Next man up

Football gears for upcoming year


Jesse Bond

Junior Trenton Bertrand gets tackled during a recent practice.

Billy Krupkin, Sports Editor

Despite losing key seniors from last year’s squad, the football team does not seem worried about a lack of athleticism and talent on their current roster.

     “This year’s team is very young, but we have a lot of depth,” assistant coach Kyle Gessert said. “It’s the most numbers on varsity we’ve had in the last decade. We’re young but deep; plenty of talent across the board.”

     After finishing with a 6-4 record and a state playoff berth last season, the Wildkits appear to have a bright future on the horizon.

     This year’s team boasts a plethora of returning seniors and juniors, many of whom contributed to the success of last year’s team. They lost five starters on both offense and defense from last year, a relatively low number in regards to the team’s talent.

     “We have a lot more juniors on this team than seniors, so the leadership is really dependent on a smaller group,” senior tackle Trey Dawkins said.

   Dawkins and his twin brother Drew, the team’s quarterback, look to have a profound impact on this team for the third straight year. Their experience and leadership, along with the likes of returning seniors will help create a winning atmosphere.

     One major challenge this year presents is the team’s four-game “gauntlet”, which consists of matchups against Palatine, Fremd, 2016 State Champion Maine South, and New Trier. All four teams were state title contenders last year, and pose a threat to the Wildkits this year.

     Another boost that aids the team is the various returning juniors, who competed at the varsity level as sophomores. This includes free safety/wide receiver Michael Axelrood, cornerback Malik Ross, and cornerback/wide receiver Trenton Bertrand.

     The loss of talents from last year is tough to replace, especially at the running back position. This year’s squad boasts an impressive six running backs on the depth chart.

       The Wildkits return to action Aug. 25 at home against Hubbard, whom they beat last year by a score of 28-13.