Scouting the St. Charles North North Stars
In his seven years coaching St. Charles North, Rob Pomazak has the arrow for his program pointed straight up -- and the best might be yet to come.
Taking over a team with three straight losing seasons, Pomazak's North Stars have posted winning records all seven years, and the past four years St. Charles North has finished 9-2 each time.
Last year's banner regular season culminated with a 35-28 victory over a Batavia team that went on to win the Class 7A state championship. St. Rita knocked the North Stars out in the second round of the playoffs with a 26-16 win.
"I give all the credit to my staff and parents and players," Pomazak said. "They have rallied around the message we try to preach to our kids and behaviors we try to create. The kids are a fantastic group of young men. They work diligently, they are accountable. They have a high motor. It is really easy to motivate them. And my staff is second to none. Everything is clicking right now and we're super excited about the direction of the program."
The win over Batavia also gave St. Charles North the final Upstate Eight River Conference title.
Now comes an even bigger challenge for the North Stars in the new DuKane Conference.
"You have to get excited when you see the teams you are playing on your schedule because they are a who's who of high school football over the last 25 years," Pomazak said. "It's exciting to see a team like Wheaton Warrenville South. For me as a coach when we see all the coaches with state championship experience like (WW South's) Ron Muhitch, (Batavia's) Dennis Piron, coach (Ryan) Wilkens over at Glenbard North, it's just kind of humbling because these guys have been there and done it. To watch how they go about their business is a great learning experience. I'm excited for the communities, I think it's a great atmosphere. Kind of a nod to the old school high school days where you have the Wheatons of the world going against the St. Charles's and I think it could be a great community enhancer."
The North Stars are primed to make a strong first impression in the DuKane with 16 returning starters.
Unfortunately for Pomazak, two of the positions he's replacing are quarterback Michael Hohensee and two-way standout Lucas Segobiano, who scored an area-best 25 touchdowns last year and set all kinds of St. Charles North records including touchdowns, receiving and total yards.
"If there are two positions you didn't want to replace it's probably those two because they were 80 percent of our offense," Pomazak said. "But we feel really good about Peyton Brown coming in at quarterback and our running back Sam DeMarco could have probably started for every other team, he was just behind the player of the year from Kane County. He's super talented."
Brown holds an offer from St. Cloud State. The 6-foot-3 senior injured his labrum as a junior and missed the entire season.
"We were really excited about Peyton last year," Pomazak said. "He's big, he's athletic, he has a big-time arm, he's diligent in the classroom with the Xs and Os. I think people are in for a real treat watching him play."
Brown will be protected by an experienced offensive line that includes tackle Alex Westendorf (committed to North Dakota State), and guards
Joseph Duhownik and Johnny Ambrogio.
Matthew Fell is taking over at center for John Williams who has moved to weakside linebacker.
"He (Fell) won the position," Pomazak said. "Last year (Williams) had never played center before. We really feel good about Fell taking the reins."
Tyler Nubin, another two-way standout who committed to Minnesota this summer, is part of a veteran wide receiver group that includes Alec Kritta (offers from Morehead State and Valparaiso), Ryan Thiesse and Billy Durocher. Ben Furtney returns at H-back.
Defensively, Ambrogio and Dami Oshin are back on the line, and three linebackers -- Dan Daley (offer from Winona State), Durocher and Furtney -- all started last year.
In the secondary, Egon Hein and Thiesse started last year at safety, as did Nubin and Ethan Romero at cornerback.
"A lot of these guys are kind of two-way players but we're fortunate we have some really solid 1B players," Pomazak said. "We feel we have some more depth we maybe didn't have in years past."
Luke Barresi, who will handle kicking duty, provides some of that depth as a third safety.