BELVIDERE, Ill. (WTVO/WQRF) — The Belvidere North Blue Thunder have been in the playoffs six of the last seven seasons under Head Coach Jeff Beck.
“It’s always the same thing for our program,” said Beck. “When we’ve been successful it’s been because offensively we’re able to move the chains and maintain possession. We usually don’t have a lot of big plays, we usually just have a lot of long drives. Defensively, it’s not giving up the big play.”
The Blue Thunder went 1-3 last year with their last two games being cancelled due to COVID. It was an unusually down year for the program that lost a few key contributors on offense including quarterback Jake Tapia and running back Tyron Brakes. But this year North has a solid group of rising seniors who are ready to step up including senior Running Back Tristan Powers and versatile Quarterback senior Mason Weckler.
“Just to make sure to push everyone as hard as they can because I know that we have a whole lot of seniors, and this is also their last year, so if I just push them, they’ll push me as well and we’ll win a lot of games,” said Weckler.
Defense has been their staple and on that side of the ball, they’ll be led by multi-sport standout Aaron Winters. Winters was a first team all-conference Linebacker and will be leading the charge from his interior spot. He says this year his goal is to make sure his teammates finish every play.
“In a game last year we saw Harlem. We were up by a lot and then they were able to come back so just being able to finish games and stay together as a team when things aren’t going our way,” Winters said.
Also returning on defense is Defensive back Jacob Bucher and Defensive Lineman Justino Benitez, who was an all-conference honorable mention.