If this continues, “next man up” for the Aurora Christian football team might very well be “last man standing.”
The two-time defending Class 3A state champions were down seven injured players who account for 12 of 22 starting positions in last week’s 48-8 loss at Immaculate Conception.
That’s the third worst loss in coach Don Beebe’s nine-plus years on the ACS sideline. The Eagles (currently 5-2, 3-2 SCC) have a .795 winning percentage in that time and only losses to Montini in 2010 (42-0) and 2011 (55-14) were worse.
Those counts rose to nine players and 15 starting positions when two more were injured at IC. Senior LB Chase Tomney is out for the rest of the season after tearing an MCL knee ligament and senior LT/DE Jonah Walker will be sidelined by a shoulder-bicep injury.
Beebe was awaiting the results of an MRI on Walker’s shoulder to learn the severity of his injury.
“I’ve never been a part of something like this as a player or a coach,” said Beebe, the former NFL standout. “There have been teams where injuries, combined with things like suspensions, have hurt a lot, but I’ve never seen this kind of thing.
“I told the boys on Monday we have two choices, put our tail between our legs or keep fighting on.
“I don’t know why but (former Buffalo Bills) Coach (Marv) Levy has always been an inspiration to me. He used to quote Winston Churchill a lot. I’m not smart enough for that, but I remember him quoting Churchill: ‘When it’s tough for everybody else, it’s right for us.’”
Well, they won’t be fighting on the beaches, streets, landing grounds or hills to defend their island, but four-time state 5A champ Montini does come to the Eagles’ home field for another SCC Blue showdown for a rare Saturday night “prime time” tilt (7 p.m.).
“The athletic directors thought it would be kind of neat,” said Beebe. “I really like (Montini coach) Chris (Andriano) and have been fortunate to work with a lot of their kids (at Beebe’s House of Speed) in the offseason. It definitely had the potential to be a great football game.
“The other thing that was nice about it was that it gave us the opportunity to have the whole staff out scouting on Friday night, meaning we could have 6 to 10 games covered (to prepare for the fast-approaching playoffs).”
His ACS sideline now will have a who’s who of potential all-conference players in street clothes with two-way starters Noah Roberts (WR-DB), Trevor Hills (FB-LB-K), Jon Czerwinski (OL-LB), Jackson Carpenter (TE-DE) and Brandon Walgren (WR-DB), joining Tomney and Walker, along with M.J. Zepeda (DB) and Austin Bray (QB).
Bears cite Becker
East Aurora coach Kurt Becker was named by the Bears as their “Coach of the Week” following the Tomcats’ recent win over Elgin.
Becker’s former team will host him at their practice on Dec. 26 then welcome him to their Dec. 29 game against the Packers at Soldier Field, where he will be honored either before or at halftime of the game.
The Bears will also donate $1,500 to the East athletic program.