Football: Maine South’s Griffin Schaefer sets up home at right guardWaukegan-10/15/11, Sat./Waukegan High School #65 Griffin Schaefer, of Maine South helps the ref signal another TD vs. Waukegan. | Joe Shuman~Sun-Times Media
Updated: July 4, 2012 10:44AM
Griffin Schaefer was a man of mystery last season.
That’s because it was anybody’s guess where he was going to play on the offensive line.
As a junior, Schaefer lined up at four of the five positions, everywhere except center. But the rising senior at Maine South is looking forward to a permanent home this year at right guard.
“It was really an experience last year,” said Schaefer, who measures 6-foot-2 and 265 pounds. “I had to know every play for all those positions, but I was happy to fill those positions.”
Nevertheless, Schaefer, one of five linemen with significant varsity experience back for the Hawks, isn’t complaining about staying put for his final season.
“It’s comforting to know that,” the three-year varsity veteran said. “I won’t have to learn on the fly anymore, and I am able to understand more about one position.
“Perfecting one position will be substantial in my success.”
The Maine South line showed off its talents last week at Wheaton Warrenville South’s 7-on-7 tournament by winning the linemen challenge. The 10 events included tire flips, 45-pound plate hold, obstacle course and tug of war.
The Hawks skill players — led by quarterback and tournament MVP Matt Alviti — made it to the semifinals and finished 7-2. Upstart Elk Grove, playing under new coach Larry Calhoun, won the tournament by beating Glenbard North.
Alviti, a Northwestern recruit, will count on the big boys up front as Maine South strives to return to its winning ways in the postseason.
“Nothing’s been forgotten about last year,” Schaefer said of Maine South’s exit in the second round that ended the team’s run of three consecutive state championships. “But we are not dwelling on it.”
Mike Rubino, another returning starter on the line, shared Schaefer’s resolve. Rubino, a 6-4, 265-pound senior, said everybody learned something from last year.
Rubino also finally has a home this season. After playing center for part of last year, he’s now at right tackle.
“It’s different,” he said. “The pass-blocking is harder, but I think I can handle it. I have less things to worry about.”
Rubino did agree that blocking for Alviti, a serial scrambler, comes with its challenges.
“Yes,” he laughed. “I never know where he’s going to be.”
Others back on line this summer include Pat Maloney, Dan Poulos and Danny Nordstrom. At 6-3, 275 pounds, Maloney holds several Division I offers from mid-major programs.
“We’ve been working hard this summer to improve everything about ourselves,” Schaefer said. “We want to be successful again.”