Football: Defending 3A state champ Andrean still explosive, rolls past Crown Point
By John O’Malley For Sun-Times Media August 15, 2014 11:34PM
Andrean's Trevor Berg breaks through several Crown Point linemen to complete a 50 plus yard touchdown at Crown Point High School on August 15, 2014. Jim Karczewski/Sun-Times Media
Updated: September 17, 2014 6:15AM
CROWN POINT — Andrean’s offense sported a bit of a different look in Friday night’s scrimmage against Crown Point, but the results remained the same.
That could turn out to be bad news for opponents of the defending Class 3A state champion 59ers.
Senior quarterback Jake Paliga found himself behind center as the successor to All-State performer Matt DeSomer and looked very comfortable taking snaps.
“We wanted Jake to do some good things out there tonight and he did some great things,’’ Andrean coach Phil Mason said. “It’s Jake’s show right now. He’s our guy. He’s our leader. Our kids are going to follow him, follow his lead. I think he’s going to have a good year.’’
Paliga tossed a pair of touchdown passes during Andrean’s first 15-play possession, including a long bomb to Jamie Johnson and little screen pass to Trevor Berg that the senior took in for a score from midfield.
Berg also ran for a score, dragging two defenders with him into the end zone to illustrate his increased power.
Paliga also ran for a TD, while David Graham rushed for a score.
“We got a lot of playing time for him last year,’’ Mason said of Paliga. “He’s a hard worker. He decided not to play baseball this year, which was too bad for him, but he wanted to really concentrate on playing quarterback.’’
Andrean linebacker Josh Barajas was blowing up plays at the line of scrimmage with regularity. There’s a reason the 59ers senior is going to Notre Dame.
An interesting position change for the 59ers — who lost all but one of their offensive linemen off last year’s unbeaten 15-0 squad — was defensive lineman Lukus Berber moving to center.
Crown Point coach Kevin Enright, whose team returns only three starters on each side of the ball, held junior quarterback Artie Equihua out of the game in a precautionary move.
Grayson Lynk took the majority of the snaps for the Bulldogs.
Equihua, who’s played quarterback in the past, moved over from his defensive back spot on CP’s defense. Enright said he’ll likely still play there some as well as handle the punting chores.
“Artie took reps at quarterback all last summer when Jake Jatis was hurt,’’ Enright said. “He learned a lot and grew up a lot then.’’
In another position switch, Bulldogs outside linebacker Troy Grady moved to running back to replace graduated Tristan Peterson.
“He’s a track guy, a hurdler with pretty good speed,’’ Enright said. “He’s very athletic. He won’t play defense for us this year, if we can help it.’’