ELMHURST – When IC Catholic went down to Illinois Wesleyan for a summer football camp, coach Bill Krefft was worried about his team.
Krefft is thankful that it didn't take the Knights long to turn into a cohesive unit and show their quality on the field. Further proof of how well IC is playing came in the form of a 41-12 win over Walther Lutheran last Saturday in the regular season home finale.
"We always think we are capable of having success," Krefft said. "The kids have jelled together a little sooner than I thought they would."
The Knights forced seven turnovers and ran for four touchdowns on the ground. Sean Placey, Clark Brinkman, Luke Calles and Nick Rovi had interceptions. Rovi, James Janowski and Gene Kirby recovered fumbles.
Krefft never doubted the seniors on the team, but juniors like Max Eichhorn, Michael Perrone and Stephen Stam have stepped up to improve the team. Eichhorn had two touchdowns against Walther, one on the ground and one receiving, and Perrone and Stam have helped the Knights on both lines.
Key moments during the season have also led to where IC is now – on the verge of clinching a playoff spot and with a chance to win a conference title. Two specifically stand out: Perrone's pick six against Aurora Central Catholic in a 21-14 IC win in Week 3 and a long scoring drive led by quarterback Jack Copher with the Knights trailing in the fourth quarter at St. Edward.
Krefft said the team has really kicked it up a gear since the Montini game in Week 6, but those two plays kept the team afloat when they needed them.
Now, a win at 2-6 Chicago Christian would clinch at least a share of the Suburban Christian Gold title and coupled with a Aurora Central Catholic loss to undefeated Montini, the Knights would win the Gold outright. It's a notable accomplishment.
"Winning conference two years in a row especially [is notable]," Krefft said. "The coaching staff has put the program in this position."
IC Catholic 41, Walther Lutheran 12
Passing: Jack Copher 4-for-4, 61 yards, TD
Rushing: Randy Leslie 14-103, 2 TDs; Jordan Rowell 7-79, TD; Copher 3-31; Max Eichhorn 3-12, TD
Receiving: Clark Brinkman 2-31; Tommy Guinan 1-16; Eichhorn 1-14, TD
Week 9: IC Catholic at Chicago Christian
When: 7:30 p.m. Friday
Where: 12001 S. Oak Park Ave., Palos Heights
Records: IC Catholic 5-3 (4-2 SCC Gold), Chicago Christian 2-6 (1-5 SCC Gold)
Outlook: The Knights can clinch a playoff spot with a win against a Chicago Christian team that has just one conference win. An added bonus is that since Aurora Central Catholic is playing 8-0 Montini, a win would also likely give IC the outright title in the Suburban Christian Gold.