Glenbard North's Vittorio Tricase credits hard work, teammates for early-season success
Glenbard North High School's Vittorio Tricase has been drawn to the gridiron his entire life.
Tricase started playing football when was 5 years old with the local midget team and has played every year since, up to and including his current senior season. It's that type of hard work and dedication to the sport that he loves and has him off to a scorching hot start in 2016.
As of September 16, Tricase has scored 13 touchdowns through the Panthers' first three games, including a six-touchdown affair in a 47-31 victory over Wheaton Warrenville South to help lead Glenbard North to a positive start to the year.
Tricase also rushed for 174 total yards in that game, part of a dominant Panthers ground game that has set the tone for the first part of the season. And though Tricase has been the one racking up the yardage and the touchdowns, he primarily credits his teammates for his success.
"The credit goes to the guys in front of me," he said. "Starting off at camp from day one, we had some question marks at the line positions. But at week one, they came out and showed they can play and have gotten better every week. My fullback, Xavier Lee, has had a heck of a year. So the credit goes to them. They're the ones doing all the hard work, and I'm just following them and hitting the crease as I see it. But it's all due to them. They've come a long way from the beginning of camp, day one to now. Our passing game has also been very good with Shane Conway and Jace James and the whole receiving core. Jace has also been a very good downfield blocker."
In addition to some stellar teammates, Tricase has also utilized the skills he's been developing over the years to help take his game to another level. All the days of practice throughout the years and help from coaches has allowed him to mature as a runner, and he's now seeing the payoff.
"The biggest thing I've picked up along the way is probably patience," Tricase said. "When you're younger, you don't really have a lot of plays that you run — toss right, toss left. When you're that young, you just kind of outrun everyone to the sideline. But when you get older and everyone starts getting faster, you have to learn how to make people miss, and the biggest key to doing that is staying patient and letting your blocks set up."
The three-year starter at tailback is also constantly working to develop other parts of his game. He said he hopes to continue playing football when he ventures on to college, and his skill on the football field combined with the fact that he takes his studies very seriously has drawn attention from big-time Ivy League schools Dartmouth and Harvard. But as he moves to the next level, Tricase said he knows he has to continue to grow as a player in order to be successful.
"The biggest thing that I would like to improve is probably pass blocking," he said. "That's something I should be able to do better. That's probably what I need to improve on the most. It is something we practice, but when we go with our spread package, I also play slot receiver, so I don't really have to pass block that much."
In addition to the Ivy League schools, Tricase has drawn some attention from Indiana; the school invited him to a game earlier this season. Yet for now, he's focusing on helping the Panthers to the playoffs, a feat they've achieved in both his freshman and junior years that they plan on replicating.
The Panthers do have their work cut out for them, battling eight other teams in the DuPage Valley Conference for the right to advance. It's as grueling a conference schedule that exists. Many high school teams play maybe five conference games during the season, while the Panthers and the rest of the teams in their conference play a full slate, where every one of their nine games, except for one, is a critical in-conference battle.
But with a player like Tricase helping to lead the way, one who studies hard, is always looking to improve and recognizes the role his teammates play in the success he's had, the Panthers' playoff fortunes appear to be in great hands.