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St. Edward High School Football



‘I had to exude confidence’: Anthony Holte throws for 6 TD as St. Edward wins rare Monday night game

October 1, 2019

by Paul Johnson for the Courier News.

St. Edward quarterback Anthony Holte had a forgettable start to Monday night’s rescheduled game against Guerin.

His first three passes were a completion for minus-2 yards, an incompletion and an interception.

The 6-foot-1, 170-pound senior shook it off quickly, however, in leading the Green Wave to a 56-0 Metro Suburban Red win.

Holte completed 16 of 21 passes for 327 yards and six touchdowns as St. Edward (3-2, 3-0) scored on eight straight possessions.

“My coach (Mike Rolando) always taught me to exude confidence,” Holte said. “I thought I had to exude confidence. I just trusted my line, and my receivers got open and made plays.”

Holte bounced back from his rough first drive. On the next drive, he chewed up 72 yards on only three plays, capped by a 15-yard TD pass to Zeke Rolando.

It was the first of three straight TD passes to Rolando, who added TD catches of 36 and 34 yards on the next two drives.

“I thought Zeke and Holte had a nice connection there early,” Mike Rolando said. “On a scramble play, finding Zeke in the end zone (on the first TD), that was a great play.”


Joe Sacco caught a 13-yard TD pass from Holte and added a 52-yard TD run. He rushed for 114 yards on six carries. The Green Wave finished with 200 yards rushing on 22 carries.

Holte added TD passes of 18 yards to Liam Pomeroy and 10 yards to Clem McCullough.

“He’s had some good games,” Mike Rolando said of Holte. “He’s had some learning moments. He’s maturing at quarterback rapidly as the season progresses.

“When he gets comfortable, he really has a nice, smooth delivery, throws a nice ball. He made a lot of nice plays.”

Junior receiver Zeke Rolando was the main recipient of Holte’s work against Guerin, ending up with eight catches for 193 yards.

St. Edward’s defense held Guerin (1-4, 0-3) to 78 yards and forced five turnovers, picking off the Crusaders three times.

The game was originally scheduled for Friday. Guerin couldn’t make it Saturday to Elgin, so the game was moved to Monday night, a rarity in high school football.

“It was definitely weird, but I think it’s also pretty cool,” Holte said. “We get to play Monday and Friday night. It’s exciting.”

That’s the dilemma for the coaching staff, however. The Green Wave have three days to prepare for senior night Friday against conference rival Chicago Christian (4-1, 2-0).

“It’s tough,” Mike Rolando said. “We’ll have to do practice and film on the same day, ram everything in. It makes it tough.

“It’s tough as coaches because you don’t want to look past a team to get ready for the next one, but we have film on them. We were kind of half looking ahead.”

St. Edward shines on Monday Night Football

October 1, 2019

by Jerry Fitzpatrick for the Daily Herald.

The St. Edward homecoming dance had taken place 48 hours earlier at Villa Olivia in Bartlett.

The king and queen had long since been crowned.

Of course, there was still this little matter of a football game to be played.

Because stormy weather forced a postponement on Friday and Guerin was unavailable to play Saturday, the St. Edward football team experienced Monday Night Football for the first time.

The Green Wave took well to the experience in a 56-0 blowout in a Metro Suburban Red matchup in Elgin.

Senior quarterback Anthony Holte completed 16 of 21 passing attempts for 327 yards and 6 touchdowns, both career highs.

"I'm happy that my line was there all night to block for me," Holte said of seniors Luke Breier and Andy Cielak and juniors Luke Sauceda, Owen Gill, and Tristan Merlin. "And my wide receivers made plays."

Holte's top target was sure-handed Zeke Rolando. The 6-foot-3, 150-pound junior made 8 catches for 188 yards and 3 touchdowns. He had 3 touchdown receptions in the game's first 14 minutes and 32 seconds as the Wave raced to a 22-0 lead.

The first Holte-Rolando connection came on a broken play that was supposed to go to the left side. Instead, the quarterback ended up rolling right and pinpointing Rolando in the back right corner of the end zone with a 15-yard scoring pass.

"Anthony has always talked with coach about how we're trying to extend plays," Zeke said. "I just wanted to try to get open and help Anthony out."

Rolando made things happen on their second connection. He caught a 10-yard pass, broke a tackle and raced up the right sideline for a 35-yard touchdown.

The duo's third scoring play was clutch. On fourth-and-22 from the Guerin 34-yard line, Rolando slipped behind the defense and hauled a pass in with his fingertips.

"I knew if I threw it up to him, he would come down with it because he always makes big plays and makes me proud," Holte said.

St. Edward (3-2, 3-0) gained 531 total yards compared to 51 for Guerin (1-4, 0-3). Rolando, Clem McCullough and Liam Pomeroy had interceptions to help St. Edward win the turnover battle 5-1.

"I thought our kids executed a lot of things, a couple of different run plays that we don't usually run," St. Edward coach Mike Rolando said. "Whatever they give us, we have to learn to learn to do something else. I think we have enough in that we can usually counter whatever somebody is trying to do to stop us."

Junior running back Joe Sacco rushed for 98 yards, including a 52-yard touchdown. He caught two balls for 34 yards, highlighted by a 13-yard scoring grab.

Pomeroy's 18-yard, second-quarter touchdown catch gave St. Edward a 42-0 halftime lead. McCullough added a 15-yard touchdown reception and junior Blake Busto rumbled 29 yards to the end zone to cap the scoring.

St. Edward welcomes Chicago Christian to Greg True Field Friday in a showdown for first place in the MSC Red.

"We have 4-1 Chicago Christian coming in here in four days so we have to get ready to play on Friday," Mike Rolando said.

St. Eds over Elmwood Park 35-34

September 19, 2019


By Mark Harrington




Covered with dripping
beads of sweat and black granules of turf, Joe Sacco was everywhere on the
football field. Tomorrow, he has big plans.




