Football: Speed keys Alfano's sophomore success

Hub lineman looking to build strength for upcoming season

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While he was only a sophomore, Braden Alfano held his own in the trenches for the Rochelle Township High School varsity football team this past season. Alfano finished with 21 tackles on the defensive line while notching two sacks and one forced fumble for the Hubs in 2019.

Alfano made his presence felt right away, recording three tackles as well as his first varsity sack in Rochelle’s season-opener against the Pekin Dragons. His forced fumble helped change the momentum in the team’s finale at Ottawa, where the Hubs outlasted the Pirates in double overtime. Alfano said he’s aiming to increase his speed and strength for his junior season.

“I felt that I competed to the best of my ability last season, even though I was undersized compared to whoever I lined up against on most plays,” Alfano said. “I used my speed off the ball to beat bigger opponents and make plays. I need to get stronger and faster in order to continue competing this season. My goal for this season is to help the team make the playoffs.”

Despite not taking up football until seventh grade, Alfano has quickly developed into an impact player for the Hubs, who fielded several underclassmen on the varsity team this past season. After lining up at defensive tackle during his sophomore campaign, Alfano will kick outside and look to set the edge as a defensive end this coming season. Alfano said he’s been lifting weights and doing speed workouts during the offseason to stay prepared for the upcoming season.

“We didn’t have many seniors on the team last year, but they were all great leaders and I hope that we can lead how they did last year,” Alfano said. “My favorite things about football are the brotherhood we create in the locker room and the opportunity to compete on a weekly basis.”