Edward trailed 16-15 entering the fourth. With 6:17 remaining, quarterback Ben Lehman hit Zack VonAhnen for a 69-yard touchdown. The 2-point conversion failed, but the Green Wave took a 21-16 lead. They increased the advantage to 28-16 with 2:32 remaining after Jordan Torres, who rushed for 134 yards, scored his second touchdown of the game.
The Warriors (5-4, 3-2) came right back. Brian Pell connected with Anthony Ritchie on a 31-yard touchdown with 1:42 left. The extra point was block as St. Edward led 28-22. After a failed onside kick, Torres fumbled and Wheaton Academy recovered on its own 39 with 1:24 to go. Five plays later, Pell hit Ritchie again for a 5-yard score with 33.1 seconds left. The extra point was blocked by the Green Wave's Jack Cholewa.
"It was one of the best back-and-forth games that I've ever been a part of," Warriors coach Ben Wilson said. "I was disappointed to be on the losing end, but proud of our kids."
The Warriors' kickoff went out of bounds. Instead of taking the ball on the 35-yard line, St. Edward coach Mike Rolando made the Warriors kick off again. This time the ball went to Hoebbel, who started left and cut back right. With downfield blocking from VonAhnen, Hoebbel found the end zone with 15.7 seconds left. The extra point was missed.
"We saw a lot of clean (Wheaton Academy) jerseys on the kickoff team," Rolando said of his decision. "I asked (special teams coach Mike Childers) which way we were going. He said, 'We're going left. There are a lot of clean jerseys over there.' Next thing you know (Hoebbel) is squeezing through some clean jerseys."
Pell threw an incompletion and an interception to Gaige to end the game as St. Edward students rushed onto the sloppy field to join the team in celebration.
"We've worked so hard the last four years and everyone deserves this. (The game-winning touchdown) wasn't for me, it was for St. Edward," said Hoebbel, who also had 95 yards and a touchdown on the ground.
St. Eds Boys Helping Out at FoxFire Fest
August 2, 2009
Here are a couple of our boys working crowd control for the Motocross Jump! Tough work, but I think the boys enjoyed this assignment.
Thanks for all the help for the City of Elgin boys.
The 2009 Paintball Outing will be on Sunday August 16th. We will depart at 6:30am from St. Eds, and return in the evening, around 8:00pm or so. All players must turn in A SIGNED RELEASE FORMby Wednesday 8/12 to be able to attend. We will be going to Sherwood Forrest in Indiana (click for directions)this year, one of the best paintball locations in the midwest. The site will not issue coveralls this year, so wear camo if you want, or loose fitting durable clothes. The site will provide gun, air, mask and goggles. You should also bring a change of clothes to wear on the way home. We'll bring pop/water and snacks, and we'll stop for dinner, somewhere with a $1 dollar menu.
Linemen Win Big Man Challenge
July 26, 2009
The St. Edward Varsity Football TEAM went to Washington, IL for the weekend and competed in their 7 on 7 passing tournament and also in their Linemen Challenge. For the Passing Tournament, teams were broken into pools of 6 teams and played 4 games within that pool and score is kept by an official who tracks completions, interceptions, and the length of the completion for additional points. St. Edward was put in a pool with 5 teams that ranged in enrollment from 1,000 to 1,500 and had strong football traditions. After the wave won a convincing first game, the next 3 games were very close and competitive, bringing the best out of the Wave and showing signs of great things to come this year. The Wave finished 2-2 on the day in the passing tournament.
While the 7 on 7 was taking place, the Linemen Challenge was also going on. This event features all 35 teams from about 30 different schools competing in Bench Press, Tire Flip, Sled Pull, Farmer Carry, Obstacle Cours, and 1 1/4 Mile Relay run. Events are scored/timed and the top 5 in each event are awarded points 8-1st, 6-2nd, 4-3rd, 2-4th, and 1-5th that are added up for an overall score and champion out of all 35 TEAMS that competed. There were 28 TEAMS that had higher enrollment than St. Eds, some of them 5 times more students, but the WAVE would put up some astonishing numbers to bring home the TOP SPOT, and place in the top 5 in 4 of the 6 events, including first place in the Bench and 1 1/4 mile Relay, 2nd in the Farmer Carry, and 5th in the Sled Pull.
Our boys proved once again that hard work pays off!
More important than awards or games won at the field that day was the numerous compliments our staff got about our St. Edward TEAM. Hotel staff and management, other guests, and other coaches all commented again and again how well behaved our boys were, how respectful they were all weekend, and how organized the program was. This was a very good weekend for St. Edward Football!
Postgame victory huddle for the Greenwave in Gilman, IL Friday night, after posting a 55-6 win over Iroquois West HS. Next up... SCC!
PHOTO BY: Cooper Slack
St. Edward Greenwave posgame huddle after posting a 55-6 victory over Iroquois West in Gilman, IL.
Please complete and sign this form prior to the physical.
May 22, 2009
St. Edward Football College "Signing Day"
This Friday we'll have our Inaugural College "Signing Day" for our Seniors that will be going on to play College Football next fall. This brief event will start promptly at Noon on Friday 5/22 near the main office of the school, and conclude within 15 minutes. Parents and fans of these boys are welcome to attend.
Cory Diaz will attend the University of Wisconsin, Platteville
Joe Juns will attend Trinity International University
Jimmy Mathisen will attend St. Ambrose University
Moises Quiroga will attend the College of DuPage
Josh Scholly will attend Ferris State University
We are very proud of what these boys have done to help establish the St. Edward Football Program, and we are very proud that they will continue their education at the next level, as well as continue to play football.
