High school football preview: No. 8 Prairie Ridge primed to continue Fox Valley’s Class 6A dominance

High school kids, especially football players, often feel invincible. That’s a common thing with teenagers. All the aches and pains of life haven’t settled in yet.

Prairie Ridge senior Nathan Greetham knows better. He’s prepared to take care of his 5-8, 175-pound frame and ensure it is capable of handling the punishment it will take this season.

‘‘I get the ball a lot, and I want to make the most of it,’’ Greetham said. ‘‘That means a lot of ice baths. I just try and take care of my body. I get to practice, like, an hour early and stretch out in the trainer’s room. I’ve learned a lot about that the past few years.’’

Greetham is a key factor in the Wolves’ double-wing offense. The dependable fullback rushed for more than 1,200 yards and 14 touchdowns last season.

‘‘I’m trying to work on my mental mistakes,’’ Greetham said. ‘‘I think I made a lot of them last year. And I don’t want to have any fumbles at all this year. Zero is the goal.’’

Tyler Vasey takes over at quarterback for Prairie Ridge. He was supposed to be the starter last season but suffered an injury last summer, missed the first six games of the season and played wingback when he returned.

‘‘[Vasey] is going to bring a lot of athleticism and speed,’’ Wolves coach Chris Schremp said. ‘‘He’s the kind of kid where if you give him a little crease, he can create a touchdown.’’

Vasey and Greetham will benefit from an experienced offensive line. Starters Henrik Nystrom, Ethan Goudschaal and John Fallow return from last season.

Prairie Ridge has six starters back on offense and five on defense. When the Wolves or Cary-Grove returns a core that solid, it spells trouble for the rest of Class 6A.

One of the two teams has played in the last five Class 6A championship games. Prairie Ridge lost to East St. Louis in 2019 and won the title in 2017, 2016 and 2011.

Cary-Grove beat a loaded East St. Louis squad in the Class 6A championship game and finished on top of the Super 25 last season. That likely convinced any remaining doubters that the Fox Valley is a legitimate force, regardless of class.

Prairie Ridge’s head coach Chris Schremp talks to players during practice.

Prairie Ridge’s head coach Chris Schremp talks to players during practice.

Allen Cunningham/For the Sun-Times

‘‘It’s one of those things where if you are good in the Fox Valley, you are good in the state,’’ Schremp said. ‘‘Not all sports can say that. The rivalry between us and Cary-Grove has elevated both programs. And it is starting to trickle throughout the conference. Huntley has emerged some years. Burlington Central had a good season last year, and Jacobs is starting to do well.’’

Safety Dom Creatore will lead the Wolves’ defense. Schremp says the group is young but more athletic than it was last season. Three or four sophomores will start.

‘‘The challenge for us will be getting those younger guys to step up early in the season,’’ Schremp said. ‘‘You’ll see a much better defense as we move on.’’

Prairie Ridge’s schedule

Aug. 26 at McHenry
Sept. 2 at Burlington Central
Sept. 9 vs. Huntley
Sept. 16 at Jacobs
Sept. 23 vs. Cary-Grove
Sept. 30 at Hampshire
Oct. 7 vs. Dundee-Crown
Oct. 14 at Crystal Lake South
Oct. 21 vs. Crystal Lake Central

Source : https://chicago.suntimes.com/2022/8/14/23305952/prairie-ridge-high-school-football-nathan-greetham-fox-valley

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