It's been an odd and challenging week for Lake Park's football program with the Ryder Cup being held at Medinah Country Club across the street from the school's East Campus.
Ultimately it should be a profitable week.
Lake Park coach Chris Roll had all hands on deck helping out with parking duty at three locations, Arlington Park racetrack in Arlington Heights, the East Branch Forest Preserve in Glendale Heights and at Medinah itself.
Most of Roll's 18-man coaching staff was involved, and Roll needed to fill 100 spots with students 16 and older. On Tuesday he had 60 football players working six-hour shifts at Arlington Park and East Branch; starting at 6 a.m. on Sunday, 40 more will do the same at Medinah.
"In their mind it's just giving back to the community," Roll said of a program well-versed in community service.
Since school was closed all week, seniors Vince Fallico, Zach Gehant and Kevin Teglia had plenty of time to prep for television and radio news interviews on Monday.
Lake Park should reap quite a bounty by offering its grounds and volunteers for the Ryder Cup effort. Roll said up to $400,000 will be directed toward Lake Park High School District 108, and the Board has voted to pour the funds toward an artificial surface for the competition field at the West Campus, which will benefit activities from gym classes to the famous Lancer Joust.
Roll said the Ryder Cup portion would be about a third of finances needed for a field and track renovation. The football program fundraising efforts will be responsible for a third and the school district the other third. A website has been set up to aid the campaign, at fieldforourfuture.com.
Meanwhile, Roll has a football team to coach, a team that's 2-3 and fighting to reach the playoffs. Missing practice on Tuesday to facilitate the volunteerism, he said, "is the weirdest feeling ever."
"And we get to play Bartlett," he said of Saturday's game. "That also happens to be the biggest game of our season up to this point."
It's tough to remember a football game where Wheaton Warrenville South was dominated as much as it was last week in the first half against Naperville Central.
A 21-0 first-quarter lead for the Redhawks grew to 24-0 by halftime and ended with a 24-13 victory.
As the score indicates, the Tigers clearly played better in the second half. They established themselves right out of the break with an epic 17-play drive capped by Zach Moberg's 2-yard touchdown run -- the 16th run play of the march.
As impressive as the drive was, however, it took seven minutes, 27 seconds. Far too long for a team still trailing by three scores at 24-6.
"Yeah, it was nice to run that many plays of positive yardage," said Tigers coach Ron Muhitch. "That's tough to do. We needed to do it because that's all we had."
With that in mind, Muhitch is eyeing a more concerted effort at creating big plays Friday against West Chicago. That means quarterback Ryan Graham finding explosive receivers Corey Davis and Brandon Moore more often.
It's an option WW South desperately needed while trying to climb out of a deep hole against Naperville Central.
"We're looking at different ways we can make that happen," Muhitch said. "Big plays equal victories, and we need victories."
On the mend:
Glenbard West coach Chad Hetlet had a personnel plan heading into Saturday's game against Oak Park.
He just wasn't sure he could execute that plan.
Three of his top players -- running back Joe Zito, linebacker Contrell Silmon and Vanderbilt-bound receiver Nathan Marcus -- nursed nagging injuries heading into the game. Each dressed, but Hetlet hoped to save them for another day.
"We didn't go in thinking we could hold them out," Hetlet said. "But I was hoping we wouldn't have to play those guys as much as they normally play."
Against Oak Park it took only two plays to score: a fumble by the Huskies and a 33-yard touchdown run by Deon Dumas, who filled in for Zito. Receiver Luke Domask, who saw more time with Marcus resting, caught a pair of touchdown passes from quarterback Henry Haeffner.
Racing to a 28-0 halftime lead, en route to a 49-0 win, Hetlet got his wish to rest his trio. Zito and Silmon didn't play at all, and Marcus only played a couple of series.
Anticipating what's bound to be a very physical West Suburban Silver game Friday at Proviso West, Hetlet's strategy should pay dividends. Each of the three is ready to go.
"We were ready to play those guys, but if we could get a lead we wouldn't have to," Hetlet said. "It really worked out for us."
As Benet prepares to face St. Viator in Friday's key East Suburban Catholic Conference matchup, it's impossible to figure out how the title chase will wind up.
Marist and Notre Dame are unbeaten in league play as the teams await their Week 7 showdown. Joliet Catholic, Carmel, St. Patrick and Benet sit with a loss apiece.
Because Benet does not play Notre Dame in the unbalanced schedule, the Redwings do not control their own destiny in terms of challenging for the crown. With remaining games against St. Viator, Marist and Joliet Catholic, however, Benet will have a major say in its finish in the standings.
"It's hard to say what will happen each week," said Benet coach Pat New. "The conclusion in our conference is that anyone can beat anyone."
Willowbrook is enjoying one of the state's biggest turnarounds from last season's winless campaign, improving to 4-1 overall and 2-0 in the West Suburban Gold with Saturday's 53-14 win at Proviso East.
The Warriors, however, face their toughest stretch of the season starting with Friday's game at perennial Gold power Downers Grove South (1-4). Willowbrook faces league-leading Leyden (4-1, 3-0) before finishing with District 88 rival Addison Trail (1-4) and Gold contender Hinsdale South (4-1, 2-1).
"It'll be good for us," said Willowbrook coach Nick Hildreth, whose team last beat Downers South in 2006. "We'll find out where we're at when we play Downers South. That's the level where we're striving to get to, and the only way to get there is to play teams like that."
West Chicago, which recently announced its move to the Metro Suburban Conference, fell to 0-5 with last week's 35-0 DuPage Valley Conference loss to Naperville North.
While the Wildcats are struggling, it's hard to imagine many teams thriving in the midst of their current stretch of schedule. West Chicago lost to Glenbard North (4-1) and Wheaton North (5-0) before falling to the Huskies.
The Wildcats face defending DVC co-champion and Class 7A runner-up Wheaton Warrenville South on Friday before closing with Glenbard East, West Aurora and DVC unbeaten Naperville Central.
"You just try to weather it and endure it," said first-year Wildcats coach Bill Bicker.
The biggest challenge, Bicker said, is trying to slow the many great DVC running backs. The last three weeks the Wildcats have faced all-DVC backs Justin Jackson of Glenbard North and Patrick Sharp of Wheaton North.
Naperville North ran several backs at the Wildcats behind one of the area's top offensive lines.
"You're facing a good back every week," Bicker said. "You've got Jackson and Sharp. And if there's a better offensive line than Naperville North, I'd like to see it."