CRYSTAL LAKE – Prairie Ridge’s Tyler Vasey has managed to find the silver lining despite suffering two major injuries in back-to-back seasons.
“I know the plays better now,” Vasey said. “I’ve played almost all of the positions in the offense, so I kind of know what everyone is going to do. When I’m at quarterback, I’m confident and understand what the linemen are going to do. My confidence is way up from playing quarterback last year and being in the offense all four years.”
During the 2021 shortened spring season, Vasey excelled at wingback the first two games before breaking his collarbone and missing the final four games. That summer, while practicing to take over as the Wolves’ QB, Vasey fractured his elbow, which caused him to miss the first six games of the 2021 fall season.
Vasey underwent surgery and senior Mason Loucks thrived at quarterback in Vasey’s absence. When Vasey returned in Week 7, Loucks remained at QB and Vasey slotted into his old wingback spot in the Wolves’ triple-option offense.
Now, he will enter the 2022 season at quarterback, with a better knowledge of the playbook and hoping to stay at full strength.
“After surgery, I was surprised to come back after the six weeks,” Vasey said. “I didn’t know if I’d be all right if I fell and hit my elbow or if someone hit me in the elbow. I’m still a little worried about it and I’ll probably still patch it up a bit just to be safe.”
Wolves coach Chris Schremp is excited to have Vasey back at quarterback, not just for his on-field play, but as a leader, too.
“He’s our best athlete, so we want the ball in his hands,” Schremp said. “I expect Tyler to be making plays. Tyler making plays could be anywhere – it could be running the ball, it could be throwing the ball, it could be returns – he’s that dynamic. As a team, you’re a little more confident when he’s out there. It gives these guys a lot more confidence when they’re blocking, too. It’s fun to block for a guy like that.”
Vasey is thrilled to be a leader for his fellow teammates and is excited to share his knowledge of the game, especially with the younger kids.
“They ask a lot of questions,” Vasey said. “They’ll come up to me because they know I know most of the plays. I always like when kids come up to me and ask questions because I want them to learn their position and the details to perform to the best of their abilities. I’d rather them ask than not know.”
Senior center Henrik Nystrom is thrilled about Vasey’s return and the energy he brings.
“It makes me so excited to have him back, and hopefully he can make some magic and help us win,” Nystrom said. “He brings an energy to the team that makes it all a lot more fun than if he wasn’t around. He gets everyone excited to play.”
Vasey had nine touchdowns and rushed for 745 yards last fall. Schremp believes Vasey will be a huge asset with the speed he’s developed and the growth he’s shown on the field.
“Knowing the varsity level of competition and how to prepare for a game and what game speed is like is huge,” Schremp said. “Quarterback in any offense is tough, but especially in ours because they’re making so many decisions on the field. If he can get any kind of opening, it’s a touchdown. He’ll be the fastest guy on the field in most games.”
Vasey is proud of how his teammates have come together in the first few weeks of summer camp and is confident that the bond will be carried into Week 1 against McHenry on Aug. 26.
“The guys are always teaching and we all want the most out of everyone,” Vasey said. “It’s really cool to see all of us stepping up. We’re ready.”
Source: The Daily Chronicle