For the past two seasons, Sean Whitfield has served as the La Salle-Peru football team’s backup quarterback behind all-conference QB Tyler Hartman.
With Hartman graduated after leading the Cavaliers to a playoff berth in 2019 and a 5-0 record in the 2021 spring season, it’s finally Whitfield’s time to shine.
“I’ve been waiting for it,” Whitfield said. “It’s pretty crazy [it’s my senior year]. I’m hoping to have some fun this year.”
Whitfield has played meaningful minutes under center for the Cavs.
As a sophomore, he played the majority of L-P’s loss to Morris after Hartman was injured and started the following week in a loss to Sycamore.
A similar situation happened in the spring when Hartman left L-P’s 14-7 win over Plano at halftime with an ankle injury.
Whitfield stepped in against the Reapers and led the Cavs to a 34-6 win over rival Ottawa the next week with Hartman limited to playing defense only.
“He’s been wanting to do this for the last three years,” L-P coach Jose Medina said. “He’s ready for it. He’s excited for it. I’m excited for him. I know he’s competitive. He works hard. He’s one of those motivating leaders as well.”
In those two spring games, Whitfield completed 4-of-6 passes for 68 yards and a pair of touchdowns while running 30 times for 98 yards and a TD.
“I think I bring speed,” Whitfield said. “I have a big arm and I can throw on the run.”
Whitfield wasn’t simply standing on the sidelines and filling in for Hartman the past two seasons.
He also played running back/receiver on offense and started at defensive back and was an All-Interstate Eight Conference pick as an athlete.
In the spring, he had 41 carries for 177 yards and three scores and caught three passes for 64 yards.
Defensively, Whitfield made eight tackles, had one tackle for loss, five pass breakups and an interception that he returned for a touchdown against Ottawa.
Whitfield said he thinks playing other positions will be beneficial for him as he steps in at quarterback.
“It helps me help the other guys see holes in the defense,” Whitfield said. “I played receiver. If I can help them find the holes I could find last year, then that would help out a lot.”
Medina liked what he saw from Whitfield when the Cavs competed in a 16-team 7-on-7 tournament at Princeton on July 17.
“He threw a couple picks that probably shouldn’t have been thrown, but that’s what a 7-on-7 is for – coming out and learning,” Medina said. “You see that out of him. He understood he made some mistakes, which is great. You want to see that. He’s going to want to clean those up and get better.”
Whitfield said the 7-on-7 was an opportunity to work on different aspects of his game.
“It was a big practice,” Whitfield said. “You try some things you normally wouldn’t try in a game. There were a lot of balls I threw where I’d normally throw it away or run. I had a few picks, but I’m going to clean it up.”
Whitfield is hoping to help the Cavs continue the success they’ve had over the past few seasons.
“We want to keep it going and keep winning,” Whitfield said. “Definitely, the expectations are to host a playoff game this year. Anything less is probably not going to be successful to us.”