An undefeated football season?
Sure, that's worth bragging rights at any suburban high school.
But this fall the Freshman B team at Lake Park High School in Roselle pulled off a feat even more remarkable: It didn't give up a single point in the entire 2011 season.
This is unheard of for football teams at any level in recent Lake Park history, and likely a record for the school, said volunteer football assistant Dean Bladel.
Bladel worked at Lake Park for 33 years before retiring in 2004, but he still helps with recording Lancer football statistics.
“This is exceptionally rare,” he said. “I wish I could tell you (how they did it), because if I could, I'd bottle it. I think this was just a dedicated group of kids who jelled together as a unit and played exceptionally well.”
Officials from the Illinois High School Association said they track only varsity records for statistics such as shutouts, so it's impossible to know if Lake Park's Lancers pulled off a historic freshman feat by yielding no points in their 9 games.
But it certainly is rare; the last time a varsity football team pulled off a season of shutouts was 1995, when Fenwick High School in Oak Park went unscored upon for 9 games.
Lake Park's Freshman B squad went 8 wins, no losses and 1 tie this year. They outscored their opponents 191-0.
Members of both Lake Park's freshman A and B teams were responsible for the achievement, as they practice together, and coaches rotate players from one level to another throughout the season. The B team played under defensive coach Pete Willis and offensive coach Bobby Cowhey. The A team's record this season was 5-4.
Freshman head coach Jeff Palac said many of his players are completely new to the game, so this is encouraging.
“We are very excited to see what these kids do in the future,” he said. “Usually we have a B team made of up kids who have never played before, but some might not show much future promise. Yet this year across the board we have very talented athletes.”
He added that the shutouts were due not only to talent but determination. Players realized early in the season that they wanted to maintain their undefeated, unscored-upon status, he said. (It should be noted the one Lancers tie game ended in a 0-0 score.)
“I think after the third or fourth game they realized it was something special and started to take great pride in that,” Palac said. “They went to great efforts to do their job on every play, and you don't usually get that kind of commitment at that level.”Copyright © 2013 Paddock Publications, Inc. All rights reserved.