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Brother Rice players go through their drills during the first day of football practice on Monday. Photo by Jeff Vorva

Brother Rice players go through their drills during the first day of football practice on Monday. Photo by Jeff Vorva

‘Coach Q’ era begins at Brother Rice

By Jeff Vorva
Staff Writer

You might say the man they call “Coach Q” was as cool as a Q-cumber on the first day of high school football practice for the 2022 season.

As an assistant coach, Casey Quedenfeld helped Episcopal High School in Texas win a private school state championship in 2019.

He also was an assistant coach at Loyola High School in Los Angeles, where he learned the craft from Marvin Sanders, who coached at USC and Nebraska.

So, on Aug. 8, when football practice started all around the state, the new Brother Rice head coach sported a shirt that said “One Team, One Way, 100 MPH.”

Yet, minutes before the start of practice, he was calm about the new journey he was about to take. For some, the difference between being an assistant coach and being the boss is huge.

But Quedenfeld was matter-of-fact about how he felt before leading his troops in the first practice.

“It’s just football,” he said. “I’ve had great mentors who have kind of prepped me for this. In all seriousness, it’s nothing new or anything that I’m not accustomed to doing before.”

Quedenfeld is one of four new head coaches at area schools. There were also changes as Argo, De La Salle and Riverside-Brookfield.

Of those four, Brother Rice had the most success in 2021. Former Crusaders head coach Brian Badke bowed out after leading his team to a 10-3 record and reaching the Class 7A state semifinals.

Before the first practice on Tom Mitchell Field on a rainy late afternoon, Quedenfeld spent some time in a classroom with the defense. Last year’s defense gave up 56 points to Joliet Catholic, 46 points to Loyola, 45 to Wheaton North in the semifinals and 36 to Mount Carmel.

Those totals do not exist for Quedenfeld.

“I’m not really worried about what they did last year or two years ago or 10 years ago,” he said. “I’m not really worried about that at all. My philosophy is that I only know what I know, and I’m coming in here to try spread what I know to these young men and the gentlemen who are coaching alongside me. I’m not worried about how many points they gave up last year.”

One of the anchors on this year’s defense is Trey Pierce, an Evergreen Park resident who has committed to Wisconsin.

COACH Q scaled

Casey Quedenfeld directs his first practice at Brother Rice on Monday afternoon. Photo by Jeff Vorva

On offense, replacing Jack Lausch at quarterback will be a challenge. Lausch, who originally planned to walk on to the Notre Dame baseball and football teams, accepted a scholarship offer to Northwestern. His passing and running ability will be missed, but juniors Ryan Hartz, Jake Dugger and Marcus Brown will battle it out at that position in camp to replace him.

Returnees to watch include linebacker Henry Ivers and wide receivers Rickey Taylor, Owen Lyons and Marty O’Keefe.

Texas and California are hotbeds for high school football and Illinois can hold its head high as well. Quedenfeld didn’t want to compare and contrast the talent in the three states but said all are strong.

“In Texas, communities surround themselves in high school, especially in public schools,” he said. “In California, the private schools in Southern California are serious. At Brother Rice, the administration is taking it serious and I wouldn’t have moved if they weren’t serious.”

 

Changing of the Guard

Area football coaching changes for the 2022 season:

School New coach Former coach

Argo Phil Rossberg Tim Connelly

Brother Rice Casey Quedenfeld Brian Badke

De La Salle Marty Quinn Mike Boehm

Riverside-Brookfield Sam Styler Brendan Curtin

RICKY DINO scaled

Ricky Smalling, left, and Dino Borrelli — two star players on the 2016 Brother Rice team – take in the action Monday during the first day of practice. Borrelli is serving as the quarterbacks coach for the Crusaders. Photo by Jeff Vorva

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