Area high school football team capsules
The 2015 high school football season is upon us. Here is a look at some of the area football teams for the upcoming season.
Piasa Southwestern Piasa Birds
Head coach: Aaron Fricke, second season (3-6 overall)
2014 record: 3-6, 3-6 South Central Conference
Assistant coaches: Seth Rich, Kurt Frischman, Mike Paslay, Mark Fricke, Rich Arnold, Michael Fisher, Zach Slightom.
Key returners: Ryan Paslay (RB/LB, senior) 2014 stats – 70 carries, 311 yards, 2 TDs; 16 receptions, 160 yards); Josh Manns (TE/LB, senior) 2014 stats – 8 catches, 78 yards, 1 TD; 70 tackles, 2 sacks; Jesse Arnold (LB, senior) 2014 stats – 84 tackles; Braden Whipps (TE/LB, senior) 2014 stats – 54 tackles, 3 sacks.
Key newcomers: Caleb Robinson (QB, sophomore); Jacob Ritzhaupt (RB/DB, senior); Dakota Corby (WR/DB, sophomore); Shane Warren (RB/WR, sophomore); Zach Gonzalez (TE/LB, junior).
About the Piasa Birds: “We return five offensive starters and four starters on defense,” Fricke said. “Our biggest strength this season will be our offensive line, with eight or nine guys who will see playing time. Weakness would be replacing 13 senior starters from last season. Season goals for the Birds are to improve upon last season’s record. Last season we improved to three wins after they went 0-9 in 2013.”
Conference: Piasa Southwestern tied with Staunton for seventh last year with a 3-6 record.
Head coach: Pat Keith, eighth season, (22-34 overall)
2014 record: 8-3, 7-2 in South Central Conference.
Assistant coaches: Jon Lawrence, Steve Slater, Terry Chester, Mike Devining.
Key returners: Chance Foss (QB/DB, senior); Blake Vandiver (RB/DB, senior); Billy Mathis (OL/LB, senior); Trace Gentry (TE/DL, senior); Jared Foiles (RB/LB, senior)
Key newcomers: Jordan Hawkins (DE/FB, sophomore); Ryan Harris (DL/OL, sophomore); Trey Kelley (RB/LB, junior); Cody McMillian (WR/DL, junior); Dreyton Daugherty (OL/LB, senior).
About the Shells: “We have some returners on both sides of the ball,” Keith said. “Looking to fill some holes left by graduating seniors. Our goal is trying to compete every week in the conference and keep improving as the season goes on.”
Conference: The Shells finished 7-2 in the conference, finishing third and advancing to the second round of the playoffs before losing to Carterville. It was Roxana’s first playoff appearance since 2003. They beat Freeburg in the opening round of postseason.
Head coach: John Stout, 13th season (57-58 overall)
2014 record: 5-5, 5-4 in South Central Conference
Assistant coaches: Jason Clay, Brian Buscher, Mark Rinehart, Jeremy Curll, Randy Shroyer, Matt Shroyer, Brock Doehring.
Key returners (offense): Bobby Bradley (RB, senior) 2014 stats – 1,053 rushing yards, 14 TDs; Marcus Zimmerman (WR, sophomore) 2014 stats – 20 catches, 508 yards, 10 TDs; Eli Bowen (OL, senior); Kendrick Woolsey (OL, senior); Kolton Etcheson (OL, senior); Marcus Durbin (WR, senior) 2014 stats – 14 catches, 234 yards, 2 TDs.
Key returners (defense): Woolsey (DT) 2014 stats – 14 tackles for loss; Etcheson (DE), Kelly Jones (LB, junior); Grant Wells (LB, senior); Luke Tessman (DB, senior); Enrique Jenner (DB, senior); Logan Sullens (LB, junior).
Key newcomers: Preston Ruckman (WR, junior); Richie Well (QB/WR, junior); James Taylor (OL, sophomore); Kolton Kaiser (OL, junior); Ethan Bayles (OL, sophomore); Chandler Boyd (LB, sophomore).
About the Vandals: Vandalia returns a load of starters both offensively and defensively off a season which saw them qualify for the postseason for the sixth time in the last nine years, all under Stout.