“Sleep,” he revealed.
“Pretty tired.”




All Sacco did was reach
the end zone for four Elgin St. Edward High School touchdowns. He also set up
another score, running through a hole in the middle to the outside for a 36
yard run, his longest of his 24 carries.  




But it was also a fourth
quarter missed extra point kick by Elmwood Park that allowed the Green Wave to
squeak out a  35-34 Suburban Metro Red victory, its second straight win
placing them atop the conference at 2-0. The Tigers were pre-season favorites
to claim the conference crown.




Sacco, a  5-10, 150-pound
junior running back, busted through holes, dragged defenders with him, and
reversed direction all night, racking up 164 yards with pass receptions of 46
(TD) and 20 yards. He also uses his foot in all three kicking game situations.
His 27-yard kickoff return put his team in Elmwood Park territory, where he
scored later. On defense, there were his five tackles. 




Sacco called it possibly
his best game of his prep career. 




“Moving the ball even
when they (EP) knew where the ball was going,” he said, crediting his offensive
line. “Without the line, I’m not going anywhere.”




St. Edward Head Coach
Mike Rolando admired his  players’ effort and heart in the post-game




“I know it took a lot of
everyone of you,” he said. “It took every bit you have. Sacco, I know you’re
hurting, but you had to do it. You’re the workhorse. When we needed to move the
ball, you and the line pounded away. 




“By the end of the day,
they (EP) made some plays, you made a couple more.”




The Tigers had the lead
twice because Sacco’s counterpart was Elmwood Park’s Keon Grimes, who hauled in
four touchdown passes of 35, 5,  and a pair of 11 yarders from quarterback
Michael Stranski, often on a slant play across the middle. Grimes also had an
interception to keep the game close. 




Besides Sacco, Elgin St
Edward kept bouncing back with big plays at right moments. 




Clem McCullough was not
to be overlooked by the Green Wave coaching staff after he screened off a
defender for a two-point conversion pass from Anthony Holte to tie the game at
14.  Later McCoulloug popped the ball loose on a bruising smack on an EP
pass with teammate Anthony Kirkwood recovering. 




“He’s always making plays
like that since last year,” said Kirkwood, who had nine tackles. 




With an onside kick, the
Green Wave’s Alex Walser emerged from the pile with the ball.




“He wasn’t really holding
it on the ground, so I ripped it out,”  Walser said. 




Elgin St. Edward had just
tied the game, but two minutes later scored again when Sacco kept his feet
moving and a burst of new energy put him across the goal line for a 21-14
halftime lead. 




In the fourth quarter,
James Brisco went through a middle hole to the outside 21 yards to set up a
35-28 lead on a Sacco five-yard TD. 




Late in the fourth
quarter, the Green Wave maintained drives to keep the Tigers from overcoming
the one-point lead. Sacco would have two runs for 29 yards total to sustain a
drive as time was winding down. Then came the win sealer, Holte pitching the
ball to Sacco, who fired off a 20 yard pass to Liam Pomeroy with just over two
minutes rema


Scouting the St. Edward Green Wave

August 26, 2019


Updated 8/23/2019 5:37 PM

The MVP of the 2018 conference championship team graduated, but St. Edward remains equipped to contend for consecutive Metro Suburban Red titles based on who returns.

All-State honoree Nick Wright helped the Green Wave end a two-year playoff drought by rushing for 1,177 yards and 14 touchdowns and making a team-leading 117 tackles. However, the entire offensive line that cleared his path is back along with senior quarterback Anthony Holte and senior linebacker Luke Breier.

A 22-man roster composed of seven seniors, 11 juniors and four sophomores intends to take another crack at the top spot in a realigned league that welcomes Westmont and Chicago Christ The King.

"A lot of these guys really impressed us last year as sophomores when we had to bring 11 of them up in significant roles," 15th-year coach Mike Rolando said. "They came through right from the start and proved they have the fight in them. We have just enough depth where, if we stay healthy, we can get some kids off the field, which we've never been able to do at St. Ed's."

The offensive line returns senior left tackle Andy Cielak (6-1, 185), junior left guard Luke Sauceda (6-0, 205), junior center Aidan Pomeroy (5-10, 185), right guard Breier (5-10, 190) and senior right tackle Owen Gill (5-11, 210).

Holte, who missed some playing time last year due to injury, completed 55 of 122 passes for 794 yards and 7 touchdowns and was intercepted 11 times. Rolando said the quarterback looked sharp throughout seven-on-sevens and summer camp and said he expects a strong season from him.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     

Holte has a proven receiver to throw to in junior Zeke Rolando, who has recovered from a broken collarbone suffered during a seven-on-seven in May. Also the backup quarterback, he led the team last year in receptions (27), receptions for first downs (14) and receiving yards (392). Liam Pomeroy contributed 3 catches for 60 yards and a touchdown last season. He lines up opposite of Rolando.

Junior Joe Sacco leads a committee of running backs that could include senior James Brisco and junior Anthony Kirkwood, each of whom can also play receiver.

The defense returns second-leading tackler Breier, who as a junior registered 72 tackles and a fumble recovery. Kirkwood is another returning linebacker. He made 28-tackles last season.

In fact, nine of the team's top 15 tacklers return, including ends Cielak (33 tackles) and Dave Kenny (22), tackles Brisco (36) and Gill (11), nose guard Alex Walser (30), safety Liam Pomeroy (38) and cornerbacks Rolando (17) and Ralph Scumacci (17).

Rolando said this team is composed of selfless players who are fun to coach.

"We have a number of playmakers and the kids get excited for each other's success, which is a great sign," he said. "They have a lot of energy and we've been having great practices. A lot of them are multisport athletes and they're just competitors. They want to do whatever it takes to win games. I'm excited to see them on the field."

