Defenses brush up at WSC 7-on-7

Oak Park-River Forest's Jacob Lintvelt is making the transition from backup quarterback to linebacker this summer. | George M. Wilcox~Sun-Times Media.
Senior Michael Fassero is the favorite to start at safety for Hinsdale South. | George M. Wilcox~Sun-Times Media.
Leyden's Will Napier hopes to start at linebacker this fall. | George M. Wilcox~Sun-Times Media.
Senior A.J. Villareal is trying to balance football with wrestling this summer. | George M. Wilcox~Sun-Times Media.

Jacob Lintvelt is entering his third varsity season with Oak Park-River Forest and this fall he could make his greatest impact.

Lintvelt hasn’t received a lot of playing time the past two seasons. Due to injuries, he made his first appearance at quarterback as a sophomore, but rarely entered the game last season once sophomore Lloyd Yates established himself as OPRF’s starting quarterback of the future.

Lintvelt is still receiving his share of snaps as a backup quarterback, but now that Yates is entrenched as the starter, Lintvelt needed to find a new position entering his final season. He left that decision to coach John Hoerster and the rest of the Huskies’ coaching staff.

Fortunately for the Huskies, the 5-foot-11, 192-pound Lintvelt is athletic. He was eventually selected to fill a huge need at linebacker — the Huskies lost all three starters from last season.

“I was lifting over the winter and decided to ask coach Hoerster (about my role),” Lintvelt said. “I wanted to play the best position (I could) on the field. Hoerster said, ‘Talk to (linebackers) coach Paul Collins.’ Since the first day of summer practice, he has taken me under his wing.”

Lintvelt has been impressive on the field this summer. Not only is he getting a look at linebacker for the first time, he also is catching passes as a receiver and returning punts on special teams. He could be one of the few Huskies players to never come off the field this fall.

“I think it’s fun, especially since it was when I played peewee football when I last played linebacker,” Lintvelt said. “I thought I had lost that aggressiveness. I always I knew I could pass the football. I helps that it’s a challenge that I can go back to those (linebacker) roots.”

OPRF was among the 10 teams participating in the annual West Suburban 7-on-7 Challenge July 11 at Addison Trail. While the scrimmage usually features offensive players, Lintvelt was among the defensive players hoping to work on their game in a series of unofficial games.

The only WSC teams that didn’t attend were Hinsdale Central, Willowbrook, Proviso East and West.


Leyden senior linebacker Will Napier enjoys participating in 7-on-7s. Eagles coach John Cerasani schedules at least one for every two or three weeks during the summer.

“It gives us a chance to check out our opponent,” said Napier, a Melrose Park resident. “We get to see what we want to do.”

The Eagles ended the West Suburban 7-on-7 with a scrimmage against Glenbard West, which is rebuilding after winning the Class 7A state championship last year.

“Personally, I like to work on my man-to-man (coverage),” Napier said. “I’m not all that great. (Seven-on-seven) is a bonus for me. I get to work on that.”


Lyons senior linebacker A.J. Villareal is in line for a starting job for the first time after backing up Pat Kelly last season.

He’s trying to work football around summer wrestling tournaments. Villareal placed sixth at 152 pounds at last year’s Class 3A state wrestling meet and this summer is wrestling freestyle at 160 pounds for La Grange-based Beebe-Trained club.

He will focus again on football after he returns after spending this week in Fargo, N.D., for the USA Junior Nationals.

“I try to miss as little football as possible,” Villareal said. “I know the game situations (for 7-on-7s). It’s good for me to work on things here and there. There is no better way to look at (game) situations.”


New Hinsdale South safety Mike Fassero, a Darien resident, is relearning a position he last played as a freshman at Mount Carmel. Fassero did not play football as a sophomore.

After transferring, he was a reserve running back for the Hornets last season and now is tapped to replace graduate Tavaris Binion at safety.

“I’m familiar with playing strong safety at Mount Carmel — you have two safeties as players,” Fassero said. “At Hinsdale South, we have one safety. There is a lot more ground to cover. I can’t wait to see all of our hard work pay off this season. I look forward to the season a lot.”

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