Expanded SCC for 2009
The SCC will welcome 4 new schools into the conference in 2009, and in essence, split into two separate 6 team SCC Conferences. (6 is the minimum # of teams in a football conference for the conference champion to get an automatic berth to the IHSA Playoffs.) Each school will still play their first 2 games as usual, non-conference games, and the next 7 games will consist of 5 games vs. the other teams in their conference, and two cross-over games with the other side of the SCC. Those 7 games are in no particular order. Our 2009 Schedule is posted on the left menu bar.
2009 SCC Gold
2009 SCC Blue
St. Edward (4A, 4-5)
Montini (5A, 11-1)
Immaculate Conception (2A, 10-4)
St. Francis (5A, 13-1)
Wheaton Academy (5A, 4-5)
Marmion Academy (6A, 3-6)
Chicago Christian (4A, 8-2)
Marian Central (5A, 4-5)
Guerin (5A, 3-6)
Aurora Central Catholic (4A, 0-9)
Aurora Christian (4A, 13-1)
VACANT SPOT FOR 2009- IHSA Approved
Combined 42-23 record, 3 of 6 made IHSA Playoffs,
1 State Champion, 1 State Runner Up.
Combined 40-25 record, 3 of 6 made IHSA Playoffs,
1 State Champion, 2 State Quarterfinalists.
The schools on these lists make up arguably THE toughest conference in the state. They beat 5A, 6A, 7A, and 8A teams consistently... some right in your own back yard. AT LEAST one of these teams has won a State Championship in each of the past 8 years, dating back to the year 2000. If you plan to represent the SCC in the IHSA State Playoffs in 2009, you had better put in the work in the off season and prepare to play the best. No Excuses... No Room For Error... Just Find A Way To Get It Done!
Daily Herald Article Today
February 10, 2009
Juns to Trinity: St. Edward left tackle Joe Juns will continue his football career at NAIA Trinity International in Deerfield. The Elgin resident intends to make the commitment official this week.
Juns (6-foot-5, 300 pounds) sat out his junior year due to injury problems, but returned to a starting role for St. Edward in 2008.
"I missed my junior year and really enjoyed playing as a senior," Juns said. "I just want to keep playing." Juns received a partial athletic scholarship. He intends to become a police officer or detective.
Approximately six members of the 2008 Green Wave are expected to commit to various colleges in the coming weeks, St. Edward coach Mike Rolando said Monday.
Scholly to Ferris State: St. Edward senior defensive back/wide receiver Josh Scholly committed to Division II Ferris State University in Big Rapids, Mich. on Feb. 4.
Scholly, who led the Green Wave in tackles in 2008, was recruited as a defensive back.
"I'm the first one from my family to go to college, so it's a new experience for us," Scholly said. "I can't wait to play college football. I've heard a lot about the intensity being that much higher, and I look forward to that. I'm really stoked and I'm ready to play."
Scholly intends to study chemistry and eventually work in the medical field.
'At the time, all discipline seems a cause not for joy but for pain, yet later it brings the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who are trained by it.-Hebrews 12:11'
"The Pain of Discipline, or the Pain of Regret... YOU CHOOSE!"
St. Edward finishes with big win
It wasn't the ideal way to end a season: a lengthy delay due to lightning, periods of wind and rain, no marching band, and a very sparse crowd.
For St. Edward, though, the season ended with a win Friday night, 20-8 over host Marmion. And that, at least, felt good.
"I'm so proud of them," said St. Edward coach Mike Rolando, who has coached this senior class for six years, including junior high. "They've played great with some awesome teams all year, and I think tonight they took another step forward. They wanted to go out on a high note."
The Green Wave did so despite not completing a pass in the difficult conditions. Instead, they piled up more than 280 yards on the ground, led by Jimmy Mathisen and Moises Quiroga. Mathisen ran for 146 yards and a pair of touchdowns, while Quiroga added 69 and a score.
Mathisen's touchdown came nine and a half minutes into the first quarter, capping a 12-play drive. After that, St. Edward just kept up the pressure.
"We came real close to pitching the shutout," Rolando said.
Marmion's only points came on defense, a 68-yard fumble return by Joe Weber in the third quarter with the Green Wave already up 20-0. The Cadets hurt themselves much of the night, turning the ball over five times and failing to get off a punt.
Marmion had only 7 first downs and had trouble establishing its usual strong running game. The lone highlight on offense was a 48-yard pass play from Ricky Bird to Bobby Miles, but that drive ended on an interception by Adam Gilies. Gilies ran it back 90 yards, setting up Mathisen's second touchdown, from 5 yards out.
Bird finished 8 of 15 passing for 121 yards, with two interceptions.
"We couldn't run the ball, and when we get behind and they know we're throwing it's hard to pass block," Marmion coach Dan Thorpe said. "I'm disappointed in the results, but not disappointed in the effort."
The Green Wave (2-5 Suburban Catholic Conference) end the season 4-5 overall, a big improvement from last year's 1-8 record. Marmion ends its year 3-6 overall and 1-6 in conference play.
Green Wave falls shy of upset
October 18, 2008
ELGIN -- St. Edward senior Jimmy Mathisen, like many of his teammates, was overcome with emotion following Friday night's crushing 33-27 home loss to Montini -- ranked No. 2 in the Class 5A state poll.
Tears ran down both sides of Mathisen's face, smearing the phrase "No Regrets" that was written on each side of the eye black under his eyes.
Like so many times before, St. Edward was less than a handful of plays away from shocking not only the Suburban Catholic Conference, but the state with a possible victory over the undefeated Broncos (8-0, 6-0) at Greg True Field.
That didn't make the difficult defeat any easier to digest, but it did prove a point to some degree -- St. Edward, which won one game last season, has sure come a long way in a short time. Still, a postseason berth will not happen this season.
"We knew what we were playing for tonight. If we didn't win there was a very slim chance of getting into the playoffs," Mathisen said. "We told ourselves to leave nothing on the field and play with no regrets.
"Losing never feels good, but everyone should be proud. A couple of years ago the coaches just told us to play as hard as we could against teams like this. This year, we knew we had a chance against them and we came out ready to win tonight."
