Rams football enters a new era

The GCHS football program finished out their season as a sweet sixteen team in our division.

Ian Cunningham, Sports Editor

This November, Grayslake Central’s varsity football team advanced to the IHSA postseason for the first time since 2011. The Rams won their first postseason game versus the Belvidere North Blue Lightning. The game ended in a 27-22 score, and affirmed them as a sweet sixteen team in their class. The team went on to play in the second round of playoffs on Friday, November 5 at home versus the undefeated Cary-Grove. The Rams came up short with a 55-27 score.

Although the Rams did not advance as far as fans would have liked to see, it is still important to recognize all of the success the Rams have had this season. The Rams had a very productive regular season, winning seven out of their nine games. The season started out with a home game win against Grayslake North. “Beating our rivals for the cross-town trophy at home… which is one of our major goals, is fun,” said varsity football head coach Michael Maloney.

Football Sweatshirt
Postseason sweatshirts feature championship goals. (Ian Cunningham)

The Rams worked hard throughout the season to put the pressure on opponents both offensively and defensively. When asked about the game day experience, Maloney said “Grayslake Central has a very intimate environment when you come to play here. I would like our stadium to be one of the feared places that opponents don’t want to come to play because we are right there; we’re loud, we’re ruckus, we’re on top of you, and we play good football.”

This proved true as the team went on to win all but two games against conference opponents. Regular season wins included home games versus Hubbard, Grayslake North, Grant, Round Lake, Lakes, and away games versus Mundelein and North Chicago.

Football has put on a record breaking season for Ram fans this year, making the IHSA playoffs for the first time in 10 years. Notably, Darryl Overstreet surpassed the previous GCHS record for passing yards with 1,827 passing yards during the regular season. Overstreet finished out the season with 17 passing touchdowns. He has caught the attention of the Chicago Tribune and Daily Herald, all while being a senior leader on the team.

“Darryl Overstreet, our quarterback, has been the starting quarterback for three years. He’s going to go down in school history as statistically the best quarterback to ever take the field for the Rams, ever,” Maloney said. The coaching staff have worked with athletes throughout the season to develop a culture that has pushed the team to succeed.

“The culture has been transformed to an expectation of hard work, discipline, and accountability, [which] leads to success,” continued Maloney, “our standards of preparation, behavior, commitment to excellence on and off the field… are the reason why the program is in a different spot than when I took over.”

On Nov. 5, senior Darryl Overstreet throws a pass in the last game of the season at Eiserman Stadium versus Cary-Grove. (Ian Cunningham)

The season would not be the same without the tremendous support the GCHS community has poured out for Rams football this year.

“The energy, the emotion, and investment in the fan base has been outstanding, and our kids feed off of that. From the band to the cheerleaders, the dancers, the support staff, gang green, fans, parents, football family club, it’s been really awesome,” Maloney said.

Maloney goes on to talk about the future of Rams football; the future is bright for the program.

“I am hoping that we are transforming our program into a consistent winner, and that the expectations are high. Fans can come to the field and understand that we will be a good football team year in and year out.”

No matter how the season came to an end, Maloney and the rest of the team are excited to bring Rams fans continued success in the following years. You can look forward to horned helmets streaking down the field in 2022.