Bears

Preps Roundup: Gridiron Kings are crowned

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Preps Roundup: Gridiron Kings are crowned

Sunday, Nov. 28, 2010
2:07 AM

By Mike Clark and Steve Tucker
YourSeason.com

Maine South scores three-peat

CHAMPAIGN -- Call it three the hard way.

Maine South, which started the season with consecutive losses to Schaumburg and Wheaton Warrenville South after 28 consecutive victories, ended it the same way it finished the last two years, with a Class 8A championship after the Hawks defeated Mount Carmel 28-7 Saturday night at Memorial Stadium.

"It feels like a real long time ago the 0-2 start," Maine South coach Dave Inserra said. "I'd like to forget it. The kids, the team and the coaches came together. Three in a row, I'd like to say that is for myself, coach Rich Magsamen and coach Charlie Bliss. We've been together a long time."

Maine South (12-2) overcame a shaky start with a strong defense and a high-powered offense that came alive.

It is the first time since East St. Louis in 1983-85, a team won three consecutive titles in the largest class.

Complete Recap

Wheaton Warrenville South completes the "perfect" season

CHAMPAIGN -- Wheaton Warrenville South hasn't been down like this for a long time.

The Tigers were missing two of their top three receivers and trailed Lake Zurich by four points early in the fourth quarter of Saturday night's Class 7A state championship game at Memorial Stadium.

But WW South shook off that adversity the way Reilly O'Toole, Matt Rogers and Titus Davis shed tacklers en route to the Tigers' 28-17 comeback win over Lake Zurich.

The Tigers (14-0) pushed their winning streak to 26 games in winning their second consecutive state title and the school's seventh. Lake Zurich, which beat the Tigers in the 7A final in 2007, finished 12-2.

WW South's closest game this season before Saturday was a 28-7 win over Hinsdale Central in Week 1. This was more reminiscent of the 2009 state final, in which the Tigers beat Glenbard West in double overtime.
Complete Recap

The Westerkamp's lead Montini to Class 5A Title

CHAMPAIGN -- The hits just kept on coming for Montini late in the first quarter Saturday morning.

So too, did the turnovers, and then the touchdowns, as the Broncos built a big lead and cruised home with a 34-21 win over Chatham Glenwood in the Class 5A state championship at Memorial Stadium.

It was the second consecutive state title for the Broncos and the third overall, all in the past seven seasons.

Three times in a span of 82 seconds, Montini forced a Glenwood fumble. The Broncos converted two of them into short touchdown drives to take a 21-0 lead with 39 seconds left in the first quarter.

"The turnovers really got us going," Montini coach Chris Andriano said. "It seemed like every time we hit them hard, boom, it came out."

"Sometimes things just go your way and that's what it felt like all day today," said defensive end Zech Tredenick, who had four sacks among six tackles for loss.
Complete Recap

Rockford Boylan capitalizes on turnovers to capture 6A crown

CHAMPAIGN -- Marmion senior running backdefensive back Nick Scoliere addressed his teammates on the field after the Class 6A title game about what I am going to remember in 20 years.

The Cadets started fast and were within eight at halftime, but four fumbles and two interceptions were critical as Marmion fell to Rockford Boylan 48-19 in the Class 6A championship Saturday at Memorial Stadium.

"Since last December, I wanted to be down here eating turkey on Thanksgiving, and we did," Scoliere said. "We knew this year could be special. We got close. We just didn't win it."

"I knew when these kids came from 21 points down to tie Class 5A winner Montini that they had heart," Marmion coach Dan Thorpe said. "In the locker room at halftime, all the kids believed that good things can happen when you have athleticism and a little heart."

The Cadets (12-2) got the first break when Mike Shares recovered a fumble at his 20. They followed with a nine-play, 80 yard drive capped by a 13-yard scoring run by Stuart Quinn. The kick made it 7-0. Boylan (14-0) marched 77 yards and tied the game with 1:21 to play in the first quarter on a 21-yard run by Frank Cimino.

