46 | June 22, 2017 | The orland park prairie Sports opprairie.com Feeney plans to work hard for starting spot in LA LA Charges sign Dan Feeney to four-year contract Frank Gogola Freelance Reporter Dan Feeney was one of the top-rated guards in this year’s NFL draft class, so he felt confident he would be selected at some point. He just didn’t know when and by whom. Even after the Los Angeles Chargers called to say they were drafting him in the third round, the 2012 Sandburg grad wanted to make sure his name was actually announced as he watched the draft show at home with family. “As soon as I got off the call, it was just two minutes of dead silence,” Feeney said. “It felt like a year, those two minutes, because you want to hear your name called. As soon as my name was called, I got probably 100 texts, a couple Facebook, social media shoutouts. I never felt so popular in my life.” The Chargers selected Feeney with the 71st overall pick on April 28. He is the second Sandburg alumnus in the past five seasons to be drafted by an NFL team. The 6-foot-4, 305-pound offensive lineman was a four-year starter at Indiana University and a two-time first-team All-American. He was a highly rated prospect leading up to the 2016 draft, Chef prepared dinners delivered to your door. Pickup also available. Menu changes daily. Order online or call 708.429.0828 Dan Feeney (left) stretches out during a rookie practice with the Los Angeles Chargers. but he decided to return to IU for his final season Feeney primarily played right guard and mixed in some right tackle at IU. He said the Chargers want him to play in the interior as either a center or guard who can create running lanes and protect quarterback Philip Rivers. 15% OFF WITH THIS COUPON USE CODE: 15CV EXPIRES 7/15/17 16651 South 80th Avenue Tinley Park, IL 60477 SimplyServeMeals.com Dan Feeney (middle) runs a drill during the Los Angeles Chargers camp after being drafted by the team. Courtesy Mike Nowak, Los Angeles Chargers “Coach [Pat] Meyer, the O-line coach for the Chargers, he said I have a good chance to come in and start,” Feeney said. “I obviously have to earn it. Just have to go in with an open mind, learn as much as I can and apply it to [the] field.” Feeney feels good about his quick feet and strong hands but acknowledged he needs to work on his hand placement and keeping his pad level low. He doesn’t have a playbook yet but has been studying about 60 pages of play calls he received. “These past couple weeks, I’ve been practicing center, both guards,” Feeney said. “Getting reps, figuring movements and have become confident in them. It doesn’t matter where I play, I just want to get on the field and help them win.” Feeney was a two-year varsity starter at Sandburg and earned second-team all-state honors. He was a three-star player who was rated the No. 16 prospect in the state by Rivals. He played offensive tackle as a junior and senior, and added nose tackle duties on the defensive line as a senior. Former Sandburg coach Dave Wierzal spoke highly of Feeney’s work ethic and was impressed by his drive blocking, combo blocking and ability to climb to the next level of defenders. “He’s a friendly person, but on game day he plays with fierce intensity,” Wierzal said. “He was very driven and focused. He set a high standard for himself and his teammates, and then was a great role model on working to achieve it. “Because he was such an impact player, it was difficult to take him off the field. We tried to rest him on defense if it was necessary, but he would never tap himself out.” Feeney is the second Sandburg alumnus who played for Wierzal to be drafted. Offensive lineman Michael Schofield, a 2009 Sandburg grad, was selected by the Denver Broncos in the 2014 draft. Among the coaches Feeney credits for helping in his rise are Kevin Clark and Jeff Obradovich, his offensive line coaches at Sandburg, and Greg Frey and Kevin Wilson, his offensive line coach and head coach, from Indiana. Clark and Obradovich taught him the basics of being an offensive lineman because he had never played football until his freshman year. Frey and Wilson molded him into a lineman who surrendered only two sacks in 3,355 collegiate snaps. Feeney signed a four-year contract with the team on June 2, according to a statement released on the Chargers website.
