Category Archives: Chicago Sun-Times

Montini steamrolls Immaculate Conception

09/29/2012, 5:00pm CDT
Originally Appeared at Chicago Sun-Times
By Jake Krzeczowski
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Junior quarterback Alex Wills passed for 152 yards and four touchdowns to lead No. 9 Montini to a 49-0 romp over Immaculate Conception Saturday in Elmhurst.

 Montini took care of business Saturday in Elmhurst as it scored on its first six possessions, defeating host Immaculate Conception 49-0 in a Suburban Christian crossover.

 The No. 9 Broncos didn’t waste any time, sacking senior quarterback Demetrius Carr on the first play of the game.

After a three-and-out, junior quarterback Alex Wills connected with senior wide receiver Joseph Borsellino on a three-yard touchdown pass to give Montini (5-1, 4-0) the lead for good.

Wills found the end zone again in the first quarter with a short pass to senior Michael Dusek who took it 38 yards for the score to put the Broncos up 14-0.

“We were looking to the weak side of the field all game and it was there,” Wills said. “We executed that the way we wanted and were able to come out on top.”

The play of the game came in the second quarter when Montini junior linebacker Michael Maduko picked up a fumble and outraced everyone 47 yards to the end zone.

“The ball bounced out right at my feet. I just picked it up and took off,” Maduko said.

Immaculate Conception (4-2, 2-2) couldn’t get the ball moving, and punted on its first three possessions before Montini senior defensive back Ryan Starbeck picked off a Carr pass just before half.

The Knights didn’t threaten in the first half and were thwarted on fourth-and-goal from the two-yard line late in the third quarter.

“They smacked us in our face,” Carr said. “We came out ready to play but we didn’t really bring it. We’re just going to try to put this game behind us and move on.”

For Montini the game was a statement after a close call last week at Marmion raised some questions about the defending state champions.

Wills finished with 152 yards passing and four touchdowns while senior kicker Andrew Harte extended his streak of made extra points to 81 with seven on the day. Senior running back Dimitri Taylor added 88 yards and a touchdown on the ground for the Broncos.

Immaculate Conception heads to Aurora to take on Aurora Christian next week while the Broncos travel to Woodstock for a big matchup against Marian Central.

“This was our best game of the season,” Montini head coach Chris Andriano said. “We executed at an extremely high level. I think we’re getting that edge, we know what time of the year it is.”

Chicago Football Classic bands march to a different beat

By Jake Krzeczowski September 29, 2012 5:02PM

Originally appeared for Chicago Sun-Times


It’s more than the game.

When Albany State and Kentucky State take to the gridiron Saturday for the annual Chicago Football Classic at Soldier Field, the real contest will be in the stands after the final whistle.

That’s when the Battle of the Bands, with the two nationally known marching bands, begins.

The Sun-Times caught up with Albany State’s drum major, senior music education major James Worthy of Albany, Ga.:

Q. What are you looking forward to this weekend?

A. I’m actually looking forward to coming to Chicago because I’ve never been that far north before. I’m also looking forward to how Chicago responds to our type of music.

Q. How would you describe that type of music?

A. What we try to do is make a concert band. We try to have a really nice, symphonic band and try to put that type of sound on the field so we sound like a marching symphonic band.

Q. What can fans expect?

A. They can expect a band that tries to hype the football team as well as one that tries entertain the crowd.

Q. What separates Albany State from other band?

A. A lot of bands say that being louder is better. But being louder is not always better. We’d always rather have better quality over our opponent. We try to do a lot more musicianship and have a lot more musicality in what we do. Jake Krzeczowski is a local free-lance writer.

Palatine earns comeback win against Fremd

09/29/2012, 12:15am CDT

 By Jake Krzeczowski

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The Fremd Vikings came out strong with hope of ruining Palatine’s homecoming but fell short as a fourth quarter rally fizzled out and the Palatine earned a 24-17 victory.

Fremd opened up a 10-0 lead early in the second quarter thanks to a 25-yard field goal from junior Andrew Stark and a 5-yard touchdown run from junior quarterback Sam Beutler.

After falling behind, the Pirates defense locked up the Vikings, shutting down the run game and intercepting Beutler once before and after halftime to set up their high-scoring offense.

“That defense flies,” said Beutler. “They’re a great team. If that’s the best team in the state our squad’s right there with them.”

Ethan Olles (13-24, 163 yards, 3 TDs) took advantage of the Fremd turnovers by tossing touchdowns to senior Alex Nawrot (5 catches, 34 yards) and junior Eric Theis (3 catches, 61 yards) to give his team a 17-10 halftime lead.

