The prep football season begins Friday, but we’ve been in the classroom all fall. Reporters Joe Stevenson and Lester Johnson discuss:
Stevenson: I thought I knew football fairly well, but I’m learning a lot this summer with our Football 101 series and working on this preview section. I really picked up a lot more about the triple option from former area coaches Bill Mack and Bruce Kay, as well as current coaches Chris Schremp and Brad Seaburg.
Even those teams who don’t run triple option have some bits of that offense with them, like spread option teams that run out of the pistol with the quarterback and one back. What are some of your favorite offenses to watch in the area?
Johnson: I really like to watch Marian Central’s offense because they almost always put points on the scoreboard. Offensive coordinator Dirk Stanger and coach Ed Brucker are good at molding their offense around their teams strengths and putting players in a position to excel.
I like watching the Jacobs offense as well, because they have a nice mix of run and pass. Coach Bill Mitz isn’t afraid to go for the big play when they need it and they are pretty exciting to watch.
When it comes to running teams, I love watching Cary-Grove, Prairie Ridge, Woodstock North and Richmond-Burton. It’s awesome when everybody knows what’s coming and still can’t stop it.
Stevenson: The option seems old school, but our area teams like C-G, Prairie Ridge and Woodstock North run it very well. When you run it fast with all those fakes, and you see the defense tackling guys without the ball, you know it’s working. I mean, if the quarterback doesn’t know who’s getting the ball down to split-seconds during a play, what’s the defense supposed to do?
And I’m with you on Marian. The Hurricanes spread things out and let it fly, and they always seem to come up with great quarterbacks. Billy Bahl’s their fourth consecutive NCAA D-I QB.
Johnson: We have seen some amazing football from that group of Hurricane QBs and I think Bahl is set up to have a big season. Marian Central has had some darn good offensive linemen up there in Woodstock as well and I think that’s another big reason for their consistency, with guys like Bryan Bulaga (playing in Green Bay now), Sean Cwynar, Cody O’Neill, Scott Taylor and Kurtis Stirneman. Now they have Karl Rude, who looks like another good one.
I think this could be a good year for QBs in the area. In addition to Bahl, I like guys like Hampshire’s Nick Mohlman and McHenry’s Mike Briscoe to really lead their teams and put up some good numbers. Who do you like this season at the QB position?
Stevenson: I really like Johnsburg’s Nick Brengman, a third-year starter who put up pretty good numbers. I think the Skyhawks are poised for something special this season and he looks like the type of leader to pull that off.
I’m eager to see what Jacobs junior Brenden Heiss can do too. He has a big-time arm, although coach Bill Mitz says there is a battle for that job.
It’s fun to watch teams throw the ball, but I love watching those option teams too. Particularly with those Friday night deadlines. Run that ball, boys!