Complete Recap

Charles Leno, Jr. on Harry Hiestand: 'He's getting us better'

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USA Today

Charles Leno, Jr. on Harry Hiestand: 'He's getting us better'

Chicago Bears left tackle Charle Leno, Jr. has outplayed expectations after joining the team as a seventh-round pick in 2014. General manager Ryan Pace rewarded Leno for his play with a four-year, $38 million extension last offseason, committing to the former Boise State product as the Bears' blindside protector for the immediate future.

Leno joined his teammates at the team's annual Bears Care Gala on Saturday and said new offensive line coach Harry Hiestand is going to make him and his linemates better.

"We love Harry, let's just get that out of the way," Leno told 670 the Score's Mark Grote. "Harry is a great coach. I saw what he did for guys that he coached in college and the guys that were before us here in Chicago. He's getting us better."

Hiestand's efforts at Notre Dame produced four first-round picks: Zack Martin, Ronnie Stanley, Quenton Nelson and Mike McGlinchey. He brings a no-nonsense coaching style back to Chicago, where he last served under Lovie Smith from 2005-2009. 

STANKEVITZ: In Harry Hiestand, Matt Nagy hits a home run on his first swing at Bears' coaching staff

Leno enjoyed the best season of his career in 2017. His 80.4 grade from Pro Football Focus was the best of all Bears linemen and his highest overall mark over the last four years. He finished 15th among all tackles graded by PFF last season.

Regardless, Leno still has to impress his new coach just like every other offensive lineman on the roster. The Bears haven't added any competition for Leno, but his fate as the team's long-term answer at left tackle could be decided by Hiestand.

Matt Nagy is winning over his players by being himself

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USA Today Sports Images

Matt Nagy is winning over his players by being himself

Despite losing 34 of his 48 games as the Bears’ head coach, John Fox’s players generally liked him and were disappointed to see him fired on New Year’s Day. That’s not to say they were blindsided by it — losing leads to people losing their jobs, even if the culture at Halas Hall had changed for the better following the disastrous end of the Marc Trestman-Phil Emery era. 

It was with that backdrop that Matt Nagy was offered and accepted the position of Bears head coach a week after Fox’s firing. Four and a half months later, Nagy has seemingly made a strong first impression on his new team, with one reason standing out among many: He’s genuine in who he is and what he does.

“I would say Nagy can be stern, and he can be playful also,” cornerback Prince Amukamara said. “I think when you’re a first-year coach, you want to win (over) your guys, and you want to be firm, and he’s doing that. You can’t really tell he’s a rookie coach or whatever. I feel like he was born for this, and he’s doing a great job.”

Granted, no player is going to publicly blast their new boss — especially not before he’s even coached a game yet. But veteran players also aren’t oblivious to who can and cannot work out as a head coach, and there haven’t been any “damning with faint praise” types of comments that were more common five years ago at the beginning of the Trestman era.

Will this win Nagy any games come September? No. But consider this sort of like team chemistry: It won't win a team anything, but if a team doesn't have it, it can be costly. 

“He’s a cool coach, man,” linebacker Danny Trevathan — who played for Fox in both Denver and Chicago — said. “He’s always giving us little details and smiling but we know he’s a hard worker just like we are. He’s up there working just like we are. He’s always putting us in the right position and he takes care of us. On the back end, where I come from, you take care of coaches like that. You go out and make plays for those coaches.”

From an observational standpoint, Nagy comes across as genuinely excited not just to be a head coach, but the head coach of the Bears. Players respect that approach — he's not coming in acting like a hired gun, and he's shown through these OTAs and practices that he cares about them, even if they haven't spent much time together yet. And he's also not strutting into Halas Hall every day with an over-inflated ego based on his promotion. That resonates, too. 

“I like the way he came in,” Trevathan said. “He came in humble but he was hungry. He came anxious, moving around in the meetings. I like that. That gets me fired up. I feel like we’ve got a good leader up here in the head coach.”