Daily Herald's 2017 Season Coverage
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updated: 8/19/2016 2:01 PM

St. Charles East hoping its time is now

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  • Zach Mitchell, left, will return to quarterback the St. Charles East football team this season.

    Zach Mitchell, left, will return to quarterback the St. Charles East football team this season.
    Karen Naess For The Kane County Chronicle


The implementation of a new defensive system requires patience for any high football coach.

Then try running the triple option offense for the first time and you begin to realize the type of challenge that St. Charles East coach Bryce Farquhar endured last season.

"You don't like to make excuses but it takes some time," said Farquhar, who guided the Saints to a 4-5 record in 2015.

That time may be now.

"Our kids are comfortable with the system -- that's the biggest thing," said Farquhar, whose team opens the 2016 campaign at home against South Elgin on Aug. 26. "They're comfortable with where we are offensively."

Farquhar expects some big things from his offense, especially in the trenches with an experienced group of linemen.

"Our offensive line is going to be deep," said the coach. "We think that will be a strength for us this year."

Seniors Max Schumann (6-4, 295), Logan Waxman (6-0, 250) and Nicolas Kane (5-10, 210) will be joined by sophomore Justin Hull (6-2, 250).

"We've got some size and we've got some quick kids," said Farquhar, who is looking forward to the results in year two of the triple option.

"Understanding the system is so important to what we do."

Senior Zach Mitchell returns as the Saints' quarterback, backed by junior Clayton Isbell.

"He understands the system and he's a great athlete," Farquhar said of Mitchell, also a starter on the Saints' basketball team. "He's a good thrower but we look at our quarterback as another running back in our system.

"Clayton is there, too. He'll see time somewhere. They're both such good athletes -- to not have both of them on the field would be doing a disservice to our team. Our best players play."

One of those players figures to be sophomore tailback Justin Jett, who rushed for more than 500 yards after being called up to the varsity ranks as a freshman.

"It takes a different kid to be able to play varsity (football) as a freshman," Farquhar said of Jett, who rushed for 126 yards and a pair of touchdowns in a 27-26 Week 6 loss to Geneva. "He had the right mental mindset."

Senior Dante Macaluso also returns at wingback for the Saints.

"Dante did a nice job for us last year," said Farquhar. "He's a great blocker and a quick kid with good hands. I think our backfield will be pretty well rounded.

"It will be hard to replace Cam (Canales) but we think we have some people who are going to compete. We've always had good running backs at (St. Charles) East."

Senior Justin Galante heads the wide receiving corps.

Defensively, the Saints will rely on senior all-conference lineman KC Walsh and Jack Zylke, linebackers Nick Sherman, Sam Grohe, DeAndre Allen and Pat Griffin and backfield contributors Matt Bertke, Yalon Rogers, Pat Griffin and Isbell, among others.

Junior Matt Burns will handle placekicking and punting duties for the Saints, who are aiming for a playoff berth following back-to-back 4-5 seasons.

"As a coaching staff, we don't feel that (4-5 record) is acceptable for this team or this program -- and the kids don't feel that is acceptable," said Farquhar. "I feel we have everything it takes. We just have to execute."

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