St. Edward (3-5, 1-5) had Montini backpedaling from the very start. The Broncos didn't take their first lead until early in the second half before pulling ahead by their biggest margin, 26-14, with 5:43 left in the third quarter.
However, this time St. Edward wasn't about to back down, responding with a touchdown on its next drive following a fumble recovery in the end zone by Moises Quiroga. Quiroga (19 rushes, 84 yards) scooped up a loose ball after Cory Diaz had fumbled at the goal line on second-and-goal from the 1-yard line to make the score 26-20.
"We convinced them all week that we could beat this team," Wave coach Mike Rolando said. "They finally came out confident they could win. It was senior night and all the history they've been through, the guys really wanted this one and they played with a lot of heart tonight."
St. Edward then stopped Montini on consecutive drives, but was unable to come away with any points despite starting its possessions inside the Broncos' 40-yard line on both occasions. The Broncos eventually made the Green Wave pay for its inability to seize control -- pulling a rabbit out of the hat to break the hearts of the Green Wave.
Facing third-and-31 from the St. Edward 45-yard line, Broncos quarterback Tom DiCristina (15-of-19 passing, 335 yards, 3 TDs) eluded a near sack and found Grant Goebel behind St. Edward's last line of defense and alone in the back of the end zone for a TD and a 33-20 lead with 2:53 remaining.
"We were one play, one break away from making this happen," Rolando said. "Give Montini credit, they stepped up when they had to and made a big play. We had our fingertips on his jersey, but (DiCristina) was able to scramble around and make something happen."
St. Edward still refused to give up, getting back within 33-27 with 29 seconds left after Mathisen (20 carries, 167 yards, 2 TDs) rumbled in from 9 yards out. However, the onside kick attempt was recovered by Montini to seal the victory for the visitors.
"The only overwhelming feeling I have right now is just how proud I am of these boys," Rolando said. "We are not going to get to play in the postseason and it's just a shame. We are one of the best (Class) 4A teams there is and these kids deserve it."
St. Edward scored on its first possession of the game, marching 69 yards on 14 plays, while chewing up 7:59 off the clock. The drive was finally capped off by an 8-yard touchdown pass from Cory Diaz (4-of-9 passing, 39 yards) to Zack Von Ahnen.
Montini tied it at 7 early in the second quarter before St. Edward went back on top, 14-7, on a 21-yard touchdown run by Mathisen with 1:32 left in the half. Montini needed just three plays before the end of the half to get back within 14-13 after DiCristina hit Goebel on a 20-yard strike.
Quiroga alternated snaps with Diaz at times throughout the game for the first time this season, completing 5 of 7 passes for 53 yards.
This was taken 4/17 as they are half way done with the install... I believe the electrical will be another month, but it is coming to reality. Thank you for everyone's support to make this happen!
Thank You to all who made permanent lights possible, from all of the St. Edward HS Football family!
Football Fundraiser @ Colonial Cafe Wednesday, April 9th from 4:30p to close. Pass the word on to family and friends. The more customers for Colonial, the more money for the football program. Come have a great dinner and meet with the other football players/parents!
Green Wave claims victory
October 6, 2007
Green Wave claims victory
October 6, 2007
By Chris Pummer Staff Writer
ELGIN -- The word heart kept passing through the lips of St. Edward players and echoing across Greg True Field on Friday night.
The Green Wave showed plenty of it with a 28-26 overtime win against St. Francis in Suburban Catholic Conference play.
For St. Edward, it snapped a school-record 26-game losing streak. But more than just ending the victory drought, it validated the efforts of the players that endured almost three winless years.
"It's unbelievable right now," Green Wave senior Matt Ardiente said. "There's no words that can describe it right now. It's just amazing. The team believed, we all believed we could do it. It just feels great to come out on top after three years of struggle. It just feels good."
The last time St. Edward (1-6, 1-4) collected a victory was a 45-14 rout of Aurora Central Catholic on Oct. 8, 2004.
The Green Wave broke into the win column in gutsy fashion.
After overcoming an eight-point halftime deficit to take the game into overtime, St. Edward owned the first possession of the extra period.
Facing fourth down from the 1-yard line, Moises Quiroga rumbled off left tackle into the end zone to put the Green Wave ahead 26-20.
That was when St. Edward coach Mike Rolando elected to make the bold decision to go for the two-point conversion. While that has been a move that's backfired on the Wave this season, Rolando thought it was an easy call.
"I don't think there's a better way to call it," he said. "You have to put the pressure on the other team. They elected to play defense first so they'd know what they had to do. The only way to put the pressure back on them is to get two points."
The Wave did it with quarterback Ryan Gilbert rolling out and tossing a pass to Quiroga in the right side of the end zone.
"To be honest, I was scared and nervous," said Quiroga, who rushed 16 times for a team-high 62 yards. "Coach called for a playmaker, and I was it on that two-point conversion."
St. Francis (2-5, 1-4) used three plays to score in its half of the overtime, but couldn't force a second extra frame when Ryan O'Donnell was stopped short of the goal line by barely more than a foot.
"It's just amazing that we pulled that off," Ardiente said. "I didn't think we were going to pull it off, but my brothers picked me up and we achieved it. We got the 'W.' "
Many in the homecoming crowd might have doubted the Green Wave could pull it off after falling behind 14-0 by the midpoint of the second quarter. O'Donnell broke a 33-yard scoring run in the first and a St. Edward fumble helped set up a scoring toss from Spartans QB Jeff Reckards to Bob Vondehaar.
Vondehaar had his way going against St. Edward cornerback Josh Scholly with the scoring toss and another long pass play in the second quarter, but Scholly would get his revenge on the other side of the ball.
Gilbert capped a 38-yard, second-quarter Wave scoring drive with a 1-yard run. A blocked kick left St. Edward trailing 14-6 at halftime.
