Daily Herald's 2017 Season Coverage
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updated: 9/19/2013 8:28 PM

It's almost game time for coach and QB McNamara

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  • The rest of the season is in jeopardy for Stevenson's Western Michigan-bound lineman Zach Novoselsky, left, as he recovers from a broken fibula and lingering ankle problems.

      The rest of the season is in jeopardy for Stevenson's Western Michigan-bound lineman Zach Novoselsky, left, as he recovers from a broken fibula and lingering ankle problems.
    Steve Lundy | Staff Photographer


Of the nine regular season games that Vernon Hills quarterback Connor McNamara will play this season, his dad will be able to see one in person.

That's the game in which Vernon Hills takes on Stevenson, which coached by McNamara's dad, Bill. It's coming up next week.

"Unfortunately, that's the only one," Bill McNamara said. "But I try to watch all the films."

McNamara does more than watch. A former college quarterback himself, McNamara has plenty of sage advice to pass along to his son, who is just a sophomore and was thrown into the starting role rather unexpectedly after senior Jordan Freibrun went down with a broken leg in the season opener.

"We are good friends with the Freibruns, so we were so sad for Jordan to get hurt," Bill McNamara said. "It's a tough situation for everyone, and Connor is going through some growing pains. But he's hanging in there. He's endured.

"I just try to help him as much as I can. We went over last week's film and I rated him on every play, the positives, the negatives, what he can improve."

McNamara says he tries as hard as he can to stay more in dad mode than coach mode.

"It's tricky because the coaches at Vernon Hills are doing a great job with Connor and I don't want to do anything that would conflict with that," McNamara said. "But I think I can suggest a few adjustments that might be able to help him."

Been there, done that:

Unfortunately, the McNamara family can relate all too well to their good friends the Freibruns.

Connor McNamara, a sophomore at Vernon Hills, took over at quarterback for senior Jordan Freibrun when he broke his leg during the season opener.

Last year, the Cougars were scrambling to fill a spot at running back when starter Dylan McNamara, Connor's older brother, suffered a torn ligament in his knee.

"He got hurt in Week 2, came back in Week 8 and then right away did the same thing, but to the other knee. It was a tough season for Dylan," said his dad Bill McNamara, the head coach at Stevenson. "It's so tough for seniors like Dylan and Jordan because you work for that senior season and to be out with a serious injury like that is just so unfortunate."

McNamara reports that Dylan, who also played basketball and baseball for Vernon Hills, is now a happy and healthy college freshman at Western Michigan.

"He's living the life," McNamara said with a laugh.

Center of attention:

When Stevenson center Henry Sise went down with a broken leg in the season opener, havoc ensued.

The Patriots lost to Kenosha Indian Trail by just one point and had eight turnovers, some off of botched snaps after Sise left the game.

To stop the bleeding, head coach Bill McNamara dug a little deeper into the depth chart and called on Jason Avvrick to take over at center.

Avvrick starts at middle linebacker for the Patriots. But he does have a connection to the center position, via special teams. He is Stevenson's long snapper.

"We're not having issues with our snaps now," McNamara said. "Jason is doing a great job. He accepted the challenge because he is willing to do anything to help the team.

"He's playing a lot of football for us, because he's still on defense, too."

Another big blow:

In addition to losing center Henry Sise to a broken leg, Stevenson is also without the services of college-bound offensive lineman Zach Novoselsky.

Novoselsky, who will play at Western Michigan next year, was carted off the field last week when he broke his fibula. Also hobbled by ankle problems, Novoselsky was debating this week whether or not he should have surgery right away, which would likely end his season.

"It's a really tough situation for Zach and for us," Stevenson coach Bill McNamara said. "He was out on a screen pass and someone just rolled up on the back of his leg.

"Now, we're down Henry and Zach on the offensive line. We'll just plug someone in, but that's a big loss for us."

Passer to catcher:

For most of the summer, junior Jake Mansfield was in the running for the starting quarterback job at Libertyville.

He threw hundreds of passes in practice with now-starter Anthony Monken and sophomore Riley Lees.

Now, he hopes he catches that many passes.

Mansfield has moved to wide receiver for the Wildcats and so far, it seems as if he had been working out there all summer. He caught 8 passes for 89 yards, including a 22-yard touchdown reception, last week against Grant.

"It wasn't until right before the first game that we talked about narrowing the quarterback position down," Libertyville coach Mike Jones said. "We talked with him about playing receiver and he really took to it. He's done a great job there."

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