Cougar football starts season undefeated


Thomas Winegardner

Erik Rimas shows love to fans on Senior night.

The Cougars varsity football team hit the field running with a 3 game winning streak this season, until their game against Hoffman Estates. The team also had a 9 game winning streak combined with the 2019 season, 2021 spring season, and the beginning of this season. 

Quarterback Nolan Lazor (11) was really excited to get this season started. Although he was on the team last year, he wasn’t able to play because of an injury. So, he was very excited to get back on the field this year. Lazor really appreciates the team’s hard work and said he is excited to see where the season goes. 

“We have a winning record, so that’s awesome,and I think we have a lot of really good camaraderie with the team that we have right now. And the players really work well together,” Lazor said. 

Sophomore linebacker Anthony Martorano (10) shared his perspective on the season. It is his first year playing with varsity and he is excited to keep playing. 

“Just the pace and the plays and how everything’s played at the next level is a lot different, so it took a lot of time to adapt. I’m still adapting to it, and just trying to get better, but I’ve come a long way,” Martorano said.

Ryan Feeney, an assistant varsity coach, is also happy with this year’s team. He explained how the seniors from last year had a lot of talent. 

“We have a lot of guys filling in for graduated players and stepping up and showing us what they can do. I’m very pleased with the effort and execution so far,” he said.

Feeney went on to explain how well the season has been going and how it’s the little things that have made them so much better. He said that the fundamentals are the main thing that have been helping them win. 

“I think [the team needs to] continue to grow and mature as football players and understanding what it takes to win at a high level and putting in the effort with regards to preparation, watching film, studying…continuing to manage for the long haul and hoping that the season doesn’t end for a long time,” Feeney said.  

Feeney said the adrenaline in the players and the feeling of being cheered for while playing is much different than how it was last year. He said that just hearing the fans and the crowd is just what makes Friday nights so special.

Martorano also said that when his teammates hear their names being chanted in the stands, he can see little grins on their faces. 

Erica Bunning (12) really likes how lively the student section has been this year, especially since she is in the senior section. She really enjoys watching the team play.

“No one really stayed until the end of the games [my freshman year]…during halftime we would leave. But now, we stay for the whole game, and I definitely like staying the whole game,” Bunning said. 

Assistant JV coach Avelino Cortez said the packed stands this year make a huge difference in how the team plays.

The seniors have strong relationships with a lot of the people in the stands, and it’s a good football team, and a good football team usually brings out a bigger crowd,” Cortez said.

Bunning also said that she enjoys staying during the whole game because she knows more people on the field, and it’s a lot cooler to see her friends play. 

Lazor really enjoys the stands being packed, as well. 

“I think the crowd is a lot of fun,” he said. “Since I’ve lived in different places, I’ve been to places where the student section isn’t as rowdy and passionate, and I definitely think the student section adds an element to our play.”

With the season starting off very well, Feeney said he is very excited to see where the season goes and to have a chance to defend the conference championship. He knows it will be a hard road but is ready to do everything the team needs to succeed this season. 

Cortez is really impressed by the gritty players and the way the seniors gladly took the lead. The goal is to end up in state, but right now the coaches and players are just trying to take it one week at a time.

Lazor explained how much effort the team is putting in for this season.

“I think we are really unselfish, and we’re not going as much for personal attributes as we are for a team win,” he said.