The Green Wave quarterback engineered a 15-play, 69-yard drive, finished off by a 13-yard scoring toss to Cory Diaz with 28 seconds left in the third quarter.
For the night, Gilbert connected on 11 of 19 passes for 111 yards.
"Ryan Gilbert played an incredible second half," Rolando said. "He was there in the spotlight, feeling the pressure and making plays."
St. Francis went back ahead when O'Donnell returned the ensuing kickoff 82 yards for a score.
However, St. Edward mounted another long drive -- this time 11 plays and 75 yards.
Quiroga broke a 25 yard run to put the Wave on the Spartan 20-yard line. From there, Gilbert threw a pass to Scholly for the final scoring play of regulation.
Jordan Torres' missed PAT kick made the extra period a necessity, but once in overtime the Wave never wavered.
"It was heart and dedication," said Quiroga, echoing the sentiment shared by his teammates. "We just wanted it. They wanted it too, but in the end only one team can win and we pulled it out."
St. Edward 28, St. Francis 26 (OT)
October 6, 2007
St. Edward's Mat Ardiente, right, breaks a tackle and looks for more Friday night during the Green Wave's VICTORY over St. Francis at Greg True Field in Elgin.
One play stood between St. Edward and its first victory since Oct. 8, 2004.
St. Francis running back Stan Bobowski had just scored on a 2-yard run in overtime to pull visiting St. Francis within 28-26.
Forced to attempt the 2-point conversion to forge a tie, the Spartans pitched the ball left to running back Mark Kachmer. But the junior was met at the 2-yard line by four Green Wave defenders, led by Moises Quiroga and Nevin Bens, and stopped short of the goal line.
With that tackle three years of frustration evaporated into the muggy autumn night. The entire student section huddled around Greg True Field -- extra large on St. Edward's homecoming night -- stormed the field to celebrate the end of the school's record 26-game losing streak.
Grown men wept. Players were lifted onto fans' shoulders. Everyone got hugged.
The streak was finally dead.
"I will never forget this day my whole life, especially on homecoming" said Green Wave quarterback Ryan Gilbert. "This is just amazing. It's the best feeling. We waited too long for this."
Gilbert was a big reason St. Edward (1-6, 1-4 Suburban Catholic) was able to overcome its 14-6 halftime deficit. He completed a pass to Josh Scholly on fourth down to keep a third-quarter drive alive. Seven plays later he launched a perfect pass to Cory Diaz in the corner of the end zone to pull the Wave within 14-12 with 28 seconds left in the third period.
Gilbert then tied the game with a 2-point bootleg keeper.
But the Spartans (2-5, 1-4) roared back on the next play when junior Ryan O'Donnell returned the ensuing kickoff 82 yards for a touchdown.
"We were putting in all the effort we could," O'Donnell said. "It was just great to be in one of these great high school games. It was a fun game, but it's a very, very tough loss. We were all working so hard out there, giving it our hearts."
The Spartans missed the extra-point kick wide to the right, however, leaving the score 20-14.
Two possessions later St. Edward drove 75 yards in 11 plays, a march capped by a great adjustment from Scholly, who reached back to snare an underthrown ball from Gilbert for a 20-yard touchdown with 4:21 remaining in regulation time.
However, St. Edward had its extra point try blocked for the second time on the night, leaving the score knotted 20-20.
St. Edward got the ball first in overtime and scored on Quiroga's 1-yard plunge on fourth-and-goal. But the bigger play came next.
Due to his teams' kicking difficulties, Green Wave coach Mike Rolando elected to fake the kick in favor of a rollout option. Gilbert, the holder, placed the ball down, rolled right, pumped once, then threw an accurate strike on the run to Quiroga to give St. Edward its first lead at 28-20.
"We'd had enough trouble with those today," Rolando said of the failed extra points. "They were coming so aggressively, jumping right over our center. So we figured (the pass) had to be open.
"This win is about Matt Ardiente, Nevin Bens, Ryan Gilbert -- our seniors. It's about getting that monkey off their backs to show everybody how good they really are."
St. Francis could only tip its collective hat.
"I'm very happy for them snapping their streak," St. Francis coach Greg Purnell said. "I feel very bad for our kids. They played better than us, they tackled better, they blocked better. They deserved to win."
Great Showing for St. Edward; Football Program
May 21, 2007
What a great showing St. Edward High School and the Football Program had on Sunday with close to 40 kids showing up to help unload the Space exhibit for Gail Borden as early as 7:00AM. The library and exhibit crew could not have been more pleased with the turn out and the help the students offered. We also had one parent donate gift cards for the first 20 that showed up in appreciation of their early morning help, and another parent donated pizza and pop for the entire group when the work was done.
THANK YOU to everyone who participated and helped with this event!
The event really helped show the pride our students have in the community and that was obvious in the papers this morning. The Courier had a big photo on the front page of the helpful Green Wave, and the Herald also had a nice photo in their paper. The local cable channel was there and is supposed to be showing the helpful Wave in action tonight I believe.
***IF YOU WERE NOT THERE OR DID NOT TURN IN YOUR JERSEY AFTERWARD, PLEASE GIVE IT TO JIM FINNANE IN THE WEIGHT ROOM TODAY OR TUESDAY.***
Thanks Again for everyone's support with this!
Gail Borden Library NEEDS OUR HELP
May 15, 2007
Gail Borden Library is in the process of setting up their "Space- Dare to Dream" exhibit which will be an interactive, professional, museum style exhibit that is offered all summer. They have asked for our help in unloading the trucks and setting up the exhibit, and of course I said our boys would be happy to help.
They need us there THIS SUNDAY from 7:00AM to 1:00PM (or any time within that range) and again THIS SUNDAY from 4:00PM to 5:15PM as another truck arrives from NASA Space Program. ANY HOURS you can help will be appreciated. They could then use our help the next week and a half after school through 5/30 until 5:00PM every day setting up the exhibit.
