Scouting the Aurora Central Catholic Chargers
Aurora Central Catholic football is facing a numbers crunch.
Ten players who participated last year as juniors did not return following a 2-7 campaign, leaving the entire program with 27 players in all four grades. Thus, the school will field a varsity team only and the roster will include several freshmen.
It leaves the returning Chargers with a daunting task considering the schedule includes eight 2018 playoff teams: Class 4A state champion IC Catholic Prep, Class 4A runner-up Bishop McNamara, Class 4A semifinalist Richmond-Burton, Class 1A quarterfinalist Aurora Christian, Class 5A second-round qualifier St. Francis and Plano, Chicago Christian and Wheaton Academy.
"We really have the deck stacked against us but I can guarantee the kids we have are going to fight," said third-year coach Luke Brauweiler, a 2005 ACC graduate. "They have gone through a tough grind in the off-season and summer camp because they need to be in great condition to play both ways for four quarters. They're ready. I think we can jump out and surprise some people."
One of the only seniors not playing both ways will be quarterback Bobby Scianna. He started on the junior varsity level the last two seasons. His coach described Scianna as more thrower than runner, but said he is athletic enough to get out of the pocket when necessary.
Brauweiler said he is excited to see how running back Ty Hopp performs after a strong off-season in which he ranked third in the program's weight lifting measurements. The 6-foot, 180-pound sophomore saw some playing time as a freshman.
Third-year starter Drew Babler will be used as the H back in the spread pistol offense and also might line up at split end. Brauweiler compared the 6-2, 205-pound senior to a universal joint due to his versatility over the past few seasons. For example, last season Babler played six games at tight end and three at left guard. Defensively, he plays linebacker and "bounces wherever we need him," his coach said.
Senior Michael Anderson (5-11, 220) returns to the offensive line. The program's top off-season lifter by poundage, the second-year starter moves from center to guard. Anderson also starts at defensive tackle. He is rejoined on both lines by three-year starter Sebastian Barocio, a left tackle and defensive tackle.
Junior Colby Metcalf (6-4, 190) returns to the football field at wide receiver and defensive end. He sat out his sophomore year following a transfer from Aurora Christian.
Beyond the aforementioned players, the roster is mostly untested and young.
"Obviously, we approach every game like we're going to win and we want to get into the playoffs, but we also know where we are," said Brauweiler, who two years ago directed ACC to a Metro Suburban Red co-championship. "We'll have some freshmen playing in their first varsity game in Week 1 who are still learning. Hopefully, they can figure things out by Week 3. That would be a win for us in that regard."