Football: Bremen ups the stakes, eager to get rolling
By Pat Disabato firstname.lastname@example.org August 7, 2013 8:16PM
Bremen quarterback Tyler Banovich | File photo
Updated: September 9, 2013 7:46AM
Bremen coach Dan Stell was well aware of Andrew’s talent level when he agreed to schedule the Thunderbolts for the 2013 season opener.
Andrew’s senior class registered undefeated seasons as freshmen and sophomores, and finished 6-4 last season. Big things are expected from these Thunderbolts.
“Andrew is loaded,” Stell said. “We knew that. But why not schedule a school with a dynamite reputation and a great running back in Jarvion Franklin. If we want to turn the corner as a program, we needed to upgrade our nonconference schedule.”
So the Braves, 5-5 in 2012, waved goodbye to Charter and said hello to Andrew.
Stell has a major soft spot in his heart for Andrew. He played football and graduated from the Tinley Park school in 1993. Of course, many fond memories will come to mind when he walks onto the field he once called home on Aug. 30.
Once the game starts, though, it’s all business.
“Andrew has a special place in my heart,” Stell said. “When we told our kids we were scheduling Andrew, their eyes lit up. We needed some excitement and electricity in Week 1. It’s almost like playing someone in our back yard. We plan on showing Andrew what Midlothian has to offer.”
The Braves have plenty to offer with their no-huddle, fast-pace offense. It all starts with quarterback Tyler Banovich, who is beginning his third year on the varsity. Banovich can pick apart opposing defenses with his exceptional arm and quick feet. A member of the SouthtownStar 2013 All-Area Baseball Team, Banovich is as intelligent as he is skilled. The young man earned All-State academic honors last season and ranks among the best in Bremen’s Class of 2014.
“Tyler is just a great kid,” Stell said. “He does a great job navigating the offense and making plays. He had a tremendous summer.”
The Braves, though, are far from a one-man show. Seniors D’arious Tolbert and Dijon Holmes, both entering their third year on varsity, are waging a battle for the starting running back spot.
Sean Grant, Kyle Ramos, Ron Sims and Joe Taylor can produce some fireworks at wide receiver.
And with four two-year starters returning on the line in Mark Barr, T.J. Walton, Ryan Lynch and Deantee Newell, the skill players should have the time and space necessary to make things happen.
“We have some weapons on offense,” Stell said. “Tolbert is going to surprise a lot of people. He has an unmatched work ethic.”
Many of the names on offense will be logging double-duty on defense. There are exceptions, such as lineman Josh Jones and linebacker Chris Volson, who primarily will play defense. Stell is hoping newcomers Nick Conner, Mack Holder, C.J. Misner, Doug Bulow, Chris Thomas, Anthony Weaver and Drequan Ross-Brown will make an impact somewhere on the field.
While the Braves aim to qualify for the postseason a third straight year, the goal right now is Week 1.
“We hope to make a run for the conference (South Suburban Blue) championship and make the playoffs, but our focus right now is Andrew,” Stell said. “Just take it one game at a time. We’ve prepared the kids a little differently this summer and had more uptempo practices. We’re excited to get going.”