Last season Glenbard South's football team took the Metro Suburban Conference by storm in its first year in the league.
The storm's gathering again.
The Raiders enter the five-team MSC as heavy favorites to repeat as conference champions. The biggest obstacle may be their ability to stay healthy during the early-season slate of four nonconference games that includes defending Class 6A champion Prairie Ridge and two other teams that combined for 17 wins.
"One of our five goals is to repeat as conference champions," said Glenbard South coach Jeremy Cordell. "That's at the top of the list."
Glenbard South graduates plenty of talent from last year's 7-4 team that went unbeaten in the MSC and won the four league games by an average of nearly four touchdowns. The Raiders reload from the skill positions.
Although they graduated All-Area running back Wes Sanders, the Raiders bring back the running tandem of Matt Loos and Zach Smith that combined for 677 yards and 9 touchdowns. The key for the offense will be the emergence of junior quarterback Alex Jeske.
While Glenbard South appears to be a clear favorite, the remainder of the MSC is immensely balanced. Fenton, 7-3 last year and 2-2 in the conference, may offer the stiffest challenge despite returning no starters from a pass-happy offense that scored a season-low 8 points in a loss to the Raiders.
The only experience with the Bison lies with linebackers Jimmy Stamas and Peter Panos. Randy Brezell will be the go-to receiver for quarterbacks Angel Valasco and Willie Wassman, a sophomore.
Glenbard South travels to Bensenville to face Fenton in Week 7.
"Glenbard South has the bull's eye on their back, and they've earned that right based on what they did last year," said Fenton coach Mark Kos. "Most coaches in the conference would say Glenbard South is the favorite. After that it's a battle."
Elmwood Park, which hasn't made the playoffs since 1991, stayed close to Fenton and Glenbard South last season and looks to add at least one win to its 4-5 record. Ridgewood also just missed the postseason after finishing 4-5.
Riverside-Brookfield, a traditional power in the MSC, aims to rebound from a two-win campaign. Like everyone else, the Bulldogs will be chasing Glenbard South.
"We're not taking anything for granted in the conference," Cordell said. "We know we'll have to play well to win it again."
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