Every football season brings with it change as former players graduate and new names gain recognition for their exploits on the fields. From seniors having their best seasons yet to underclassmen making big impacts, these breakout players are helping their teams achieve.
Position: Running back
Impact: On a team stacked with returning talent, senior back Mike Valentine has carved out a place in the Raiders offense. Through six games, Valentine has leads the team with eight rushing touchdowns. He also has a knack for the big play, scoring touchdowns of 10, 13, 23 and 26 yards in Bolingbrook’s last three games. All that after switching from receiver to running back when he transferred from Plainfield South. “We asked him if he wanted to play receiver, but he wanted to play running back and he’s been a nice addition for us,” Bolingbrook head coach John Ivlow said. “He fits in real well in our scheme.”
Impact: Huba is no stranger to varsity play, but the six-foot, 195-pound senior underwent a role change in the offseason – transitioning from fullback to quarterback. Under center, Huba has managed the offense well and improved his option-run mechanics in every game. In his past two games – a 44-13 win over Dwight and a hard-fought 20-10 loss to Wilmington – Huba has accounted for four touchdowns.
School: Benet Academy
Position: Running back
Impact: Porter Ontko was the main man out of the backfield for the Redwings early in the season, which led to average performances in the first two games of the season for Sznajder. But when Ontko was lost for the season with an ACL injury, Sznajder broke out. In a Week 3 matchup against St. Patrick, the junior tailback rushed for 120 yards and two touchdowns, powering the Redwings to a 37-13 victory. In three games since, the speedster has accumulated several game-changing plays, including a 91-yard kick return and a 42-yard touchdown run as the Benet has remained undefeated.
School: Downers Grove South
Position: Running Back
Impact: Alec Arvanitakis is the horse that powers the Mustangs’ offense. Through six games, Arvanitakis has rushed for 483 yards and six touchdowns and has shown the ability to catch the ball out of backfield and turn up the sideline. While he is considered a versatile, breakaway back, Arvanitakis has proven to be a work horse, totaling at least 16 carries in five of the Mustangs’ six games this year.