Scouting Metro Suburban Conference football

August 24, 2019

The Metro Red welcomes newcomers Westmont and Christ the King and lost Fenton to the Upstate Eight Conference. Defending champ St. Edward returns 18 of 22 starters from a team that went 5-0 in the Red. Several all-conference players return including quarterback Anthony Holte, receiver Zeke Rolando (coach Mike Rolando's son), and Luke Breier, one of five returning offensive linemen. The Green Wave won the division for the first time since 2014; usually it comes down to Ridgewood and Elmwood Park. In fact, despite St. Edward's experience Ridgewood first-year head coach Matt Walsh -- who returns the Metro Red's reigning defensive player of the year in linebacker Jesus Velasco -- believes "it's Elmwood Park's to win" considering the Tigers field three-year starting quarterback Mike Stranski and solid numbers overall. Westmont went 5-4 as an independent last season.

Conference Preview- Metro Suburban Red

August 20, 2019

Metro Suburban Red Conference as projected by Edgy Tim

+St. Edward

*Chicago Christian

*Elmwood Park


Guerin Prep


Christ The King

+denotes predicted 2019 conference champion

*denotes IHSA state playoff projected qualifier

The Metro Suburban Red Conference has a few changes this season as Fenton has left and headed to the Upstate 8 conference this fall. In steps both Westmont and Christ The King, but rescued from the Independent ranks and into the Metro Suburban Red for the 2019 season. The conference overall strength in 2018 was ok. St. Edward won the conference but was knocked out in Round 1 while both Elmwood Park and Chicago Christian both beat Chicago Public League teams in Round 1 to advance but then both lost convincingly in Round 2. The conference overall strength this fall? I see the Metro Suburban red getting another 3 teams into the state playoff field and the upper tier of the Red has a handful of tams with more experience back this fall.

St. Edward and head coach Mike Rolando welcomes back an impressive 18 returning starters (9 offense 9 defense) from last season's conference champion team and things are no question pointing up for the Green Wave this fall. Keep an eye on senior QB Anthony Holte who will operate behind his entire starting offensive line back from a season ago. The Green Wave's defense also has experience and talent and keep an eye on senior LB Luke Breier plus junior S/WR Zeke Rolando.

Chicago Christian and head coach Nick Cook

Elmwood Park and head coach Dylan Mack will look to get back into the state playoff field again this fall as the Tigers will rely on 9 returning starters (6 offense 3 defense). Senior QB Mark Stranski is a veteran signal caller and is also one of the top players and recruits in the conference this season. Also keep an eye on senior WR Keon Grimes along with an experienced offensive line led by senior OT Ben Robbs.

Ridgewood saw former head coach Dom Gelsomino leave suddenly this spring and in steps first year head coach Matt Walsh. Walsh has an experienced team to build upon including 11 returning starters (4 offense 7 defense) and keep an eye on senior RB/LB Jesus Velasco for the Rebels this season.

Westmont and head coach Dan Woulfe has been saved from playing as an independent schedule and are thrilled to be in the Metro Suburban red this fall. The Sentinels posted a 5-4 record in 2018 but just couldn't find enough playoff points to qualify for the IHSA state playoff field. Keep an eye on senior WR/DB Mason Pardy along with senior WR/DB Isaac Lischalk this season for the Sentinels. The biggest question for Westmont this season? How well can the Sentinels handle a big upgrade in it's schedule from last fall?

Preseason Conference MVP?

Chicago Christian senior RB/LB Brian Anderson -Anderson has simply been the conference's best overall athlete over the past few seasons. Anderson, whop will see playing time on both sides of the football this season has been drawing recruiting looks and attention from several FCS/D2 programs. Anderson has terrific size (6-foot-3, 220 pounds) who projects to say a tight end/defensive end at the next level.

Toughest Overall Schedule?

St. Edward- The Green Wave no question will draw some challenges in the regular season in 2019, St. Edward opens at home with Bremen then Wheaton Academy, both solid teams and programs yet the Green Wave would also have a shot here no question. Week 7 is a big, big game against Immaculate Conception in Elmhurst. The last three weeks have St. Ed's all on the road for IC, Westmont then at Ridgewood. Again nothing easy here at all.

Sleeper Player to Watch?

Elmwood Park senior QB Mike Stranski Stranski (6-foot-2, 185 pounds) is a really strong player and passer for the Tigers. Stranski was also pretty impressive this past spring and summer at various camps and showcases. Stranski is the type of player who no question can life and lead the Tigers to a shot at the conference title and also leading this team to the state playoffs. Stranski is also on several FCS/D2 recruiting radar screens this fall.

Top 2019 Conference Games?

Elmwood Park at Ridgewood- September 13th- Both Elmwood Park and Ridgewood have higher expectations this season and this early conference matchup would no question tell us a bit more about both programs here.

St. Edward at Elmwood Park September 20th- A potential Metro Sub Red conference title game? It's possible and both the Green Wave and the Tigers have strong quarterback play, experienced rosters and this would also be a big mid season win for either sideline.

Chicago Christian at St. Edward October 4th- See above. No serious this is another interesting showdown that could have both Metro Suburban Red implications along with IHSA state playoff implications I feel.


Metro Suburban Red Conference Statement Game?

St. Edward at Immaculate Conception- The Green wave will need to square off against one of the toughest small enrollment programs in Chicagoland if not the state in IC. St. Edward will no doubt be an underdog in this Week 7 game, but the closer that the Wave can play and hang with the Knights...that no question would be a terrific barometer game for the program and the conference in 2019.

St. Edward 2019 Preseason Article

August 15, 2019

Image may contain: one or more people, people playing sports and outdoor


By Mark Harrington

When 18 players return for another high school football season, the dream of going deeper into the state playoffs looms large despite not having played a game yet.

But that is exactly where defending unbeaten Metro Suburban Red Conference champions Elgin St. Edward finds itself for the August 30th home opener against Bremen (Midlothian, IL). After that, the Green Wave will be tested with four playoff teams from last year.

Valuable experience was gained on the football field a year ago as 11 sophomores started and learned how to sustain injuries and then resurging after losing its first three games to win five of the next six. The learning curve is smaller this time around.

