Once a quarterback gets his number called at Waubonsie Valley, he’s more than likely served his time on the sideline.
This fall, senior Zack Bennema will get the call, replacing Jack Eddy, who is now at the University of Wisconsin-Platteville.
“This is the way we’ve been going the past six or seven years, because it seems like our seniors are ready to step in when it’s their turn,” Warriors coach Paul Murphy said. “We’ve got a 6-3 junior, Jack Connolly, who is talented, but has to bide his time.”
Waubonsie Valley was in action on Thursday at Naperville North in the 32-team 7-on-7 Red Grange Classic.
“I think we have a good group of guys who can play,” Bennema said. “I can’t wait to get the season started.”
Like his predecessor, Bennema throws a lot, and split his time throwing baseballs and footballs. Bennema went 3-3 with a 4.51 ERA last spring, highlighted by a four-hit shutout of Naperville Central.
“You learn a lot from both sports because you’re put in a situation where you have to deal with pressure and adversity,” he said. “With pitching you’re always throwing and it’s a little more on the arm than football, so this is a nice break, to be honest.”
Still, there’s the pressure of facing big power hitters and hard-hitting linebackers.
“Either way you’ve got to learn how to handle tough situations,” he said. “I know I have to be a leader this year and help the team. It’s been a good experience so far and I’ve learned from playing both sports.”
Bennema doesn’t have the same luxury as Eddy did with Demario Webb and Jon Fizer in the backfield and a standout wide receiver like Christian Gibbs (Illinois State). The lone skill player returning for the Warriors is Tony Durns, who is recovering from a hamstring injury sustained at the state track meet.
“We have some good skilled kids that are seniors-to-be that are stepping up,” Murphy said. “Our biggest area of concern is the offensive line. We’ve got to replace four of the five starters and the young starter (Tyler) Caldwell will be back as a veteran, but will only be a junior. We could start four juniors and one senior. I’m not sure. We’ll see how it plays out.”
Bennema saw little action last season (5-of-7 passing, 107 yards, 1 TD), but knows that Eddy entered his senior year with little playing time as well, but ended up throwing for 1,543 yards and 18 touchdowns.
“I know we lost three outstanding linemen and some skilled guys, but a lot of these guys I know from sophomore year when we went 8-1,” he said. “This is definitely an exciting time for me. Being a senior, it’s all or nothing, so I want to make an impact as much as I can.”