Week 3: Elk Grove Grenadiers vs. Palatine Pirates
PALATINE – When new Elk Grove football coach Larry Calhoun arrived from football-crazy Texas late this summer to take over the Grenadiers’ program he didn’t notice as much a difference in Illinois football as one would think.
“It’s different,” Calhoun said. “It’s hard to put into words. It’s no different in terms of the passion. Texas football is a pretty big deal; a lot of emphasis is put on it. At Elk Grove, I don’t think it’s a whole lot different. We’re education first, but they’re passionate about football.”
Calhoun got the job late in the off-season after successful former coach Brian Doll took a job overseas promoting American football. Much of Doll’s coaching staff remains, and a strong group of returning players have Elk Grove sitting at 2-0 heading into Friday’s game against Palatine.
CN100, The Comcast Network, will air the game at Noon and 4 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 8, and 7 p.m. on Monday, Sept. 10. You can also find it throughout Chicagoland with Xfinity On Demand.
Under Doll, Elk Grove went 10-2 and reached the Class 7A quarterfinals for the second time in school history, the first coming way back in 1981.
The 2012 Grenadiers have outscored Highland Park and Hoffman Estates by a combined 71-6 thanks to a stingy defense and a balanced offense. Junior quarterback Adam O’Malley triggers the offense. He has an array of receivers to choose from, including Cody Hood, John Pass and Mike Bishoff, who is also one of the defensive stalwarts. Emmanuel Amofa and Travon Royal have provided the 1-2 punch in the backfield.
The level of competition figures to be ramped up this week, however, against the high-flying Pirates (1-1). Palatine was knocked out of the Class 8A playoffs in the second round by Glenbard North in 2011 a year after reaching the quarterfinals. Elk Grove and Palatine each won their respective divisions in the Mid-Suburban League last year.
Quarterback Ethan Olles is one of the most dangerous signal-callers in the Chicago area. Four-year starter Jesse Bobbit leads the defense. Playmaker Cam Kuksa, a cousin of former Indianapolis Colts lineman Ryan Diem, was injured in Palatine’s wild Week 1 overtime loss to Montini and is expected to be out a month, but Calhoun is preparing as if he will be around on Friday just in case.
“Palatine is an excellent football team,” Calhoun said. “If we play our best, we have a real good chance of winning. They have some playmakers on the field. They have good size on the offensive line. They have tradition and high expectations. I actually think we’re very similar teams, to be honest. I’d like to think that our kids are going to be as well-prepared as possible. I think we’ve got an outstanding football team.”
Be sure to tune in to see Edgy Tim’s “Keys to the Game.” Get more Edgy at edgytim.com
- Paul Johnson, CN100 Correspondent
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