With just one returning starter on each side of the ball, Andrew was expected to struggle some — at least early — in 2014.
The Thunderbolts, however, opened in fine fashion, recording an impressive 31-10 season-opening win over Bremen in coach Dave Connell’s debut as Andrew coach.
“It feels really good,” Connell said. “The kids were gracious after the win, but it’s not about me, it’s about the kids.”
The three-headed monster of running back Ben DeVries, quarterback Bobby Kman and receiver A.J. Malzone starred for Andrew. DeVries piled up 243 yards and two touchdowns on 33 carries. Kman completed 19-of-28 passes for 170 yards and two scores, while Malzone hauled in five passes for 70 yards and two TDs.
Much of their success can be attributed to the offensive line of George Mooney, Andrew Gentile, John Letz, Scott Cuba, Karl Cesario and Jack Ward.
Spreading the wealth
Providence may boast two of the area’s top receivers in Miles Boykin and Nate Vejvoda.
But it was another senior, Mike Beller, who led the Celtics in catches and receiving yards Friday vs. Joliet Catholic.
The 5-11, 171-pound Beller hauled in seven passes for 79 yards. Vejvoda finished with six catches for 73 yards and a touchdown and Boykin five catches for 70 yards and a score.
“We have a lot of depth at receiver,” Providence quarterback Justin Hunniford said. “We have five or six receivers. Those two guys (Boykin and Vejvoda) are going to draw a lot of attention, which will allow the other guys to get open.”
Hunniford completed passes to seven different receivers during the Celtics’ 21-10 win over Joliet
Tough loss for Tinley Park
There aren’t many Southland teams that compete in Class 5A that are willing to schedule a much-larger 8A squad.
Tinley Park coach Nick Johnston, however, had no problem opening Friday against Joliet West. The Titans may have come up short in their quest to register a victory, falling 20-18, but they proved they can compete with the big boys.
“It’s not like we got outmanned or got pushed around by an 8A team,” Johnston said. “They weren’t too fast or too physical for us. We made a couple of mistakes that we shouldn’t make it and it cost us. We had chances, we beat ourselves.”
Johnston noticed one other benefit from the disappointing loss.
“Our kids are champing at the bit to get back on the field,” he said. “We all feel like we left one (a victory) out there.”
Tinley Park will host St. Ignatius on Friday.
Player of the Week
Justin Hunniford, of Providence, is the SouthtownStar Football Player of the Week.
Hunniford, a senior, completed 24-of-31 passes for 270 yards and two touchdowns to lead the Celtics to a 21-10 win over Joliet Catholic.