Antioch moving forward with capable quarterbacks
A broken collarbone is a common injury in football.
But when a broken collarbone happens to an uncommon player, it hurts a little more.
The Antioch football team, which is 5-1 and 4-0 in the Northern Lake County Conference heading into Friday's home game against Round Lake, knows that all too well.
Star quarterback Athan Kaliakmanis, a junior who is already committed to the University of Minnesota, went down on Friday night with a broken collarbone in the Sequoits' 34-0 Week 6 win over Grayslake Central.
He is out for the season, bundled up in a big sling that covers his shoulder and arm. The recovery will take at least six to eight weeks.
"It's awful what happened to him," Antioch coach Brian Glashagel said. "I think when something like that happens, every kid goes into a bit of a depression. But I'd say Athan is in good spirits now.
"I think we're going to put a headset on him during games. He wants to help and stay as active with the team as he can because we have to move forward and get ready for the playoffs. You can't replace an Athan, you just need to go out and formulate a new plan."
Plan B for the Sequoits will include a rotation at quarterback that includes junior Evan Day, who finished up the Grayslake Central game for Kaliakmanis, and A.J. Kutcher, a junior who is a baseball standout at Antioch. Kutcher is also one of the top quarterbacks in the football program, but he wasn't fully healthy until a few weeks ago after suffering an injury over the summer playing baseball.
"Evan has been our backup since the summer, and he also played a lot in Week 2 when Athan had a little bit of a back issue," Glashagel said. "Then we have A.J. He's a really good athlete who can shake and bake and throw, but he hasn't gotten as many reps this season because of his injury.
"We're excited because we have two really good guys who can come in and do a good job with the quarterback spot. They'll be splitting reps this week and we'll see what happens. Maybe we call the game differently now, but maybe we won't have to. We'll be prepared for anything."
No panicking: There are no alarms going off at Antioch, even with the loss star quarterback Athan Kaliakmanis for the season with a broken collarbone.
"You'd think with all the hype that Athan has gotten that when you lose a kid like that, the other kids would be worried. I was wondering if that would happen," Antioch coach Brian Glashagel said. "But it's not like that. It was practice as usual on Tuesday. Our guys know that we have a lot of pieces to this team that makes us a good team.
"No one is like, 'Oh no, there goes our chance for a conference championship, there goes our run.' It's just the next man up."
Kind of like the Chicago Bulls, circa the Michael Jordan baseball years.
"When Jordan goes to play baseball, the Bulls still had good seasons, still were getting deep into the playoffs," Glashagel said. "You know, we went 19-2 in the two years before Athan ever took a snap here. We have a good team, a good program and injuries are part of the game. As a football coach, you kind of have to have a plan for that. In a way, I look at this as a blessing that we're dealing with this in Week 7. It gives us a chance to prepare and get all this (running the offense without Kaliakmanis) figured out before the playoffs."
More of the trio: Even with star quarterback Athan Kaliakmanis getting his own fair share of rushing attempts, Antioch had plenty of touches to go around for its trio of running backs: Gavin Calabrese, Brandon Reynolds and Andy Bowles.
Figure their workload will be even more plentiful now that Kaliakmanis is out for the season.
"We still have a lot of weapons and those guys were already getting a lot of reps and we'll probably see them do more," Antioch coach Brian Glashagel said of his running backs. "We also still have weapons at wide receiver with Athan's brother Dino and we're about to get (star wide receiver) Tre Watson back from injury.
"We've had our quarterback be a big weapon so far this season, but instead maybe now we'll be working on having our quarterback get the ball to our other weapons even more."