At a perfect 6-0, there’s no denying Reavis has had a wonderful season — especially when one considers how far the Rams have come since Tim Zasada took over as coach three years ago.
The Rams were 0-9 in 2011. Zasada led the Rams to a 4-5 record in 2012 — his first season — and a 5-4 record in ’13, though a lack of playoff points denied Reavis entry to the postseason party.
That won’t be a problem this year — six wins are an automatic qualifier. Saturday’s 20-14 overtime victory over Argo assured the Rams of their first postseason appearance since 2007.
However, skeptics point to Reavis’ schedule — only one team with an above .500 record — and demand further proof of their legitimacy.
Reavis can make believers out of its skeptics Friday when it hosts perennial power Richards. The Rams (4-0) and Bulldogs (3-0) are undefeated in the South Suburban Red. A win by Reavis guarantees it no worse than a share of the conference title.
“It’s for everything,” Zasada said. “They’re really good, and we’re at home. We are in the perfect situation, being underdogs.”
When the two teams met last season, Richards ran away with a 40-0 victory.
What leads Zasada to believe Friday’s outcome will be different?
“We’re a different team than last year,” he said. “We may not have kids who are 6-4, but we have kids with heart and tenacity. I think it’s going to be a great football game.”
For Reavis to pull off the upset, its star players are going to have to play up to their potential. Players such as Isiah Alpuche, Travis Liszewski, Calvin Jordan and Vinny Vertucci, all of whom start on both sides of the ball.
In fact, the Rams rely on at least a half-dozen two-way starters.
“Playing Richards is tough for everyone in the state, not just us,” Zasada said. “Pair up the kids they have and their coaching staff, it’s a tough assignment. But we’re going to give it everything we’ve got.”
L-W Central strives for balance
Lincoln-Way Central coach Hud Venerable is fully aware the Knights are a more dangerous team when they’re not reliant on running back Sean Studer, the area’s leading rusher, to move the chains.
Slowly but surely, Central is becoming more balanced, mixing in more passing to its vaunted running attack.
Quarterback Connor Campbell and receiver Jared Redder are proving to be a dangerous duo, which bodes well for the Knights (4-2) as they make a playoff push.
“The more balanced we are on offense, opponents won’t be able to focus so much on Sean,” Venerable said. “That’s a good thing for Sean and our offense. Our passing game is getting better. Connor is doing a very good job.”
Player of the Week
Tevin Sudduth, of Rich South, is the SouthtownStar Football Player of the Week.
Sudduth, a 5-11, 165-pound senior receiver/cornerback, recorded an interception and caught two touchdown passes to lead the Stars to a 14-13 win over Rich East.