Brendon Passarelli does the heavy lifting

4 minute read

Red Devils’ 300-pounder anchors seasoned line


At 300 pounds, senior lineman Brendon Passarelli is the Hinsdale Central football team’s heaviest player.

For the 6-foot-3 Passarelli, the more important number is this season’s jersey switch to 65 – the number worn by friends Brian and Matt Allen. The brothers are former standout Hinsdale Central linemen who have gone on to star at Michigan State.

“It’s a nice number to wear. I look up greatly to those guys,” Passarelli said. “I’ve worked with Brian and Matt and they’ve really helped me throughout my four years, especially this last offseason. They gave me some tips and helped me progress as a football player.”

The Red Devils, coming off an 8-3 season, own many favorable numbers as they seek their eighth straight playoff appearance and second West Suburban Silver title in three seasons. Four 2017 All-West Suburban Silver players are among 35 seniors – Passarelli, running back Luke Skokna and linebackers Aidan Cruickshank and Zach Brewer. Skokna, Cruickshank and senior left guard Owen Fuller are third-year starters.

“The program has made it a big goal to win championships, whether it’s conference or state. And we hope to make a deep run in the playoffs,” Passarelli said. “Definitely both lines are what’s going to make a successful season. We have the ability to change games.”

This season, Passarelli moves to right guard from right and left tackle. He’s part of a seasoned offensive line with Fuller and center Joe Monahan at their same starting positions. Passarelli also may again provide situational help defensively.

“We’re always hanging out and building a bond [as linemen]. It’s something I think is special on our team,” Passarelli said. “I love building the bonds, and it helps our chemistry in games. We all trust and are all there for each other.”

Prominent offensive returnees include Skokna, who rushed for more than 1,200 yards, quarterback Matt Rush, who was limited by injury, and fullback Luke Pyle.

Last season, Cruickshank recorded a single-season, program-record 131 tackles. Linemen Sean Kelly and Hayden Waters, linebackers Vincent Zelisko and Nick Franco and defensive backs Charlie Lyne and Owen Goss also return defensively.

“[Our strengths include] all-around speed, especially on defense,” Hinsdale Central coach Dan Hartman said. “[Our keys are] our ability to stay healthy, run the football and stop the run.”

For years, Passarelli was encouraged to play football, but didn’t until freshman year. Back then, he weighed 210 to 220 pounds. Now he trains multiple times daily and lifts weights three times a week.

“I’ve loved football. It was the perfect way for me to let my emotion out,” Passarelli said. “I’ve felt a passion for the sport. It’s what I live for.”

Passarelli should be a big contributor to the Red Devils’ success – and not just because of his size.

“Attitude has a lot to do with it too and the skill that the coaches have taught me,” Passarelli said. “You can’t take it for granted. Anyone can use better technique and beat you. It’s not all about the size in our program. That’s something we pride ourselves on.”


Coach: Dan Hartman

2017 record: 8-3

Top returners
Aidan Cruickshank sr. LB
Roy Fuller sr. OL
Sean Kelly sr. DL
Charlie Lyne sr. DB
Joe Monahan sr. OL
Brendon Passarelli sr. OL
Matt Rush sr. QB
Luke Skokna sr. RB
Hayden Waters sr. DL
Vincent Zelisko sr. LB
Nick Franko jr. LB
Owen Goss jr. DB
Luke Pyle jr. FB  
Matt Bobak sr. RB
Will Sessa sr. TE
Guy Henry Goss jr. DB
Drew Novatney jr. DB
Lucas Schwartz jr. DL

2018 schedule
Aug. 24 at Naperville Central 7:30 p.m.
Aug. 31 at Willowbrook 7:30 p.m.
Sept. 7 OPRF 7:30 p.m.
Sept. 14 at Downers North 7:30 p.m.
Sept. 22 York Noon
Sept. 28 at Proviso West 7:30 p.m.
Oct. 5 Glenbard West 7:30 p.m.
Oct. 12 at Lyons Township 7:30 p.m.
Oct. 19 Hinsdale South 7:30 p.m.

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