The St. Edward football team will be short a top weapon when Chicago Hope Academy visits Greg True Field in Elgin Friday at 7 p.m.
Senior wide receiver/cornerback Tyler Holte, who last year set St. Edward single-season records for receptions (57) and yards (677), was ejected from the season-opening win over Metamora for a dangerous hit with the Green Wave leading 44-19 in the final minute.
St. Edward coach Mike Rolando disagreed with the personal foul call and made his displeasure known to the officials immediately, but the judgment call stands. Holte must sit out one game by rule.
"In my opinion it was a clean hit and wasn't deserving of ejection, but we respect the official's call," Rolando said. "It was a violent hit that could be looked at differently by different officials. We have a close-up view from our end-zone camera. (Holte) didn't leave his feet and he hit him first with the left shoulder. But the ref doesn't have the benefit of a camera and in real time it was a big collision. It was a bang-bang play and a judgment call."
"I just led in with my shoulder because I saw that he was running for the ball and I couldn't reach the ball," Holte told the Daily Herald on Friday. "I wanted to break up the pass so that's what I had to do."
Holte was a key figure in the 44-26 victory over Metamora, which entered ranked No. 7 in the Class 5A in the preseason AP poll. The 5-foot-11, 175-pound senior caught 4 passes for 183 yards, including touchdowns of 40 and 75 yards. He also snared an interception.
The ejection was one of the only things not to go St. Edward's way against perennial state power Metamora, which won state titles in 2007 and 2009 and has missed the playoffs once since 1994. The Green Wave's powerful offensive line cleared the way for 163 rushing yards and all-state quarterback Dylan Mlinarich passed for 387 yards.
"I expected us to be competitive but to come out in midseason form as polished as we were was a bit surprising," Rolando said. "We do have 20 returning starters coming back so maybe it shouldn't be a surprise but I'm just super proud of the kids for the way they executed. It gives us some confidence going forward since we have, I think, six ranked teams on our schedule this year."
Chicago Hope Academy fell five votes shy of being ranked in Class 2A this week. The Eagles defeated Tinley Park 55-39 in their season opener last Friday.
Upward trending: The second half of Geneva's 34-27 loss to Joliet Catholic was a building block for the inexperienced Vikings, coach Rob Wicinski said.
Geneva was its own worst enemy in the first half, when the offense turned the ball over on three of its first four possessions. The Hilltoppers capitalized by taking a 27-7 lead.
Once the Vikings took better care of the ball, they enjoyed some success. New quarterback Bobby Murray and the offense generated 3 second-half touchdowns to make it a one-score game but time ran out.
"I tell our guys all the time you can't play against two teams, but that's what we were doing in the first half when we couldn't get out of our own way," Wicinski said. "I told them at halftime to keep grinding on offense because we were moving the ball and defense get us a stop.
"Getting back into it was a big boost for us mentally. Our senior group hasn't much success so they needed that to say 'Hey, we can play some good football.'"
Geneva hosts the second of four straight home games to open the season Friday against Kaneland, which won its opener 56-16 over Chicago Brooks. The Knights knocked off the Vikings 26-23 last season in Maple Park.
Getting defensive: Cary-Grove's relatively inexperienced defense was an unknown quantity heading into last Friday's game against defending Class 6A state champion Prairie Ridge, but the secret's out.
Future opponents now know what they're dealing with when they face the Trojans: a fast, aggressive, swarming defense that held a Prairie Ridge offense with two Iowa-committed stars to 237 total yards and a lone touchdown in a 7-6 Fox Valley Conference loss.
"I thought we played our hearts out," Cary-Grove junior linebacker Ben McDonald said. "We lost a lot of guys last year but we filled in spots and everyone stepped up and played their hardest."
The defense's shining moment came in the third quarter after the Wolves drove 49 yards for first-and-goal at the 6. The Trojans thwarted 3 running plays and forced an incomplete pass by Samson Evans on fourth-and-goal from the 2.
"Our team's got some fight," Cary-Grove coach Brad Seaburg said. "Our team's got some guys that want to play football who work hard. We'll be just fine."
Fuel up: Westminster Christian's Jason Yaccino burns more calories in day than most people.
Not only is the 17-year-old a multisport athlete, he plays two sports simultaneously: football and cross-country.
Yaccino has always been involved in cross-country as a way of staying fit for the spring track season, his specialty. Last May he finished fourth in the 800-meter run at the Class 1A state meet in Charleston.
Cross-country was again Yaccino's fall plan until a couple of weeks ago. That's when he was recruited by good friend Sam Huguley, Westminster Christian's senior quarterback, to come out for football so the Warriors would have enough players to field an eight-man team.
Yaccino had played football previously so he figured he'd do both. On Saturday he was one of 11 Warriors to suit up for a 44-16 loss to Wisconsin Heights. He rarely left the field. The 6-foot-1, 165-pound senior played wide receiver, defensive end, kicked and returned punts.
"It's definitely a lot of work because you're out there all the time on all sides of the ball," Yaccino said after the game. "It gets tiring but it's a lot of fun."
Yaccino is probably better equipped than most to handle the cardiovascular rigors of playing both ways for 48 minutes. After school he attends cross-country practice and runs between four and seven miles. Then its off to football practice for an hour to run passing routes and catch balls from Huguley.
Where does he find the energy?
"A lot of food and a lot of water," Yaccino said.
Nurse's office full: Hampshire coach Mike Brasile said 15 players were out sick or injured in practice just two days before last Friday's season-opening 28-14 win over Dundee-Crown.
The biggest absence was returning two-way starter Jacob Detiveaux. The senior left guard and defensive end wound up being hospitalized with mononucleosis that caused him to lose 20 pounds off his 6-foot-2, 285-pound frame in just four days and will keep him out at least a few weeks.
"We had a lot of adversity," Brasile said. "The kids really responded well and battled adversity."
Good first impression: Dundee-Crown junior quarterback Josh Raby came out firing in Friday's 28-14 loss to Hampshire. Raby completed all 5 of his passes -- including two on third down -- for 39 yards to lead a 63-yard touchdown drive on the game's opening possession.
Raby, who broke his collarbone on the first play of the season opener last year, hit 9 of his first 11 passes before finishing 12-for-22 for 130 yards.
"He's going to be a good player," said D-C coach Mike Steinhaus. "He's a good kid and we know what we have with him. He played pretty well."
-- Marty Maciaszek and Steve Nichols contributed