Central Success Will Rely Heavily on Senior Class
It has been a couple seasons since the Burlington Central Rockets have had a date to play football in week 10. Head coach Aaron Wichman is looking to fill that 10th week of the season with a playoff football game this fall. "Want to return to the playoffs, play for a conference championship," Wichman said.
Last year's team finished, (3-6), but the Rockets defense gave up more than 16 points in just four of their nine games. Five opponents in 2009 were playoff qualifers, including semifinalist Richmond-Burton.
Three offensive lineman are back, including all-conference pick Dominic LoPiccolo (6'0" 230 Sr.). Joining him in the trenches are; Thomas Juns (5'10" 240 Sr.) and Brent Sunderlage (5'11" 210 Sr.). All-Conference running back Tre Llanes (5'11" 175 Sr.) is joined in the backfield by Tim Maroder (5'10" 180 Sr.), who rushed for 600 yards and six touchdowns last year, and Brandon Westergaard (5'10" 160 Sr.). Michael Kellenberger (6'1" 175 Sr.) is back at Wide Receiver.
On defense, All-Conference Defensive Back, Michael Kellenberger returns at Cornerback. Also in the secondary, are Safeties Tim Maroder and Brandon Westergaard. Jeremy Dexter (6'2" 190 Sr.) and Brian Peltonen (5'11" 180 Sr.) are back on the defensive line.
With the amount of players back with experience, the Rockets will be expecting big things from their veteran upperclassmen. "Many returning starters and a lot of experience. Senior class needs to prove themselves on the varsity level," Wichman said.
Newcomers at Burlington Central will be; Al Willett (5'10" 160 Jr.), Chandler Crary (6'0" 170 Jr.), Ryan Ritchie (5'11" 160 So.), and Joel Lopez (6'3" 235 So.).
The brutal schedule will be back once again, in the rugged Big Northern Conference. "(The Big Northern) is perennially one of the toughest in the state for schools their size. Hampshire, Harvard, Richmond-Burton, Marengo, and North Boone are all quality opponents. Last season, Richmond-Burton won the league outright, (5-0), just ahead of Harvard, (4-1).
Aaron Wichman has been at Burlington Central for six years, compiling a (31-29) record, and taking the Rockets to the IHSA Playoffs in three of those seasons. He coached one season at Elgin (3-6), bringing his overall coaching record to, (34-35).
The assistant coaches this fall are; Jeff Herman, Ryan Lyle, Rich Crabel, Doug Remrey, and Kevin Blum.
Since 1974, the Rockets have finished above .500 in 28 of the 36 seasons.
The program's record since 1974 is, 219-128, a winning percentage of, (.631).
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