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2017 Kane County Chronicle Best of the Fox

Druley: St. Charles East boys soccer done with dress rehearsals

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There aren’t enough rounds in the Class 3A boys soccer state tournament to fulfill one of St. Charles East coach Paul Jennison’s fantasies.

“I wish we could play every day simply for the fact that as soon as you come off that field and you’re fortunate enough to get a good win, you want to get right back out there and continue it,” Jennison said.

Such measures would seem a natural way to eliminate the Saints’ recent bouts with consistency. Such as it is, Jennison thinks the top-seeded Saints possess enough leadership and talent to avoid any letdowns during today’s Schaumburg Sectional semifinal against No. 12 Wheaton North.

East (19-1-4) ousted the Falcons to open the 2012 postseason, a run that ended in supersectionals. Plenty of firepower returns from that group, namely captains Kevin Heinrich, Andrew Shone and Jake Sterling.

Jennison thought the team “maybe coasted” at times during a dominant regular season. The Saints waited for their high-powered attack to click during last week’s home regional. Zach Manibog’s goal 5:20 into the second half snapped a scoreless tie and keyed a 2-0 semifinal victory against St. Charles North.

In the regional final against Rolling Meadows, four unanswered goals after halftime moved East past the Mustangs, 6-2, and into today’s match with a lesson in hand.

“You don’t have the ability to take five minutes to get ready. You have to be effective right off the bat,” Jennison said. “These guys have had to figure that out, that look, no one’s just going to sit down and give you the win because you’re St. Charles East. You’ve got to earn everything.

“I think the last couple of games have really given them that indication, and I would like to think they’re coming out [today], these guys, they’re going to be keyed in and in a positive frame of mind going forward.”

Today’s winner plays the winner of Wednesday’s Lake Park-Elk Grove semifinal for the sectional championship at 3 p.m. Saturday.

Rocket and roll:Transpose the first two consonants in Alan Camarena’s surname and you get a mid-1990s dance sensation.

Will folks do the Macarena when Camarena and the Burlington Central boys soccer team host Freeport in a Class 2A sectional semifinal at 5 p.m. today? Probably not, but all other revelry is likely to accompany the Rockets after Camarena’s lone goal with 55 seconds left eliminated Kaneland in last week’s Sycamore Regional final.

“The boys are really pumped to have all the fans out there,” BC coach Mike Gecan said. “I expect a big atmosphere.”

Central (21-2) enjoyed success nearly everywhere it went during the regular season, shining behind goalkeeper Brett Rau and an attack that blended speed and strength with such talent as Matt O’Connor and Paolo Sespene.

School officials ordered extra bleachers this week to accommodate what it hopes is an influx of supporters.

“We’ll give our best performance, and hopefully, it’s enough,” Gecan said. “I’m proud of my boys for what they’ve done so far, and we’ll see what they can do.”

The Rockets have not faced the Pretzels since 2010. BC, fresh off the program’s first regional title en route to its first state tournament, won, 2-0, in a Belvidere Sectional semifinal.

Scratching the surface: Kaneland seniors Drew David and Alex Snyder have refined their quarterback-center exchange since an injury to teammate Zach Thielk forced Snyder to move from right guard in Week 7.

Long before that, however, David and Snyder bonded through beards.

“Me and Al and a couple other guys,” David said, “but they kind of wimped out of it as the season went along.”

David, who has lined up behind Snyder and Kaneland’s veteran front five for three seasons, jokingly suggested wide receiver/linebacker Dylan Nauert was one to short out on his whiskers.

While Nauert may not be as scruffy as some of his teammates, he’s showing well more than a stubble as he focuses on another kind of growth as the Knights use an intermediate passing game to go with their vaunted deep attack.

“Every yard is huge,” Nauert said. “If you catch a three-yard pass and you get five yards out of it, then that’s amazing because every yard is closer and closer to that end zone and a bigger and bigger play for us.”

• Kevin Druley is a sportswriter for the Kane County Chronicle. He can be reached at 630-845-5347 or Follow him on Twitter at @kevindruley.

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