“Coming in we wanted to pass more than we ran,” said Olles. “I’ve been throwing to [Nawrot] since freshman year and Theis has become a solid starter for us which good.”

A Olles pass to junior running back Chaka Kelly went for 18 yards and a touchdown to give Palatine a two score lead with under five minutes to go in the third quarter. Kelly finished the game with 102 yard on 14 attempts on the ground.

“I knew it was going to be an emotional game,” said head coach Tyler Donnelly. “Coming in we knew they didn’t give up a lot of points so when we pushed it to two scores I felt like we would have a chance to extend that in the fourth.”

Fremd wasn’t ready to give up though, scoring on a 2-yard run from junior Jeff McGlade (55 yards, 16 attempts).

After an onside kick was recovered by the Pirates, a three and out gave the Vikings a first and ten from their own 42 with under two minutes left.

A 27-yard pass from Beutler to junior Matt Konopka gave Fremd hope. Junior defensive back Bradley Bauer extinguished that flame when he intercepted the ball with under a minute left and took it back 60 yards to the Viking 20.

Streveler leads Hurricanes over Knights

09/22/2012, 12:45am CDT

 By Jake Krzeczowski

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Marian Central cruised to a 37-7 win over conference foe Immaculate Conception on their Homecoming night thanks to a monster night by senior quarterback Chris Streveler who accounted for all but one of the Hurricanes’ five touchdowns.

The Hurricanes laid it on early, scoring from twelve yards out on a Streveler pass to junior wide receiver Brett Olson (5 catches, 57 yards) who finished the game with two touchdown catches.

Immaculate Conception answered with a steady drive coordinated by senior quarterback Demetrius Carr (6-12, 52 yards, 3 interceptions). The drive was capped by a four yard touchdown run by senior running back Danny D’Angelo after a roughing the kicker call on fourth down prolonged the possession.

The Knights wouldn’t see the end zone again as the Marian Central defense tightened and the offense, led by Streveler and junior running back Ephraim Lee (155 yards, 1 touchdown) put the lead out of reach for Immaculate Conception.

“The offensive line played great today, they did all the work,” said Streveler. “Ephraim was running with a lot of swagger and confidence which was a good improvement at the running back position.”

A small change in equipment was seemingly all it took to get Lee on track.

“We got him some longer spikes finally,” said Marian Central head coach Ed Brucker.

“He’s been slipping all over the field but we got him some longer ones and he looked good in them tonight.”

The Hurricane defense tightened up against Immaculate Conception whose offense had been one of the most potent in the area heading into the night’s game. Marian Central allowed the Knights offense little room for error en route to three interceptions by three different players, ultimately the difference in the contest.

Immaculate Conception hosts Montini next week.

Brucker was pleased with what he saw from the whole group heading into next weeks game against St. Francis.

“It was a good effort all over,” said Brucker. “The defense played physical and the offense didn’t get greedy and took what they gave us.”

Hendricks, Boehm lead way for New Trier

09/19/2012, 7:45pm CDT


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Devin Boehm scored three touchdowns on Friday to help the Trevians to a 28-7 victory over Maine West.

New Trier’s Devin Boehm (7) follows his blocker Ed Gladman who blocks against Maine West’s Zack Brown during a football game in Des Plaines, Friday,September 14, 2012 I David Banks~for Sun-Times Media

In football, a player’s number can be called to join the action at any moment.

New Trier looked to an inexperienced quarterback, and a yet-to-emerge wide receiver, for help in taking down host Maine West 28-7 in nonconference play Friday night.

Senior Nick Hendricks, filling in for injured QB Frank Nicholas, looked for senior receiver Devin Boehm. And it didn’t take long for Hendricks to find his man, throwing a 15-yard strike to Boehm for a touchdown to get things started early in the first quarter, putting the Trevians up 6-0.

“I’m always ready to step up when I’m needed,” Hendricks said. “ I was sure to look to Devin. He’s one of our best, and he’s a go-to guy for me. It’s a big help to have him on the field.”

Boehm, who cites NFL all-pro wide receiver Reggie Wayne as an inspiration, wasn’t done there.

With one TD already coming through the air, New Trier sent Boehm around end on a handoff, which he took 23 yards to the house for his second touchdown of the game, giving his squad a two-score lead.

In the second quarter, the Trevians put senior Michael Welch under center, and he responded by hitting Boehm for a 14-yard TD strike just before halftime.

“Last season, I had three touchdowns the entire year,” Boehm said. “The blocking all the way around was great (vs. Maine West), which allowed me to make some big plays.”

