Brett Kasper’s future is at receiver. The Wheaton Academy senior has an offer from Illinois State and interest from other schools at that position.
But circumstances aligned this season and allowed him to live out a dream.
“I always wanted to be a quarterback,” Kasper said. “But I never really grew.”
Kasper, 5-10 and 150 pounds, stepped up and filled the most important position on the field for the Warriors (11-1) this season.
“At the beginning of the year we honestly didn’t know who would be throwing the ball,” Wheaton Academy coach Jim Johanik said. “But we were blessed with Brett’s brother Eddie being here a couple of years ago and we just knew that athletically the Kaspers are gifted.”
Kasper threw two touchdown passes and ran for one in the Warriors’ 42-7 victory against Sandwich in the Class 4A state quarterfinals on Friday in West Chicago.
“Brett rose to the challenge and created a dynamic offense,” Johanik said. “He can throw it, scramble, run. He has a lot of the shake and break his brother had. He keeps defenses off balance.”
Kasper’s seven-yard TD run opened the scoring. Later in the first quarter, he connected with Brett Dieter on a five-yard TD. Then early in the second quarter was the big play of the game, a 99-yard TD pass from Kasper to junior Giovanni Spinelli.
“I threw it up there and it hung for awhile,” Kasper said. “I wasn’t sure if he’d be able to get it and once he caught it he just had one man to beat.”
Kasper was 6-for-10 for 192 yards. Spinelli caught four passes for 173 yards.
“I love this team and I really wanted to lead them this year,” Kasper said. “It was the greatest decision of my life to stay with quarterback for one more year.”
Junior Brandon Kiebles had eight carries for 79 yards and two TDs for the Warriors. He also played linebacker, teaming with senior defensive end Ethan Bruner and sophomore linebacker Greyson Kelly to shut down Sandwich’s offense.
“We were focused on their fullback [Parker Anderson],” Kiebles said. “When he gets downhill it is pretty hard to stop him so it was just making sure everyone was in their gaps and doing their jobs.”
Sandwich (8-4) had a remarkable season. The school went winless during the COVID spring football season and didn’t have a varsity team last year. Before this year, Sandwich hadn’t won a varsity game since 2019.
Braden Behringer connected with Brodie Case on a 13-yard TD pass for Sandwich’s only score.
Wheaton Academy’s only loss this season was a 30-29 defeat to Hope Academy, which is still alive in the Class 1A state playoffs. The Warriors beat St. Viator on the road in the second round. Up next is the IC Catholic vs. St. Laurence winner in the semifinals.
“We’re not surprised we are here,” Kiebles said. “We’re surprised it has taken this long for us to get noticed. We’ve been trying to get in that spotlight for the past couple of years. We know what we can do.”