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Maine East’s Woody Corey looks to hand the ball off during Friday’s home game against Niles North. Corey was making his first ever start at quarterback. | Tim Boyle/For Sun-Times Media
PARK RIDGE — As Maine East sophomore Woody Corey prepared to start at quarterback for the first time at any level, his family was there to support him at every step.
Corey has watched, and been around, the Blue Demons’ offensive system his entire life. His father, Maine East coach Gabe Corey, is the team’s offensive coordinator and the veteran coach said he started Woody Corey at quarterback Friday against Niles North because of his son’s understanding of the team’s offense.
Still, the converted wide receiver spent the week leading up to the Blue Demons’ game against the Vikings working overtime with his dad and brother Alex Corey, a senior, at their home in Des Plaines.
Football “doesn’t stop after practice,” Woody Corey said. “We’ll go over the plays or (Gabe Corey) will talk about what we think would work and what won’t work by watching film and stuff. Then, with my brother, since he’s been out (with a left knee injury) — this week especially — he’s been trying to give advice to not just me, but the whole team, just trying to keep everyone positive. Last week, with Christian (Lopez) playing quarterback, it was the same kind of thing, trying to give him pointers of how to take control of the team and stuff like that.”
Woody Corey said he and his older brother also discussed specifics of the position. They went over different plays and focused on fundamentals like the steps the quarterback takes on handoffs. Woody Corey, who stands 5-foot-8, also said he and his brother went over some of Maine East’s passing plays and the different reads the quarterback makes when he drops back.
Although they prepared for Woody Corey to throw the ball, he only dropped back twice in Niles North’s 41-0 victory over Maine East (2-4 overall, 0-2 CSL North). Both of his passes fell incomplete.
The Vikings focused on taking away the Blue Demons’ running game. They stacked the box with eight or nine players on every play and regularly run blitzed Maine East, daring Woody Corey to beat them with his arm. Niles North overwhelmed the Blue Demons’ offensive line and limited senior running back Christian Lopez and senior fullback Javed Lukovic to 148 yards on 39 carries between them.
“He’s never played quarterback before, but he’s our opportunity to hopefully get something going because he knows the offense,” Gabe Corey said. “We just couldn’t run our offense (against Niles North) because they were on top of us. ... We got out-manned. They blitzed us because they didn’t respect the fact that we could throw the ball. We had nine guys in the box most of the night.”