Football dreams of playoffs


Xitlaly Viveros

Jarod Petrovic, senior, kicks off to start the game that ended in a 43 – 13 loss against Oswego on Sept. 11.

Alex Verklan, Staff Reporter

This years varsity football team starts the season off full of confidence and optimism.

“Personally my goal is to get us to the playoffs. The all-conference and individual awards will come, but I want to be in the playoffs this season,” captain Marcus Hayes, junior, said. After a plethora of losing seasons there’s new hope in this year’s team. Many believe this is the year to end the streak and get back to competing for conference.
“I believe that everyone is holding us to a higher standard this year. Of course there’s pressure; you have the whole school watching and cheering you on,” Nick Prah, junior said.Improvement is the name of the game for this year’s Wildcats, especially on the offensive side of the ball.
“Offensively we have looked much better. We scored more in our first two games this year than in our first five last year,” head coach John Jackson said. Last year and early in this year many of the games have been decided in the final few minutes. Many of the losses were by one touchdown or less.
“We need to continue to work hard, and get more experience at putting teams away,” Jackson said. With a lot of younger players on the team there is a lot of inexperience.
“Last year was only my second year at the position,” Hayes said. Not just at quarterback, there are young players all around.
“[We have] a lot of inexperience in the secondary,” Jackson said.
While some have big dreams like making the playoffs, others are more grounded.

“Honestly I just want to be the best player I can be, and to know my assignments,” Prah said.

“This team has so much talent and potential, another 0-9 year would be devastating,” Dunson said.
Several players played up on varsity as sophomores, and many feel they have improved.

“The growth in the juniors this year has been exceptional. Most have been putting in the work in the weight room since last November. They all knew they would have to step up,” captain Issaiah Dunson, junior, said. For others the transition has not been so easy.
“Everyone was bigger and stronger than me, but I had the speed and my teammates were a big help; they eased my transition,” Hayes said. The juniors joining varsity this year have quietly had much success.
“Freshmen year we were third in conference,” Hayes said. Four sophomores played on varsity last season and started, and they played key roles in some of the team’s success.
“Coming off my first year of football was hard; I sat the bench. I took that offseason to get better and learn, and it paid off. I started on varsity as a sophomore,” Prah said. Many of the players had individual success and caught the eye of some scouts despite an 0-9 record.

“The recruiting process has been a roller coaster ride. The biggest thing is to not get discouraged if a university stops contact for awhile; be proactive,” Dunson said. Their next game is at Romeoville on Sept 26.