Wildcats football season wraps up without playoff bid

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Photo by Lifetouch

The Wildcats move for the ball during the Oct. 21 away game.

By Carlos Allen, Reporter

On Friday, Oct. 21, the West Chicago Wildcats football season ended with a tough loss to the Larkin Royals, the final score Royals 55, Wildcats 6.

Larkin played well this season, winning a number of games. The Wildcats were no match for them, and may have suffered a set-back due to weather and being away from their home turf.

“You just want the player to keep making progress, keep getting better, keep showing up to practice, keep working hard that’s really all you can ask for, win loss obviously you’ll love to go undefeated in a season, but that’s not really the ultimate goal,” said wide receiver coach Malko Odishoo.

However, his year, like other prior years, the Wildcats had a losing record (1-8) and missed the playoffs. In fact, West Chicago has missed the playoffs for 22 years straight. 

Odishoo was one of several new coaches to join the football team this year, arriving from conference rival Fenton High School. Adam Chavez, who previously coached Hinsdale Central High School, also took up the reins when Tyler Belding stepped down last summer. 

Senior Jack Niziolek runs interference during the Oct. 21 game against Larkin. (Photo by Lifetouch)

The coaching staff instituted a number of changes this season, but also worked to overcome the learning curve that comes with coaching a new team.

“Being a new teacher, I think just getting to know all the players and students was my first thing I wanted to accomplish,” said Odishoo.

For the players, the season’s end on Oct. 21 was one of several losses. They lost one of their captains when senior Joey Ferruzza suffered an injury and then turned in his equipment. Numerous other players were injured this year. And they suffered crushing defeats at the hands of Glenbard East (6-42), Glenbard South (8-41), and Bartlett (0-40).

However, the Wildcats were victorious over Streamwood on Sept. 30, winning 46-24.

“They ran a type of offense that would be hard to stop. It was a dog fight the whole game. But then we shut them out on both sides of the ball, and ended up winning,” said junior linebacker Vincent Muci.

For seniors Adrian Munoz and Joseph Flores, the game against Larkin was the last of their high school career. (Photo by Lifetouch)

When it comes to next season, the coaches are optimistic. Having a “full off-season” will make a considerable difference in the players’ performance on the field next fall, according to Chavez.

Chavez also hopes to build up the team, and looks to “get in with the middle schools and talk with those kids and get them excited about when they come to high school about playing football.”

“The main thing I’m looking forward to for my senior season is playing with my boys for the last time. Getting wins, and getting a playoff spot,” said Muci.

Still, others are not sure they will return in the fall.

“Actually, for next season I am undecided with playing football due to commitments and big decisions. I want to be able to put one-hundred percent into one thing rather than fifty percent into two things,” said junior quarterback Krystian Roldan, who also plays volleyball. “But other than that, I have a really good relationship with the entire team. As one of the captains, I think I would say that you would honestly have to come out to the field and see for yourself whether [football] is a good fit or not.”