Plenty of highlights in the McNamara home
Although Bill McNamara missed the "big game" in person, he found it just as much fun to watch on tape.
McNamara is the head football coach at Stevenson. His team was busy playing a game against Warren last week at the same time his son Connor, the starting quarterback at Vernon Hills, was taking on North Chicago.
The younger McNamara wound up taking part in a school-record 7 touchdowns in a 64-28 win. He rushed for 6 scores and threw for another.
Bill McNamara, as he always does on Saturday nights, cued up his son's game on his TV and watched it from his living room at home.
"That was a fun one to watch," Bill McNamara said. "He's playing pretty well. It's pretty impressive the numbers Connor has put up the last couple games. I had the privilege of playing on some really good teams, but I never put up those kind of numbers."
McNamara was a quarterback himself in the 1980s at Lawrence University in Appleton, Wis.
"I never had 7 touchdowns in a game, that's for sure," McNamara laughed. "Connor and I talk all the time about football. We're football junkies. We watch film every Saturday together, and he'll ask my opinion about things. We'll throw the football around in the yard.
"It's been nice to see him improve. I think he's really becoming a student of the game."
The previous record at Vernon Hills for most touchdowns in a game was four. McNamara, who leads his 2-1 Cougars against 2-1 Antioch tonight, also set records for most points scored in a game and most rushing touchdowns.
If there is another "big game" for McNamara this season, Bill McNamara is hoping it comes in Week 8 at Grant. That's the one game of Connor's that Bill McNamara will be able to see in person because it's on a Saturday and Stevenson plays on Friday that week.
Field position played a big part in Vernon Hills being able to roll up 64 points on North Chicago last week.
The Cougars often didn't have very far to travel.
"That had a lot to do with our special teams," Vernon Hills coach Bill Bellecomo said. "We didn't really have a lot of offensive plays because our special teams put us in position all night on a short field.
"We put an emphasis on special teams in practice last week and it really showed in the game."
Richard Clark and Drew Winegardner both had big kickoff returns for Vernon Hills while Kyle Thomas recovered a fumble on a punt. And Steven Didier got on-side kick for the Cougars.
Because of all the big plays on special teams, Vernon Hills started only one drive outside of North Chicago territory. And the Cougars' longest scoring drive was only 46 yards.
"Every week we want to keep improving with our special teams because we think it's a really good way to make it easier for our offense to get a good start on drives," Bellecomo said.
Although a jack-of-all-trades, Jack Sorenson does seem to be mastering plenty of them.
The Stevenson junior continues to make his transition from quarterback to wide receiver look easy.
He had 5 catches for 90 yards last week in a 33-20 victory over Warren in just his fifth game as a varsity receiver. He was brought up to the varsity during the playoffs last year as a sophomore. The Patriots needed one of their best athletes to fill in for injured senior receiver Matt Morrissey, who is now playing at Michigan State.
Sorenson had just finished up his season as the starting quarterback for the sophomore team.
"We'd be watching Jack in practice and we started calling him 'Little Mo' because he reminded us so much of Matt Morrissey," Stevenson coach Bill McNamara said. "His speed, his agility, his football smarts are all very similar to Morrissey's. And he ended up playing so well for us. He did such a great job of transitioning."
Just like Morrissey did, Sorenson shares the receiving load with Cameron Green, who has committed to Northwestern.
"Having a guy like Jack out there really takes the pressure off Cameron," McNamara said. "If you start to double Cameron, which a lot of teams want to do, you've got Jack out there and it's hard to go 1-on-1 with him, too. That's a good matchup for us."
Equally good for Stevenson is the fact that Sorenson is still taking reps at quarterback. He is starter Willie Bourbon's back-up and will likely be his successor. Bourbon will be playing baseball at Northwestern next year.
"Obviously, we hope nothing happens to Willie, but if it does, we keep giving Jack reps (at quarterback) so that he could fill in," McNamara said. "But we're also giving him reps so that we can keep developing him. There's a good chance he'll be our quarterback next year."
Quarterback Riley Lees isn't just helping Libertyville (3-0) win, he's also helping to maintain harmony in the locker room.
Lees has done a great job of spreading the wealth between his full stable of wide receivers and tight ends.
The Wildcats typically use six to seven receivers throughout each series, and all of them are dangerous and reliable. They are: Nick Rossetti, Jake Mansfield, Henry Schmidt, Tim Calamari, Cam Shaffer, Hunter Reimers and Ben Freedman.
"That's a pretty high number to be using regularly, but these are all guys who can contribute and deserve opportunities," Libertyville coach Mike Jones said. "The biggest thing is that it keeps them involved in the game and they're not sitting around for two quarters just watching. They all play."
Jones says that each game, a different receiver steps up.
"It's not just one guy, which is nice," Jones said. "Someone always seems to step up with a big catch when we need it, and it seems like it's always someone different."
Last week against Lake Zurich, it was Shaffer, who hauled in two clutch catches for 38 yards.