Scouting the Lakes Eagles
It took until midseason last year for Chris Selig to establish himself as Lakes' starting quarterback.
A QB controversy never developed, however. Jealousy never reared its grotesque head. That's because Jeffrey Nielsen, the senior who lost out to the junior Selig, never allowed it. Teammates support teammates, regardless of age and experience, right?
"Jeffrey, even though he was a senior, was still supporting me," said Selig, who split series with Nielsen the first half of the season. "Instead of the two of us fighting and bickering, he supported me all the way, even though toward the end I was starting."
The Eagles played all season like a team that had each other's back. That's the football culture that's been built in Lake Villa. Selig fed off Nielsen's support. Lakes was 6-1 and 5-0 in the Northern Lake County Conference before a 43-24, Week-7 loss to Antioch.
The District 117 rivals met again in Round 2 of the Class 6A state playoffs, and the Eagles came inches away from avenging their loss. They fell 17-16, as the Sequoits survived a missed kick in the final seconds.
Selig might have been the best player on the field that day in Antioch, completing 12 of 15 passes for 164 yards and a touchdown and running for one.
"The kid's a gamer," Lakes coach Jordan Eder said of his 6-foot-2, 210-pound QB. "He shows up. He's never folded in a game. Just his physical stature and frame offer us a lot."
Lakes has had more than its share of great athletes, and this year's talent level doesn't appear to have dropped off. The Eagles even added senior Jack Lochner, who was the starting quarterback for Niles West last year. Lochner, a Lindenwood University baseball commit, figures to play wide receiver.
"He's a phenomenal athlete," Eder said. "He's a nice addition for us. Nice kid, fits in well."
While the Eagles graduated running back/safety D'Lo Hardy (1,114 rushing yards, 18 TDs, 7 interceptions), who's playing for North Central College, they return plenty of talent. Selig, defensive lineman Isaiah Perrin, offensive linemen Nate Goodson and Tylor Gunther and linebacker Jake Magad were all named all-conference as juniors.
"We got a lot of good pieces coming back, lot of good young tough guys coming up, and the seniors have done a nice job of corralling them into what they need to be," Eder said. "It's starting to click."
Goodson, Gunther and Matt Pawlak give the Eagles a trio of veterans on the O-line.
"I know they'll protect me," Selig said. "I'll buy them wings every once in a while."
Selig's offensive weapons include junior wide receiver Branden Nava, sophomore running back Mark Hunter and senior running back David Garcia.
"We have a lot of returning starters and we're all really good friends," Selig said. "There's no beef going around the team."
No surprise there.