Any year with an Edwards is a good one for Downers Grove North.
Following in the footsteps of Tom and Garrett, sophomore David is the third Trojans quarterback set to lead the program back into the playoffs for the first time since 2008.
"We're fortunate to have David as a sophomore," said Downers North coach John Wander. "He'll be at the next level."
While Edwards is a good start for the Trojans, they'll need much more to improve upon last year's two-win disappointment. The most improvement must come on the defensive side of the ball, where the team allowed an average of 31 points in its seven losses.
Seven starters are back on defense, a list that includes Joe Hill in a switch from offensive to defensive line. Vonte Diggs, third on last year's team in tackles, and Ryan Pintozzi also return up front.
A stingy line should help reduce the 200 rushing yards allowed per game last year. Brandon Salter, second on the team in tackles, and Dan Izewski also will help.
Downers North's offense was somewhat balanced last season, although the Trojans still rely heavily on their running game. Edwards' emergence will add a jolt to the team's explosiveness, especially with the return of leading receiver Steve Kanis, who had 29 catches for 415 yards, and fellow receiver Richard Olekanma.
As much as Downers North has the potential to boost the passing game, the Trojans won't stop pounding the ball despite graduating their three top rushers. With Edwards and Salter the primary runners. the offense needs time to develop an inexperienced line.
Overall improvement won't be easy to come by in Downers North's quest to reclaim a playoff spot. Seven of last season's nine opponents were postseason qualifiers and notched a total of 56 wins.
With a new Edwards in the mix, the Trojans seem ready to turn the corner.
"Hopefully, we can get back to being competitive and get back in the playoffs," Wander said.
-- Kevin Schmit
Coach: John Wander (11th year, 59-48).
2011 record: 2-7, 1-5, tied for sixth in West Suburban Silver.
Top players: David Edwards (QB, so.); Vonte Diggs (DL, jr.); Brandon Salter (RB-LB, sr.); Joe Hill (DL, jr.); Richard Olekanma (WR, jr.); Steve Kanis (WR-DB, sr.); Ryan Pintozzi (DL, sr.); Liam McKenna (DB-QB, sr.); Danny Izewski (LB, jr.).
Fri, 8/24, Lockport at Downers Grove North, 7:30 p.m
Fri, 8/31, Downers Grove North at Morton, 7:30 p.m
Fri, 9/7, Oak Park River Forest at Downers Grove North, 7:30 p.m
Fri, 9/14, Downers Grove north at Lyons Township, 7:30 p.m
Fri, 9/21, Downers Grove South at Downers Grove North, 7:30 p.m
Fri, 9/28, Downers Grove North at York, 7:30 p.m
Fri, 10/5, Proviso West at Downers Grove North, 7:30 p.m
Fri, 10/12, Hinsdale Central at Downers Grove North, 7:30 p.m
Sat, 10/20, Downers Grove North at Glenbard West, 1 p.m