“Last year we were just happy to be in the fight,” said head coach Mike Rolando, “and play close games early on. This year the expectation is a little different; we want to come into those first couple games and look at them as playoff type games. We’ve got to look like a mid-season football team.”

But the question is how will the Green Wave achieve those goals.

“We’ve got to hit the ground running, a lot of returning starters that know the system and know our terminology. We want to look crisp. We practiced all summer and used our 25 days; we’ve been doing a lot of seven on sevens. I think we are ahead of last year.”

The 14-year head coach said that “ahead of last year” translates into player knowledge of the playbook and terminology, knowing the routes and kids knowing each other.

“Last year, being so young, they hadn’t played together,” said Rolando. “They got a chance to make the playoffs and see what that was like.”

Despite a lack of size and sheer numbers, St. Ed compensates.

“We’re going to be undersized all the time,” said Rolando, adding the compensation relies on toughness. “Physically...mentally tough. What they lack in size, they make up for in heart and desire to not let each other down. They put the work in. They work hard. They never give up.”

As for those tougher teams on the schedule, Rolando knows his team’s fight.

“Whether a team outmanned us physically, they know they’re going to get our best effort every time. They know they’ve played a football game.”

Last autumn, Rolando admits that the Green Wave snuck up people last year.

“We were fortunate to get away with wins at Elmwood Park and Chicago Christian. Those were teams on paper that were physically probably better than us. We managed to get out in front of them and they couldn’t quite take the lead at the end,” reflected Rolando.

On Chicago Christian, Elmwood Park and Ridgewood this season:

“I don’t think we are going to be overlooked by any team,” he said. “ It’s always a challenge to repeat. Every game we’ll get the opposition’s best game until someone dethrones us.”

But the strength of the offense and defense has encouraged Rolando.

“Every O lineman is a returning starter. Andy Cielak, Luke Sauceda, Aidan Pomeroy, Luke Breier, and Owen Gill all return, and there are others competing for those spots and time on the line as well. We’ve got competition there, a little more depth and experience on the line. On defense, probably our athleticism, we’ve got enough athletes to where we can rotate kids in and get them off the field (for a rest). As long as we keep everyone healthy.”

Quarterback Anthony Holte returns, who likes to hook up with Zeke Rolando. Joe Sacco, Anthony Kirkwood, James Brisco, and Luke Breier are back after gaining valuable playing time a year ago. Kirkwood is moving from defensive back to outside linebacker, and on offense being a slot receiver or fullback combo. Both Brier and him play bigger than their size. Sacco, Briscoe and Kirkwood will form the running game.

“This year we’ll be able to distribute the ball all around, use several different weapons, running the ball and throwing the ball,” said Rolando. “We should have a really well balanced football team that is hard to defend.”

More than a football team, X’s and O’s, and wins or losses, the players talk about this year’s squad, when asked about one word to describe this season and group.

Zeke Rolando: family, bonding, putting the work in for each other.

Anthony Holte: heart.

Luke Brier: brotherhood. We’re a family here and will do whatever it takes to win this year.

Anthony Kirkwood: to describe the team, hitters. We’ve all improved and we want to prove ourselves again. Just get out there and be the strongest and toughest team out there.

Zeke Rolando says his game has improved in quickness, working the routes and catching. “It’s all about reps. A lot of teams are going to be bigger than us and faster than us, so we have to mentally strong.”

Kirkwood has benefited from practicing in his route running abilities and not just concentrating on his defense. But he prides himself in physicality and strength.

Holte has focused on footwork in the off-season and has seen improvements in his three-step drop while also working out every day in the weight room. The QB said he is
not afraid of scrambling and throwing passes out of the pocket.

Brier’s game is on the upswing. “Definitely better on my footwork, overall strength and speed increase.”

Spacing on the line will be filled in by 6-foot-5, 260 pound Tristan Merlin. That line is where SE Head Coach Rolando sees as a plus, hinting that much of the O line should be over 200 pounds each. “For a small school like us, that’s pretty good size.”

Holte favors the line for protection.

“A lot better than last year” said Holte. “I think we have more seniors, so they want it more. They’re giving it their all.”

Last season, St. Edward won the Metro Suburban Red Conference going undefeated (5-0), losing to Urban Prep Bronzeville in the Class 4A playoffs first round by just 10 points. Off to a 16-0 deficit, St. Ed’s outpointed Urban Prep-B 14-8 in the next three quarters.

That makes this team hungry. So what can fans expect this year?

“Competitive, hard-nosed football,” Rolando believes. “Our kids are going to give everything they have every week to come out and play as a team and do their best to win each game. Classy, respectful football, an old school brand of football.”

During the pre-season leading up to the first battle, Rolando discussed the importance of timing and synchronization with all 11 players on the field.

“The handoffs, the footwork, the play action passes,” he said. “The quarterback and the receivers. We’ve got a returning quarterback in Anthony Holte and several good receivers back that have upped their game over the summer. Liam Pomeroy, Joe Sacco, and Clem McCullough, have all improved and will be go-to guys. Those guys timing up their pass routes is critical.”

On the nine-game schedule, only five contests in the Metro Red Conference claims the title. The Green Wave also meets three-time defending state champions Immaculate Conception, which has a 40-1 record the last three years, in week seven. Rolando expects a closer game this time around.

In those nine games beside IC, the Green Wave will battle playoff qualifiers Chicago Christian and Elmwood Park, both went two games into the 2A playoffs, and Wheaton Academy.
Ridgewood missed the playoffs for the first time in three seasons in 2018.

“We just need to work on getting better each week and taking one week at a time,” Coach Rolando said. “Never looking past an opponent. It’s a long season. I think this team has to one-up those goals from last year (conference title and playoff appearance) and set their goals a little higher.”

Rolando enters this season as the winningest coach in school history at 60-74. Only twice has the Green Wave advanced into the second round (2010 & 2014) in the school record books.

