Features | Friday Night Drive

Woodstock’s experienced group looking to reach playoffs for 1st time since 2009

Woodstock head coach Michael Brasile talks with quarterback Jackson Lyons during a 7 on 7 football practice held on Thursday, July 21, 2022 at Crystal Lake Central High School. Ryan Rayburn for Shaw Local

Mike Brasile is trying to start a new tradition at Woodstock.

The Blue Streaks qualified for the playoffs 12 times between 1996 and 2009, winning a Class 5A state title in 1997, but Woodstock hasn’t been back in the playoffs since 2009.

Brasile hopes that with an experienced group this season, the Blue Streaks can restore an old tradition by returning to the postseason this fall.

“There’s a lot of pride in the football community here in Woodstock,” Brasile said. “Being born and raised here, I know what that pride is, and I hope we can get that back and bring back that tradition, that tradition never graduates. We’ve got a good group to start that new tradition this year.”

Brasile will have more players to instill that tradition into. The Woodstock football program had 90 players come out this summer, 30 more than last year.

Woodstock missed the playoffs last season with a 4-5 record. The Blue Streaks picked up wins against Limestone, Harvard, Ottawa and Woodstock North, but in their five losses, Woodstock lost by an average of 38.8 points per game.

The varsity team will feature an experienced group led by 28 seniors, who have taken the lead this summer in teaching newcomers how to compete at the varsity level.

The veteran experience already has proved to be important with coaches focusing on working specific schemes instead of spending time teaching the basics. Seniors like Jack Raymond value the importance of knowing what to do in certain situations and know it’ll help the team achieve its goal of heading back to the playoffs.

“All the experience, it helps with so much not having to learn the little things,” Raymond said. “We know how to play football, we’ve seen it before, we’ve done it before. Once we understand the baseline things, we can dive a lot deeper into scheme calls and plan against.”

Senior Jackson Lyons will step in to start at quarterback, replacing the graduated Liam Mickle. Lyons played different wide receiver positions and safety last season. Brasile said he has seen growth and cohesion between Lyons and his receiving corps this offseason.

Woodstock's Adriane Perry (35) and Aiden Johnson jump in the air to celebrate a succesful play during a scrimmage against Crystal Lake Central during a 7 on 7 football practice held on Thursday, July 21, 2022 at Crystal Lake Central High School. Ryan Rayburn for Shaw Local

Running backs Kaden Sandoval and Adrian Perry and wide receiver Caden Monti all return and provide experience, while junior Spencer Cullum will join the Blue Streaks at wide receiver after excelling on the basketball team.

“They’ve meshed really, really well,” Brasile said. “We’ve got quite a few receivers back from last year. They’re going to be ready and throw the ball around a little bit.”

Raymond returns at linebacker after he earned Kishwaukee River/Interstate 8 White All-Conference honors last season. The senior tore his ACL during a 7-on-7 after last season but is set to compete when the season starts.

Aiden Johnson will play middle linebacker while Monti will play at safety as the defense continues to build its identity.

“They’re really starting to come to their own with realizing what they want that defense to be,” Brasile said.

Woodstock’s journey season starts Aug. 26 against Rochelle. While the players have taken a week-by-week attitude and don’t really want to focus on anything else during the week, the Blue Streaks know what’s at stake if they bring back a tradition that’s been gone since 2009.

“That would be insane,” Raymond said of being the team to bring Woodstock back to the playoffs. “I couldn’t even describe the feeling. Bringing the town back since 2009, putting us back on the boards, Woodstock is legit now. We’re not a 3-6 team. This is it.”