Returning Sandburg football players Yanni Demogerontas and Michael Howard share the same goal – to win a state championship. Head coach Dave Wierzal said that Demogerontas is being recruited by Division I schools, while Howard is a leader who had a great offseason.
Names: Yanni Demogerontas and Michael Howard
Age/year in school (incoming): Seniors
Hometown: Orland Park
Position: Left tackle (Demogerontas); nose tackle (Howard)
How long have you played football? 9 years (Demogerontas); 11 years (Howard).
What do you love most about football?
Demogerontas: The Friday night atmosphere. It’s a great feeling with the band marching us out onto the field and seeing the stands filled with people cheering us on.
Howard: The feeling I get before every game. Walking out on the field with my teammates while the crowd is cheering and the lights are shining is unlike anything else.
What are your goals for the upcoming season? How will you achieve them?
Demogerontas: The ultimate goal is to win a state championship but we have to maintain focus throughout the season and take it one game at a time.
Howard: My only goal is to win a state championship. Anything less would be a disappointment. We can achieve this goal if everybody on the team believes that a state championship is possible and if we come out every week and play to our full potential.
How do you motivate yourself to train during the summer?
Demogerontas: The desire to play college football [is] what gets me up every day to work whether it’s in the gym or on the practice field with my teammates.
Howard: I just think about how my competition isn’t taking a day off, so I know I can’t.
Who has inspired you most in your athletic endeavors?
Demogerontas: Michael Jordan’s story about how he was cut from his high school basketball team. It shows that if you have great work ethic, [it] will take you far in life.
Howard: All of my coaches I’ve ever had in my life. They, along with my parents, have made me who I am today.
If you didn’t play football, what would you be doing?
Demogerontas: I would definitely play basketball.
Howard: I’d probably be playing basketball, or maybe play an instrument. I’ve always wanted to learn the harmonica.
What’s the best part about summer in Orland Park?
Demogerontas: I enjoy the nice weather and going out to eat all of the time with my friends.
Howard: Just being with the guys from the team and hanging out. There’s a lot to do here.
Who is your favorite athlete and why?
Demogerontas: Ndamukong Suh [Detroit Lions defensive tackle]. It fascinates me how a 300-pound man can bend and move and be as athletic as he is.
Howard: Jadeveon Clowney [University of South Carolina defensive end]. He is so dominant on the defensive line and a freak athlete. He’s also very humble.
How do you beat the heat during workouts?
Demogerontas: I pretty much just drink lots of water and ignore the heat.
Howard: The heat doesn’t really bother me. I make sure I stay hydrated. My dad served in Iraq for 18 months so if he got through that, I can get through a three-hour football practice.
Favorite quote or words to live by:
Howard: “Don’t quit. Suffer now and live the rest of your life as a champion.” – Muhammad Ali
Profile edited by Lauren Comitor. Local coaches who would like to see an athlete featured in TribLocal should email email@example.com.