The Warrior

An offseason infused with pro level influence and equal expectations

By Joshua Tarafa, Copy Editor

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Photo by Joshua Tarafa
The Varsity team completes offseason drills ahead of their contact practices and training camp closer to the start of the regular season.

It’s not every day that a high school football player can say that they walked out of the tunnel and onto the field of one of the most iconic venues in the NFL, where the likes of Walter Payton, Gale Sayers and many other Hall of Famers once played.

With only a couple months standing between the varsity team and the gridiron, expectations and excitement are as high as ever. The 2017 season is set to kick off on Aug. 25 at Soldier Field, leading up to the first snap against Leo Catholic on that Friday night.

The road leading up to this game includes an offseason full of goals for the players and coaching staff. As for Head Coach Tony Faltin, he says he just wants consistency out of all his players.

“I don’t think we have even come close to the full potential of any of the current players we have right now,” Faltin said. “We have some kids working really hard in the offseason. I think they are going to have great seasons.”

The coach also said his goals include getting all his players academically eligible and engaged in the classroom as well as the community.

Coming off another disappointing season in which the team finished 4-5 and missed the state playoffs for the second year in a row, the team is hoping for better results to remove the bitter taste of the past.

“Our goal this year is to have a winning record and make the state playoffs,” Faltin said.

The team has already been putting in the work in the weight room. Varsity players show up at least four days a week for crossfit workouts.

“It’s a type of workout where it’s not just main lifts like deadlifts, squats and bench, but also a lot of bodyweight exercises and core which results in a more toned body, rather than just building straight muscle,” lineman Danny Stieber, Div. 861, said.

Faltin added that the goal of these workouts is to build lean body mass and prevent injury on the field.

This training will provide a foundation for contact practices, which run from June 1 to Aug. 1 for the varsity level. The difference being this year some of their 25 contact practices will be held at the original Halas Hall in Lake Forest.

As the upcoming season continues to be intertwined with that of the Chicago Bears, the players will sleep in the dorms and work on team chemistry. Center and defensive lineman Michael Lavin, Div. 750, expressed the team’s excitement for these opportunities.

“I think that’s pretty exciting thing to do,” Lavin said. “Just being a part of that Chicago team aspect of doing Bears culture will be really great and a once in a lifetime experience.”

One key area the team also hopes to improve on during the trip to Lake Forest and for the remainder of the offseason is their play distribution and offensive efficiency.

“We’ve been doing a decent job of being able to pass the ball, but the way this offense is designed, we want to run the ball about 50/50,” Faltin said. “I think if we start running the ball better it will improve our passing game and be a game changer for our offense.”

Stieber said the linemen in particular also have a lot to work on, from their punch on pass blocking to their protection in the run game. The team says they hope these adjustments will give their opposition more to worry about defensively.

“When you’re able to successfully pass the ball and run the ball evenly, that defense has a lot to work on to prepare for you,” Faltin said.

While the team says they recognize most of their issues on both sides of the ball and have high hopes for next season, Faltin also said they don’t want to get ahead of themselves when thinking about their matchups and potential playoff berth.

“I don’t want to circle any game on the season,” Faltin said. “It’s week 1. The most important game, we always tell the kids, is the next one.”

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An offseason infused with pro level influence and equal expectations