Huntley senior Brandon Kavanaugh lives and breathes football.
For Kavanaugh, it has pretty much been that way since he started playing in the Huntley Youth Football program at age 6. Kavanaugh (6-foot-2, 260 pounds) is in the process of choosing a college at which he will play, but first he will represent Team USA against Team Canada in the International Bowl Under-18 game Feb. 6 in Austin, Texas.
“It’s really exciting,” Kavanaugh said. “It’s a really big honor to be invited to play in this and play for the USA.”
Kavanaugh’s selection process started last year with National Underclassmen Combines with a camp at Oklahoma State’s campus in Stillwater. He advanced through the tryouts and ended up being invited to the 40-member team.
Coincidentally, one of the camps Kavanaugh attended was at Warren Central, near Indianapolis. Former Warren Central coach John Hart became Huntley’s head coach a couple of months later, and Kavanaugh started on the Red Raiders’ offensive line last season.
“One of the things [Kavanaugh] has been so committed to is bettering himself all the time,” Hart said. “Whether it’s at various camps or in practices, it was how hard he worked. His character and work ethic are as high as any kid you’ll ever have the opportunity to coach.”
Kavanaugh credited Rocky Scalise, the owner of Going Vertical, a speed and agility training center in Huntley where Kavanaugh works out. Kavanaugh feels he would not have reached this level without Scalise’s help. Kavanaugh said he is considering Missouri Science and Technology, an NCAA Division II school in Rolla, D-III Wisconsin-Platteville and Beloit, as well as Drake, a Football Championship Subdivision school from the Pioneer Football League, which does not award athletic scholarships.
“I’ve always been huge into football,” said Kavanaugh, whose father Elvis coaches in the Huntley Youth Football program. “It’s pretty much the main thing in my life. My freshman year, when I got out of youth football, I volunteered to coach for the youth teams. It’s always something I wanted to be in.”
MCC commitments: McHenry County College baseball coach Jared Wacker announced Cary-Grove senior Zach Marszal will attend MCC next year and play baseball for the Scots. Marszal was a Northwest Herald All-Area honorable mention last season and also was a three-year starter in football. Marszal was a two-time Northwest Herald All-Area first-team pick in football.
Marszal hits and throws right-handed and played right field and pitched for the Trojans last season. Wacker plans to use Marszal as a position player and a pitcher.
Wacker also announced that Dundee-Crown graduate Nick Spagnola, a transfer from Harper College, has committed to play at NAIA William Woods in Fulton, Mo., next year. Spagnola hit .328 with 10 doubles, three triples and five home runs last year for Harper and will play outfield or infield for the Scots this spring.
Also, MCC freshman Lincoln Herendeen, a Marian Central graduate, has been invited to play with the Syracuse Junior Chiefs in the New York Collegiate Baseball League this summer. Scots shortstop Chase Matheson played in that prestigious league last summer, had a successful season and signed with D-I Chicago State.
• Joe Stevenson is a senior sports writer for the Northwest Herald. He can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. You also can follow him on Twitter @nwh_JoePrepZone.