Football: Minooka has weapons for Forsythe’s debutPaul Forsythe, Minooka Head Coach, participates in the USF 7-on-7 passing Jamboree at Memorial Stadium in Joliet, IL on Thursday June 14, 2012. | Matt Marton~Sun-Times Media
Updated: July 21, 2012 6:08AM
When Bert Kooi stepped down as Minooka football coach after last season, the Indians hired from within.
Former assistant Paul Forsyth is eager for the challenge.
“Coaching at Minooka has been my life the last 10 years,” Forsyth said during a break last week in the University of St. Francis 7-on-7 Passing Jamboree at ATI Field at Joliet Memorial Stadium. “I’ve been in the (football) program there, taught there and I’ve been involved in the strength and conditioning program. When an opportunity to do something you think you can do swings your way, you take it.”
Forsythe coached the Indians’ varsity wide receivers the past several years and has coached in the program on all levels. The 1996 Joliet Central graduate was a wide receiver at Joliet Township and for four years at Aurora University.
While the Minooka offense, guided by coordinator Frank Yudzentis, does not figure to turn into an aerial circus, there’s reason to believe the Indians’ passing game will command respect from enemy defenses.
Make that multiple reasons. Wide receivers Max Brozovich and Luke Stovall both have proved capable of catching the deep ball from returning senior quarterback Joe Carnagio, who guided Minooka to a 6-4 record and a Class 8A playoff berth last season.
“I’m excited. We have some skill kids back,” Forsythe said. “Stovall and Brozovich are nice targets for Carnagio. It’s not bad to have the ability to stretch the field with both those guys.”
The excitement cuts both ways.
“I respected coach Kooi 100 percent, and coach Forsythe is going to be good for us, too,” Brozovich said.
Brozovich knows well the benefits of experience under center.
“I’m excited for Joe to be back as our quarterback,” Brozovich said. “It’s always good to have a second-year quarterback.
“My brother Mitch was the (Minooka) quarterback for 2½ years. Me? I was the backup quarterback freshman year, so I know the offense just in case. Last year I warmed up in case Joe got hurt.”
Brozovich, entering his third season as a varsity receiver, noted that Carnagio is capable of hurting a defense with his arm and legs. Brozovich started at first base and Carnagio at third this spring for Minooka’s baseball team, which finished fourth in the state in Class 4A. They were the only two regulars from the junior class on coach Jeff Petrovic’s team.
“Joe was one of our top ballcarriers last year,” Forsythe said. “He will carry it some, but one of the things we have to do this summer is settle on the two or three other backs.”
Regardless of who wins those jobs, Northwestern-bound tackle Blake King (6-foot-5, 270 pounds) will lead the blocking.
“He’s been working hard,” Forsythe said. “We expect him to have a big year.”
On the other side of the ball, Forsythe said his first team “will have some people back in the secondary and at linebacker, and in the defensive line we have guys who rotated in. But there still are questions that need to be answered.”
Forsythe is not a large person himself by football standards, but given his background, there’s reason to believe the Indians will be a rugged bunch.
“I played with Rory (O’Connell), Oku (Satcher) and those guys (at Joliet), and then when I was a senior, Eric Parker was with us,” Forsythe said. “So I played with some great players who were tough.
“To me, in the position I played, it’s the greatest feeling to catch a ball, take a lick and then get up and get back to the huddle.”