Video: Recap - Prairie Ridge vs. Sacred Heart-Griffin, 2016
See the Wolves in action as part of their undefeated season.
Imagine that feeling when the final horn sounds after a 14-0 season. That feeling that nobody could beat you. That has got to be an amazing feeling, and even better when it's the first time in school history, right?
Chris Schremp has been at Prairie Ridge (Crystal Lake, Ill.)
since the school opened 20 years ago. He was an assistant for the first five seasons, and since then, he's racked up more than 100 wins over the course of the last 15 seasons. The 2016 squad finished 14-0 and won the school's second state championship, capturing the No. 1 ranking in the state.
Schremp chatted with MaxPreps about what makes his program so successful:1. What does your program do differently from others in your league, conference or state that helped you win a state championship?
First thing is that we try to get the point across to our players that we can coach them here at the school, that I can teach them all of the X's and O's here, but it's what they are doing when they are not here that makes a difference.
The guys that are dedicated to football and to each other make all the difference for the team: dedicated in the weight room, eating healthy, staying away from parties, etc. This is one of the years that I didn't have to deal with the off-the-field issues.
The kids who buy in to being football players 24 hours a day, those are one who make up the teams that do well for us. That's something we've evolved to: teaching the kids how to handle themselves all day. What to eat, what to drink, when to go to bed. We have had very few injuries. We had zero concussions this year in our program. This is attributed to some of the things we do outside of football. I know we are going to compete statewide when I have those kids dedicated outside of practice times.
You have to be a football player 24 hours a day. That's being good citizens, doing the little things that I ask around here, caring about your teammates. We spend three days at Carthage College and we practice up there, but a lot of the time is spent doing team bonding, living together and eating together. We get a good sense after those three days what kind of team we are going to have the rest of the year. We could tell that we had a team that was dedicated to winning back in July.2. What are some things you saw this year that indicated that?
We are in an affluent area here, and the knock on us has been that Prairie Ridge isn't tough. We might not win many street fights, but we can line up and beat you in football. There are very few days that we didn't go out and get better. Our kids showed toughness when they were ready to practice, they were ready to go. Every day. That's toughness.
3. What is one piece of advice that you would give to a coach wanting to win a state championship?
I would say don't focus on winning a state championship. Your focus should be on making a team. Don't overlook the bonds with each other, coaches too. Kids have to trust kids, coaches have to trust coaches, and vice versa. It's not about the X's and O's. We are a triple option (Georgia Tech, Navy) team. In our state championship game, we only ran 10 different plays. What we did, we did really well. We threw the ball just three times the entire game. Our quarterback set the 6A state record for most rushing yards in a state championship game with 274 yards.
Our kids wanted to win for each other; I wouldn't overlook that in high school.4. Which of the special teams was most valuable this year, and why?
We had a very strong kicking game, period. I had a really good kicker. There was not one phase that outshined the other. We were really solid all the way around. We do a lot of different alignments, different fakes, etc.
We were rock solid, mistake free. We forced teams into making mistakes by some of the odd formations that we do. We always make sure to have a great kicker and a great snapper. That's a big part of being solid all the way around. I just told our head freshman coach to identify his long snapper and kicker the first few days, and then develop them. 5. Do you incorporate some type of leadership development within your football program?
We've gotten away from a formal program. Our big push the last couple of years has been "Life of an Athlete" by John Underwood. We call it "Wolf Way," we are the Wolves. It's a program that shows you what the effects of alcohol and drugs have on your playing, how it can affect the workout. That's something our kids have really bought in to. It has opened their eyes to how one night of drinking can effect one workout. That has made a huge impact on what our kids are doing, especially during the season.
6. Who do you consider to be your main mentor in this profession and what about that coach do you try to emulate in your program?
Two guys who are in the IASA Hall of Fame. The guy who taught me the option and the X's and O's, a guy named Bill Mack, was a coach here in our town at Crystal Lake Central. He is known as the option guru in our area. We would meet in his kitchen and go over different phases of the option, and he would eventually join my staff. I owe a lot to him. He taught me a lot about the X's and O's, and how to run practices. We just happened to meet up one day in town and hit it off. Another guy is Grant Blaney, from Buffalo Grove High School. Grant taught me on a daily basis how to deal with kids, how to teach kids. Not the getting in their face and yell and scream. Chris Fore is a veteran Head Football Coach and Athletic Director from Southern California. He consults coaches and programs nationwide through his business Eight Laces Consulting.