Along with his duties on the offensive side of the ball, Boehm lends a hand elsewhere, rotating in at cornerback, and fielding punts and kicks as well.

One of the biggest plays of the game came when Boehm took a kickoff at his own goal line and broke loose for a big gain before being taken down at the Maine West 15-yard line.

“It can be tiring going both ways, but I love playing as much as I can,” Boehm said. “If that means playing both sides of the ball and special teams, I’m happy to do it.”

Even with a revolving door at quarterback, the Trevians stayed the course, changing very little in the game plan and sticking with what worked.

New Trier head coach Dan Starkey said there was, “nothing special” regarding preparation for Maine West, but he stressed getting the ball into Boehm’s hands as much as possible.

“Devin’s a guy who’s a returning starter and a captain for us, and a guy who has to have a great year in order for us to be successful,” Starkey said.

The Trevians turn their attention to another conference foe, as they will visit Maine South in Week 5.

After an 0-2 start, New Trier reeled off two wins and looks primed to pick up some steam heading into the meat of the season.

“Every win is a good win,” Starkey said. “Hopefully, we can get on a roll here going into conference.”

Huntley edges Crystal Lake South


09/14/2012, 11:49pm CDT Originally Appeared at Chicago Sun-Times

 By Jake Krzeczowski

Kameron Sallee’s 54-yard touchdown pass to Bryce Beschorner in the fourth quarter helped lift Huntley to a 20-19 win against Crystal Lake South.

Huntley’s Kam Sallee

Senior quarterback Kameron Sallee threw for 119 yards and one touchdown as Huntley outlasted visiting Crystal Lake South 20-19 in Fox Valley Valley action Friday night.

After a quiet first half that found the Red Raiders down 10-6, the offense picked up through the air with Sallee finding a nice connection with senior wide receiver Bryce Beschorner, who finished the game with five catches for 94 yards and a touchdown.

Huntley went ahead on a 54-yard touchdown connection from Sallee to Beschorner in the fourth quarter.

“We knew they weren’t expecting us to throw out of the full formation,” said Sallee. “We had it planned the entire week and were ready for it when we had the chance.”

Crystal Lake South (1-3, 0-2) was in control for most of the game, finding most of its offense on the ground with junior quarterback Austin Rogers, whose 60-yard run in the first quarter put the Gators ahead 7-0.

The win was the first for Huntley (2-2, 2-0) against Crystal Lake South and it was evident as players celebrated with fans who stormed the field as the final seconds ticked off the clock.

“What we’re trying to do is make strides, so sometimes you have to win really close games,” first-year Huntley coach John Hart said. “We had to fight through some adversity with the penalties but our kids got it done.”

Crystal Lake South let a big opportunity slip away on the first possession of the second half.

Following an interception by Gators senior Dennis Gardeck, the offense faced a first-and-10 from the Huntley 15. After taking the ball down to the 1-yard line, a delay of game penalty made Crystal Lake South settle for a field goal.

“I thought we had plenty of time,” said Crystal Lake South coach Chuck Ahsmann. “Unfortunately we didn’t see (the referee) counting. That one is on me.”

Rogers had a stellar game on the ground with an 84-yard scamper on second down from his own 7-yard line in the third quarter, but it wasn’t enough to overcome the Huntley defense, which held in the red zone.

Rogers finished 5-for-13 for 43 yards passing to go along with 160 yards on the ground. He also recorded an interception on defense.

Junior Jake Scalise paced the Huntley offense on the ground with 45 yards on 17 attempts.

“It was a good win for them. It was a fun game but we came up short,” said Rogers. “We just take this and motivate ourselves for next week.”

Socially conscious band Kids These Days head out to learn from striking CPS teachers

By Jake Krzeczowski September 13, 2012 6:52PM

Updated: September 14, 2012 4:49PM

At 5:30 a.m. Wednesday, Vic Mensa of the Chicago-based band Kids These Days dragged himself into his house after a long night in the studio to find his mother, Betsy, furiously preparing protest signs. He knew he couldn’t go to sleep just yet.

Mensa and Cunningham are graduates of Whitney Young High School so that is where they headed, with camera and questions. They spent the day speaking with teachers about the strike’s impact and their concerns to gain a deeper understanding of the issues. Continue reading Socially conscious band Kids These Days head out to learn from striking CPS teachers

Isaac’s surprise return fuels JCA

09/08/2012, 1:48am CDT

 By Jake Krzeczowski

Originally Appeared @ Chicago Sun-Times

 Joliet Catholic senior running back Ty Isaac returned from a shoulder injury to spark the Hilltoppers to a 33-20 win over host St. Viator Friday.

