Page 43 of 48 On the Road: Oswego East HS & HD Jacobs HS

Oswego and Algonquin, IL- spent last Thursday at two great high schools: Oswego East HS and HD Jacobs HS. The travelling was very well worth it as I met a great group of coaches and student-athletes.

Headed to Oswego East first, where me met football head coach Tyson LeBlanc. The coach took me on a nice tour of the school. It is massive and quite impressive. We sat down with the coach and  a few of the Wolves exceptional football players: Ivory Kelly-Martin RB/DB, Jaylon Banks QB and Elijah James DT/TE. All three young men will graduate from OEHS with the Class of 2017. The Wolves look to wreak havoc this season in the growing Southwest Prairie Conference. Joliet Central HS and Joliet West HS will join the SPC and bring the number of schools to ten. Good luck to Oswego East HS and Coach LeBlanc!

We journeyed north east after Oswego East to HD Jacobs HS located in Algonquin. We had a great time with legendary IHSA Hall of Fame head coach Bill Mitz and outstanding QB Chris Katrenick. Both gentlemen were very cool and we had a great time at the Home of the Eagles. Katrenick had a great junior campaign leading the Eagles to the playoffs with great statistics: 130-234 for 1807 passing yards and 17 TD passes & 53 rushes for 8 TD’s. Mitz and Katrenick look to lead their Eagles to another great year in the reconfigured Fox Valley Conference. Good luck to the Eagles in 2016. will feature Kelly-Martin, Banks, James and Katrenick in future Young Guns stories. We will also highlight Coaches LeBlanc and Mitz in our Coaches That Make a Difference series.

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!!


Coaches That Make a Difference Series Debut : MCC’s Karen Wiley

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Crystal Lake IL- I had a good chance to see how McHenry County College’s Athletic Director and women’s head basketball coach Karen Wiley goes about her business. I covered the very successful women’s volleyball team for the NW Herald and watched and discerned how she struck the perfect balance as the AD and a big supporter of the Scots. She’s got game.

Wiley came to MCC by way of Kishwaukee College, located in Malta, IL. Malta is located in DeKalb County and the school also serves much of Lee and Ogle counties. Wiley was the head coach for 12 years. She was very successful with the basketball team including a 30-7 record her last year. The men’s team also flourished during her tenure with numerous 20+ win seasons.

Wiley has always been as passionate about the classroom as she is about the wins and losses. When she landed at MCC, she continued with the same game plan: good grades followed by competitive sports. The latter can’t exist without a solid performance in the former.


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The philosophy Wiley instills in her coaches and student athletes is one of taking responsibility for your actions, on and off the court. Wiley said this, “I expect excellence in the classroom. It’s not a glorified high school here. MCC is not a dumping ground for four year colleges.”

Strong words, but that’s how Wiley runs the Athletic Department and her own team. Fearless and steady in her approach, her coaches appreciate her style.

Coming off a great year for his women’s volleyball team, head coach Kyle McCall has come to appreciate Wiley and what she brings to MCC athletics. “Karen is taking MCC to the next level, not just the athletic department but the whole culture of the campus.” McCall continued, “We consider Karen a game changer for us. She has gotten so much accomplished in such a short time.”

McCall went on, “Karen is motivated, knowledgeable and a tenacious leader. We are happy to be on her team and look forward to the big thing ahead of us.”




Laying out her vision of where she would like to take MCC athletics, Wiley explained, “What we are after here is to develop a program that area student athletes want to be a part of and may even ask themselves, ‘Am I good enough to play at MCC?’. That’s what I would like to see.”

Coach Wiley possesses great resourcefulness and imagination with a spirited purpose to accomplish her goals. MCC is in a good place and the athletic department is in good hands.


