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IC Catholic Prep football player CJ West is the Athlete of the Week sponsored by Gracik Makinney

CJ West

IC Catholic Prep



West, the Knights' quarterback, was 9-for-11 for 110 yards, had a 19-yard touchdown run and had a critical 59-yard punt in IC Catholic Prep's 35-0 win over Pleasant Plains in the Class 3A state championship game. West, an Elmhurst resident, this week was named the Metro Suburban Blue Offensive Player of the Year. On the year he threw for 1,941 yards and 24 touchdowns, and ran for 389 yards and eight scores.

West, the Suburban Life Athlete of the Week sponsored by Gracik Makinney, spoke with sports editor Joshua Welge about the season. Here's an edited transcript:

Welge: When did it sink in that you had won state:

West: On the bus ride home with all the players. It really sunk in then.

Welge: What were the emotions when [starting quarterback] Luke [Ricobene] was hurt in Week 2, and how did you handle the situation of taking over at quarterback:

West: At the time when we saw him go down it was a big shock. Everybody was confused and didn't know what to do. We found a way to pull it out at the end. It's a lot easier with great coaches and when you have great players like Khali [Saunders] and Lazerick [Eatman] and Khalil [Saunders].

Welge: What did the coaches tell you at the time:

West: They told me to just do my job, don't try to do too much, you have great athletes around just try to get them the ball.

Welge: How long did it take to settle in:

West: The first game I started at Riverside-Brookfield, I was a little nervous. But after the first series I settled in and just trusted my teammates.

Welge: Your punt in the final was a game-changing play. What were you trying to do there:

West: I was just trying to punt it as far as I could. The wind really helped. After the punt our defense stopped them. It really changed the momentum. Everything started clicking.

Welge: From your perspective, what's it like to play with a back like Lazerick:

West: Once you get him the ball he can take it to the house at any moment. Nobody can tackle him in space.

Welge: What's your college plans:

West: I'm not really sure yet. My other sport is baseball [he's a pitcher and third basemen]. That was my No. 1 sport but football's kind of taken over.

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