Football: Andrew’s senior class ready for big season
By Pat Disabato email@example.com July 8, 2013 8:34PM
Andrew's Jarvion Franklin is congratulated after a touchdown against Lincoln-Way West last season. | File photo
Updated: August 10, 2013 6:17AM
Ever since a talented 2014 class entered Andrew High School as freshman four years ago, expectations have been high to produce a memorable football season.
The class lived up to its billing as freshman and sophomores, recording undefeated seasons both years.
As juniors, about a half-dozen or so earned starting spots and helped the Thunderbolts to a 6-4 season in 2012.
The majority of last season’s team, however, was seniors.
As the 2013 season grows closer by the day, the much-heralded 2014 class begins its final march.
And expectations remain high.
“It’s a special class,” Andrew coach Jim Malec acknowledged. “We have high hopes, but we’re going to need all hands on board.”
There are 31 seniors ready to make their final prep season a memorable one, led by running back Jarvion Franklin, quarterback Jacob Platt and receiver Danny Ball.
Franklin, who is receiving serious looks from Division I programs, topped 1,000 yards rushing a year ago and is regarded as one of the talent-rich area’s finest backs. At 6-feet-1 and 220 pounds, Franklin has the ability to run over or around would-be tacklers.
“He’s physically fit and has been working hard in the weight room,” Malec said. “He’s ready to go.”
Platt piled up a shade over 2,000 yards passing and rushing combined in 2012. His ability to tote the pigskin provides a dangerous dimension that denies opponents from keying on Franklin.
When it’s time to go to the air, the combination of Platt to Ball has the potential to lift Thunderbolts fans out of their seat often.
“We can’t just depend on Danny, Jacob and Jarvion,” Malec said. “We’ve got to get those guys the supporting cast they need.”
One of those guys figures to be senior Nino Sanfilippo, who likely will line up at receiver, running back and maybe even quarterback on occasion.
Malec has two starters back on the offensive line in Jon Brann and Jordan Hovel.
Another senior, Brad Borgia, could see time on both sides of the line.
There are more concerns on defense. Other than lineman Stu Landin, who is a question mark after suffering an injury during wrestling season, and cornerback Jeremy Richards, most of the other starting spots are open for competition.
The good news for T-bolt Nation is there are numerous candidates qualified to fill those spots.
“We have a lot of gaps to fill defensively,” Malec said. “We don’t have a lot of guys back who started last year. We’re going to need some help from the junior class. But we feel the talent is there.”
Andrew’s schedule is a challenging one. Its first six opponents finished 38-24 in 2012, five of them qualifying for the postseason.
The season starts with a home tilt against Bremen, which provides a homecoming of sorts for Braves coach Dan Stell, an Andrew graduate.
Week 2 is a road tilt against archrival Sandburg, which has beaten Andrew eight of nine career meetings.
Then it’s off to the SouthWest Suburban Red Conference season with Lincoln-Way North, Lincoln-Way Central, Lincoln-Way West and Thornton in succession.
“At the end of the day, we look at each week as a big battle for us,” Malec said. “Our conference is pretty darn tough. It’s a brawl every week, but it’s exciting.
“This senior group is a little more focused and grown up. We ask them: ‘How do you want your senior year to be?’ They have great attitudes. We’ve got some things to work out yet during the summer and get ourselves ready. Before you know it, it’s going to be time to rock ’n’ roll.”