Richards receiver Travis Garmon lets out a yell while the Bulldogs defense makes a stop against Sandburg during 7 on 7 drills. Photo by Jeff Vorva
Richards team under construction, Sandburg finds dual threat in Evans
By Jeff Vorva
The new playing surface at Korhonen Field is shaping up.
Periodic Twitter updates show the progress of the new turf field, which is expected to be completed by the start of the season.
But what about the Bulldogs?
They are shaping up, too, according to coach Tony Sheehan,
In the spring, the Bulldogs finished 3-2, which included a 42-8 loss to Shepard and 30-26 setback to Eisenhower in a season in which they could not play at home because of the stadium project.
After 7-on-7 scrimmages against St. Laurence, Hillcrest and Immaculate Conception on July 14 in Burbank, and against Sandburg on July 16 in Orland Park, Sheehan likes what he sees even though the team is still under construction.
“It’s a work in progress — we’re getting better,” he said. “I’m just glad we’re having this in the summer. This is when we grow up. This is when we fix things and when we get good competition. … we couldn’t do this last year and that’s what hurt us a little bit. We played a lot of young guys in the spring and we’re happy to be back in the summer.”
Sheehan has always been a believer in opening up the season with strong competition, and many years the Bulldogs were a state or local power. But still with some question marks after a challenging spring season, he is not softening the non-conference schedule.
The Bulldogs will visit Nazareth Academy on Aug. 27 and Marist on Sept. 3. Both the Roadrunners and RedHawks have been among the top programs in the state for the past decade.
“We believe in throwing ourselves in the deep end and see if we could swim,” Sheehan said. “We’re gong to find out against Naz and Marist what we’re made of, and I think it only makes us better in the long run. We feel like once we make the playoffs, we’re tested and ready to make a good run.”
He said many young players made up the team in a six-game spring season, which replaced the COVID-cancelled fall season in 2020. The players knew that wasn’t a typical Richards team and want to make amends.
“A lot of them have taken it to heart and worked in the weight room, and now that we’re on the field it’s starting to show,” Sheehan said.
Eagles warm up
New Sandburg coach Troy McAllister was happy to get to see his team mix it up with the Bulldogs.
“I really like to see us compete at a high level and see different-colored helmets on the other side,” the coach said. “They learned how to pick up the speed more and more. We’ve got a really hungry group and when things weren’t going well, they didn’t back down.
“They stepped up. They made plays and that’s what we wanted to see.”
One guy who made plays at two offensive positions was junior Christian Evans.
When he wasn’t throwing passes as a quarterback, he was catching them as a receiver.
“I don’t like one over the other,” he said. “I’ll do anything to help my team out. I can make plays both ways.”
The Eagles were 1-5 in the spring and haven’t had a winning season since 2015, but Evans is optimistic about the 2021 team.
“Coach McAllister has been bringing us together and pushing us to be the best that we can be,” Evans said. “Being pushed in practice and competing every day with each other has been big.”
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