Fenwick High School wide receiver/linebacker Rich Schoen is one of the most prolific and versatile players in the Chicago Catholic League. He’s also the consummate teammate, intent on doing whatever it takes to help the Friars defend their CCL’sWhite Division title and make a serious run at a state championship.
Schoen, a Riverside native, has been a huge asset along with senior running back/linebacker Robert Spillane as difference makers for the Friars. Whether it’s catching passes from Fenwick quarterback Gino Cavalieri, shutting down the opposition’s best offensive player from his linebacker position, or returning a kick for a big gain, Schoen is a major factor all over the gridiron.
“I’m just going to do whatever the coaches ask me to do and whatever the team needs me to do,” he said. “I’ll always go out there and do my best and put in a 100 percent effort. I do get tired sometimes, but you just have to suck it up and forget about it. [Fenwick assistant coach Don] Heldmann tells us to ‘think of snow’ when it’s hot, and that’s what I do if I start getting tired.”
Schoen had a 21-yard reception and recorded four tackles in the Friars’ 28-20 victory at Brother Rice Friday. In the season opener, he had three sacks against St. Joseph and followed that wrecking ball performance with 11 tackles against Bishop Lynch in Dallas.
Fenwick head coach Gene Nudo values Schoen’s intangibles as much as his physical ability, particularly when the Friars face a tough opponent like Brother Rice.
“Schoen is a guy that just doesn’t come off of the field,” Nudo said. “Rich is an excellent receiver and linebacker, but he’s an even better leader. We always put him on the best player, and he did very well with his matchup [against Brother Rice].”
While Schoen was thrilled to get the victory over the Crusaders, he’s already looking forward to this week’s matchup against Bishop McNamara.
“Hopefully we can pull out a win,” he said. “Then we’ll be 4-0 and we can hopefully coast into the playoffs. We’re going for the state championship.”
Growing up in Riverside, Schoen cherished his experience attending and playing football at St. Mary’s. He played grammar school football alongside current Riverside-Brookfield players like Justin Agne, Gabe Lopez and Brian Kulaga. Although Schoen hasn’t talked with his former teammates in a while, Schoen remembers the time they had growing up in Riverside.
“It was definitely a great time,” he said. “I definitely need to get back in touch with those guys. Our time together at St. Mary’s and playing football over there was definitely something I will never forget.”
Schoen enjoys hanging out with friends when he’s not on the field, but football is still his main passion. Although, he hasn’t made a decision yet about football after high school, he would like to attend an Ivy League school to further develop his education. In terms of his goals for rest of the season, every objective is predictably team-centric.
“I’m not really worried about individual stats right now,” Schoen said. “We just have to keep pulling out wins and coast into the playoffs.”
Along with some serious talent along the Fenwick sidelines including stars like Spillane, Cavalieri, tight end Ryan Smith, defensive lineman Chris Hawthorne and linebacker Michael Krecek, Schoen believes the team’s chemistry is another major reason that the tradition-rich Friars are excelling since Nudo took over the program.
“We all have a great bond as teammates,” he said. “We’ll all be friends for a lifetime, and there’s just nothing better than high school football.”