The foundation of Rochelle football starts with physical play on the offensive line. Brothers William and Charlie Jandak learned this many years ago with the Rochelle Junior Tackle program, and the two upperclassmen have since developed into arguably the most important players on the Rochelle offense.
Senior William Jandak takes the field as a third-year varsity football player and one-time All-Conference offensive lineman, while junior Charlie Jandak lines up as a second-year varsity player. The brothers have showcased their versatility over the years, with William playing right tackle and Charlie playing tight end last season before William moved to left tackle and Charlie went inside at left guard this year.
Both boys have played football since they were little, but this fall will be one of the only times the two brothers play side-by-side on the same team. William and Charlie have relished the opportunity to suit up together.
“It’s always been a dream of mine to play right next to my brother,” Charlie said. “I’ve always looked up to him and knowing that I have him next to me, I can rely on him and I know most of his tendencies.”
“We practice with each other all of time so we’re constantly helping each other out and coaching each other up,” William added. “We’re always making sure that everybody gets better.”
William (6 feet 2 inches, 270 pounds) and Charlie (6 feet 2 inches, 250 pounds) both started on the Rochelle varsity football last season, when the Hubs advanced all the way to the IHSA Class 4A State Quarterfinals and finished with an 8-4 record. After dropping their first two games this fall, the Hubs have rebounded to win three of their last four games, and much of their success has been the result of a rushing offense that’s already totaled well over 1,000 yards on the ground this season.
Hub fans know that running the football requires strong play up front, and the Jandak brothers have been the driving force on the left side of the offensive line.
“Going down to Marion and playing hard against a really good team, I think we played well but I don’t think we weren’t completely prepared,” Charlie said. “It was tough loss and that carried over into Week 2. But we’ve turned things around and I think we’ll be able to keep moving forward throughout the season.”
“We weren’t ready for varsity football right away and I think we were a little slow to start the season,” William added. “We had a rough game against Johnsburg, but I’m proud of how we bounced back and I’m hoping that we can keep this stretch going.”
New head coach Kyle Kissack has stressed physicality at the point of attack, and when the Jandak brothers think of Rochelle football, they understand their responsibility to set the tone in the trenches every game. While the brothers lead the charge on offense, they also spend time on the defensive line, with William playing tackle and Charlie lining up at end.
“Lower, faster, stronger” was the motto the boys learned from their father (also named William) growing up.
“If we’re getting lower than our opponent, we’re most likely going to beat him,” William said. “Speed helps a lot too, and we’ve always played football by focusing on beating the guy across from us. At Rochelle, we beat the other players until they give up.”
“As long as the offensive line is moving and pushing the other guys back, Rochelle will probably win the game,” Charlie added. “When we’re picking up yards off the line of scrimmage, our running backs are going to find the holes.”
Rochelle’s opponents will only get stronger moving forward. However, the Jandak brothers are confident their recent play will push Rochelle over the top.
“Our goal is to win each week,” Charlie said. “We always look back at each week, figure out what we need to work on and try to get better.”
“This season has been an incline of difficulty,” William followed. “We have to get better and better each week.”