There aren’t too many certainties in life.
People could always count on the sun rising, death, taxes and Starpoint football having a strong running game every season.
Aaron Chase made the list a little shorter.
The Spartans’ marquee rushing attack, which often featured two or three tailbacks a season, was put off to the side in 2017.
“I grew up at Starpoint in that double-tight power-I offense,” Starpoint coach Al Cavagnaro said, “but as a coach and as staff you have to adapt to the players you have. When you have a quarterback that can throw the ball and five to seven guys who can catch the ball you have to throw it. This is the deepest athletic team we’ve had since 1985.”
Cavagnaro went on to describe his senior quarterback as a star student with a 99 GPA that brings his intelligence to the field.
With the offense in his hands, Chase threw for over 1,000 yards and 14 touchdowns leading the Spartans to a 6-2 record, (5-1 Class A North) last season.
Chase enters his senior year already holding five school records. He has the most passing yards in a game, most touchdowns in game, season, career and most career yardage.
“School records are great and all,” said Chase, a senior. “But for me, it’s all about winning a state championship.”
Thanks in part to the injury bug hitting the Spartans at the worst time, the 2017 campaign came to an end last season when Iroquois beat the shorthanded Spartans 34-21 in the Class A quarterfinals.
Starpoint lost five starters, including Chase, in the final two games of the season.
“It was disappointing,” Chase said. “This year it’s all about staying healthy and be able to lead my team through the post season.”
So, the Spartans have made getting in the weight room a priority this offseason.
“If you work out more during the offseason, you’re less likely to get hurt during the season,” senior Max Bowden said.
Starpoint loses key players from last season’s team in WR Sam Mazzara, lineman Kyle Schreader along with FB/LB Anthony Robinson, who ran for nearly 1,000 yards last season, to graduation.
Despite what’s leaving, Cavanargo is excited about what’s coming back.
The receiving core will be led by third-year varsity player and senior Max Bowden who had 15 catches for 363 yards in 2017.
“He takes the roof off,” Cavanargo said of Bowden. “That forces the defense to move back and give other guys room over the middle.
“But the key with Max is that he catches the big pass in every game. Any time we needed a big catch he made it.”
Bowden also wants to put himself alongside his QB in the record book. The wide receiver is looking to take a handful of records currently held by his uncle, school Hall of Famer Rob Housler, who graduated in 1985.
The 6′ 0″ wideout will be joined on the outside by classmate Matthew Spina. Seniors RB Brendan Gawel and FB Justin Mott are expected round out the backfield this year.
“If you can get the ball to them, you can count on a big play,” Bowden said of his teammates.
Junior and second year varsity player David Meyer is expected to take on a bigger role on both the offensive and defensive lines.
Starpoint believes that last year they underachieved by not making it out of the first round of the playoffs. The Spartans have their sites set much higher in 2018.
“Some of these guys were with us when we lost at the stadium two years ago,” Cavagnaro said. “We were happy to be there. But now were not going to be happy unless we’re beyond that.”
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