St. Edward might be the obvious outlier in the rugged Suburban Christian Blue Division, but the Green Wave is eager for one last shot at hanging with the conference’s big boys.
In the past five years the SCC Blue as it is currently constituted has produced seven state champions. St. Edward is the only team in the division without a state-title game appearance, which goes to the root of the reason the league is disbanding after this year.
An imbalance of power on the gridiron prompted St. Edward and the six teams that make up the SCC Gold to announce in May that they would be leaving for the Metro Suburban for the 2014-15 school year. The five remaining teams in the SCC Blue have since latched on with the Catholic League.
This year the Green Wave avoids defending state champions Montini and Aurora Christian in the SCC’s unique schedule setup, but matchups against Marmion, Marian Central and St. Francis will mark St. Edward’s last look at longtime conference rivals.
“Leaving the SCC is a bittersweet thing for us,” St. Edward coach Mike Rolando said. “We’ve been pretty respectable over the last three or four years. This year I think we’re going to have nine competitive games. I believe we can play with and potentially beat anybody on our schedule.”
Rolando’s optimism stems from having arguably the deepest roster of his nine-year tenure at St. Edward. In 2012 the Green Wave finished 2-7 as injuries frequently left the team severely shorthanded, but this year its 30-man roster is filled with battle-tested juniors and seniors.
Headlining the unit is senior running back Davontae Elam, who is going into his fourth varsity season. The 6-foot, 195-pounder ran for 918 yards and landed All-SCC Blue honors as a junior.
“Davontae is looking the best I’ve ever seen him,” Rolando said. “He played through some injuries the last two years and hasn’t quite been himself. I really think this is going to be a tremendous year for him.”
Rolando is especially encouraged given the talent St. Edward has around Elam. Junior quarterbacks Bryan O’Neill and Joe Mullen are competing for the starting job, and both are capable of stretching defenses through the air, something the Wave lacked last year.
Senior Mikey Castoro and sophomore Dwayne Allen give St. Edward two shifty running backs to complement Elam.Junior Danny Favela and senior Will Bothwell will also pitch in for the crowded backfield along with freshman Desean Elam, Davontae’s younger brother.
Senior Austin Murray and junior Nick Duffy give the Wave two solid receivers while senior Tighe Koehring and junior Petey DeWindt will contribute at tight end.
Seniors Collin Holte and Zach West both check in around 250 pounds and are three-year varsity starters returning to lead the offensive line. Senior Matt Colasuono will contribute up front after missing much of last year with a broken arm, and juniors Jack Tierney, Chris Kelly and Josh VonRohr are also in the mix.
A linebacking corps made up of Bothwell, Tierney and Colasuono figures to be the strength of St. Edward’s defense. Juniors Kasey Cooke and Brandon Ostrander will contribute on the defensive line along with Holte, West, Koehring and VonRohr.
The theme of depth and experience rings especially true in the defensive secondary where Elam, Castoro, Favela, Murray and Allen are all back after starting at times last year.
“For us to have 30 kids, most of which are contributors, really allows for a lot of competition at practice,” Rolando said. “Everybody is trying to earn respect every day.”
ST. EDWARD GREEN WAVE
2012 record: 2-7
Coach: Mike Rolando (25-50 in 9th season)
Players to watch: RB/DB Davontae Elam, sr.; OL/DL Collin Holte, sr.; RB/DB Mikey Castoro, sr.; OL/DL Zach West, sr.; RB/LB Will Bothwell, sr.
Aug. 30 vs. Genoa-Kingston 7
Sept. 7 at West Hancock 2
Sept. 13 at Marmion* 7:30
Sept. 20 vs. Immaculate Conception* 7
Sept. 27 at Aurora Central* 7
Oct. 4 vs. Chicago Christian* 7
Oct. 11 vs. Wheaton Academy* 1
Oct. 18 at Marian Central* 7
Oct. 25 at St. Francis* 7
* Suburban Christian game