St. Edward’s Danny Favela made the transition from basketball player to football player this summer, and now he’s made the transition to team leader.
The Green Wave slot back/defensive back quickly assumed a big-play and leadership role like former player Mike Castoro had, and helped lead a 24-20 victory over Genoa-Kingston in the season opener.
“I don’t know if I can be exactly like Mikey was because he played with such heart and I’m also a little taller, but I want to be the guy they look to when things are tough, want to be seen as a leader,” Favela said.
“Most of the guys are younger than me, and I want to set a good example for them.”
Favela did more than set examples Friday. With the Green Wave offense stymied by a Genoa-Kingston defense keyed on running back Dwayne Allen, Favela broke a 79-yard touchdown run. He also produced a 39-yard TD return on a punt, and came up with almost 200 combined yards for the game, including 138 from scrimmage.
On defense, Favela made six tackles, including a sack.
“We’ve got a lot of playmakers but I think we saw Dan break out Friday night similar to last year when Devontae (Elam) did it for us in the opener,” Green Wave coach Mike Rolando said. “He hadn’t had a breakout game before, but had showed signs of greatness with runs and receptions. He did that Friday, and also in the return game and on defense.”
The 6-foot-1 senior had been a sixth man and starter for coach P.J. White’s basketball team.
“Between my sophomore and junior years, that’s when summer basketball and football ran into each other,” Favela said. “I told coach Rolando then that I had to do summer basketball because I want to play it in college.”
Favela was playing travel basketball on a team with football and basketball teammate Nick Duffy, but opted this year to focus on summer 7-on-7 football instead. This included missing a trip with the travel basketball team to Las Vegas.
“You know, coach Rolando told me when I was a sophomore that I was going to end up playing football in college, anyway — the more I thought about it, he’s right,” Favela said.
Favela went to football camps at South Dakota State and Northwestern and visited Hope College in the offseason.
Now he’s fit well into the slot position in St. Edward’s offense, where he uses his versatility.
“It’s a tough position, especially blocking-wise,” he said. “The blocking angles are sometimes tough but I like the position best in the offense because I’m either catching passes or going in motion and getting to run and use my speed.”
Favela also lined up in the tailback spot in the third quarter Friday and broke the 79-yard TD run to give St. Edward breathing room.
“We had Dwayne (Allen) line up as lead blocker and put Brandon Ostrander at tight end and went with Danny as a big back,” Rolando said. “He has the speed to break it if he sees daylight.”
While there were several problems in the win over G-K that St. Edward’s coach said can’t be repeated against Chicago Public League team Clark in Friday’s home opener, Favela’s effort in the slot went exactly as planned.
“It was very much how we used Mikey (Castoro) last year,” Rolando said. “He doesn’t get a lot of carries, but can get around 100 yards with misdirections and sweeps, and Mikey was the leading receiver. Danny, in the slot, will be someone we throw to quite a bit.
“And then there’s the return abilities.”
Also there’s the leadership.
“We can’t make some of the same mistakes we did against Genoa,” Favela said. “We don’t know that much about them (Clark). They may not be as good. They could be even better.”