Crystal Lake South senior Brad Walovitch needs a good nickname.
Right now, his teammates just call him Wally. But when you’re the team’s starting kicker, punter, kick returner, punt returner, wide receiver and defensive back like Walovitch is for the Gators, you probably deserve something more.
Kp>Jose Oquendo was labeled “The Secret Weapon” because he was able to play every position in baseball. Kordell Stewart was called “Slash” because of his versatile ability on a football field. Walovitch could be “Mr. Everything” or “The Roster”.
For now, the multi-positioned Walovitch will have to be content with being the ESPNChicago.com Prep Athlete of the Week.
“We feel we can play him anywhere, but in the line probably,” Crystal Lake South coach Chuck Ahsmann said. “He probably averages 40 offensive plays and 60 defensive plays and however many special teams’ plays. What kid doesn’t want to be on the football field all the time and help his team any way he can?”
Walovitch, who is 5-11 and 175 pounds, isn’t complaining. If anything, he’d like to actually play more. As of now, Ahsmann tries to get Walovitch a breather for a couple offensive series a game.
Walovitch would love the opportunity to play every down in a game just to see if he could.
“I think I could do it,” Walovitch said. “I definitely like the challenge. That means the coaches have enough faith in me to contribute.
“I just want to help the team as much as I can. Offense, defense or special teams, whatever areas help the team the most. I like to have as much responsibility as I can.”
Walovitch has been playing every position for so long that he doesn’t think of it as anything unique. He was a soccer player growing up, so the kicking and punting duties were natural to him. Plus, he has speed and good hands, so it was only fitting for him to play wide receiver and defensive back and return kicks.
Ahsmann realizes playing Walovitch everywhere and so often in a game has to take away from his output.
“Playing both ways and all those special teams affects his play,” Ahsmann said. “He would probably be a better corner, a better receiver if he played one side of the ball. But we play our best kids as much as possible. It’s a different philosophy than most places.”
It’s hard to argue with Crystal Lake South’s success. The Gators won the Fox Valley Valley last season, went 11-1 and reached the Class 6A state quarterfinals. This season they’re 4-0, ranked in the top 20 and primed for another state playoff run.
As the Gators have won this season, Walovitch has found various ways to help. He’s tied for most receptions on the team. He has six interceptions, which is among the state’s leaders, and one defensive touchdown. He has one kickoff return touchdown. He kicked a 51-yard field goal to defeat rival Cary-Grove. Plus, he’s an accurate punter.
“He’s just a really good high school player,” Ahsmann said. “I think outside of that he’s a great kid. He’s one of the better-liked kids in the school. He’s one of those kids you love to have around.”
Yep, sounds like Mr. Everything.