Elk Grove headed in right direction

 
By Dick Quagliano
Daily Herald Correspondent
Updated 9/21/2022 9:29 AM

After nine consecutive losing seasons, four of which were winless, Elk Grove has appeared to have things headed in the right direction.

Elk Grove has rolled over its opponents this season and find themselves 4-0 for the first time since 2004.

 

Now with the nonconference opponents all defeated, the Grenadiers will be looking to march on the MSL East when they begin conference play on Friday.

"The kids are doing a good job so far," Elk Grove coach Miles Osei said. "We still have a long way to go. The kids are believing they can do it. This group understands that and doing that."

The Grenadiers are averaging 33 points per game thus far.

Mitch Janczak, who is in his third year as the starting quarterback, has directed the offense tremendously well. Janczak has become a true dual threat. He is 41- of- 67 for 609 yards and six touchdowns while rushing 70 times for 345 yds and eight touchdowns.

Jacob Elsner has taken the pressure off Janczak on the ground, gaining 350 yards on 68 carries with four touchdowns. Wide receivers L. Rogers (18 receptions, 223 yards, two touchdowns), Dylan Berkowitz (13 receptions, 170 yards, one touchdown), Garrett Ewen (7 receptions, 85 yards, one touchdown), Matthew Martorano (4 receptions, 39 yards, one touchdown) have also stepped up.

But it is their defense that has been a major difference.

Led by Sebastian Halilovic: (25 tackles, 4TFL), Joe Coveliers (20 total tackles, 2TFL), Kachia Ugwu (19 total tackles, 2TFL), Owen Davenport (19 total tackles, 2TFL) and Dylan Berkowitz (16 total tackles, 1TFL), the Grens are allowing just six points per game.

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"It is definitely a change for the better," Osei said. "We are getting there. The kids are believing that they can do it. They are capable, they understand it and learn. Give them all the credit to the kids. They have got us to this point."

Osei has been working hard to get his program back to the elite level it once was. He also has picked up some help from some veteran coaches.

Former Elk Grove head coach Bruce Bazsali and former Prospect coach Brett Pearlmann, who Osei played for, have joined the staff. Osei also brought in former Rolling Meadows and St. Charles North assistant coach Tony Wolanski to add to a staff that includes Mike Kamedula, Eric Shew, Samir Chaudhari and Steve Polley.

"It is a group of guys with a lot of experience," Osei said. "Everyone's message is the same. We are raising the bar here. All our staff has showed that they have belief level in our kids. Everyone on our staff knows that they are capable."

The success is paying dividends at the lower levels at Elk Grove. Their numbers, which were once bare bones, are way up. Which bodes well for the future.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

"I think it helps for the kids of the future to see that kids are capable here," Osei said. "This is what happens when kids believe and put in the work."

Mid Suburban dominates:

The two weeks of crossovers have ended between the Mid-Suburban League and the Central Suburban League and it was nearly a knockout for the MSL. In the 24 games played, the MSL won 20 of the contests.

The MSL East was even a bigger winner, going 12-0 during that span. That included Prospect's two wins. The Knights, who are a 7A school, stepped up in class this year and beat 8A teams Evanston and Maine South.

With one year remaining on the contract between the two conferences, the MSL is 59-20 against the CSL.

Grant Dersnah update:

Palatine quarterback Grant Dersnah, who left the field last Thursday by ambulance after suffering an on-field injury, will be out for the season.

Dersnah, who is a senior quarterback, was injured after running 13 yards in the third quarter in the Pirates loss to Glenbrook South. Dersnah was placed on a stretcher after a 20-munite delay and taken by ambulance.

Dersnah broke both bones in his leg. He had surgery on Friday and was released from the hospital on Saturday.

"Grant was on his way to being MSL West player of the year," Palatine coach Corey Olsen said. "I haven't seen quarterback play like this at Palatine since Zach Oles. Grant will be missed terribly. But it has to be next man up and Tommy Elter is a good one."

Elter, who is a sophomore, will be making his first varsity start on Friday as the Pirates host crosstown rival Fremd.

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