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Evergreen Park didn’t reach its ultimate goal of winning a state championship.
The Mustangs dropped a 23-7 decision to Alleman on Saturday in the Class 4A semifinals.
Still, the loss can’t diminish what the Mustangs achieved this season, according to coach Dan Hartman.
“We wanted to get to the championship, but no one picked us to go this far,” said Hartman, who just completed his second season at Evergreen Park. “I told the seniors, you’re probably the most successful group to ever come out of Evergreen Park. You advanced to the quarterfinals last season and the semifinals this season.
“They played hard until the end and have nothing to hang their heads about. It was an incredible experience.”
Evergreen Park will lose quite a few key pieces heading into next season. Offensively, quarterback Brandon White, running back T.J. Eames, receivers Paul Romano and Mike Reuter and linemen DaQua Gatewood, Andy Piet, Pat VanSlette and Dan Duh have to be replaced.
Defensively, linemen Kyle Venhuizen, Andre Martin and Tyler Stanton and defensive back Jack Ryan will depart. Gatewood, Venhuizen, Piet and Romano also played defense.
“We have some holes we’re going to have to fill,” Hartman said. “But we have some juniors who started coming back and other juniors who are going to get a chance to fill spots. We also have a sophomore team that was 8-1. So there will be competition.”
Offensively, running back KeyShawn Carpenter and receiver Jacquet McClendon, a Division I talent, return, providing a solid foundation.
Nick Knieps will anchor the offensive line.
Tremane Holt will return to the defensive line, while the majority of the secondary — Dan Oresky, Don Oresky and Tim Walsh — comes back.
All-Area team unveiled Thanksgiving Day
Continuing a tradition, the SouthtownStar All-Area Football Team will be published on Thanksgiving Day.
The 50-member team will be honored at 6:30 p.m. on Dec. 12 at Georgio’s Banquets.