Conference: Vandalia tied for fourth with Hillsboro, going 5-4 in the loop. The Vandals lost a shootout in the first round of the playoffs, 48-39 against Nashville last season. Excluding Vandalia, Stout listed his prediction finish for the SCC as 1. Greenville; 2. Carlinville; 3. Roxana; 4. Pana, 5. Southwestern; 6. Gillespie; 7. Hillsboro; 8. Staunton; 9. Litchfield.
Head coach: B.J. Ogata, first season
2014 record: 3-6, 3-6 in South Central Conference
Assistant coaches: Nick Atkins-Harris, John Bryan, Tim Newton, Brandon Saffel, Mark Sievers, Bob Semanik.
Key returners: Vinnie Caldieraro (LB, senior); Eric Hasquin (LB, junior); Brandon Keelin (DL, senior); Ethan Mullenix (DB, junior).
Key newcomers: Cory Scroggins (QB, senior); Tyler Newton (RB/DB, senior); Ethan Mullenix (RB/DB, junior); Jacob Geringer (WR,DB, senior); Tracy Travis (OL/DL, junior).
About the Bulldogs: “We lose a lot of talent, especially at the skill positions,” Ogata said. “This is definitely a rebuilding season. We have good senior leadership and strong younger classes. Our goal right now is to get win number one, then we’ll go from there.”
Conference: Staunton and Piasa Southwestern both finished 3-6 last season. Ogata expects Roxana, Greenville and Carlinville among the top teams in the conference, and the Gillespie game is always a big matchup for the Bulldogs, Ogata says.
Head coach: Don Dobrino, 28th year (163-99-1)
2014 record: 0-9, 0-9 South Central
About the Miners: Dobrino replaces Don Borgini as Miners head coach. Dobrino, 80, coached the Miners from 1970 through 1997. Gillespie hopes to rebound from a winless 2014 season. They have several rivalry games, including hosting Carlinville in Week 6 and at Staunton to end the regular season.
Head coach: Todd Hutchinson, 8th season (76-9)
2014 record: 9-1, 9-0 South Central Conference.
About the Comets: After a perfect regular season in a tough conference, the Comets bowed out in round one of the IHSA playoffs, a home loss to a 5-4 Bloomington Central Catholic team in a high-scoring shootout. Greenville travels to Carlinville in Week 3 for a much anticipated matchup, and is at Roxana in Week 5.
Head coach: Aaron Duff, 8th year (26-39)
2014 record: 5-5, 5-4 South Central Conference.
About the Hilltoppers: Hillsboro won its last two games last year, including a playoff-clinching win at home over Pana, in which both teams were 4-4. The Toppers then lost to eventual state-runner up Williamsville in the first round of postseason.
Litchfield Purple Panthers
Head coach: Patrick Reents, 3rd season (4-14)
2014 record: 1-8, 1-8 South Central Conference.
About the Purple Panthers: Litchfield’s lone win last year was in week two at Gillespie. The Purple Panthers went winless at home last year but did score over 40 points twice in a game last season, including a 50-48 loss at Vandalia and the 44-20 win over Gillespie.
Head coach: Al Stupek, 8th season (44-30)
2014 record: 4-5, 4-5 South Central Conference.
About the Panthers: Pana’s playoff hopes hinged on a Week 9 contest at Hillsboro, and the Hilltoppers emerged with a 29-15 win to eliminate Pana from further participation. Pana’s offense was good last year, scoring at least 15 points in each game, and scoring 20 plus points in seven of the nine games. Pana opens with two road games at Staunton and Roxana.
North Mac Panthers
Head coach: Shane Owsley, first season
2014 record: 3-6, 2-6 in Sangamo Conference
Assistant coaches: Derek Smith, Donnie Allen, Michael Kincade, Dalton Barnes, Zack Allen, Michael Hadley.
Key returners: Kendall Bearden (RB/LB, junior); Brennan White (QB/LB/K, senior); Asa Donaldson (RB/LB, junior); Ryan Emery (RB/LB, senior); Griffin Hatalla (RB/LB, junior); Cooper Etter (RB/LB, senior); Jon Meyers (OL/DL, senior); Gabe Fox (OL/DL, senior).