The Newspaper will be there this Sunday as well, so we are going to hand out your jersey to wear during the day. If you can help, please meet me at the school at 7:30AM on Thursday to get a jersey or call me 847-212-6212 to set up a time to get your jersey from me. Those that come Thursday will get the first pick of Jersey # for the 2007 Season as this will be your permanent number for the season!
This is great exposure for the Program, you can get service hours I'm sure (check with the school), and Mrs. Lytle from Gail Borden would be happy to write a thank you letter for your community involvement that could assist you with college applications.
I'm expecting the kind of TEAM we have built to jump at the opportunity to help our community in an event like this. I'll be at the school at 7:30AM on Thursday to hand out jerseys to those that can participate.
Where is St. Edward Football Heading...
November 29, 2006
Where is St. Edward Football Heading…
After coming off back-to-back 0-9 seasons, we would be foolish to think that people are not questioning the direction and future of the football program at St.EdwardHigh School.Those that are close to the program understand the situation and can see all of the positive things that have transpired over the past 2 years. However, not everyone is close to the program so I wanted to give our football family an update to ensure the continued positive support you have given us.
I’d like to start by saying that the coaching staff has accomplished more in 2 years than we thought possible when we first started.We identified the problem of total participation and attrition as a class moved up.Starting with 25 freshmen and ending with less than 10 as seniors throws up a huge red flag and is impossible to win with.In the past 2 years, each class has grown in numbers as they moved to the next level.There is a reason kids did not want to play and I think we have made some positive changes to correct that problem.
We identified a very negative attitude and aura around the football program, from players, parents, faculty, and other students alike.Our first immediate goal last year was to earn the RESPECT back from our classmates, teachers, administration, and families and make football fun again.This would not happen over night and would only be successful if the coaching staff and players carried themselves with respect, treated others with respect, and focused on grades.I can honestly say the boys have made me very proud in this aspect, and they carry themselves in school with that in mind.We have had a very positive impact on the boys’ grades and keep the parents informed weekly of any grades that are slipping during the season.
These two issues alone are enough to devastate a football program so I’d like to reinforce that the first issue has been taken care of and the future is bright for St. Edward Football.Below is a listing of football players by class.
The 2008 class started with 17 last year, 5 more came out or transferred back to be part of this program.The class of 2009 started with 27, 4 more came out during the season, and 4 more have joined or transferred back to be part of this program.The class of 2010 already has 22 players that have informed us they are playing next year, which is far more that we had at this time last year for incoming freshmen.I am very confident that number will exceed 35 by August.
When we told people affiliated with St. Eds that we would have 60 players in the program for 2006, no one thought it was possible.They said they had never seen that many kids play football at St. Eds.We ended up with 70. For 2007, I am confident we WILL have 90-100 players and we WILL win 5 games next year and make the IHSA State Playoffs.We need the entire Football Program to start believing this and taking action to make it happen.
That is where St. Edward Football is headed and those things are only possible by keeping in tact our core goals and values, which will never change.Please help the program by continuing to stay positive, speak positively about the program, spread the word, and BELIEVE in the boys.
For years, St. Edward freshmen football players would practice with the sophomore team and play in sophomore games, as well as freshmen games.While the experience and game time was a plus, this would leave for very little preparation at the freshmen level and limit the team building of those boys.With the increase in numbers and potentially 25+ sophomores on the Sophomore Team next year, incoming freshmen will be able to have a totally separate TEAM and practice with their group the entire week to prepare for freshmen games.There will be very few freshmen playing sophomore football, or sophomores playing varsity football at St. Eds going forward. Much different than the past 2 years where we've had 7 freshmen and 9 sophomores playing Varsity in 2005, and 2 freshmen and 8 sophomores playing Varsity in 2006.
The St. Edward Football Program has already come a long way in just two short years. From 33 total players in 2005 to 100+ players in 2007, from a roster with no Varsity experience in 2005 to a roster loaded with 2 or 3 years Varsity experience in 2007, from freshmen and sophomores starting on Varsity immediately at a young age in 2005 to finally being able to concentrate and play with teams their own age in 2007, from having 2 or 3 coaches on the field at times in 2005 to a dedicated staff of 12+ coaches in 2007 that can specialize in a certain area and that all have a common philosophy around coaching based on Respect, Discipline, Teamwork, Grades, and Faith, and most importantly we have unwavering support from our administration, boosters, teachers, fans and families that we can only say has been unbelievable over the past 2 years.
Our Goals are clear... Have Fun Focus Academically Give 100% at All Times and Strive to WIN Focus on Life Lessons taught by Football and Embrace Our Faith Strive and Expect to WIN at Everything, Every Time!
I hope this information clarifies the future of St. Edward Football for you. The Future of St. Edward Football is Bright... Now we owe it to each other to put in the work. As always, I am available for discussion any time and I am accessible by email, home phone, or cell phone.
Thank you for your continued positive support,
"THE ROAD TO THE 2007 IHSA STATE PLAYOFFS STARTS IN THE WEIGHT ROOM"
STRENGTH TESTING THIS SATURDAY
MAKE UP DAY IS SUNDAY @ NOON
Weight Lifting Information and Education for those new to the Weight Room at 1:00PM following testing
Where- The Weight Room
When- Noon to 1:00PM
Who- All 2007 Football Players
NEW CATEGORIES FOR 2007(testing category does not imply playing level)
How Many Reps Will YOU Do?
