Local football talent to gather at St. Edward

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With a productive summer program soon drawing to a close, St. Edward’s football team is ready to show off its progress for the community at large.

The Green Wave’s annual 7-on-7 tournament and lineman challenge will take place at 7:30 p.m. on Friday night at Greg True Field. This year there is more local interest than ever as Elgin, Larkin, South Elgin and Streamwood round out the five-team field.

For St. Edward, the gathering offers a chance to try and build on its recent success. Last weekend the Green Wave traveled to a 26-team event in downstate Washington where its linemen dominated while taking first place in a lineman challenge and its skill position players went undefeated in 7-on-7 pool play.

The strong showing only added to coach Mike Rolando’s contention that this group could go down as one of the deepest and most talented teams he has led during his nine years at St. Edward.

“We are pretty optimistic, and what’s leading us to the optimism is the kids’ work ethic this summer,” Rolando said. “We’ve added some conditioning and weight room days that we didn’t have in prior summers because the kids came to us and said they wanted more since they felt those sessions were beneficial. So we’ve got 20 to 30 kids showing up to those strength and conditioning nights two or three times a week.”

St. Edward’s 7-on-7 tournament features a round-robin format where each school plays four games. The games will last 30 minutes with a running clock, and in between games there will be a 10-15 minute break when various events that make up the lineman challenge will take place on the field.

The annual event offers a first glimpse at the local talent for Elgin-area football fans, and there is added intrigue this year with new coaches at the helm at Elgin, South Elgin and Streamwood.

“These kids all know each other from youth football and they like to compete against each other,” Rolando said. “It’s a neat opportunity for the city of Elgin and the surrounding area to see pretty much all of the local talent on one stage.

“If you’re a St. Eds fan, it doesn’t mean you’re not interested in how Elgin and Larkin are doing. This provides a chance for people in the area to see all the local teams and put a face with the names when they read about these teams in the paper.”

St. Edward is looking to improve on last year’s 2-7 finish this fall, but as usual it will face an uphill climb in the ultra-competitive Suburban Christian Conference. The Green Wave’s hope is that competing against bigger schools during summer events like this will make it better prepared for the challenges ahead.

Senior running back Davontae Elam headlines St. Edward’s big group of returning players after running for 918 yards and eight touchdowns as a junior. Senior Mikey Castoro is another key returning playmaker who will move into a running back/receiver role after chipping in at quarterback last season.

Collin Holte and Zach West are two of the big men to watch on the offensive line while Will Bothwell and Matt Colasuono are among the defensive leaders. Juniors Bryan O’Neill and Joe Mullen are competing for the quarterback job.

“It’s a very talented group and we have probably the most depth we’ve had since I’ve been at the school,” Rolando said. “We have about 31 kids on our varsity roster, which for us is a lot and much more than the 18 or 19 we had at times last year. When you have some depth it obviously makes things better, and we’ve got competition at virtually every spot.”

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