Key newcomers: Grant Graham (QB/DB, junior); Gavin Mayes (RB/LB, sophomore); Austin Hamilton (OL/DL, junior); Zach Snow (OL/DL, junior); Cameron Cotterman (OL/DL, sophomore); Mason Lutz (OL/DL, senior); David Moser (RB/DB, senior); Blake McCormick (OL/DL); Dylan McGill (RB/DL); Cole Kallenbach (RB/LB); Will Christopher (OL/DL, sophomore); Jesse Trew (RB/DB, junior); Josh Weller (RB/LB, junior); Colton Allison (RB/DL, senior); Josh Abner (RB/DL, senior); Nick Smith (RB/DB); Gary Lowder (OL/DL, senior); Caleb Newell (QB/DB, junior); Devon Campbell (RB/LB, junior); Justin Lair (OL/DL, junior); Lucas Britenstine (OL/DL, sophomore); Will Ladd (OL/RB/DL, senior); Peyton Taylor (OL/DL, senior); Michael Cox (OL/DL, junior); Carson Vanbuskirk (OL/DL, senior); Nathan Drew (RB/LB, senior); Robert Dunn (RB/DB, senior).
About the Panthers: “This was the first season the consolidated program failed to make the postseason,” Owsley said. “The Panthers return a strong nucleus of players that got significant playing time a year ago. The Panthers look at overall team size and depth as a strength. Many underclassmen saw significant playing time last season which could be very beneficial this season. The Panthers are focused on competing for a conference title this season and returning to the IHSA playoffs.”
Conference: The rugged Sangamo Conference had Williamsville going all the way to the title game before losing…Auburn, Athens and Pleasant Plains also made the playoffs…North Mac finished seventh in the conference last year… “The Sangamo again looks to be one of the toughest conferences in the state of Illinois,” Owsley said.
Bunker Hill Minutemen
Head coach: Tom Haynes, 4th year (6-21)
2014 record: 4-5, 4-5 Prairie State Conference
Assistant coaches: Nathan Gray, Nick Mellenthin, Drew Meehan, Mike Reinhardt.
Key returners: Ben Cope (OL/DL, senior); Adam Brewer (WR, DB, senior); Christian Summers (RB/LB, junior)
Key newcomers: Donny Thomason (OL/DL, senior); Chase Williams (WR/DB, junior)
About the Minutemen: “We are hoping to build on our school’s second most successful season last year,” Haynes said. “I think we learned a lot about winning last year. We only have four seniors, but two of them are outstanding leaders and have both attracted a lot of attention from colleges – Cope and Brewer. Our goal is to make the playoffs for the second time in school history. Our weakness is our lack of depth. I really like the kids we have at each position on the field, but we don’t have many subs with a total of 23 kids, four of which are freshmen.”
Bunker Hill started quickly with four wins in their first five games of 2014, but lost their last four games last year and just missed the playoffs.
Conference: Haynes calls Pawnee and Alton Marquette among the top competition in the Prairie State Conference.
Mount Olive Wildcats
Head coach: Bill Jones, 1st season
2014 record: 2-7, 2-5 Prairie State Conference
Assistant coaches: Chuck Cox, Matt DeVries, Ken Swenson, Larry Caldieraro.
About the Wildcats: “I’m very pleased with the dedication shown by these athletes in the offseason,” Jones said. “They worked very had in our summer program and I look for this to continue throughout the season. Our seniors are showing great leadership.”
Conference: Mount Olive collected wins in conference last year against East Alton-Wood River and Metro East Lutheran. The Wildcats have four home games this year. “We play in a very well-balanced conference with tough competition each week,” Jones said.
Greenfield/Palmyra Northwestern Tigers
Head coach: Joe Pembrook, 3rd season (14-6)
2014 record: 7-3, 3-2 Western Illinois Valley South
About the Tigers: Greenfield/Palmyra Northwestern co-op was the only other area teams besides Carlinville to make the postseason, losing 21-8 at Camp Point Central in the first round last season. The team won five of their first six games.