COLLEGIATE (Bench 185 / Squat 275)
VARSITY (Bench 135 / Squat 225)
JR. VARSITY (Bench 115 / Squat 185)
FRESHMAN (Bench 95 / Squat 135)
St. Edward Freshmen Suffer First Loss
September 19, 2006
St. Edward Freshmen Suffer First Loss Montini returnded the opening kickoff of the game 82 yards for a touchdown on their way to a 18-7 win over the Greenwave Freshmen. On their next possession they completed a 35 yard pass to take a 12-0 lead early in the game. After that the defenses took over. The Greenwave finally found the end zone on an 8 yard run by Jordan Torres but that was the end of the scoring for the Wave(3-1, 1-1). The St. Edward defense kept them in the game until the fourth quarter when Montini scored on a 6 yard pass to finish them off. Leading the defense was Torres with 10 tackles and a hit which cause a turnover. Shane Finnane had 6 tackles and 2 sacks. David Hoebbel(4 tackles), Alex Arciuch(4 tackles, 1 sack), Jon Godfrey(2 tackles, 3 sacks, fumble recovery), Nathan Gaige(3 tackles, fumble recovery) and Dan Duffy(3 tackles) also helped out the Greenwave. St Edward will host the Marmion Cadets on Monday, September 25th at 4:30pm.
September 12, 2006
ST. Edward Freshmen Remain Undefeated In a game that the Greenwave dominated on both sides of the ball, St. Edward(3-0, 2-0)defeated ACC 40-0 in this lopsided Suburban Catholic Conference Freshman game. Jordan Torres scored three times, picking up 118 yards and 2 TD''''''''s rushing while catching a 65 yard TD pass from QB Jon Godfrey(3 completions, 88 YD''''''''s and 2 TD''''''''s.) Nathan Gaige caught a 15 YD TD pass for the other passing score. The offensive line led by Zack Von Ahnen, Kevin Lawson, Cesar Posada, Mario Martinez, Shane Finnane, Greg Niemerg and Dan Duffy pushed the ACC defense down the field. David Hoebbel rushed for 115 YDs and a 2 point conversion. Alex Arciuch had 105 YDs and a TD. Jack Cholewa added another touchdown. In total, St. Edward rushed for 392 yards on the day. On the other side of the ball, the Greenwave defenders held ACC to 79 Yds of total offense. Leading the way was Finnane with 11 tackles and a sack. Gaige added 7 tackles. Arciuch had 5 tackles. Lawson, Godfrey and Cody Jaralds each recorded sacks. Torres had an interception. Kyle Butler had a touchdown saving tackles. The Greenwave Freshman''''''''s next contest will be on Monday, September 18th with a trip to Lombard to take on the Montini Broncos.
St. Edward Freshmen Defeat Driscoll
September 5, 2006
The St. Edward Freshmen opened conference play with a 12-7 victory over perennial favorite Driscoll. St. Edward used a pressure defense combined with a steady offense to defeat the Highlanders. The defense kept pressure on the Driscoll quarterback all day long, allowing only 7 completions out of 25 passes and forcing 2 interceptions. Leading the attack were Alex Arciuch(6 tackles,3 sacks), Shane Finnane(6 tackles, 2 sacks), Kevin Lawson(3 tackles, 3 sacks), Jordan Torres(5 tackles, 2 sacks),Jim Cholewa(2 tackles, 2 sacks), and Dan Duffy(3 tackles, 1 sack). Also contributing were David Hoebbel(5 tackles, 1 interception), Armando Montiel(2 tackles, 1 interception). Nathan Gaige had 4 tackles while Julian Ramerez and Jon Godfrey each added 3 tackles. On the offensive side of the ball David Hoebbel ran for 114 yards and a touchdown. Jordan Torres broke off a 61 yard run for the other touchdown. St Edward(2-0) will host ACC next Monday.
Sophomores Post First Victory
September 2, 2006
The St. Edward Sophomore team posted their win of the season with a 24-6 victory over Aurora Christian. The win was achieved by solid play on both sides of the ball. Quarterback Jon Godfrey led the offense with a solid passing attack completing 8 of his 13 passes for 4 touchdowns and 141 yards. Josh Scholly caught 3 balls for 57 yards and 2 touchdowns. Adam Gilles caught 2 passes for 66 yards. Jordan Torres and Steve Martin added TD''''''''s. David Hoebbel rushed for 74 yards. The defense Grounded the AC air attack, picking off 5 AC passes. Armando Montiel led the swarming defense with 3 interceptions and 5 tackles. Hoebbel had 2 picks and a fumble recovery. The AC quarterback was pressured all day by Alex Arciuch, Dan Duffy, Jaime Torres and Omar Fierros. Arciuch had 2 sacks and Duffy had 1. Leading the defense in tackles were Julian Ramirez and Jordan Torres with 6 tackles each. The St Edward Sophs open conference play this Saturday with a trip to Driscoll.
Great Start Freshmen
August 29, 2006
Wave Freshmen Win Opener Behind a study offense and a stingy defense St. Edward freshmen kicked off the 2006 campaign with a 14-0 win over Dundee Crown. The offensive attack was led by David Hoebbel who carried the ball 13 times for 101 yards and 2 touchdowns. Jon Godfrey added 47 yards on 4 carries. Ryan Parks was 4 for 7 passing for 83 yards. Zach VonAhnen had 3 receptions for 67 yards. On the defensive side the Wave held DC to 21 yards of total offense. Leading the way were Jorden Torres, Julian Ramirez and Godfrey with 7 tackles each. Kevin Lawson added 5 tackles. Dan Duffy, Alex Arciuch, Torres and Godfrey each had a sack. Armando Montiel, Duffy and Godfrey caused 3 fumbles. Jim Cholewa recovered 2 while Arciuch recovered 1. St Edward will open conference play next Monday against Driscoll.
3rd Quarter Troubles Prove to be Too Much
August 26, 2006
The Wave came out and scored on their first drive, taking a 7-0 lead. Picked up a Hampshire fumble on the next play, but gave it back on the next play with a fumble of their own. Hampshire would end up scoring on that drive and converting a 2 point conversion after a penalty on the Wave. St. Ed's then drove 60 yards during a 7 minute drive, but came up empty when 32 yard field goal went wide right.
