Football: Reavis will be doing double time
By Pat Disabato firstname.lastname@example.org July 28, 2014 9:20PM
Reavis quarterback Isaiah Alpuche lines up for a snap for 7 on 7 at Homewood-Flossmoor, Friday, July 11th, 2014, in Flossmoor. | Gary Middendorf/for Sun-Times Media
Updated: August 30, 2014 6:17AM
When asked what the key will be to Reavis producing a playoff season in 2014, coach Tim Zasada answered without hesitation.
“We’ve got to stay healthy,” he said. “We’re not very deep. We have to avoid serious injuries.”
Zasada expects to employ seven two-way starters in the fall season. If one of those players is lost to injury, it’s like losing two starters.
“We’re going to use a rotation where many of those two-way starters will get a breather,” Zasada said. “But we need our best players on the field most of the time.”
Reavis fans can expect to see as many as three different players at quarterback during a game.
Junior Isiah Alpuche and sophomores Brantrel Seymour and Marc McKlinton each brings a different skill set to the position. Therefore, the Rams will have specific play packages in place for each quarterback to maximize his talent.
“We may use all three in a game,” Zasada said. “We’ll have different packages for all three quarterbacks. We’re excited about all of them.”
An all-South Suburban Red selection in 2013, Alpuche is a dynamic talent. He’ll line up at receiver and defensive back when he’s not under center.
“I’m looking forward to playing different positions,” Alpuche said. “It takes a lot of hard work and conditioning. But I think this system is fun to play in.”
Alpuche was having fun at the recent Homewood-Flossmoor Battle of the Border 7-on-7 Passing Competition, no matter where he lined up.
Senior running back/linebacker Calvin Jordan, junior running back Travis Liszewski and junior fullback/defensive end Vinnie Vertucci also are expected to provide some fireworks this season. Liszewski led the team in rushing yards a year ago.
“We have kids who can run, guys who can make big plays when they have the ball,” Zasada said.
Where there is some concern is on both sides of the line. The Rams return just one starter, junior Jacob Khacki, who’ll likely play both ways.
“We’re going to be young and inexperienced on the line,” Zasada said. “Both those guys are working hard.”
On a paper, a 5-4 season could be defined as a successful campaign. However, without an invitation to the postseason, Zasada doesn’t fondly look back on the 2013 season. The Rams fell short of the necessary playoff points to earn an invite.
Zasada is stressing to his team the need for a good start. The Rams open on the road against Burbank neighbor St. Laurence, then host Washington before opening up South Suburban Red play at home against Oak Lawn.
“It would be nice to hit the ground running and getting off to a good start,” Zasada said. “Our conference is going to be tough. We have to be ready to go in Week 1.”
Alpuche hinted at another key — a willingness of his teammates to fight through adversity — to produce a successful season.
“We have to stay together,” Alpuche said. “Our toughness has to improve when things aren’t going our way. I think we’ve very capable from a talent standpoint to make the playoffs.”