Daily Herald's 2017 Season Coverage
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updated: 9/11/2013 8:27 PM

St. Charles East finds help from the basketball court

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  • AJ Washington, pictured catching a touchdown in St. Charles East's season-opening win over South Elgin, is one of the basketball players making a big impact on the Saints' football team.

      AJ Washington, pictured catching a touchdown in St. Charles East's season-opening win over South Elgin, is one of the basketball players making a big impact on the Saints' football team.
    Laura Stoecker | Staff Photographer


Two weeks into the high school football season, it might be a little early to jump to conclusions while analyzing our area teams.

However, I firmly believe some patterns have been established -- and I think the arrow is pointing upward.

Here are some things that have caught my eye:

Highly offensive

Scoreboard operators have been kept very busy the first 2 weeks of the season.

Seven of the 10 local squads topped the 40-point mark this past weekend, fueled by St. Charles North's 49-0 victory over Plainfield Central that provided head coach Rob Pomazak with his first win for the North Stars.

Two-time defending Class 3A state champion Aurora Christian put 55 points on the board last Saturday against Chicago-Bronzeville on the heels of its 67-point explosion in Week 1 against Chicago-DuSable.

Kaneland and Marmion scored 45 points each during last Friday's respective victories, while St. Charles East tallied 41 points -- all coming in the second half -- during its nonconference win over Jacobs.

Mooseheart followed its 45-0 Week 1 victory with an equally impressive 46-17 triumph over Westminster Christian last weekend.

Meanwhile, Geneva and Batavia scored 27 and 26 points, respectively, albeit in losing efforts against unbeaten Wheaton North and Richards last weekend.

Nine of the 10 local teams combined to score 336 points, an average of 37 points per game.

Spreading the wealth

As long as senior quarterback Jimmy Mitchell continues to find different receivers, St. Charles East is going to continue to pile up plenty of passing yards and victories.

One week after tossing 5 touchdown passes against South Elgin, Mitchell threw 3 more TD passes and utilized 6 different receivers (Mo Flanigan, Brannon Barry, Phil Hopper, Erik Anderson, A.J. Washington, and Mitch Munroe) against Jacobs.

"I've got a lot of targets," said Mitchell, who completed 15 of 16 second-half passes for 241 yards, including his last 12 attempts (for 182 yards and 3 TDs).

"You've got Brannon (Barry) -- we've been together for so long that it's hard not to know where he's going to be," added Mitchell. "Mitch (Munroe) is one of the best athletes I know and Mo (Flanigan) is the fastest kid I know.

"There's Phil (Hopper), our H-back. He's there when you need him. He's there for all the big plays. He's been my favorite target since sophomore year. He takes the hits and catches everything. And we've got A.J. (Washington) and Erik (Anderson), too."

Loaded backfield

There's no such thing as having too many running backs on the roster.

Marmion coach Dan Thorpe summed things up perfectly after his offensive backfield combined for 5 touchdowns last weekend against Ottawa.

"We had running back-by-committee tonight," said Thorpe.

Mike Montalbano, who rushed for 158 yards and a TD in Week 1 against Plainfield Central, added 64 yards and a TD on just 4 carries against Ottawa.

The Cadets (2-0) may also have a diamond-in-the-rough in punishing fullback Lucas Warren. The 6-foot, 225-pound sophomore has gained 164 yards with a 6-yard average and has scored 2 TDs in his first 2 varsity games.

Throw in Josh Meyers, Enzo Olabi, Sean Campbell, Sam Breen, Mitch Feltz and Rory Arnold and Thorpe's biggest problem down the road may be finding enough playing time for all of them.

"We've got some nice running backs," said Thorpe. "Mike Montalbano, Josh Meyers and Enzo Olabi are all between 175 and 190 pounds and they'll hit you. When you've got guards who can pull and running backs that can block for each other, you can reap those benefits."

And the Cadets' backfield will get even more crowded when junior tailback Jordan Glasgow returns from a high ankle sprain.

Glasgow led the team in rushing last season with 736 yards (5.7-yard average) and 7 TDs.

Hard court to gridiron

There's no truth to the rumor that St. Charles East basketball coach Pat Woods is biting his nails these days at Saints football games.

However, the Saints have already benefited by the presence of new varsity players David Mason and A.J. Washington, both of whom have been mainstays on the basketball team.

Mason, a 6-6 defensive end, was credited with 9 tackles, including a sack, against Jacobs while the 6-4 Washington caught his first varsity touchdown pass from the wide receiver spot last weekend.

Together, they provide added athleticism and present a different look to the Saints' roster.

"Yes, they do," said Saints coach Mike Fields, whose Saints are off to their first 2-0 start since the 1998 squad won its first 11 games before suffering a 14-12 state quarterfinal loss to Downers Grove North. "David is still learning -- that's the best thing about him. A.J. didn't play (football) last year but he played his freshman and sophomore years. David hasn't played since seventh grade.

"We're teaching him but I guarantee you that when we watch the film he did a lot better (in Week 2 vs. Jacobs) than he did last week," added Fields.

They also have the wholehearted approval of Woods.

"Pat is the first one who came to me and said, 'he's (Mason) playing and I'm glad he's playing,'" said Fields. "Same thing with A.J.

"And they've both been welcomed by the guys."

Beware of the Bulldogs

While Kaneland extended its regular season winning streak to 30 with last weekend's 45-14 win over IC Catholic Prep, Batavia's 20-game streak came to an end following its 31-26 nonconference loss to Richards.

Outgained 400-326, the Bulldogs also lost the turnover battle, 2-1.

One of the miscues occurred in the red zone as Richards defensive back Dylan Jiles recovered a fumble and raced 90 yards for a TD that left Batavia trailing 31-13 heading into the fourth quarter.

The last time Batavia trailed by 18 points or more in a regular season game came during its 40-21 loss at Geneva on Oct. 1, 2010.

No team enjoys losing -- it marked just the third loss (22 wins) in Dennis Piron's 2-plus seasons as head coach -- but I have a feeling the Bulldogs will rechannel their energy toward Friday's annual grudge match at Geneva (1-1).

In other words, a Week 2 loss might not be the worst thing to happen.

Cleaning up mistakes

Geneva's 40-27 loss to Wheaton North (2-0) last weekend showed what happens when you fail to play mistake-free football.

Opting for a fake punt on a fourth-and-8 play from the Geneva 13 on its opening possession, the Falcons stopped the Vikings a couple yards short of a first down.

A few plays later, Dom Garza scored from 2 yards out and the Falcons led 7-0.

In the second quarter, a roughing-the-kicker penalty on a field goal attempt resulted in a first down and eventual TD pass that gave Wheaton North a 17-6 advantage.

On the Vikings' next play from scrimmage, Mike Cerone's 30-yard interception return left the home team trailing 24-6.

Don't expect a Rob Wicinski-coached team to continue to beat themselves with miscues.

They've got a chance to be in the playoff hunt by season's end.

You can reach Craig Brueske can be reached at

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