Down 7-8 at the half, the Wave seemed to have more life and momentum, but 2 more turnovers gave Hampshire 2 more TDs in under 3:00 minutes. The game ended with a 36-13 score.
There were signs of life and the Wave will correct some mistakes and try to get that first win on Saturday against AC.
2006 Sophomore Team - Go Wave!
2006 Green Wave Cheerleaders
2006 Green Wave POM SQUAD
August 7, 2006
Alternate Equipment Pick Up will be Wednesday or Thursday after double sessions back at the school.
Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday practices will be in HELMETS ONLY, with shorts and tee shirt and spikes.
MANDATORY football registration is Monday night 8/7 at 7:00PM at St. Eds. MANDATORY FOR PARENTS.
All players must turn in a "BLUE CARD" from the office to Coach Ro indicating they have turned in all appropriate paperwork PRIOR TO BEING ABLE TO PRACTICE.
Youth Camp Off To A Great Start
July 18, 2006
Combining our youth and high school camp this week gives our boys a chance to help mold the future of their program. They have all been very inspirational to the younger boys. With 110 boys at camp, we are off to a great start.
More Pictures Under The Photos Tab
Camp Graduation Night
July 27, 2006
***LOCATION HAS CHANGED TO THE ELGIN REC CENTER***
***THE BOYS ARE TO WEAR THEIR CAMP TEE SHIRTS***
For our last night of camp Friday, we will practice from 6:00-7:00PM and then go to the ELGIN REC CENTER for a TEAM movie night and pizza and pop. We have a banquet room with a projector and will watch our 2005 Highlight film, some of the 2005 Hampshire film, and Any Given Sunday (the boys' choice). We will car pool from the complex so don't worry about rides, but if a couple parents want to help drive that would be great. Please pick the boys up from the REC CENTER at 11:00PM or earlier if you want. The boys have worked very hard all summer and deserve some fun. No payment required, we do have to rent the room and buy pizza from the hotel so any donations will be appreciated.
NFL Hall of Famer Dave Casper speaks to the kids...
Sue Degregorio of the Parent Club called to ask our assistance with some work around the school on Monday and Tuesday, pulling weeds and spreading mulch. I would like to encourage all our boys to be there. 1:00PM on Monday 6/26 and 1:00PM on Tuesday 6/27. Please wear white STE Football Tee Shirt or a white tee shirt.
Any Parents that are available to help, that would be great too.
Thanks Coach Ro
Strength testing changed to 7/1, NOT 6/24
Strength testing has been changed from 6/24 to 7/1. Still from Noon til 2:00PM. Coach Ro
GRADES GRADES GRADES
June 12, 2006
End of year cumulative GPA's are in... on a 4.0 scale
Sophomores 06/07 2.93
Juniors 06/07 2.93
Seniors 06/07 3.01
TEAM Avg Cumulative GPA... 2.95
GREAT Job Guys!
The goal is 3.0+ for the TEAM avg. so keep up the good work and we'll be there by the end of the season!
Practice Starts Monday June 12th
June 10, 2006
Practice starts Monday night at the far east end of the Elgin softball complex at 6:00PM and will run until 8:15PM. Check the summer calendar for more dates. Summer practices will be in shorts and tee shirt AND FOOTBALL SPIKES. Bring a water bottle. Coach Ro
Even though we will have work outs all summer long, our actual camp dates are July 17 - 28. There will be a letter coming home shortly about all that, but in the mean time, please get your camp registration forms in ASAP.
We are very excited about camp this year and have some excellent guest speakers lined up, both professional and collegiate. The camp fee will also include a St. Ed's football had and tee shirt.
Strength Testing Results and Photos
March 3, 2006
See your Strength Testing results and photos in the photo album.
Strength Testing and TEAM Party This Sunday 2/26
February 26, 2006
Our next strength testing is going to be THIS SUNDAY 2/26 from Noon to 2:00PM at St. Ed's. If you are unable to make that time, THIS SATURDAY 2/25 from 11:00AM to Noon is the alternate time. Every single player that has come to testing has made significant gains. GREAT JOB GUYS! If you have not been yet... this is a perfect time to start and get your initial testing done. Those of you thinking about playing football in 2006, start preparing now and come join the team. Whether you are lifting 6 days a week, or can only make it 2 or 3 days a week, you should come to testing. Incoming 8th graders through HS Juniors should come test.
After testing, we will have pizza and soft drinks provided by the football program (donations welcome) for anyone who tested. We will also have other surprise give aways provided by the football program for those who test, in addition to the pizza party.
***THE PAINTBALL PORTION OF THE DAY HAS BEEN POSTPONED UNTIL A LATER DATE. I FORGOT THAT IS THE DAY OF THE MOTHER/SON BOWLING OUTING. YOU SHOULD ALL TAKE YOUR MOTHERS BOWLING AFTER YOU TEST AND EAT PIZZA.***
This should be a fun day, and a day of bonding for the "Green Wave Future". I hope to see you all there. Again, incoming 8th graders through HS Juniors are invited to participate in the entire day.
Pix from our January 2006 TEAM Building Event
January 28, 2006
***Everyone had a BLAST! Hope you can all make it to the next TEAM Building Event***
2006 Football Players and Potential Incoming Freshmen,
I hope the Holidays are treating you well and you are all enjoying your time off from school.I am writing this letter to stay in touch with you all in the off season and share some information and thoughts with you.
First, we are now entering into 2006, a year with high hopes and expectations for the football program.All the coaches have been impressed with the gains many of you have made in the weight room already.I encourage all of you to make yourself stronger.Football is a physical sport, one in which you need to be able to physically handle your opponent.To improve that, you must get in the weight room.