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Football notes: Tyler Holte and Saveon Smith amp up St. Edward's efficiency

August 29, 2017


Gene ChamberlainElgin Courier-News

St. Edward's goal for senior wide receivers Tyler Holte and Saveon Smith was less work and peak efficiency within the passing game.

If the Green Wave's opener provided any indication, everything is proceeding as planned heading into a second straight home game Friday against Hope Academy.


Holte caught four passes for 183 yards and two touchdowns while Smith made six catches for 167 yards and three TDs in Friday's 44-26 victory over Metamora, a team ranked seventh in the preseason Class 5A poll.

Quarterback Dylan Mlinarich only needed 15 pass attempts for 387 yards.

"Tyler had just a great all-around ballgame receiving and tackling, and Saveon made key big catches," St. Edward coach Mike Rolando said.

One of Holte's receptions was a 75-yard TD for St. Edward (1-0). A safety and cornerback, the 5-foot-11, 175-pound Holte made eight solo tackles, three assists, broke up two passes and intercepted one.

"Tyler's athleticism and dedication keep getting better," Rolando said. "He put a lot of work into becoming a very good athlete and his effort stands out and shows on the field."

Holte also had a 2-point conversion catch.

"That was huge at the time because we were only up 12-0," Rolando said.

Last season, Holte is coming off a season when he led St. Edward in catches with 59 and yards receiving with 673. He tied Smith last year with a team-high seven TD catches.

Smith had 26 catches for 446 yards last year, but missed four games with a high ankle sprain.

"When that ankle injury happened after all our other injuries, it was like, 'You gotta be kidding me,'" Smith said. "I had to deal with that feeling I was letting my team down, because I wanted to be out there so bad."

It's possible Smith and Holte may need to chase a few more passes Friday, since Hope's offense proved potent in a 55-39 win over Tinley Park to open the season.

"They scored 90 points in a game last year," Rolando said.

Hope Academy beat Midland 91-0, then lost a Class 2A second-round playoff game 91-70 to Deer Creek-Mackinaw.

St. Edward dumps Metamora

August 26, 2017
By Steve Nichols

With a healthy run game at its disposal, the intent this year for the St. Edward football team isn't to throw the ball 40-plus times as it did last year.

And after a huge 44-26 nonconference win over Class 5A power Metamora at Greg True Field in Elgin Friday, the Green Wave, with a roster of 23, discovered they won't need to throw it 40 times; they can run up as much passing yards with just a fraction of the throws.


Returning All-State quarterback Dylan Mlinarich, who broke every passing record there is at St. Edward last year, threw just a minuscule 16 times against the No. 7 ranked team in 5A and still nearly totaled 400 yards.

The senior connected with 4 different receivers for 396 yards and 5 touchdowns, including 3 to receiver Saveon Smith who totaled 160 yards on 6 grabs, as Mlinarich's first 2 passes of the game went for scores.

"It was just the balance that we didn't have last year," said Mlinarich, who saw 37 running plays called. "I was throwing forty, sixty times last year and they were dropping eight guys in coverage. And it was tough but now this year with Angel Garcia, who's such a great running back and our offensive line, proves to us and the other teams that we are stronger and run or pass the ball anytime we want and we are going to be successful on it."

A healthy Garcia ran 20 times for 99 yards as the run game added 179 to the Green Wave's 575 total yards compared to Metamora's 306, but Smith and Tyler Holte provided all the highlights.

Holte helped St. Edward (1-0) to a quick 7-0 lead when he caught a pass at the Redbirds' 25 on the second Wave offensive play and turned on the jets for a 40-yard score.

On the Wave's next series, it took 5 plays until Smith beat his defender over the top and hauled in a 56-yard touchdown grab to make it 14-0 St. Edward with 5:25 left in the first quarter.

Smith would strike again with 8:13 left in the second quarter, when Mlinarich avoided a tackle in the pocket, stepped outside and connected with Smith on 4th and 5 with a 28-yard touchdown grab for a 21-0 lead.

"That was like a Christmas present," Smith said of the big lead at that point. "It felt real good for the team and it hyped us up a lot. Coach (Marc Rusinko) said be the hunter or the hunted and we were the hunters."

The Wave hunted down 2 more scores, even after the Redbirds (0-1) closed within 28-19 in the third quarter. Holte, who made 3 grabs for 180 yards along with 2 touchdowns, made a one-handed grab with his left hand down the left sideline to start the Wave's second third quarter drive that went for 65-yards, setting up Garcia's 11-yard run a player later for a 35-19 lead.

Holte's pick with 17.6 left in the third on his own 38 that he returned to the Redbird 30 resulted in a 31-yard field from David Madden with 9:28 left in the fourth and for good measure Smith scored over the top from 33-yards out to make it 44-19. The Green Wave picked up 3 turnovers in total, allowed just 2 touchdowns to Bryton McDonald (9 catches, 84 yards) and picked off Metamora QB Thomas Hall (15-for-27, 169 yards) twice.

"We're pretty happy with the turnovers but there's some things we have to clean up," Holte said. "But it's awesome. We've got the bread and butter with the passing game. the running game is coming along. the O-line is looking great so it's awesome."

And what about coach Mike Rolando's take?

"We didn't know we if we could compete at that level (against Metamora) and now that we know we can, it gives us the confidence the rest of the season," he said.

Staying healthy will be key for St. Edward

August 17, 2017

Quarterback Dylan Mlinarich passes the ball at St. Edward football practice.

The injury report and game results intertwined as St. Edward's 2016 season unraveled.

The Green Wave opened with 4 straight wins, but an already modest roster was diminished almost weekly by a rash of injuries to key players, many season-ending.


By the time the Wave limped into the Metro Suburban Blue opener in Week 5 against eventual Class 3A state champion IC Catholic Prep, coach Mike Rolando's team was a shell of the version that broke camp. Only 18 players dressed for a 53-50 loss at Fenton in Week 6 and 17 suited up for a 42-21 loss at Glenbard South a week later.

