Senior wide receiver-cornerback Artie Checchin has been a key part of Rolling Meadows' return to the playoffs.
Joe Lewnard | Staff Photographer
Double-teamed wide receivers can often become a source of trouble if the football doesn't come their way.
Rolling Meadows senior and three-year starter Artie Checchin envisions trouble for a defense that can't double up everyone on an offense filled with skilled threats for quarterback Jack Milas.
"When I see that I don't get mad at all," Checchin said. "I love the attention because it frees so much up for my teammates.
"Bobo (Tyler Bobowski), Garrett (Peterson) and Gundy (Ryan Gundersen) all do a fabulous job. I love blocking and getting doubled up because I enjoy when they score more than I do. I just want to win."
Checchin is a big reason the Mustangs won six times this fall and returned to the playoffs for the eighth time in nine years. The 6-foot-2, 186-pound Checchin caught 56 passes for 784 yards and 11 touchdowns entering Friday's Class 6A playoff opener at 7 p.m. at Lakes.
Just don't expect a T.O. (Terrell Owens) type of reaction if Checchin draws extra attention.
"If teams want to devote that many resources to stop him, we think we can hurt them in so many other ways," said Meadows coach Matt Mishler. "A lot of receivers sometimes get the reputation of being 'me' guys. Artie is anything but that. He really, truly is about the team."
Which showed last week when Checchin displayed he can take away the passing game as well at cornerback.
His 2 interceptions helped preserve a regular-season ending shutout for a defense that opened the season by allowing 49 points in a 1-point win over York.
"He hasn't been challenged a whole lot but he stepped up big when he was," Mishler said.
"We've gotten stronger and we've gotten better and our coaches have done a fabulous job," Checchin said. "We've got that 'Mustang D' attitude where we're scrappy and we'll be the hardest-hitting and most physical team we can be."
But Checchin found his true home at receiver around sixth grade after starting out as an offensive lineman and running back.
He caught 26 passes for 355 yards and 2 touchdowns as a sophomore and 28 passes for 539 yards and 7 touchdowns as a junior. Checchin also did a lot of work with Milas after he started half of his sophomore season and threw 10 touchdown passes.
And Checchin's experience has helped him learn how to beat different coverages and work with Milas, who has thrown for 2,261 yards with 24 touchdowns and 8 interceptions.
"It's awesome and each week we're putting in new stuff," Checchin said. "The linemen, I credit them for protecting Jack and we have so many playmakers.
"It's amazing the amount of weapons and choices we have. This offense is so much fun and we're all best buddies."
The other place Checchin finds a lot of fun is in the pool where he has swam for Meadows for four years and is a sprint freestyler. Last year he was three-100ths of a second off the state cut in the 50-yard free.
But Checchin's would like to make a splash in college football and he said the schools he's talked to include Air Force, Western Illinois, Southern Illinois, Butler, Dayton, North Dakota State and South Dakota State. He has a 4.3 grade-point average on a 5.0 scale, scored 24 on the ACT and has interest in becoming a chiropractor.
"I want to find the right fit for me and my family," Checchin said. "That's my biggest dream besides winning a state title."
Which would be quite a catch for Checchin and Rolling Meadows.