Streamwood wins shootout over Fenton, finishes 5-1
Streamwood hired Keith McMaster as its new head football coach in January, and he first stepped in the building Feb. 9.
A little over two months later, he's completely reversed the Sabres' football fortunes.
Streamwood concluded its spring season Friday by beating Fenton in a 44-41 barnburner, to end its COVID-19-shortened season with a 5-1 record.
In a normal year, that mark would have put the Sabres in the playoffs for the first time since 2011. McMaster knows this, because he has boned up on Streamwood's football history.
"I think it goes all the way back to the 80s for a 10-1 team," said McMaster, the former Crete-Monee defensive coordinator. "Percentage-wise it's really good, and the points we put up in six games ranks toward the top in the last 25 years."
Those are all interesting stats, but consider the human side, and the enthusiasm McMaster's new charges are showing. Winning will do that.
"First Streamwood team eligible for the playoffs in 10 years, man," said super-quick junior running back Isaac Martinez, who rushed 19 times for 182 yards and 3 touchdowns Friday, including scoring scampers of 65 and 29 yards.
"I can't even come up with the words," he said. "Coming into Week 1 we didn't know what we had going, but we really just had heart. It's kind of emotional. It's surreal."
Nearby, junior running back Mike Estrada -- Martinez's cousin -- ruminated about a surprise season.
"It was a lot of hard work in the off-season," said Estrada, who rushed for 114 yards on 17 carries Friday. "The most important thing is that we're all leaders. There's not a single leader. Everybody holds everyone accountable. We're a great team and we're ready to come back next year."
It was a tough end for the Bison, who finished 2-4, but the loss wasn't due to a lack of effort. Senior quarterback Nickolas Benn went 26-for-43 passing for 349 yards and 5 touchdowns. His favorite target was senior wideout Frank Krygier, who caught 9 passes for 147 yards and a 50-yard touchdown.
What did he learn about his team this season?
"All these teams practicing year round ... we started in the winter in the middle of the school year, 5:30 in the morning, five days a week," Benn said. "These kids all showed up, and that's what it takes."
Added Krygier: "Make the most of what you can. Live in the moment. Don't take anything for granted, man. Just make memories."
There's only one problem with Streamwood's revival -- they won't surprise anybody come fall.
"Next year, we have to live up to the hype, that's for sure," Martinez said.