Larger schools can absorb multiple injuries and remain competitive due to their depth, but that's a taller order for a Class 4A program like St. Edward, which has averaged 26 players since Rolando took over 13 years ago.

With electric performers like safety/wideout Saveon Smith and running back/linebacker Angel Garcia out of last year's lineup due to injury, the Green Wave didn't possess the depth to remain competitive for four quarters.

Fast forward a year and the now healthy Green Wave return starters at 20 of 22 positions, a statistic that includes multiple two-way performers. That listed is headed by returning all-state quarterback Dylan Mlinarich. He broke every program passing record last season, mainly because the offense had no choice but to throw the ball after Garcia was lost to a broken ankle in Week 4.

Mlinarich attempted 376 passes, breaking the previous record of 219 set by Ben Lehman in 2009. He completed 214 passes, eclipsing Joe Mullen's 107 in 2014. The left-hander's 2,812 passing yards dwarfed Lehman's old record of 1,799 and his 33 touchdowns topped Mullen's 28.

Tyler Holte (5-foot-11, 170 pounds) was one beneficiary of the Wave's penchant for passing. He set new program records in receptions (57) and yardage (677) and scored 7 touchdowns. Before his ankle injury, Smith caught 26 balls for 446 yards and 7 touchdowns.

Rounding out the talented group of returning receivers are Ryan Pomeroy (40 rec., 556 yards, 5 TD) and David Madden (37 rec., 521 yards, 6 TD).

However, St. Edward doesn't intend to throw the ball 40-plus times per game like last year with a healthy Garcia back in the fold. Before his injury, Garcia rushed 61 times for 391 yards (6.1 avg) and 4 touchdowns.

He'll run behind an offensive line Rolando calls "the biggest and strongest we've had." The group includes returning starters Brett Kruska (6-3, 260) at right tackle, guard Chase Migut (6-2, 265), center James Estes (5-11, 245) and left tackle Matt Pettey (6-1, 260).

"Dylan looks great and he's a senior who has been there and done that," Rolando said of a quarterback who has passed for 3,845 yards and 41 touchdowns in two varsity seasons. "If we can put a running game around him, he has a chance to be very efficient and effective. He doesn't have to go 26 of 50. He can go 13 of 18 and capitalize when we need him to."

The defense is led by Smith, who in three varsity seasons has 72 tackles, 4 interceptions and 45 pass breakups. He's joined by linebacker Ben Harrington, who led the 2016 team with 76 tackles. He plays alongside linebackers Garcia and David Madden (38 tackles, 10 pass breakups).

Jimmy Harkins (32 tackles, 3 ints.) will play defensive and Jordan West (25 tackles, 2 sacks) anchors the defensive line.

"We have some experienced playmakers," Rolando said. "We have a lot of athleticism on the defensive side of the ball. I think this will be a lot of fun. We've just got to stay healthy."


Football roundup: St. Edward runs out of steam in regular-season finale

October 24, 2016

Junior quarterback Dylan Mlinarich knew what was on the line Friday night for St. Edward.

A win would make the Green Wave playoff-eligible, and Mlinarich led St. Edward to a one-point lead that lasted until late in the second quarter against host Wheaton Academy.


"We were just trying to go and go and go," Mlinarich said. "We were trying to make plays, do whatever we could to get into the end zone and just get us a lead. It was just tough. We lost the momentum."

As has been the case throughout the Metro Suburban Blue season, the Green Wave ran out of gas as Wheaton Academy stormed back for a 44-30 victory.


The combination of injuries, only four seniors on the roster and playing bigger programs eventually caught up to St. Edward (4-5, 0-5), erasing a 4-0 start and ending a three-year playoff run.

Prior to Friday's loss, the Green Wave's three previous games were against schools with enrollments at least three times as large.

"They gave it all they had," St. Edward coach Mike Rolando said. "The fact that we can hang with these schools with mostly juniors and sophomores on the field bodes well for the future. We're right there with these big schools until the third quarter. The future is bright."

Early on, St. Edward was focused on the present and getting its four seniors into the postseason again. Mlinarich opened the scoring with 2:20 left in the first quarter on a 17-yard touchdown pass to junior receiver Jake Frey.


After Wheaton Academy (6-3, 2-3) took a 13-7 lead, Mlinarich found junior receiver Saveon Smith for a 27-yard TD catch, giving the Green Wave a 14-13 lead that stood until 21 seconds left in the half.

Wheaton Academy scored then, and added two TDs in the first two minutes of the second half to put the game away.

St. Edward didn't fold, however. Down by 30 points, Mlinarich hit junior receiver David Madden for a 12-yard TD in the fourth quarter, and the seniors took over for the final scoring drive.

Senior lineman Sam Reedy bruised his way to 19 yards on two carries. Senior tight end Dominick Hartke rushed for a 15-yard TD and senior lineman Nolan Theriault pounded in the 2-point conversion.

Senior receiver Jimmy Harkins also caught four passes for 45 yards.

"It was a lot of fun watching Reedy break tackles," Mlinarich said. "Then watching Dominick score and Nolan with the 2-point conversion, it was a lot of fun. It was a good little moment there at the end."


Paul Johnson is a freelance writer for The Courier-News. Gene Chamberlain contributed.

Jimmy Harkins, St. Edward stand strong before Glenbard South prevails

October 10, 2016


St. Edward senior Jimmy Harkins and seven other Green Wave players never left the field Friday.

It wasn't their last stand, but now there are only two more chances for the coveted fifth win.

Injury-plagued St. Edward could only hold out for so long at home against bigger, deeper Glenbard South and power runner Sean Cooke in a 42-21 Metro Suburban Blue defeat.

"We have 17 guys, so we can't afford to come off the field," said Harkins, a wide receiver/defensive back. "When we run out of energy, we run out of energy.

