They may not play under the lights, in front of packed student sections or for the promise of postseason play, but athletes on the junior varsity level know that their time to shine could be right around the corner.
With the possibility of a late-season call-up, or a shot at varsity next year, the prospects for a budding underclassman are endless as they suit up for games.
With each year comes a group of graduating seniors, leaving behind rosters spots to fill. And, with the countless hours of hard work, many of these athletes are destined to advance to the varsity level.
We contacted each school through its athletic administration and asked for information on their JV teams. Here's what we heard back:
Just like its varsity counterpart, Glenelg had a very successful season, finishing 7-2-1.
The offense, which averaged 17.4 points per game, was led by quarterbacks Michael Autry and Clint Hostler, who were calm and collected under center. Running backs Trey Davis, Jey Berko and Noah Williamson, who ran hard every play and gained extra yards after first contact, along with fullback Hayden Dice, who provided excellent lead blocking while making big gains on a few carries himself, led the ground game. Reliable wide receivers Carson Marshall, Daniel Kivioja and Garrett Gravanda gave the offense a vertical dimension, and linemen Trae Folkman, Orien Kaiser, Jamie Cooch, Nick Palaganas and Dakota Davis gave the passing game time and space.
The Gladiators defense was tough, physical and smart and allowed only 6.1 points per game with five shutouts.
Up front, Doug Brackins, Nick Palaganas, Joey Cooch, Zach Palaganas, Brian Doughty, Gravanada, Kivioja, Brian Olive and Ryan Bacon did a great job shutting down the opposing running game for most of the year.
Linebackers Dice, Berko, Williamson and Ben Harris plugged holes, while the secondary of Autry, Marshall, Trey Davis, Christian Considine, Ben Rafferty and Connor Stanley kept everyone in front of them to prevent big plays down the field.
"After a tough loss to a very good Howard team, the guys responded by going 4-0 over the next four weeks and outscored their opponents 107-15 in that span," coach Joe Derwent said.
Although Hammond didn't win a game this year after a very talented 2012 JV (8-2) sent many players up the varsity, the Golden Bears were able to pull lots of positives from their 2013 campaign.
Nikari Lodge was the team's all-purpose running back, shouldering most of the load on offense and scoring most of Hammond's touchdowns. Mike Newkirk was the heart and soul of the team, and its emotional leader. Quarterback Aaron Workman had a strong arm, but was also a threat to run every time he dropped back. Stanley Springer was a dual-threat and had become arguably the team's most dangerous offensive weapon by the end of the season. Although he was only a freshman, Lincoln Ikwubuo was one of the team's most respected leaders in the huddle and in the locker room. Gideon Fobb finished the season as one of the Golden Bears' surest tacklers and often came through with great hits in the open field in isolated coverage.
"We are most proud of the fact that we were extremely young and inexperienced this year and yet we stuck together … Although the season was emotionally taxing, our players remained optimistic, they studied film and competed hard each week," head coach Malcolm Anderson said. "We are extremely encouraged by the quality of players that we have coming back next year … stronger, more confident and with a better understanding of the system. Expect great things for the future of Hammond football."
Howard had an outstanding season, finishing 10-0 for the second year in a row. Although 27 of its 45 players were freshmen, all were good athletes, leading the Lions to score 24 points per game.
Sophomore fullback Dominic Umstot blocked and ran hard every game to lead the offense. Freshmen wingbacks Torrell Watson and Demarco Kennedy, and sophomore Jordan Adkins were all big threats in the running game, with Watson's inside game complementing the outside speed of Kennedy and Adkins.
Freshman Nick Sheahin and sophomore Cameron Carlyle were the team's deep threats all year long.
Freshman Michael Whitford and sophomore Casey Crawford combined to lead the team at quarterback, with dual threat Whitford winning the first six games and Crawford pitching in down the stretch to win the final four. The switch allowed Whitford to get valuable time at wingback and receiver.
The Lions' defense allowed only 49 points all season, earning five shutouts.
Leading tacklers were Dominic Umstot, Brandon Watts, Conner Williams, Donny Place, Corey Andrews, Dimeji Olayinka and Cameron Hooper.