By Mark Gregory
As the Joliet Central football team starts a new season in a new conference, joining the Southwest Prairie Conference, the Steelmen do so with Zack Wisneski, a junior quarterback entering his third season as a varsity starter. Wisneski will have a pair of talented wide receivers to throw to in seniors Jomarre McNair and Camaron Harvey. Leading the way on the line will be senior offensive tackle Jeremiah Crisostomo.
“Every single one of these guys bring a tremendous amount of leadership to the offense,” said Central coach Brett Boyter.
Joining the talented returners will be a pair of seniors in wide receiver Frank Fiegel and center Emilio Calderson.
“Frank brings versatility as a runner and pass catcher,” Boyter said. “Emilio has intelligence for our blocking and protection schemes.”
With Wisneski back at quarterback, the play of the line will be important.
“We will have four new offensive linemen this season,” Boyter said. “They need to continue to gel and work as a cohesive unit.”
Offensively, the Steelmen are looking to find ways into the end zone this season.
“We are looking to finish drives better,” Boyter said. “We were able to make big plays of 20-plus yards, but were not able to put points on the board.”
Central returns several impact on defense this season. Up front, seniors Jeremey Fennewald and Ryan King will lead the way, along with senior Bobby Ogden, who will see time on the line and at linebacker. Joining Ogden at linebacker will be Harvey and D’Angelo Johnson. Harvey will be joined as a two-way standout by fellow receiver McNair, who will play defensive back, where he will play alongside defensive backs Marcus Stone and Allen Smith.
“They have good leadership,” Boyter said. “They are a very intelligent group of players. They understand the scheme as well as the coaches. There isn’t going to be much an offense will do to fool them.”
The defensive returners will be joined by senior defensive lineman Jamari Butler and senior linebacker Keon Wiley.
“They complement the eight returning starters and are smart, tough players,” Boyter said.
Boyter said the experienced Steelmen have to stay on the field.
“We have to stay healthy,” he said. “We have great experience on the defensive side of the ball. We have some depth, but very little experience behind the starting defense. As a team, we are looking to get more three-and-outs and not to give up as many big plays.”
Central is looking to get its first win since the Joliet teams split and do it in the new conference.
“We are joining the Southern Prairie Conference this year,” Boyter said. “We are looking forward to the change in conference and playing the quality programs in the SPC. We are looking to be competitive and get our first win in our new conference.
“Due to our low numbers we need to stay healthy and continue to trust our process of preparation week in and week out.”