"Really, there's nothing we can do about it."

St. Edward lost its third straight during a devastating rash of injuries. In much of the first half, it seemed the passing of left-handed quarterback Dylan Mlinarich to Harkins, David Madden, Tyler Holte and Ryan Pomeroy would be enough to get the fifth win.

St. Edward (4-3, 0-3) had a 21-6 lead in the second quarter after a 2-yard touchdown flip from Mlinarich to tight end Dominic Hartke. Behind Cooke, Glenbard South (5-2, 3-0) dominated from then on with 36 straight points.

"They just kind of wore on us," St. Edward coach Mike Rolando said. "Our guys are warriors. They played awesome. I'm very proud of their effort.

"There are guys playing every down and on special teams. They proved they can play with a team like this."

Without a ground game due to running back injuries, Mlinarich completed 34 of 61 passes for 393 yards with three TDs and three interceptions. Harkins had 10 catches for 106 yards and Madden added seven catches for 123 yards.

"In practice, we always work the same routes and look at the same zones over and over again, and so Dylan knew where we'd be and found us in the open spots," Madden said.

Mlinarich threw a 13-yard TD pass to Harkins as St. Edward went up 7-6. Then Madden caught an 18-yard TD down the sidelines with 1:22 left in the first quarter.

When Hartke scored, St. Edward appeared to be in control. But Cooke started mashing away for 188 yards on 29 carries, including four TDs.

"He's a big boy and to tackle him you've just got to try to go low," Madden said. "It was the only way."

Cooke's third TD run, a 2-yarder with 28 seconds left in the first half, gave Glenbard South a 27-21 edge.

Once ahead, Glenbard South ditched the blitz and went to a three-player pass rush with zone coverage. It paid off when St. Edward was driving for the go-ahead points late in the third quarter.

Mlinarich was picked off at the 2-yard line by Justin Goetz.

"I misread the play," Mlinarich said. "I thought it was an out-and-up, but it was just a regular up. My fault entirely."

Glenbard South quarterback Jack Crouch followed by throwing a 38-yard TD pass to Bryan Maroney. The Raiders added added Cooke's 34-yard clinching TD run and a safety.

"Its just about being real disciplined and we didn't play disciplined football the first half," Glenbard South coach Ryan Crissey said. "But you've got to give it to coach Rolando and the Green Wave, those kids just fight their butts off.

"We knew we were going to be in a dogfight defensively with the way they pass the ball."


Twitter @genechamberlai2

Week 5: Scouting the Metro Suburban

September 23, 2016
Daily Herald report

IC Catholic Prep (4-0, 0-0) at St. Edward (4-0, 0-0) Metro Suburban Blue

Game time: 7 p.m. Friday.


Last week: IC Catholic 72, Chicago Christian 0; St. Edward 50, Guerin 0.

Last year: IC Catholic 41, St. Edward 6.

Outlook (from the IC Catholic perspective): Since 2009 these teams have split 3-3 dating to their Suburban Christian Conference days. They're the MSC Blue's top two teams both in scoring and scoring defense, with IC averaging 56 points and St. Edward allowing 10.5. IC's Northern Illinois-bound Jordan Rowell has already run for 691 yards and 14 touchdowns, though the Knights' up-tempo offense is predicated by how quarterback Luke Ricobene reads the defense. Senior safety Matt Sutton makes the calls on defense, which will bring the heat with physical linemen Jimmy Kenneally, Robert Vitek, Dylan Packer and Ricky Mysliwiec. St. Edward's 6-foot-2 quarterback Dylan Mlinarich has thrown for 1,176 yards and 20 touchdowns, gutting Walther Christian and Lindblom for 7 TD passes apiece. Saveon Smith has caught 6 touchdown passes and averages 27 yards per catch. However, IC's staff includes former NFL safety and current ESPN analyst Matt Bowen, a big advantage.

Outlook (From the St. Edward perspective): This Metro Suburban Conference Blue Division opener is among the most important games on the schedule for each of these longtime rivals. A Class 3A semifinalist in 2015, IC is 3A's top-ranked team. Led by all-state tailback and cornerback Jordan Rowell (6-foot-2, 195 pounds), committed to Northern Illinois, and junior quarterback Luc Ricobene, the Knights have scored 225 points. That total includes 61 points against a St. Laurence team that has beaten Benet, St. Rita and defending 3A champ Bishop McNamara. Rowell has rushed for 691 yards and 14 touchdowns on 55 carries. Ricobene has completed 45 of 73 passes for 617 yards and 5 touchdowns and been intercepted three times. Ricobene also has rushed 19 times for 196 yards and 2 touchdowns, which has St. Edward coach Mike Rolando's attention. "Rowell is outstanding and you have to account for him, but what scares us most is (Ricobene)," Rolando said. "Even if you do everything well on a play, he can scramble and make a play because he's so multidimensional." IC gave up 49 points to St. Laurence in a Week 2 win. Otherwise, the Knights shut out Bishop McNamara, Elmwood Park and Chicago Christian. IC defensive end Jimmy Kenneally (6-1, 235) was an honorable mention all-state pick in 2015. Last year, he terrorized St. Edward quarterback Dylan Mlinarich throughout IC'S 41-6 victory. Mlinarich comes in hot. The left-handed junior has thrown for 1,179 yards and 20 touchdowns on 66-of-115 passing (57.4 percent).

Next week: Riverside-Brookfield at IC Catholic; St. Edward at Fenton.

St. Edward's Dylan Mlinarich takes air show against No. 1 IC Catholic

September 21, 2016

St. Edward's Dylan Mlinarich takes air show against No. 1 IC Catholic


The Pittsburgh Steelers T-shirt that Dylan Mlinarich wore at St. Edward's practice Tuesday only seemed appropriate.

"I was brainwashed when from the time I was really young," said Mlinarich, the Green Wave quarterback. "I'm a Ben Roethlisberger fan, Antonio Brown, Le'Veon Bell."

