ST. CHARLES – Players like Ryan Chantos may not get the glory Friday nights – but it's young men like him that allow St. Charles North's starters to be ready for it.
Chantos, a senior linebacker and scout team defensive captain, helps anchor the squad that prepares the starting offense for its latest challenge ahead.
This time, that is a rematch with Wheaton Warrenville South in Saturday's Class 7A quarterfinal.
It's a role Chantos has embraced since his freshman season.
"Scout team gets me plenty of reps," Chantos said. "I love it. It helps me learn my position...as a freshman, I was not as good as I am now. But, just because of all the reps I get in practice all those times, I think I've definitely improved my skill these four years."
The scout defense in particular provides North Stars quarterback Kyler Brown and his offense great opportunities to prepare for whatever range of athletes and abilities an opponent will bring.
"It's not really just about the starters – it's the scout team and the guys on the bench that really create a whole [host of] team successes," Brown said.
To Brown, Chantos "brings it everyday."
Chantos' passion for football certainly doesn't disappoint, either, even if his role on game day is usually limited to if North is leading in the game.
"He's always on top of his stuff," Brown said. "He's really just the leader of the team. I know he's a scout player and he doesn't play as much, but I kind of look up to him. Obviously, he puts in all the work and he deserves to get on the field on a Friday night."
Quarterback Sammy DeDobbelaere brings his own value to the table, even if it cost him his reps as the starting quarterback on the sophomore team.
After Peyton Brown's season-ending knee injury one week into the regular season, Kyler was slotted into the starting varsity role. The backup job needed to be filled.
DeDobbelaere did what was best for the program, now just one possible snap away from being under center himself.
"It was pretty difficult, just because I really just wanted to play football," DeDobbelaere said of his role shift. "It was hard not getting to play this year, and a lot of my friends are down on [the] sophomore [team]...I feel like, overall, [being up on varsity] is going to benefit me more."
One advantage is practicing against a host of Division I athletes, like Minnesota commit Tyler Nubin and the rest of the first-string defense. Ball placement and read progressions have been accelerated.
DeDobbelaere's task for this week is to emulate Wheaton Warrenville South quarterback Noah Henkel.
"He's a great athlete," DeDobbelaere said of Henkel. "The hardest part [is] running their offense the best I can...It's just hard to learn that whole new offense and run it at their game-speed."
The Tigers absolutely made an emphasis to establish the run game early during Week 9 with running back Jake Arthurs, but Henkel is a threat to run with run-pass-option concepts ready to go.
"I'm more of a passing QB," DeDobbelaere said. "The running, that's pretty different [for me]."