STOCKTON, Ill. (WTVO/WQRF) — Stockton’s football team has been cycling through head coaches. The Blackhawks have their fourth in eight years in Sean Downey, and he’s changing things up.
Downey’s an NUIC guy. He was an assistant coach at EPC when the Wildcatz won a state championship in 2014. He was an assistant at Stockton the last four years. Now as the head coach, he’s implementing some new ideas.
“We’re making some big changes offensively and defensively, some new schemes, some different faces on the coaching staff. Some different players in different positions.”
One of the new faces on the coaching staff is Randy Asche, the former head coach at EPC.
“It’s good to have a guy with head coach experience on staff where it’s my first year. I can bounce ideas off of him,” said Downey.
Coach Asche and his son Riley have also helped Stockton’s strength and conditioning program make huge strides.
“That’s really where you can see the difference in a lot of these kids,” said Downey. “They’re stronger. They’re faster. They’re more confident in themselves.”
As for players switching positions, let’s start with the Blackhawks’ new quarterback Colby Tucker. He’s been a receiver the last several seasons.
“At first it (the switch) was pretty hard because I haven’t played quarterback since sixth grade, but it’s getting a lot easier to get to know it better,” said Tucker.
(Downey sees Tucker as a good fit for the offense he wants to run. “He fits kind of our play-action bootleg scheme just a little bit betterm and he’s a competitor. He’s very competitive.”
Senior Tanner Gile is adjusting to two new positions. He has slimmed down and moved from fullback to tailback on offense, and on defense he moves from middle linebacker to cornerback.
“I used to be a bigger boy. I played lineman my freshman year. I got moved to linebacker, and I lost a bit of weight and I got moved to DB.”
Gile and senior Karl Hubb will be Stockton’s main running backs. Hubb rushed for 554 yards last year to lead the team. The Blackhawks return two key offensive linemen in guards Michael Haas who was first team all-conference last year, and Wesley Logemann.
Senior Brady Haas supplies speed to the receiver position and at defensive back.
Carson McPeek played quarterback last year. Now he will see action at running back and inside linebacker.
Stockton has 45 players in the program, good numbers for that small school.