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Prep Zone

Schwab: Spartans’ Fassnacht regroups after scare

St. Francis junior Steven Fassnacht couldn’t even venture an estimate of how many text messages and voicemails he received over the weekend.

“It was a lot of messages,” Fassnacht said. “My phone wasn’t working very well.”

Fassnacht, a two-way performer for the Spartans football team, had dozens of well-wishes in the aftermath of a scary-looking injury early in the third quarter of Friday’s game at Marmion.

Fassnacht, attempting to bring down the Cadets running back Josh Meyers, instead was steamrolled on the play, and landed perilously on his neck. The game was delayed as medical personnel tended to Fassnacht, who was taken off Fichtel Field on a stretcher and transported to a local hospital by ambulance.

The prognosis is much better than some might have originally feared. Fassnacht said Monday night that he has a neck sprain, but a CAT scan came back negative.

“It was kind of a fluke,” Fassnacht said of the play that led to his injury. “I was expecting pass, and the kid just caught me flat-footed. I wasn’t low enough and he just got underneath my pads, and I just went straight back.”

Fassnacht said he heard a “crunching” sound as he landed, but he was never overly concerned the injury would be serious.

“[My parents] were upset but I told them I’d be fine,” Fassnacht said. “We went to the hospital, results were negative, so that was a big relief.”

Fassnacht is a key cog on both sides of the ball for St. Francis; he plays safety on defense and slot receiver and running back on offense. 

With the help of treatment from a chiropractor, he hopes to return this season, perhaps as soon as the Spartans’ regular season finale Oct. 25 against St. Edward. St. Francis (3-4) has lost four straight games but could make the playoffs if it defeats Guerin and St. Ed, and ends up with enough playoff points to squeak into the postseason at 5-4.

Fassnacht downplayed Friday’s injury as “painful but nothing too serious,” but there was no underselling the support that followed from teammates, friends and family.

“I felt very loved,” he said. “I had a lot of support.”

Change of scenery for Kaneland tennis: Girls tennis sectionals are this weekend, marking a change of venue for Kaneland.

The Knights have been grouped with Tri-Cities area teams in St. Charles in recent years but, this season, the IHSA slotted Kaneland in the West Aurora Sectional, which includes opponents such as Waubonsie Valley, West Aurora and the Oswego schools.

“I think on paper I should be somewhat optimistic because there’s just so much talent in that St. Charles sectional, it’s just hard to imagine that much talent in the [West Aurora Sectional] also, but you start thinking like that, you get yourself in trouble,” Kaneland coach Tim Larsen said. “We’re going to practice hard and assume we’re going to see some [quality competition] out there.”

Kaneland is coming off a Northern Illinois Big 12 conference championship last weekend. Singles standout Sammie Schrepferman and the Knights’ top doubles team of Jelly Emmanouil and Madi Jurcenko – all three juniors – are past state tournament qualifiers.

• Jay Schwab is sports editor of the Kane County Chronicle. He can be reached at 630-845-5382 or

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