Second, to start the year off, we are having a TEAM building event at the Vernon Hills Whirlyball Court on SUNDAY, January 8thfrom to .This time should accommodate the high school and feeder basketball teams.I hope you all can make it.Those that have not done this before, it is like playing basketball in bumper cars with a wiffleball using a scoop to throw the ball at the goal.The cost will be $10 per player and you can bring it that day, but PLEASE RSVP by phone or email so I know how many are coming.We’ll meet at St. Ed’s at 11:00AM and car pool from there.
Next, please log on to the web site above and register your email address AND have your parents register their email.I use the website to stay in touch with everyone and share important dates and times.Please check it often, AND REGISTER YOUR EMAIL ADDRESSES.
Lastly, I know many of you are in other sports, and I encourage you to play as many sports as you are able to and that you enjoy, but PLEASE make time to lift 3 times a week at a minimum.We will open the weight room ANY TIME YOU WANT, even if you want, but you need to get in there to help your TEAM get better.Also, the Strength Testing is VERY important and we need to see everyone in there for the testing.We play in a tough conference and a very tough schedule.The time is now to start earning that first VICTORY.
And a message to the Juniors… This is your TEAM now.YOU are the leaders.YOU have paid the price.This is YOUR year.Now take ownership of YOUR TEAM and make what you want of it.My philosophy will be that every spot belongs to a Senior or Junior, until someone beats them out for it.Take action NOW to earn and keep your spot.Come August… The BEST Will Play!
Spread the word to any classmates that are considering playing next year, bring them January 8th.
December 20, 2005
We've seen some GREAT results from everyone who tested on Saturday and Monday so far. If you haven't tested, get in ASAP. Keep up the hard work guys... it will pay off. Coach Ro
With everything going on with St. Edward Athletics now, I'd like to take a moment to share a positive experience with our football team this year, and one of the biggest victories a coach can have. Sometimes there is more attention given to negative things than positive ones. I'd also hope it puts things in perspective and shows that this is an isolated incident with isolated student(s) and that there is a LOT of good things happening at St. Edward High School and a LOT of great students and faculty that are there to help lead young people in the right direction.
We publish a "Chalk Talk" every week during the season; they are all posted on our web site. The final one, volume 7, has a Q&A from our seniors. Please take a look at question #3 and how each of them answered it. I've attached it for your convenience.
I was more proud of our staff and kids that day than ever, the day I read their responses.
Thanks for your time, and support. Coach Rolando Head Football Coach
Great Game and Effort as Freshmen Fall to Driscoll 12-20
September 8, 2005
The Green Wave suited up 16 Freshmen and walked into Driscoll's stadium to take on their 45-50 freshmen Tuesday afternoon. Driscoll looked confident with almost as many coaches as the Wave had players, but after an opening drive where the Wave pounded the ball right at Driscoll and marched down the field and scored on a plunge up the middle by John Heugh, the Driscoll sideline was quite silent. Driscoll answered with a drive of their own to go up 7-6, but the Wave took the ball again and ate up the entire 2nd quarter to go up 12-7 on a pop pass from Cory Emerson to Jim Waclawik with only 17 seconds to go in the first half. The 85 degree heat and humidity started to take its toll on the Wave in the 2nd half, and Driscoll got a receiver out in the open and took the lead 13-12. The Wave still moved the ball well in the 2nd half but had some untimely mistakes and a couple interceptions in the 4th quarter that allowed Driscoll to take a 20-12 lead in the 4th quarter to secure the win. The refs and Driscoll coaches praised the Green Wave effort and desire with only 16 kids and 2 coaches. As the Freshmen Team chanted "Green Wave Future!", everyone that saw them play envisioned the pride and success they are working toward...
Varsity Falls to RCL
September 4, 2005
The Varsity Green Wave had twice the rushing yards, twice the passing yards, twice the first downs, and twice the time of possession time of RCL on Saturday, but the miscues, penalties, turnovers, and mistakes by players and coaches alike were too much to overcome as the Varsity fell 20-13. RCL ran back a kick for a TD in the 2nd quarter, but the Green Wave was able to recover from that and tie it up at 13 in the 3rd quarter. After a great defensive stand at the 9 yard line, a fake field goal caught the Wave off guard to allow RCL to take a 20-13 lead. The Wave marched down the field as they had all game, and found themselves on the 10 yard line with about 2 minutes left in the game. Truax lost his footing on a swing pass that may have gotten him into the endzone on 3rd down which left the Wave with one last shot. They drew up a play during a time out and had Brandon Wolf run a slant corner route. Brandon got his man to bite on the slant fake and headed to the corner, but Gilbert's pass was just over the outstretched fingertips of Wolf. Matt Ardiente rushed 28 times for 166 yards and 1 TD, and Ryan Gilbert scored the other TD on a QB sneak after a nice 45 yard bootleg run. Andrew Truax had 13 carries for 56 yards. Defensively, Moises Quiroga, Marty Vajgrt, and Gerrit Rogers led the way with 7 tackles each, Ardiente and Wolf each had 5, and we don't want to leave out big Dave Meyers INT. Great effort again, the boys and coaches all wish we could have that one back. But we will all learn from our mistakes and get ready for Driscoll.
Freshmen Beat Hampshire
August 29, 2005
The Freshmen won their opener against Hampshire Monday night by a score of 6-0. Cory Emerson found Josh Scholly on a bootleg pass for the games only TD late in the 4th quarter. The defense held up and forced a fumble with a little over a minute left in the game that Jim Waclawik came up with. Emerson picked up a first down on a bootleg and the Greenwave was able to down the ball from there for the Victory! The O line played great, allowing John Heugh to pile up some yardage right up the middle. The D also played well with Ryan Eigenhauser and Steve Jones having great games. Mo dislocated his thumb on the first offensive play. He went to the ER and got it popped back in. He is fine and will need a couple days rest, but he'll be 100% in a few days. Great game guys! Coach Ro