Scouting the Streamwood Sabres
It's up and it's good. The number of players at Streamwood, that is.
They're the best in Don Guindon's five years as head coach to continue a trend from last season. We're not talking a huge influx, but it's a step in the right direction and can be seen as a source of pride for the coach, a former Sabres receiver, Class of 2007.
Particularly when Guindon asked his players to serve as "advocates for the program," he said.
"We kind of put it on the kids to find other kids they're friends with and want to be part of something, and hold them accountable."
High school football depends a lot on accountability. The word pops up here and there as Guindon talks about this year's squad.
Josh Leathers is one of those types of players. On the college path as a true student-athlete, at season's outset the 6-foot-2, 250-pound returning all-Upstate Eight Conference pick figures to be the sole senior on the Sabres' offensive line, Guindon said.
If there's only one he's the right one especially in a ground-based, flex bone option offense.
"His leadership is going to be kind of key to where we want to go, and he's been a phenomenal leader for us," Guindon said.
Leathers has given his stamp of approval to the Sabres' probable new quarterback, Andrew Phan. Though still a sophomore -- as is Streamwood's top returning receiver, Richard Santiago -- the kid brother of senior linebacker T.J. Phan "is great about holding kids accountable," Guindon said.
"A great leader, a great young man," he said.
Leathers brings the voice of experience to Streamwood's deepest unit, up to nine offensive linemen capable of starting. At 6-1 and 275 pounds, Jansen Viloria heads a strong junior group of linemen, who range from 195-pound Juan Pablo Aguirre to 280-pound Ben Feliciano. Sophomores Richard Rodriguez, Eric Gomez and George Chamopoulos also may contribute.
Added numbers means greater depth. With Sirrion Dixon seen as the main ball carrier, aided by fellow senior Buddy Martinez, returning junior Tre'Meyon Sanders will move to linebacker, another team strength.
Three-year starter T.J. Phan returns 42 tackles and 5 for loss to the 3-4 defense. Back too is senior Joey Calo, who made 24 stops last season.
Another switch has 2018 quarterback Omar Negron moving to the secondary, which also returns 6-foot-3 Darrel Luce. Guindon said the secondary and defensive line provide the greatest need for development, with 6-3, 275-pound Luis Torres the top returner off a line that graduated all-conference pick Elijah Beach, now at North Dakota.
Everyone knew Beach last season, making him easier to double team or avoid entirely. This defense may have more pieces as Streamwood aims to improve upon a 1-8 season.
"The kids have put in the work," Guindon said. "I think it's just going to come down to every day in practice, can we focus and execute. Are we going to be able to hone in on the details so that big things can take care of themselves."