Bremen's Tyler Banovich catches a pop-fly.| Jim Karczewski\For Sun-Times Media
High school athletes specializing in a particular sport is growing more and more common.
Tyler Banovich, however, never succumbed to that trend.
"It would have been really tough to give up one sport," said Banovich, a senior at Bremen who plays baseball and football. "It's demanding to play two sports, but anything is possible with hard work and dedication."
Banovich is proof of that.
He wrapped up a three-year run as starting quarterback by passing for 1,411 yards and 14 touchdowns and rushing for 506 yards and eight touchdowns while leading the Braves to an 8-1 regular season and undefeated conference championship.
His ability to amass yards with his arm and feet were a major reason the Big-Teepee rocked most of the 2013 season. Looking back, it's an experience he can't imagine not being a part of.
"The football season was one of the best moments of my life," said Banovich, 6-feet-3, 180 pounds. "We shocked everyone. People picked us to finish fifth in conference and we beat everyone. To not be a part of something great like this year would have been awful."
The shortstop/pitcher is in the midst of another All-Area season on the baseball diamond, hitting .447 with 14 runs, 10 stolen bases and 7 RBI. On the mound, he's 1-1 with a save and 2.93 ERA.
Last season he hit .577, scored 40 runs, stole 32 bases to go along with a 6-3 mark and 2.20 ERA.
Bremen baseball coach Mike Cline, who promoted Banovich to the varsity as a freshman, isn't the least bit surprised by his pupil's success.
"When I first met Tyler, I was substitute teacher at Springfield (Elementary) School (Midlothian)," Cline said. "He was 7 years old and he was so athletically gifted and such a nice and respectful boy. Here we are now 10 years later and he has developed into such a fine young man. He's the best young man I have ever coached. There will never be another Tyler."
Banovich also excels in the classroom, boasting a 4.6 GPA and is a member of the National Honor Society.
He hasn't settled on a college yet. St. Xavier and Lindsey Wilson College in Columbia, Kentucky, are recruiting him in baseball. He'd like to continue to play the infield and pitch. In a perfect world, he'd remain a two-sport athlete.
"It's a possibility to play both sports," he said. "I might let the college thing play out a little more and see what develops. I'm being recruited mainly as an infielder. It would be great to be able to play infield and pitch. I like to pitch and be in control of the game."
The Braves are 7-6 through Monday. Banovich is confident the best is yet to come.
"I think we can contend for the (South Suburban) conference championship and win a regional," he said. "We have a special group. I'm excited about what we can accomplish."