Stillman Valley looks to replace big senior class

High School Football

STILLMAN VALLEY, Ill. (WTVO/WQRF) –Stillman Valley’s football team went 3-2 in the spring season. It was the Cardinals third straight winning season. They’ll try to keep it going this year by playing sound Stillman Valley football that we’ve become accustomed to over the years.

The Cardinals aren’t likely to be flashy this season, and they won’t be physically imposing in terms of size.

“Obviously we don’t have size in numbers or in physical size,” said lineman Cullen White. “We really don’t have a lot of huge guys, but I think our speed and skill is going to help us.”

The Cardinals do seem to have good speed, not just at the skill positions but also on the lines with returning seniors Dylan Davis, Cullen White and Andrew Latham.

“I’m very optimistic,” said Latham “I’m excited to play with this team. Obviously, we don’t have a lot of size, but we’re fast. We’ve got a lot of heart.”

They’ll need that heart to help replace 23 seniors who graduated from the team this past spring. Five of them were first team all-conference players. There are only 11 seniors on this team.

“It’s tough to replace,” said head coach Mike Lalor. “You’ve got that many there. It is what it is though, so our now what was juniors now to be seniors, it’s their turn now.”

This year’s seniors are a tight-knit group. They’ll try to set the tone of what it means to be a Stillman Valley Cardinal…hard work, good fundamentals and attention to detail.

“It’s kind of a small class this year,” said senior lineman Dylan Davis. We’ve got to really try hard and try our best to lead the lower levels and see how they try and like lean after us and make sure they put all their effort in.”

“We’re really happy with our senior group,” said Lalor. “It’s not tremendous numbers there, but they work really hard and as a coach that’s all you can ask for.”

The starting quarterback this year is to be determined. The Cardinals are looking at a pair of underclassmen. Gage Henderson, Colten Cook, Madix Barret and Patrick Hickey are the halfbacks. Griffin Britnell will play fullback in what will again be a run-first offense. Barret at defensive back, and Cook at linebacker will lead the defensive unit along with the three offensive linemen I mentioned earlier Davis, White and Latham who will also flip to the defensive side.

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