Young Gun Series: The Force Awakens, Again

Crystal Lake, IL- Prairie Ridge High School head football coach Chris Schremp is no stranger to high powered offenses. This by no means is meant as a slight to the Wolves defensive prowess. They are good on both sides of the ball. Really good! Schremp, who is heading into his 15th season at the helm, has a gaudy 107-50 career record. PR finished 12-2 this year after losing a heart breaker in a major snowstorm to Montini High School by a 35-27 score in the 6A semifinals. Those 107 wins all occurred for the very grateful fans of Prairie Ridge HS. Like The Star Wars franchise, Schremp’s Wolves lead an unrelenting onslaught of offensive accomplishments that mirrors the exploits of Kylo Ren, Rey, and the rest of the gang from the mega blockbuster, The Force Awakens. I know this is kind of a stretch but I’m looking toward the future for some Product Placements.

The players keep on coming and continue graduating but the ‘O’ keeps on reloading, each and every year. We are going to take a look at two of the key pieces of the 2016 version of the Wolves steamroller offense: QB Samson Evans and OT/DT Jeff Jenkins, both Juniors.

They came to Junior Wolves football by two different routes but are now the future tandem that hopes to lead PR to Schremp’s second IHSA state title. Their first was in the 2011-2012 season where they defeated Peoria Richwoods 35-14 to win the 6A title. Evans idolized his older brother, Shane, growing up. Samson is 4 years younger that his brother. Shane is a very accomplished football player in his own right. He excelled at PR before moving on to Northern Illinois University in DeKalb, where he is an offensive lineman. Redshirted his freshman year, Shane (3.51 GPA) achieved Academic All-Conference status in the MAC in 2015.

“I got into football because I watched my brother play when I was really young. He played tackle football for the (Junior) Wolves. I really wanted to play tackle football,” Samson said. “I went to Hannah Beardsley Middle School.” This is were he began to play football with Jenkins.

Jenkins remembered, “My mom and dad didn’t want me to play football at first. They were kinda scared about that (football). But I got them to let me play. So I joined the Wolves Bantam league, little guys. One of the coaches came up to me and said I was too big to play in this league, so I moved up. I ended up playing with him (he points over to Samson). He was the QB and with the other kids in our grade, that’s how we got started.”

Schremp has this recollection of  discovering the dynamic duo,”It was 5th or 6th grade and one good thing about the Junior Wolves program is that you hear about guys. I’d go and watch them play on Saturdays. I noticed pretty early on that they both were gonna be special players for us”.

Schremp never really had the inclination to play freshmen on the varsity level. That was true until Shane Evans was brought up to varsity his first year at Prairie Ridge. Shane was the first but not the last. Samson and Jeff were two of five freshman who made the varsity team for the 2014 campaign.

Jenkins on the start of the 2016 season,”It was kinda scary at the start being one of the only five freshman. It was kinda nice to have him (Samson) on the varsity with me. Having people you kinda know. But our offensive line just accepted me and were really nice about it. They helped me out a lot.”

Samson said playing on varsity was great but scary, “You are the smallest player on the field. You come to realize they can be big but it doesn’t really make a difference.”

Schremp, who has an impressive 17-9 record in the IHSA playoffs, tells us a little about his coaching philosophy, “We tell our freshman from day one here that the best kids make the varsity. Whether you are a freshman or a senior. This is a football program. We don’t run three individual teams.”

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Wolves team jerseys worn to honor the US Military

I have known Coach for a long time but I do not want to date either one of us. His program reflects how he lives his life: honest, hardworking and highly motivated. Evans and Jenkins also have good foundations on which to build themselves into fine young gentlemen.

Evans’ Mom and Dad are Nancy and Matt and they have three other children: Chandler, an older sister, Shane and Carter, a younger brother. Samson is quite proud of his family and it’s obvious when you hear him talk about them.

Jenkins has two siblings, Justin and Jenna. Their Mom and Dad are John and Jean. He too speaks with admiration when talking about his family. Two good young men from two good families. Very nice to see!

Evans and Jenkins collected many accolades for their performances this past season. Evans: Fox Valley All-Conference 1st Team, 6A Honorable Mention All-State, NW Herald Player of the Year and PR Team MVP. Jenkins: 6A First Team All-State, Fox Valley All-Conference 1st Team, NW Herald All-Area 1st Team, PR Most Valuable Lineman and attended the Army All-American Combine at The Alamodome in San Antonio, TX.

As Schremp blasts into his 15th year of Wolves football, we can rest assured that the offensive force will once again awaken. Awaken with Samson and Jeff leading the way in the 2016 season and beyond.



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Coach Schremp checking his play sheet



Many thanks to Ommen Photography for the great images they provided!!