Neuqua Valley quarterback Broc Rutter. Wheaton Warrenville South held its Red Grange 7-on-7 football tournament Friday. | Jon Langham/For Sun-Times Media
One thing that Neuqua Valley’s football program has not had a lot of is two-year starters at the quarterback position.
Coming off the two best seasons in program history provides quite a bit of excitement heading into the 2014 season, but having senior Broc Rutter back under center amps that excitement up to another level.
Rutter is coming off of an all-conference season after leading the Wildcats to a school record 12-1 record.
Fresh off his commitment to Indiana State, Rutter led Neuqua to a second-place finish at last month’s prestigious Red Grange Classic 7-on-7 tournament at Wheaton Warrenville South.
“I’m very excited about Broc,” Neuqua coach Bill Ellinghaus said. “I think he’s the second two-year starter we’ve had at Neuqua. It’s exciting to have a quarterback back. He is a very talented young man and a super leader.”
After attending a camp at Indiana State and spending time with the Sycamores’ coaching staff, his college choice was an easy one.
“It was a big weight off my shoulders so I could focus on the team because I think we have something special,” Rutter said.
The spotlight is on Rutter this year after star receiver Mikey Dudek moved on to Illinois after an amazing senior season. Dudek accounted for 2,361 yards of total offense and 23 touchdowns, earning first-team All-State honors along the way.
“There’s no way you can replace him,” Rutter said. “I think we have a group of guys that are ready to step up.”
The number one receiver this summer has been an incoming sophomore, 6-foot-3 Isaiah Robertson. Ellinghaus is effusive in his praise of the talented youngster.
“He is ridiculous,” Ellinghaus said. “He is very, very good. He’s been working out with us all offseason. Isaiah is a kid to watch. He’s legit.”
Brett Borske, a 6-7 junior tight end with speed, figures to be one of Rutter’s main targets. Evan Moore has also stepped up. But it’s up to Rutter to pull the trigger and replace Dudek’s production by spreading the ball around.
“I’ll be able to read the defenses,” Rutter said. “Teams could key on Mikey (last year). This year, it will be tough. I’ve been working with (Robertson) all offseason. I couldn’t wait to get to work with him. He is a super kid. He’s got a great work ethic. He fits perfectly with what we’re trying to do.”
Ellinghaus has led the Wildcats to a 22-3 record in his two seasons as head coach. Prior to his arrival, Neuqua was a very successful program, reaching the playoffs in eight of former coach Bryan Wells’ final 10 seasons, but wasn’t at the elite level. Now, the Wildcats are one of the top teams in the state.
“I think the expectations in our community, the school and certainly with our kids is high,” Ellinghaus said. “I think the kids like that. It’s one of those things where if you don’t have high expectations and want to be a sleeper, that’s not that much fun.
“Our expectations are high, but we have to own the fact that we have to come out and play well. For a lot of teams, if they beat us, it’s a big deal. That’s one of the things I’m working on with this group.”