South Elgin seeks revenge against rival Bartlett
Bartlett's celebration of last season's 30-25 win over South Elgin was raucous enough to snap the bell off the traveling Rivalry Bell trophy's base, as Jerry Fitzpatrick wrote after the game.
The parts presumably are reassembled as are the sides for Friday's Upstate Eight Conference Rivalry Week contest in Bartlett.
"Obviously last year was my first Bartlett-South Elgin game experience, but from everything I've been hearing it doesn't matter what the records are, it's going to be a game," said Bartlett's second-year coach Matt Erlenbaugh, his Hawks coming in at 6-1 overall and in conference.
"We're excited about this year, the opportunity to get out there against a team that's tops in the state in points earned and points allowed."
Actually Peoria (408 points), Rochester (403) and, on the 8-man circuit Milford (408), top South Elgin's 378 points scored, but we get the point. And no team has allowed less than the unbeaten Storm's 7 points, which "all" came in South Elgin's 35-7 win over defending UEC champion Glenbard East in Week 5.
Thinking back on last season's second battle for the Rivalry Bell, which was also his first, South Elgin coach Dragan Teonic got the point, too. Like a poke from a sharpened stick.
The Storm allowed a Hail Mary touchdown at the end of the first half, committed 11 penalties for 125 yards, turned the ball over 5 times and allowed 3 fourth-quarter touchdowns including Bartlett's game-winner with 52 seconds left.
The cumulative effect of all that "sticks in our craw," Teonic said.
"This is one that we lived year-round," he said. "It's why we get up, why we go to work, why we lift weights. It's a big deal and it should be. It's definitely something that has been in the back of our minds for a long time."
It's no shock that Bartlett's football Twitter account posted a video Wednesday of the Hawks working feverishly in the weight room.
Both coaches believe the game will be decided by physical play.
"We know football comes down to the trenches," Teonic said.
Erlenbaugh agreed, and then some.
"The team that comes out more physical is going to have the upper hand," he said. "I think that's really the key to the game, is who's going to be tougher than the other team, who's going to set the tone, who will be tougher at the line of scrimmage, who's going to wrap up and make plays."
Young at heart: The high school football experience never gets old.
With that in mind the Marmion football team will conduct Thursday's practice under the gaze of some of the area's most experienced citizens.
The Cadets will hold their weekly walk-through before an audience of retirees at Covenant Living at the Holmstad, located in Batavia at the intersection of Fabyan Parkway and Ill. Route 31. They will be joined by the Rosary cheerleaders.
The idea was presented to the Marmion coaching staff by a player's mother, who saw on social media that an Ohio team had recently done the same. Marmion coach Dan Thorpe liked the idea.
"If we can impact elderly people's lives positively, let's do it," Thorpe said. "We're hoping to bring memories for the residents of their high school times."
Thorpe said he hopes his players learn some important life lessons in the process.
"We're not about fielding football players," he added. "We're about building men who happen to play football."
The practice will run from 4-6 p.m. The residents are invited to sit in on the pregame meeting during which the team will focus on this week's opponent, St. Joseph. They are then invited to watch the team execute its final walk-through on the front lawn of the 38-acre facility.
Two residents who played football in their youth will take part in the walk-through and lend their expertise: former Northwestern Wildcat Wayne Glassman and Jim Covalsky, a former all-conference player at St. Charles High School.
"This type of intergenerational programming has tremendous mutual benefit for everyone involved," said Amanda Gosnell, executive director of the facility. "Our residents truly feed off the energy and passion displayed by these talented athletes and enjoy reminiscing about their own sports triumphs from generations ago. And in turn, hopefully, they are able to inspire students with their wisdom, encouragement and perspective."