It was a proud week for Coach Badke and the Brother Rice football family, as five senior players received all-Catholic League honors for this past regular season. These include offensive lineman Nick Zawaski, defensemen Mark Tilkes, defensive linemen Marcus Cheatom and Brian Craft, and quarterback Matt Page. Furthermore, Craft and Page were named to the all-area team of the Southtown Star local newspaper. This recognition is a testament not only to the hard work of the individual players, but also their coaches and teammates who helped them along the way.
“The coaching staff has been excellent all year preparing me and my teammates for our opponents,” said Page. He also credits his offensive line, his receivers, and the team’s running game for playing major roles in his success. “I would be nowhere without my coaches and teammates.”
Coach Badke’s spread offense certainly impacted Page tremendously, setting his powerful right arm free to make big plays for his team throughout the season. As his high school football career is slowly coming to an end, Page does have some basic plans for his future, as he wants to attend college and study in the field of business.
On the other side of the ball, the Crusader defense has played an enormous role in the team’s success thus far. Lineman Brian Craft has led the charge up front, but he has not done it alone.
“My pre-season goals included being one of the more dominant players on our defense,” said Craft. “Coach Badke showed me and my team that staying together and discipline are important factors in being successful.
“Being recognized as an all-area player shows me that all the hard work paid off. I love playing this game and being nominated for all-area gives me motivation to work even harder because I now see what dedication can bring you.”
Craft also wants to play college football and study in the field of engineering.
Though the Crusaders have fallen out of contention in the state playoffs, their season continues on. After last week’s bye, Rice will face Hales Franciscan High School in the Prep Bowl playoffs on Saturday morning at Gary Little Stadium. Though winning the Prep Bowl is not quite like winning a state title, Coach Badke and his team look forward to every week they are able to play another game of football.