Mike McGrew probably has spent more time on the bench than any other All- State quarterback.
That's because Mt. Carmel, shooting for its fourth straight state title Saturday, had so many runaway victories that McGrew's day often was over by the third quarter.
Yet rather than complain about the lost opportunity to compile glittering statistics, McGrew would huddle with the second- and third-string quarterbacks for advice and encouragement. "He`s the ultimate team player," said Mt. Carmel coach Frank Lenti.
"No doubt his performance has been overshadowed by our defense (nine shutouts). In our last 11 games, he only played once into the fourth quarter. I'd come over to pull him and the first thing he did was tell his replacement what needed to be done.
"I feel I did a disservice to him: I didn't allow him to build up stats for any All-State or all-area recognition. But the greatest thing about him is that he didn`t care."
But winning has a way of focusing its own special spotlight on individuals who selflessly blend in for the good of the entire production. And these are the players who headline the Tribune`s All-State Football Team.
Eight members of this football honor roll will lead their teams into state championship games this weekend at Illinois State. McGrew is the second- team quarterback behind Buffalo Grove's Mike Rudolph, who passed for 2,125 yards and 13 touchdowns en route to being named the Mid-Suburban League North Division's Player of the Year. Joining McGrew on the second team is defensive back Don Veronesi, while
is a first-team selection on the defensive line.
In quest of its sixth state title, East St. Louis will throw three All-Staters at Glenbard North in Saturday's Class 6A showdown. Running back Chris Moore is expected to establish all-time state records in career rushing yardage and career rushing TDs. Tight end Dennis Stallings and offensive lineman Derrick Eldridge will be paving the way. Foremost among the defenders will be All-State defensive back Tim Miller, who doubles as Glenbard North's quarterback.
In Class 4A, Bloomington All-State lineman Carlos Profit (6-0, 230) will anchor a defense that hopes to derail an unbeaten Providence ballclub powered by three all-Chicago area selections-offensive linemen Todd O'Dell (5-11, 251) and Harley Roesler (6-3, 255) and wide receiver Greg Keigher.
Two other all-area choices will be busy at Hancock Stadium in Saturday's Class 5A finale. Wheaton Central's dynamic little running back Adam Clemens (5-6, 150) and hard-hitting safety Ray Schnurstein (5-8, 175) will try to help their team pull off its David-and-Goliath act one last time against Mt. Carmel after toppling Richards and Joliet Catholic.
There is size all up and down the All-State first team. Simeon's William Scott will make some college coach very happy with his 6-5, 290-pound stature. The offensive line also features Deerfield's Bryan Jurewicz (6-6, 252), Pekin's Ian Davis (6-6, 265), Loyola's Steve Misetic (6-5, 260) and Oswego's Chad Pugh (6-4, 255).
Three of the linebackers are big enough to play in the pros, including the Richards duo of Bob O'Connor (6-2, 227) and Chris Koeppen (6-1, 225) along with Belleville East's Matt Russell (6-2, 230). Koeppen, who had 128 tackles, five interceptions and seven sacks this season, is Richards' leading all-time tackler. Rounding out the foursome is Homewood-Flossmoor's Ed Ramos, whom Andrew coach Mike O'Neill calls "probably the best defensive player in the Chicago area."
Perhaps the state's most elusive receiver was Palatine's Eddie Solis, who was virtually impossible to cover with man-to-man defenses. One of the most dangerous receivers was Morris' Ryan Sylvester with his 4.5-second speed over 40 yards. Both totaled more than 1,000 pass-catching yards this fall.
If there was anyone who could've slowed those two down, it would've been the trio of defensive backs Mike McKibben of Andrew, Jamie Baisley of Loyola and Miller. The 6-3, 205-pound Baisley is described as the hardest-hitting defensive back in the state. McKibben plays with such intensity that his coach, O'Neill, says: "He is a gentleman off the field, but on the field, he plays with those
Naperville North defensive lineman Paul Marshall and Thornton's Stirling Luckey were living nightmares for offensive linemen this season. Luckey was so talented that Thornton coach Bill Mosel deployed him as a down lineman, standing up and all around. The 6-4, 220-pounder responded with 44 tackles, 65 assists, 13 sacks, three fumble recoveries, eight pass deflections and one safety.
"Paul Marshall is one of the greatest pass rushers in the state," said Naperville North coach Larry McKeon. "He attracted double-team blocking on almost every play and still forced the opposition to run in the other direction."