Scouting Antioch: It's adding up to optimism for Sequoits
Antioch's football team won nine games and the Northern Lake County Conference championship last season, then won the off-season.
And like many of the Sequoits' regular-season games, it was a landslide victory.
A haul that includes former Lake Zurich head coach David Proffitt, the talented Kaliakmanis brothers and another transfer with skills has the Sequoits positioned to win plenty again.
"I've been fortunate to be on two very good Antioch teams in our history (10-1 record in 2016, 9-1 in 2017), and this is another one that's up there," said senior wingback Ben Nauman, who was one of nine Sequoits named to the All-NLCC First Team last year. "We're a talented team. We got a lot of weapons, and they're young."
A couple of weapons are not so young.
Head coach Brian Glashagel, who's guided the Sequoits to 7 playoff berths in his 11 seasons and back-to-back undefeated regular seasons, has brought in veteran coaches Proffitt and Jim Rejc. The highly respected Proffitt, who stepped down at Lake Zurich following a hazing scandal in 2016, is regarded as one of the best defensive minds around.
"I don't know if there's anyone better," Glashagel said.
Proffitt will serve as defensive coordinator. The equally respected Rejc, who comes over from Carmel Catholic and was the Corsairs' defensive coordinator when they went undefeated in winning the Class 6A state championship in 2003, will coach the inside linebackers.
"Some Jedi masters, as Glas (Glashagel) explained it to me," said senior defensive end and three-year varsity starter Chase Becker, smiling. "(The defense) will look similar, but we have a lot more speed. We have a lot of linebackers going down to D-line, and our linebackers are tinier guys that are more quick and agile."
Then there are the Kaliakmanis sophomores: quarterback Athan and wide receiver Dino, both of whom played varsity as freshmen for Carmel last year. The Emmons Grade School graduates transferred to Antioch for the second semester last winter and have fit in seamlessly with old friends.
Athan Kaliakmanis threw for 1,032 yards last season, completing 51 percent of his passes. The 6-foot-4, 190-pound QB then garnered scholarship offers from Virginia Tech, Syracuse, Iowa, Iowa State and Central Michigan in the off-season.
"He does everything well," Glashagel said. "He takes coaching well. With all the pub he's getting, he's got a good head on his shoulders."
While Antioch figures to throw more with its new strong-armed QB, the Sequoits will not abandon the triple option that they have always run under Glashagel.
"It's the bread and butter of our run game," Glashagel said. "Yet we do what everyone else does too. We'll still trap. Everyone's got to trap. Everyone's got a Belly (play)."
Dino Kaliakmanis, who caught 20 passes for 181 yards for Carmel, picked up an offseason scholarship offer from Kansas.
"What a great route runner," Glashagel said. "Phenomenal hands. Blocks his butt off, too. He's good at the non-pretty stuff."
Another boost to the offense is senior running back Nick Wiley (6-0, 200), who played varsity for Hersey the last two years. Nauman, who last season had more than 500 combined yards rushing and receiving and scored 5 touchdowns, has an offer from Western Illinois. The presence of Nauman and Wiley means Athan Kaliakmanis won't have to carry the load offensively.
"Sometimes giving the ball to Ben Nauman or Nick Wiley is a good play," Glashagel said.
Glashagel says junior wide receiver/defensive back TreShawn Watson, a returning starter, "might be the best all-around athlete in the county." Returning senior wide receiver Zach Grindley boasts 4.5 speed and is a 22-foot long jumper, Glashagel said. The offensive line features returning senior starters Dylan Czerlanis and Will Beake and senior Jason Carpenter, who didn't start but played in every game.
Proffitt will call plays for a defense that boasts the return of three All-NLCC Second Team selections in Becker, Kevin Tamayo and Nico Fier. Xavier Sanchez, who returns at nose guard, is committed to Concordia University, St. Paul.
"We call (Becker) 'J.J. Watt,' " Glashagel said.
Elias Vanderwagen, Watson and Drew Smith are also back on defense, along with outside linebacker Kevin Tebbe. Wiley also plays linebacker.
Antioch has not lost a game (14-0 record) in the first two seasons of NLCC play, and the Sequoits appear to be the favorites again.
"The defense is going to be holding teams down," Athan Kaliakmanis said. "And we're going to be scoring points."