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Fall Sports Celebration for Roadrunners: A Real Special Group




La Grange Park, IL- On Wednesday of this week, Nazareth Academy held its Fall Sports Recognition event at a pep rally in the Roadrunners gym. The teams were treated to a loud and appreciative experience by the friendly crowd, including a DJ and neon lights. A large screen showed the enthusiastic students team highlights and very humorous videos made by Nazareth students and staff. Nazareth President Dennis Moran, Principal Deborah Tracy and Athletic Director Duane Buturusis were VIP’s that headlined the extravaganza. Guidance Counselor Brendan Green adroitly emceed the event. Green was quite good and should be considered as the future host of the Academy Awards.



Retiring head coaches Kristin Stoejetz, Girls Softball, and Wayne Saunders, Girls Volleyball, deserve a huge round of applause from the Nazareth family for their dedication and commitment to the students. Stoejetz, 20 years, and Saunders. 40 years, epitomize the culture of excellence that exists at Nazareth. Great job and thank you to Kristen and Wayne. God bless you in your retirement!!


Kudos to the following Fall Sport participants:

  • Girls Softball: Stoejetz and Assistant Coach Anthony Gonzalez.
  • Boys Baseball: Head Coach Lee Milano. His team finished 2nd in the state playoffs. Ryan Kramer had an outstanding season.
  • Boys Cross Country: Head Coach Kevin Milos and Assistant Sean Banasiak.
  • Girls Cross Country: Head Coach Joe Wejman and assistant Gonzalez. Claire Ramsey was a state qualifier.


  • Poms: Head Coach Jennifer Day and Assistant Katie Broenneke.
  • Color Guard: Janet Rausch.
  • Cheerleaders: Head Coach Jorie Stevens.
  • Boys Golf: Head Coach Mike Morris. Matthew Clark was ESCC Player of the Year.
  • Girls Golf: Head Coach Charlie Rohlf.
  • Band: Leader Mike Sliwinski.
  • Boys Soccer: Head Coach Doug Hunt.
  • Girls Tennis: Head Coach Lisa Straface, ESCC Coach of the Year.
  • Girls Volleyball: Head Coach Saunders.

A ‘Big Thank You’ for the awesome Sisters of The Congregation of St. Joseph and Sr. Pat Bergen (CSJ). Their unending support and spiritual guidance lifts up all who walk the halls of Nazareth Academy. It would not be a party without Naz alum Lee Michaels, who’s fantastic DJ and light show were super stellar. Thanks Lee!!!

A Big Shout Out is due to Football Head Coach Tim Racki and his hardworking staff:

  • Joe Battaglia, Chris Beadie, Jonathon Bittle, Ed Cogan, Doug DiFusco, Ryan Evans, Joe Felice, Steve Gray, Matthew Letcher, Rudy Luna, Andy Miller, Tom Minogue, Rod Molek, Casey Moran, Corey Pratt, Joe Reynolds, Mike Sorenson, Jeff Tumpane, Jorge Valdez, Roy Verdin, Larry White and Jim Zimmerman.
  • Athletic Trainer Andrew Wyman.
  • Manager Mack Nelson and Erin Rollag, Alyssa Esposito, Maggie Corcoran, Krystal Nava, Darcy Rhoads and Emily Williams.
  • Team Doctors Tom Nelson and Eric Janota.
  • Roadrunner Chaplin Deacon Bob Esposito.

The Roadrunners won their second straight IHSA State Championship. The 2015 5a champions were led by Julian Love, Ivory Kelly-Martin, Carson Bartles, Joey Muscolino, Christopher Simmons, Cameron Weems, Devonte’ Dunn, Bryan Behrendt, Justin Weller, Gavin Smith, Austin Reifsteck, Wesley Lones, Tom Henehan, Mike Carpenelli, Matt Prendergast, Christian Sampleton, Aidan Bresnahan, William McKenna, Christian Davis and many more great players.

Supreme thanks go to the Wizard behind the scenes, Kate Augustyn, Naz’ incredible Director of Activities. Kate planned the entire pep rally and did a beautiful job! Thank you Kate!