Semi-pro football playoff features Huskie alumni

By Jarrod Rice

There will be a little more pressure for former NIU linebacker Marlon Watson than for most players when he takes the field for the Kane County Eagles Saturday at 7 p.m. at Huskie Stadium against the Racine Raiders.

The pressure is not because he will play in front of the home crowd of his alma mater for the second week, though.

Watson will start at outside linebacker for the Eagles, who are part of the North American Football League, but the person next in line for his starting job is the very man who owns the team Watson plays for.

That man is Arney Silvestri, who also happens to be an NIU graduate.

But even though Silvestri is the team’s owner, he maintains that it doesn’t change anything when it comes to playing time.

“It’s a different situation when I’m on the field,” said Silvestri, who graduated from NIU in 1990. “I let the coaches make the decisions, and they take care of on-the-field stuff.”

“I’ve been playing on the team since ‘93 and I couldn’t play a whole game if I wanted, so we let Marlon take over,” Silvestri said.

It’s a rotation the Eagles probably wouldn’t want to tamper with, in any case.

Watson ranks third in tackles for a team coming off a first round playoff victory that improved the Eagles record to 15-0.

The Eagles are coming off of a convincing 51-6 win over the McHenry County Gladiators who also played at Huskie Stadium. Watson had four tackles and a sack for the Eagles.

“That was a big win for us really because we’ve become rivals with them,” director of player personnel Alan Perkins said. “Huskie Stadium really suits our team. The turf is good for our team speed and we’re excited to play there again because normally we are playing in a high school stadium.”

If the Eagles win this weekend there is a possibility that their third round game will be played at Huskie Stadium as well, Perkins said.

Admission to Saturday’s game is free to students with an NIU OneCard and $7 to the general public.