Mlinarich, a junior left-hander, is only a generation removed from western Pennsylvania. His father Jeff moved to Illinois from the Pittsburgh area.

It's a somewhat long-distance connection. But Dylan Mlinarich's roots are from the hotbed of quarterbacks like Jim Kelly, Dan Marino, Joe Montana, John Unitas and Joe Namath.

"My dad joked about moving us back to Pennsylvania and sending me to (Pittsburgh's) Central Catholic High," Mlinarich said.

It was only a comment, and no need for Green Wave coach Mike Rolando to begin worrying.

With Mlinarich throwing to Saveon Smith, David Madden, Tyler Holte, Ryan Pomeroy and Jimmy Harkins, St. Edward (4-0) dominated three straight opponents. The big step comes Friday in a showdown at home with IC Catholic (4-0).

Mlinarich threw seven touchdown passes in back-to-back wins over Lindblom and Walther Christian, then four in last week's 50-0 victory over Guerin.

According to IHSA records, only nine other Illinois quarterbacks have thrown more than seven TD passes in a game. Nine is the record by Morris' Bobby Brayton in 1949 and Greenville's Tyler Hutchinson in 2014.

"I hear about records, but it doesn't really matter to me," Mlinarich said. "I'm focused on the next game we're playing.

"Records are records and you may have them, then they're gone. But I'm thinking about wins."

Mlinarich is 66-for-115 for 1,179 yards and 20 touchdowns with four interceptions. He's distributed the ball well, as Smith has six TD catches, Harkins four and Holte, Pomeroy and Madden three each.

"Dylan has plenty of weapons and he delivers the ball nicely," Rolando said. "He has different style receivers, but the common thing is they all have good hands and run excellent routes."

Knowing that the passing game would fuel the team for the next two years, Rolando tweaked the offense during 7-on-7s. He moved Mlinarich back a few steps when taking the shotgun snap.

"It especially helps because I have more time to get the ball out and check my reads," Mlinarich said.

Rolando, a quarterback himself for one of Larkin's greatest teams in 1990, knew what this could mean.

"If we do happen to miss a block or get only part of a block, he's a little deeper," Rolando said. "Looking back over the years, if we only had another half-second for some of our quarterbacks. … I still have memories of where we could have made plays or won games."

Mlinarich is likely to need any edge Friday against IC Catholic, ranked No. 1 in Class 3A. Led by NIU recruit Jordan Rowell, IC Catholic last year beat St. Edward 41-6 in Mlinarich's fourth game at quarterback.

"It was pretty tough," Mlinarich said. "I was hit a lot. They got to us really well. Their linebackers and pass rush were strong, physical.

"We believe we learned from our mistakes."

Rowell, a running back, will pose a challenge for St. Edward's defense.

"It's a big-time difference going from a team at the level we've played the last few weeks to at team like IC," said Madden, who also plays in St. Edward's secondary. "To stop Jordan Rowell, you've got to go low and hopefully your teammates will join in. It's got to be a team effort.

"He tore us up last year."

This game begins a significant step up for St. Edward in Metro Suburban Blue play.

"From here on out we've got this team and then the other schools are two, three or four times our size, so it's going to be a rough road," Rolando said. "But our kids are tough.

"We're down to 22 players now after losing Nick Wright (broken arm). Our kids are going to do their best. They always play with a ton of heart."


Twitter @genechamberlai2


IC Catholic at St. Edward

When: 7 p.m. Friday

What to watch: NIU recruit Jordan Rowell powers IC Catholic (4-0), ranked No. 1 in 3A, against St. Edward (4-0) and linebackers Ben Harrington and Angel Garcia in a Metro Suburban Blue opener.





St. Edward has easy time with Guerin

September 17, 2016
By Jared Birchfield
Daily Herald Correspondent
Photo by Brian Hill

It was all St. Edward during its 50-0 Metro Suburban crossover win over Guerin Friday night at Greg True Field in Elgin.

The Green Wave scored on 6 of 9 drives -- 5 of 6 in the first half -- and held the Guerin offense to a total of 3 yards.


The victory raises St. Edward's record to 4-0.

The Green Wave's first possession of the game was the only one in the first half that did not end with a touchdown.

Sophomore running back Angel Garcia score the team's first TD on its second drive of the game -- a 1-yard plunge with 5:49 left in the first quarter. Garcia was once again the workhorse for St. Edward's ground game, rushing for 87 yards on 7 carries.

"We were a little unfocused on the first drive," said St. Edward coach Mike Rolando. "Luckily Angel got us going with the running game and then we were on our way, everybody got into rhythm."

The Green Wave's passing game took over from there. On the team's next drive, quarter back Dylan Mlinarich connected with James Harkins for a 1-yard scoring pass.

Mlinarich completed 10 of 14 passes for 110 yards, all in the first half. Backup QB Jordan West directed the team in the second half.

The defense ended the first quarter scoring. After a Guerin fumble, linebacker Daniel Falco recovered the ball and raced 19 yards for the score.

All 3 second quarter touchdowns were on passing plays. Fifty-six seconds into the second half, Ryan Pomeroy (3 receptions for 38 yards) caught Mlinarich's 23-yard pass for a TD. On the Green Wave's next drive, it was receiver David Madden's turn, crossing the goal line on a 20-yarder. Tyler Holte completed the first half scoring on a 9-yard pass.

St. Edward led 44-0 at the half.

With a running clock, the Green Wave ran only three drives in the second half. West scored the final TD on a 58-yard run in the third quarter.

Guerin (0-3) couldn't get its offense on track. The Crusaders crossed into Green Wave territory on three possessions, two in the second half and never penetrated the red zone.

St. Edward will have its work cut out for it next Friday, when it opens its Metro Suburban Blue conference schedule by hosting IC Catholic, the No. 1 ranked team in Class 3A.

St. Edward figures offensive explosion will continue

September 16, 2016