 Joliet Catholic senior running back Ty Isaac may not have started the game for the Hilltoppers Friday night, but he sure finished it.

Isaac ran for 94 yards and two touchdowns en route to a 33-20 win over St. Viator at Forest View field in Arlington Heights.

With Isaac not expected to play while nursing a sore shoulder, the first half was an even matchup as senior running back Tyler Reitz rushed for 43 yards and junior fullback Michael Ivlow punched in a pair of touchdowns to put Joliet Catholic up 13-6.

With the score close and St. Viator picking up steam, Hilltoppers coach Dan Sharp made the decision to go with the USC-bound Isaac late in the second quarter.

“To be honest I wasn’t supposed to even play in this game,” said Isaac who was unsure of his status almost until kickoff time. “I felt like [the shoulder] progressed pretty well to the point if the team needed me I could come in. It’s much better than it was last week.”

Isaac pumped life into the Joliet Catholic offense by converting on several long third- and fourth-down situations, capping the second drive of the second half with a 15-yard touchdown run to break a 13-13 tie.

The fourth quarter belonged to the Hilltoppers as St. Viator struggled to find an answer on the offensive end. An interception by junior Zack Jackovich early in the quarter set Joliet Catholic up to go 27-13 on a Ivlow touchdown. Jackovich finished the night with three picks.

St. Viator, led by junior Bobby Calmeyn (19-34, 172 yards two touchdowns, three interceptions) put forth a tremendous effort in the loss, making plays when they were needed and converting several key fourth downs.

The Lions tied the score at 13-13 with under four minutes in the third quarter, but the Joliet Catholic defense stopped the rally, outscoring the home team 20-7 over the remainder of the contest.

“If we play like this every game good things are going to happen to us,” St. Viator coach Brendan New said. “It’s frustrating, to play so hard and come up on the short end but they’re a great team.”

Joliet Catholic has its horse back and now focuses on conference foe Nazareth for homecoming next week.

“For the past few years we haven’t been the most talented or the biggest but as a group we all fight,” Isaac said. “Without that we wouldn’t be able to do what we do.”

Hall & Oates bringing ‘rock ’n’ soul’ to Ravinia

BY JAKE KRZECZOWSKI | Contributor August 29, 2012 2:28PM

 Originally appeared at Sun-Times
Story ImageHall & Oates have been bringing their distinctive rock-soul sound to Chicago since the late 1970s. They’ll do it again when they play Ravinia on Sept. 1.

Updated: August 29, 2012 2:30PM

Darryl Hall and John Oates, one of the most influential rock duos during the Reagan years, return to Ravinia on Sept. 1.

Better known as Hall & Oates, the two men rocked the pop stage with their rock and R&B fusion throughout the late ’70s and early ’80s, en route to being named Billboard’s best duo of all time.

“Chicago’s always been a great city for us, but has really embraced us these past couple of years. And the shows have gotten better and better,” said Oates. “It’s amazing that after all these years we’re able to go out there and bring excitement, and the fans are still showing up.”

This year marks the 40th anniversary of the release of Hall & Oates’ first album. The duo got their start in the early ’70s in Philadelphia and found their voice with hits like 1976’s “Sara Smile” and “Rich Girl” in 1977, before taking over the pop charts in the early ’80s with a string of hit songs and top-grossing albums.

The success hinged mainly on their distinctive, hybrid sound that Hall & Oates called “rock ‘n’ soul.”

“Coming from Philadelphia, we were exposed to a lot of different sound, such as rock and R&B, so we tried to open ourselves up to incorporating all of those,” said Oates. “For lack of a better term, we came up with ‘rock ‘n’ soul’ because we rocked and we have soul.”

Oates still pays tribute to what he calls “the tree of rock,” the work of past artists he and Hall built on as their personal sound evolved.

It’s something he’s noted in a new generation of musicians.

“An original sound is something that’s hard to accomplish,” said Oates. “This younger generation, though, is doing exactly what we did. They just have new tools to work with because of the technology and whatnot.”

Currently, Oates is working on a solo album that he expects out sometime in 2013. Hall released a solo CD, “Laughing Down Crying,” in September 2011, and is rumored to be working on an album with electrofunk duo Chromeo.

Though the two have traveled the world with their music for 40 years, and have reached a level of satisfaction with their accomplishments, they have no desire to stop, or even to slow down.

“We’re pretty firmly implanted in the world of rock music and it’s been great,” said Oates. “We’ve been coming to Chicago since the ’70s and we’re excited to keep doing so with this show.”~