Fenwick football coach Matt Battaglia (from left) celebrates the Friars' state title with players Jimmy Liston, Suleiman Abuaqel, Kaden Cobb (with trophy), Max Reese and Danny Kent. | Melvin Tate
Kaden Cobb

Being the quarterback of a state championship football team is an accomplishment Fenwick High School senior Kaden Cobb won’t soon forget.

“It’s definitely exciting,” he said. “I’m pleased to get that accomplished, and it’s a milestone I got off my bucket list.”

Now that his high school career is over, Cobb is looking forward to his next chapter in football. During a Signing Day ceremony on Dec. 15 in Fenwick’s auditorium, Cobb inked his letter of intent with Ball State University.

“It felt great,” Cobb said. “In the college world with the transfer portal and guys being unhappy at their schools, it made me feel good that I found a place where my family and I are going to be happy. There’s no other place than Ball State where I would’ve signed.”

Jimmy Liston

Cobb is one of four Fenwick players who signed letters of intent to play at NCAA Division 1 schools. The others are Jimmy Liston (Purdue), Eian Pugh (Illinois) and Max Reese (Eastern Michigan).

Cobb and Pugh will enroll next month at their schools, becoming the first early graduates that the Friars have had in program history.

“The talent we had this year was off-the-charts, and we could’ve had more than four [to sign with Division 1 schools],” said Cobb, the Wednesday Journal Player of the Year. “With COVID-19, a lot of guys missed opportunities,” Cobb said. “But we gave respect to Fenwick’s name in football by winning state. We showed there could be success, and feel we made the blueprint for the future.”

Cobb said he’ll miss the bonds he had with his Fenwick teammates. To him, they were more than teammates, they were brothers.

Max Reese

“When we were freshmen, we said we were going to win state, and to actually get it done is a great feeling,” he said.

OPRF’s Locke signs with Valpo

Oak Park and River Forest High School senior wide receiver Eric Locke Jr. signed his letter of intent with Valparaiso University on Dec. 15. He told the Wednesday Journal that the close-knit nature of the Valparaiso program reminded him a lot of that of the Huskies.

“It came down to what most felt like home,” said Locke. “Between Valparaiso, Butler, and the other schools I was looking at, I felt being around the [Valparaiso] coaches felt like being at OPRF.”

Locke found the recruiting process to be a bit of a challenge, not only due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but also because he started late. He said he didn’t go to football camps or talk with coaches until this summer, and that’s when he started getting offers.

“I would say it was a little more difficult for me,” he said. “It could’ve been easier had I started earlier, but it all worked out in the end.”

Although OPRF failed to make the postseason during Locke’s three-year varsity career, it doesn’t diminish his experience at all. Locke says he’ll miss the family atmosphere the Huskies had.

Eric Locke Jr.

“I’m going to miss my teammates a lot,” he said. “It wasn’t just about winning and losing, it was about the family. Whenever a problem arose, we got it solved right away. Everyone loved each other, and I’ll miss that part.”

This story has been updated to in include the correct photo of Eric Locke Jr.

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