JOHNSONBURG – Johnsonburg football honored the varsity and junior high football teams during a banquet Sunday afternoon at Johnsonburg Area High School.
Varsity head coach Jesse Schreiber expressed his apprecation to the administration for giving him the chance to coach the players and the gridiron boosters for their help. He also acknowledged the junior high coaches for their work in restarting that program.
“It was great to have Thursday night under the lights again at Johnsonburg,” Schreiber said. “We haven’t had that the last couple years and it showed on Friday nights. If we’re going to build a foundation here at JHS, we need that lower level.”
Schreiber was assisted by Jim Grumley, Beau Iorfido, Eric Iorfido, Don Lee Wenner, Mike Votano and Kevin Carter.
Schreiber also expressed appreciation to the parents for their help.
“Hopefully we did some positive things with them by teaching them about perseverance, dedication, going all-out and commitment to a team,” Schreiber said. “It was a struggle but hopefully we made them into better people and into young adults.”
Schreiber expressed appreciation to his family for their support. He listed some of the accomplishments from the season and emphasized the positives that came out of the program such as having a junior high team and having a varsity team after only having around eight returning players.
“They never quit on themselves, their teammates, the school or the community,” Schreiber said. “These kids came back with a vengeance every week.”
The school was recognized with the 2011 Big 30 football Leon Abbott Memorial Scholarship Award. Schreiber said this is the first time the school has won this award.
Schreiber said in the offseason the players must commit themselves to getting stronger.
“If we want to compete, we need to get stronger,” Schreiber said. “It comes from the weight room, it comes with putting those hard hours in from January until August. If we want to win, if we want to be succesful, we have to have kids and we have to get stronger. Bigger, stronger, faster.”
Schreiber said the numbers are expected to be in the low 20s for next season. Seniors received their home jerseys. CJ Herbstritt, Mason Krise and Austin Servidea would have received letters, but they were injured during the season.
The letter winners are Justin Haupright, Eric Bevacqua, Matt Reeves, Frank Kocjancic, David Redmond, Mitchell Schloder, Kyle Sheldon, Quinn Luhr, Shane Bickford, Jason Dubler, Michael Kennedy, Drew Lecker, Troy Padasak, Mike Shuey.
Grumley echoed Schreiber’s thoughts about the team.
“I’ve coached a lot of years and I can truly say despite our record this is probably one of the most enjoyable years I’ve had coaching,” Grumley said. “They never complained. They always did what we asked of them. It’s tough to go to practice when you lose, it’s easy when you win. I thank the parents too, because you raised some good, young gentlemen.”
The coach’s award went to Servidea.
“He was on the line at the beginning of the year,” Grumley said. “Jaryd started on the line, went to tailback, then he went to quarterback. He gave it the best he could and never complained.”
Schreiber named Schloder as the Most Improved Player on offense.
“We talked to him in the late spring and I don’t think he had played since he was younger,” Schreiber said. “He exceeded our expectations at center, he really was the anchor of the line.”
Shane Bickford won as the Most Improved Player on defense. Troy Padasak won the Most Improved Player for the overall team.
“He was starting at tight end and playing offense and defense,” Schreiber said.
Shuey was named as the defensive MVP and was an AML All-Star.
“We didn’t think about anyone else for this award,” Schreiber said. “He led our team in tackles. From play-to-play, from week-to-week, we threw him where we needed him. He really brought it every game, every week.”
Kocjancic was named as the MVP on offense.
“He was our complete glue on offense,” Schreiber said. “If we needed a first down, if we needed a touchdown, we went to him. Out of our nine offensive touchdowns, he was part of seven of those offensive touchdowns. He was something to see. He did play five offensive positions throughout the game.”
The junior high team was also recognized as the seventh through ninth graders were encouraged to keep up their hard work, stay active and come together as a group. Players were also encouraged to get the word out so the team can have more players next season.