The defending city champion Simeon Wolverines are well on their way to winning the Chicago Public League Illini Red Bird Conference, and possibly having a perfect regular season record. The Wolverines are 5-0 with three games remaining.
The defending city champion Simeon Wolverines are well on their way to winning the Chicago Public League Illini Red Bird Conference, and possibly having a perfect regular season record. The Wolverines are 5-0 with three games remaining. The season started out well for Simeon as they defeated Catholic League powerhouse Mount Carmel 47-41 in the first game of the season at Soldier Field. The win over such a quality opponent set the tone for the rest of the season and gave them the confidence that they can beat any given team. “Beating Mount Carmel let the players know that you can do whatever you put your mind to, and that you’re capable of beating any of the powerhouse teams,” said first-year head coach Dante Culbreath. Culbreath has been an assistant head coach for five years and he knows Simeon football well, having played for them in the 1990’s. The team is loaded with offensive talent, having scored more than 40 points in all their games. But it will take more than athletic talent to win when the going gets tough. “The will and the desire to get it done is more important … athleticism is good but that’s gonna run out, and when that runs out you’ve got to have something else that can carry you and that’s the will, and character, and discipline,” Culbreath said. And there are a host of talented athletes on the Wolverines on both sides of the ball. Offensively they get excellent production form their running backs and receivers, but it all starts with junior quarterback Robert Gregory, a mobile QB, who’s also proven to be a good decision maker in Simeon’s option offense. “It’s a natural thing for him,” Culbreath said. “He’s makes good decisions and he’s been around football for a very long time.” Gregory is a scintillating and effective runner and passer, but he also does the less glamorous job of kicking and punting, and he takes his kicking seriously. “Real programs have kickers and we’ve got a lot of them,” Gregory said. “We don’t have to always go for two point conversions – it’s a waste of energy when you can have somebody come in and kick an extra point.” Senior running back Horatio Banks is another dynamic player for Simeon who carries a lot of the offensive load. Banks is a runner that utilizes elusiveness and power, but most of all speed. “Speed kills,” said Banks. “It feels good to get a long run after taking so much pounding. I love to get into the secondary.” Banks has a lot of athletic ability, but it’s his determination on every run that sets him apart and allows him to keep the chains moving forward for the Wolverines. He’s had many runs this season where he appeared to be stopped, only to keep churning for more yardage. “I keep playing until the whistle blows. I keep turning my feet until the play is completely over,” Banks said. Simeon has put up a lot of points this season (248 in the first five games) and they do it in an exciting manner. The offense is so overwhelming that the defense, which has had two shutouts and held the last four opponents to a total of 28 points, is sometimes overshadowed. “Our defense gets kind of overlooked because we’ve got so many offensive stars and we put up so many points, but our defense is good too,” said cornerback Demarius Reed. “Our defense is good because we go against our offense everyday in practice,” said Reed. “We’ve got one of the best offenses in the state, so going against them everyday makes us better.” The way Simeon has been playing it might appear that they are at the top of their game, but that is not the case from Reed’s point of view. “We’ve got some more work to do. We haven’t reached our maximum potential, but if we keep working hard we’ll be there once the playoffs start,” he said. And this year the Wolverines won’t be fulfilled unless they get a class 8A state championship. “Our one goal is to win state – that’s what we play for,” Banks said. “It’s never been done before and we want to make history.” Copyright 2010 Chicago Defender (Defender/Worsom Robinson)