opprairie.com the orland park prairie | June 22, 2017 | 47 fastbreak sports Hampe named SWSC Blue Player of the Year Sandburg catcher talks remarkable season, next steps Frank Gogola Freelance Reporter Julie McMann/22nd Century Media 1st and 3 Top Ranking Area Athletes 1. Ryan Hampe The Sandburg catcher nabbed the SouthWest Suburban Conference Blue Player of the Year title, among other accomplishments this season. 2. Dan Feeney This 2012 Sandburg graduate had a successful career at Indiana University, and to top it off he was recently signed by the Los Angeles Chargers to a fouryear contract. 3. Lauren Vorva This Orland Park resident was cut from Marist High School’s volleyball team, three years later hard work and dedication secured her a scholarship to St. Ambrose University. Sandburg catcher Ryan Hampe knows he’s going to have even more of a target on his back next season as a senior. The first-year Eagle was named the SouthWest Suburban Blue Player of the Year in an eventful end to the season that included a conference championship, a walk-off grand slam in the playoffs, a sectional title and a Division I commitment. “It gives me some more confidence going into next season,” Hampe said of the award. “It also makes me know other schools are going to be looking more into me and how they can get me out more just because of what I did this year. I know I have to work on more of my weaknesses, so next year I have a similar year.” Hampe is Sandburg’s first SouthWest Suburban Blue Player of the Year. The Eagles had one conference pitcher of the year, when Kevin Lane won the award last season. The SWSC was created for the 2005-06 school year. Batting third or fourth in the order, Hampe hit a blistering .466 (41-for-88) with 11 doubles, one triple and seven home runs. He drove in 40 runs and scored 19 more. “From a hitting standpoint, Ryan Hampe (left) takes a swing during a game against Lincoln-Way East earlier in the year. he led the team, paved the way for our offense,” said senior-to-be shortstop Branden Comia. “He always came up with the big hits when we needed them. He was our guy to solidify the lineup.” His play behind the plate as he learned a new pitching staff, and his leadership both vocally and by example were also of importance to the team’s success. “He was a hard working kid in his first season with us,” said head coach Jim Morsovillo. “[He] understood that he needed to be a leader behind the plate and with our pitching staff as well as in the middle of our order. He is a thinker and really understands the game.” It was the mental side – academics – that drew him to Sandburg. The Orland Park resident had played his freshman and sophomore seasons at St. Laurence before transferring to Sandburg for academic reasons, he said. He played with the team during summer baseball and Ryan Hampe, an incoming senior at Sandburg High School, is the first player from Sandburg to be named the Southwest Suburban Blue Player of the Year, for 2017. Photos by Julie McMann/22nd Century Media got acquainted with some of the players who he had not already known from Orland Junior High. He felt offseason weight training and a new personal trainer, as well as tweaking his catching and hitting, put him over the top. “It was a good offseason that made everything feel like there was nothing left on the table,” Hampe said. “I put everything into the offseason so that the season was just me playing, and I felt that was huge.” Hampe’s play helped Sandburg repeat as SWSC Blue champions, a title they shared with Lincoln-Way East. He also played a vital role in the Eagles reaching their first super-sectional since 2009. His walk-off grand slam in the regional semifinals, after a rain delay, gave fourth-seeded Sandburg an 8-4 win over 13th-seeded Crete-Monee. “I felt that was a huge moment for us realizing that we have a really good chance of moving on deep in the playoffs,” Hampe said. Their playoff run included ending Providence Catholic’s 23-game postseason winning streak in a sectional semifinal game. During the playoffs, he committed to University of Illinois at Chicago. He said he was drawn in by the coaches’ confidence in him, “amazing” facilities and the opportunity for his family to see him play. He was ranked as the No. 54 player in the state by Prep Baseball Report at the time of his commitment. Before heading to UIC, he’ll have a final high school season of teams keying in on him. It will be a season that the team has high expectations for since they return seven starters, including their entire infield. “I really can’t wait for next year,” Hampe said. “I feel like we’re going to have a really good team.” “We’re expecting nothing less than a state run,” Comia added. LISTEN UP “You can still follow your dreams and play the sport you want to play, even though it’s not for your school.” Lauren Vorva – Orland Park resident on being cut from her high school’s volleyball team What 2 Watch OYA Baseball-Rimkus — 8 p.m. Thursday, June 27 • This competitive development team will take on the Top Tier Red team at Centennial Park #5. INDEX 40-41 - Team 22 42 - Athlete of the Week Compiled by Assistant Editor Brittany Kapa, firstname.lastname@example.org.