Bartlett debuts $1.5 million facility Friday
Hit the lights, Bartlett.
After 20 years of playing home games at Streamwood High, the Bartlett football team finally takes its own field Friday night.
The Hawks face Glenbard East under the lights as the District U-46 high school debuts a new $1.5 million on-campus athletic facility, which includes grandstand seating for 1,500, LED directional lighting and a press box.
It is the culmination of a multiyear fundraising effort led by the Bartlett Booster Club and community leaders to raise $925,000 of the total cost.
Never again will Bartlett football players, cheerleaders and band members need to board a bus to attend a home game.
"To have our kids actually walking out of our own school and straight to a field where the community has come together to raise the funds is really kind of cool," said Jeff Bral, the school's 10th-year athletic director and a Bartlett resident. "It's not a Bartlett High School thing, it's not a U-46 thing and it's not a booster club thing. It's a community thing, and that's something we don't have at Bartlett.
"I'm so excited for the kids -- and not just the football kids -- but all the kids who are going to come Friday night and do a tailgate and share the night with all of us."
Bral said the plan is to continue to seek donations for a turf field. Future phases of the project also call for expanding visiting team seating (currently temporary bleachers in the north end zone seat 300) and the construction of permanent restrooms, concessions and storage.
Bral said a separate donation was made to erect a permanent memorial to fallen soldiers, which will be dedicated the night of the Sept. 7 home game against Glenbard South.
Finishing touches were still being applied to the new facility in the days before kickoff. An asphalt crew paved a new ambulance pad on Wednesday. A school district work crew was scheduled to install a permanent flagpole Thursday. A temporary flagpole is in place in case work is not completed in time.
Parking should not be an issue. Bartlett boasts the most parking spaces of any of the five U-46 high schools. All traffic should use the Schick Rd. entrance.
"This is great for the parents, too," Bral added. "They're always out supporting their kids. Now, they get to drive right down the street, park in a parking spot they know and come out here and watch. It's going to be pretty cool."
Brown out for St. Charles North: St. Charles North quarterback Peyton Brown will miss the rest of the season due to a torn ACL, he announced on Twitter Tuesday.
Brown suffered the knee injury in the third quarter of last Friday's 23-16 victory over Schaumburg and did not return.
It was a cruel twist of fate for a player who missed his entire junior season due to a labrum injury.
"Unfortunately adversity (has) struck me and my family again," Brown tweeted. "I have (torn) my ACL. I thank everyone who has supported me throughout this process and giving me positive energy. My very talented brother (Kyler Brown) will take the (reins) as QB. I will play through him."
Peyton Brown was off to a promising start. Against Schaumburg, the 6-foot-3, 180-pound senior completed 9 of 18 attempts for 145 yards and 3 touchdowns and rushed 5 times for 32 yards.
Kyler Brown is a 6-foot-2, 170-pound junior. He entered Friday's game after his brother was injured and completed 2 of 3 passes for 19 yards. He was intercepted once.
St. Charles North coach Rob Pomazak said he has confidence in Kyler Brown, who he confirmed will start Friday when the North Stars visit Bolingbrook.
"Injuries are part of the game and it's not a matter of if but when," Pomazak said. "We do a nice job of establishing reps for all of our kids all summer and Kyler has taken as many reps if not more than Peyton. While I feel bad on a personal level because Peyton is a great young man who worked so hard, on a professional level as a head coach you have to prepare for this. We're not the only team to ever lose a starting quarterback. We feel Kyler will step in and do a good job."
Charging out of the gate: Dundee-Crown has an opportunity to open the season 2-0 for the first time since the 2014-15 season when it hosts McHenry (0-1) in the home opener in Carpentersville Friday.
The Chargers fell behind 13-0 at Grayslake North last week only to storm back for a 30-25 victory. Senior Ricky Ibarra rushed for 181 yards and 3 touchdowns, highlighted by a 58-yard, third-quarter burst up the middle that put his team ahead to stay.
Ibarra ran behind an offensive line that fifth-year Dundee-Crown coach Mike Steinhaus said "probably had the best game any offensive line has had since I've been the head coach or been in the system here. They didn't have any missed assignments. They played great." That unit includes senior left tackle Nik Karavidas (6-foot-2, 215 pounds), junior left guard Anthony Fakhoury (5-8, 185), senior center Giovanni DeLaTorre (5-10, 232), senior right guard Austin Miller (5-11, 235), senior left tackle Gabe Kurzynski (6-3, 260), junior tight end Justin Prusko (6-6, 225) and senior tight end Jack Michalski (6-4, 185).
The way the poised Chargers responded in the face of an early deficit was a tribute to the veteran leadership of a senior-dominated lineup.
"We're trying to create that iron will, that belief, so I think us going down 13 in the first quarter was a good thing, if you can believe that's a good thing," Steinhaus said. "Our kids were under control, they calmed down and did what they needed to do to win the game."
Back with the Bulldogs: The first Batavia touchdown of the season was scored by wide receiver Nick Rempert, a senior who wasn't a student at the school this time last year.
Rempert attended Batavia as a freshman but "I got in a little bit of trouble, got myself straightened out and came back," he said.
In the interim, the 6-foot-1, 180-pound senior attended Mooseheart and played football. He transferred back to Batavia for the spring semester of his junior year.
"He met with us and said I really want to play football here, coach, and I really want to help the team," Batavia's Dennis Piron said. "He immersed himself in the culture. He worked hard in the weight room, did track, didn't miss anything in the summer. He's really grown as a player and a receiver. He's a wonderful athlete and his blocking has improved. He's a good teammate. He's a fun kid to be around. He has a good sense of humor about things. He's a very confident young man."
With his team in the red zone at Lemont last Friday, Rempert saw quarterback Jack Myers scramble to the right and raced to the open edge of the end zone. He caught an 8-yard touchdown pass on the run to put the Bulldogs ahead 9-7 in the final minute of the second quarter of an eventual 22-15 win.
"He's someone who is going to grow as a player week by week," Piron said. "He could really turn into, I think, a special, special force for our program the second half of the season as he gets comfortable with the speed level and the offensive sets."
Playing for the defending Class 7A champs was a satisfying feeling for Rempert.
"It's like a dream come true because I've been watching them all this time at Mooseheart," he said. "I can't believe I'm here now actually doing stuff with them."