Loyola’s freshmen teams are where many of the student-athletes first meet each other and get schooled on the ins and outs of the football program. Freshmen teams are the foundation. The Freshman A team, led by head coach Greg Jacobson, finished 7-2 and won the Catholic Blue championship at 4-0. The Freshman B team, coached by Steve Berceau, also finished 7-2.
“John is a unique coach,” Jacobson said of Loyola varsity head coach John Holecek. “His first concern is not with us winning championships. It’s about inspiring the players to play and teach the fundamentals. Of course, we want to have success, too. But it’s about learning the techniques and terminology. We want to be as close to what the varsity does as possible.”
Here is a look at the players from both teams who earned season-ending awards.
Most Valuable Offensive Player — Trevor Cabanban, RB
Jacobson’s comment: Big things come in small packages. He was our fastest player, but he always was taking hits by bigger players. He was a dynamic player. I think he had 10 runs of more than 60 yards. He also was unselfish, a team player.
Most Valuable Defensive Player — Peter Gianaris, NG
Jacobson’s comment: Very intense, very physical football player. He’s a wrestler, and he was one of a few players who could go both players because he had the stamina. In addition to defense, he played offensive guard.
John Hoerster Coaches Award — Jackson Nimesheim, FS
Jacobson’s comment: Despite his smaller size, he was able to make a difference because of his football knowledge and his intensity. He definitely was one of our leaders, both vocally and by example. He was someone who always was helping his teammates out.
Most Valuable Offensive Player — Owen Zidar, QB
Berceau’s comment: A very disciplined and responsible athlete. One of the last to leave the locker room each day while attending to the small details, such as accounting for the balls and participating in additional quarterback drills. He improved each week and made our passing game a strength of the team. He had great touch and command of the offense. A true student of the game.
Most Valuable Defensive Player — Billy Sullivan, LB
Berceau’s comment: Billy gave us outstanding hustle and effort on every play. He never quit, either in practice or in a game. He was undersized, but he was very tough. He consistently made big plays and big hits. You could always count on him to do his job.
John Hoerster Coaches Award — Jake Holecek, LB/Luke Zitella, DT
Berceau’s comment: Both of these guys were humble, selfless players. Each in his own way was a great and supportive teammate. If a teammate was confused about something, these two would help him out. They also were impactful players. Grinders. They came up with big plays at key moments.