Scouting the St. Edward Green Wave
The MVP of the 2018 conference championship team graduated, but St. Edward remains equipped to contend for consecutive Metro Suburban Red titles based on who returns.
All-State honoree Nick Wright helped the Green Wave end a two-year playoff drought by rushing for 1,177 yards and 14 touchdowns and making a team-leading 117 tackles. However, the entire offensive line that cleared his path is back along with senior quarterback Anthony Holte and senior linebacker Luke Breier.
A 22-man roster composed of seven seniors, 11 juniors and four sophomores intends to take another crack at the top spot in a realigned league that welcomes Westmont and Chicago Christ The King.
"A lot of these guys really impressed us last year as sophomores when we had to bring 11 of them up in significant roles," 15th-year coach Mike Rolando said. "They came through right from the start and proved they have the fight in them. We have just enough depth where, if we stay healthy, we can get some kids off the field, which we've never been able to do at St. Ed's."
The offensive line returns senior left tackle Andy Cielak (6-1, 185), junior left guard Luke Sauceda (6-0, 205), junior center Aidan Pomeroy (5-10, 185), right guard Breier (5-10, 190) and senior right tackle Owen Gill (5-11, 210).
Holte, who missed some playing time last year due to injury, completed 55 of 122 passes for 794 yards and 7 touchdowns and was intercepted 11 times. Rolando said the quarterback looked sharp throughout seven-on-sevens and summer camp and said he expects a strong season from him.
Holte has a proven receiver to throw to in junior Zeke Rolando, who has recovered from a broken collarbone suffered during a seven-on-seven in May. Also the backup quarterback, he led the team last year in receptions (27), receptions for first downs (14) and receiving yards (392). Liam Pomeroy contributed 3 catches for 60 yards and a touchdown last season. He lines up opposite of Rolando.
Junior Joe Sacco leads a committee of running backs that could include senior James Brisco and junior Anthony Kirkwood, each of whom can also play receiver.
The defense returns second-leading tackler Breier, who as a junior registered 72 tackles and a fumble recovery. Kirkwood is another returning linebacker. He made 28-tackles last season.
In fact, nine of the team's top 15 tacklers return, including ends Cielak (33 tackles) and Dave Kenny (22), tackles Brisco (36) and Gill (11), nose guard Alex Walser (30), safety Liam Pomeroy (38) and cornerbacks Rolando (17) and Ralph Scumacci (17).
Rolando said this team is composed of selfless players who are fun to coach.
"We have a number of playmakers and the kids get excited for each other's success, which is a great sign," he said. "They have a lot of energy and we've been having great practices. A lot of them are multisport athletes and they're just competitors. They want to do whatever it takes to win games. I'm excited to see them on the field."