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.
School: Riverside BrookfieldPosition: SophomoreYear: QuarterbackImpact: Swift began the season as a player who coach Brendan Curtin had to find a spot for because he was a good athlete and football player. Senior quarterback Jack VandeMerkt has been banged up since the middle of the third game of the season, and since then Swift has taken over as the starter and filled in admirably. He has three touchdowns through the air and another rushing since taking over at quarterback.
School: Riverside BrookfieldPosition: Wide receiver/defensive backYear: SeniorImpact: After missing all of his junior season with an ankle injury, the track star has showed off his speed and athleticism for the Bulldogs this fall. A team captain, Rogers rarely leaves the field and is a key player on both sides of the ball. In addition to being a starter at defensive back, he has four touchdown receptions on the season.
School: FenwickPosition: Wide receiverYear: SeniorImpact: Schoen was an all-conference pick in the Chicago Catholic League White as a defensive back last season, but is also making an impact as a wide receiver this year. The senior from Riverside has 15 receptions for 340 yards and two touchdowns on offense, four interceptions on defense and also takes return duties for Fenwick.
School: Lyons TownshipPosition: Wide receiver/safetyYear: SeniorImpact: Last year Matt Harris and Jemari Burks were the Lions' top receivers and could change games. Mrazek was a safety last year, but has shifted into a full-time receiver in the absence of those playmakers and still has three interceptions on defense. The 6-foot-4 Mrazek has four touchdown receptions.
School: MortonPosition: Running backYear: SeniorImpact: Hester started for the Mustangs last year, but has really stepped up his game as a senior. A strong, tough runner with an ability to get to the outside in a hurry, Hester has four touchdowns and gets the tough yards for the Morton offense. "He works hard for everything he gets," said Morton coach Bob Organ.
School: NazarethPosition: Running backYear: FreshmanImpact: Despite having a young team, Nazareth looks like a playoff team thanks to contributions from inexperienced players like Kelly-Martin. His older brother, Decxavier, is a key defensive player for the Roadrunners, but Ivory's emergence at running back has dramatically improved a Naz offense that likes to run the ball. Despite not being a full-time starter most of the season, he has run for back-to-back 100 yard games.
School: Lyons TownshipPosition: Wide receiverYear: SeniorImpact: Kellum has shown great improvement within the season, going for over 100 yards receiving and a touchdown in each of the past two games. On the season he has 27 receptions for 436 yards to lead the team in both categories. The senior has also caught three touchdowns.