Football team needs to put in more work


The 2021 football team won just one of its games this season.

By Ryan Pencek, Reporter

The West Chicago Community High School football team has been struggling to win a championship for the past 47 years.

In fact, the last time West Chicago won State for football was back in 1974, when the team had an undefeated season. 

Varsity quarterback Dylan Krupp looks to pass to tight end Saad Abdulazeez. (Photo by Yearbook Staff)

In 1974, practices were different from today’s. The head coach at the time, Paul Unruh, would make the players engage in rigorous practices to challenge them to be better. Some of these practices included 10-perfect-play drills and Monday Chalk Talks (meaning they would watch their prior game films to assess what they could do better). Tuesdays and Wednesdays brought full-contact practices. Players were discouraged to bring water to make them tough; instead, salt tablets were encouraged to help athletes retain water. These difficult practices made the team build up their confidence and brotherhood to help them win more games. 

When West Chicago won the State Championship in 1974, the Chicago Tribune covered the full story. The victory was momentous, as it marked the first time there were ever state playoffs in Illinois. 

Today’s practices are designed by the coaches to help each player be even better at their position than before. But West Chicago Community High School does not have enough players trying out for the team considering the size of the high school. West Chicago’s Varsity team typically has 35-40 players, which is about half the average team (same-size school) would have. The lack of players is troubling because too many people on the team have to play offense and defense. In fact, according to Vincent Walker, assistant coach for West Chicago’s football team, “We have too many kids who have to play offense and defense.”

It may be, too, that with reduced numbers overall, players are placed into positions they may not know how to play well if/when other players are injured. 

Additionally, the team does not condition throughout the year. Walker explained, “Our players do not lift weights. We have Varsity football players who take Jr/Sr PE instead of Advanced Strength. When you look at our players compared to almost every team we play, we look small.”

The starting offensive tackles this past season both weighed 150-160; these OTs had guts to play up against opponents who were 100 pounds heavier than them. 

Varsity wide receiver Aidan Murrin and linebacker Vincent Vidilles had strong seasons independently, but the team as a whole needs to put in more effort. (Photo by Yearbook Staff)

Despite the barriers the team faces, the football players of West Chicago High School need to put more effort into being on the team. Football is a no off-season sport: constant effort is needed to become bigger, faster and stronger. 

Walker said, “Other teams in our conference post pictures of their off-season workouts on social media and have 40+ kids there. We have off-season workouts and have three players show up. I teach an Advanced Strength class that has two softball players who are stronger than nearly all of our football players. It is not a priority for our players to lift and we have tried to make it so. We have new equipment in the weight room, iPads at each station, we have everything that every other school or gym has. This is a priority for the program.”

Players, the next step is to put in more work. You must push to become better. Do not sit on the sidelines and wait for the new season, hoping for something different.

Coaches, make the weight training mandatory. Hold required practices in the off-season. If players do not show up, penalize them when the season starts. These changes could change the team drastically, giving West Chicago a better chance at winning the state championship again.