Football: Burdelik likes being back in Maine South offense
Maine South's Sean Sullivan, Victor Nelson and Frank Colletti hold the Hawks' third championship trophy in a row after beating Mount Carmel last November. Assistant coach Rick Magsamen was defensive coordinator for all three championships. | Joel Lerner~Sun-Times Media
Updated: July 29, 2012 4:41PM
Clay Burdelik and football are like burgers and fries.
It’s hard to have one without the other.
That’s why last season was so hard on him.
Promoted to Maine South’s varsity as a sophomore, Burdelik played exclusively on defense as a safety because there was no room for him on the other side of the ball.
But Burdelik, a rising junior, is more than ready to return to the offensive backfield, now that firecracker running back Paul Preston is off to Winona State.
“It was tough,” Burdelik said of waiting his turn. “It was different not having the ball in my hands. Paul was a fantastic running back, and it’s always tough to unseat a senior. I learned a lot from him, but I am looking forward to getting the ball back.”
If all works out in his favor, Burdelik will be another in a line of recent standout running backs for the Hawks, who have been best known for their quarterbacks.
“I didn’t know Matt (Perez) too well, but he was the greatest high school player I ever saw,” Burdelik said of the Indiana running back who won two state championships with the Hawks. “I also learned a lot from Paulie. He was so quick, but he has different strengths than I do. He taught me to do what you can do and don’t worry about what you can’t do.”
It’s no secret that Maine South’s offense this season will revolve around quarterback Matt Alviti, a Northwestern recruit.
Burdelik, a 5-foot-9, 180-pounder, thinks that will work in his favor.
“Every team will have a game plan to stop him,” Burdelik said. “That leaves me and the other running backs some opportunities. Hopefully, I can take advantage of it. It’s a huge advantage to be able to play with a star like Matt. He’s a very smart football player. He led his team to the state title as a sophomore. I look forward to playing next to him.”
Although he’s a relative newcomer to the offense, Burdelik isn’t afraid to make mistakes. In fact, he welcomes any challenge that might expose his weaknesses.
“I’m always learning,” he said. “I look forward to playing against guys who can help me pick up different moves. This is the offseason. I’m always taking mental notes.”