Libertyville’s Riley Lees ices opener from quarterback spot

SHARE Libertyville’s Riley Lees ices opener from quarterback spot

Libertyville junior quarterback Riley Lees completed his own ice bucket challenge Saturday morning.

The night before, the Wildcats led Palatine 27-17 at halftime when the game was postponed because of weather. That meant the boys were due back at the school at 8 a.m. Saturday for a team breakfast before making the trip back to Palatine to play the rest of the contest.

When Lees woke up, he decided he would need an ice bath to shake off the soreness. That seemed to do the trick as Lees and the Wildcats went on to a 41-31 victory in the season opener for both teams. Lees sealed the victory with a 45-yard touchdown run on third and 17 with less than 20 seconds remaining.

For the game, Lees threw for 155 yards and ran for 191. He rushed for two touchdowns and threw three, two to senior wide receiver Nick Rossetti. Perhaps the best statistic for Libertyville, though, was zero turnovers. The Wildcats won the turnover margin 2-0.

Lees’ final touchdown run came on a simple quarterback isolation play. The play was keyed by great blocking by the offensive line and wide receivers. Senior wide receiver Jake Mansfield threw the key block.

“It’s a play where we use Riley as a running back,” Mansfield said. “If we can get him a little bit of space, he’ll outrun everybody.”

Lees played running back through seventh grade before making the switch to quarterback. As a sophomore, he saw limited action at quarterback and more time at wide receiver with senior Anthony Monken taking the majority of snaps behind center.

Playing wide receiver actually aided his development as a quarterback.

“I know what’s going through their head when we’re running a certain play,” Lees said.

Lees, 6-foot, 180 pounds, added about 20 pounds in the offseason.

“Last year I would take a lot of hits,” he said. “This year I can [handle] hits better and give them out.”

Lees, an outfielder in baseball, earned the respect of the entire football team by continuing to lifts with his teammates four days a week before school throughout the baseball season.

“He’s one of the best athletes in our school, and that [attitude] kind of tells you that he’s a kid that’s all in,” Libertyville football coach Mike Jones said. “His decision making and maturity in the [pocket] have improved tremendously. He’s kind of a triple threat and that makes him tough to defend. He doesn’t have to say a whole lot but he has a presence in the huddle. The kids look to him as a leader.”

Added Mansfield, “He put up ridiculous numbers in his first game stepping in at quarterback. It was an unbelievable performance.”

All three of Lees’ older brothers played football for Carmel and were in attendance at the Palatine game.

“Their support means a lot,” Lees said.

Lees said hopes this victory was just the beginning.

“We want to be a team that can compete with anyone in the area,” he said.

The Latest
Anger over the Supreme Court’s opinion overturning its landmark Roe v. Wade decision brought many to Federal Plaza in the Loop on Friday night.
Women don’t matter and they shouldn’t have agency over their own bodies, the conservative justices might as well have said in their support for Justice Samuel Alito’s abhorrent opinion overturning Roe v. Wade.
With the Supreme Court’s decision in the case of Dobbs v Jackson Women’s Health Organization, Roe v. Wade has been overturned.
The loss of constitutional protections for abortion leave some concerned about what rights might be lost next.
Democrats need to strategize how to support organizations that now bear the burden of ensuring that impoverished women get access to safe abortions, as well-heeled women do.