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Article updated: 8/26/2013 9:54 PM
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Early schedule will tell a lot for Naperville N.
 

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Early schedule will tell a lot for Naperville N.
  • Danny Schertz runs a drill during Naperville North football practice.

    Purchase Photo | Danny Schertz runs a drill during Naperville North football practice. Bev Horne | Staff Photographer

 

Last season Naperville North ran the football nearly five times more than the Huskies threw it.

With a dominant offensive line like that, who could blame them?

A new season brings a new focus, primarily because of the new talent.

Don't look for a complete change from Naperville North -- not after returning running backs DeSean Brown and Sharad Crosby ran for a combined 1,200 yards and 14 touchdowns. The Huskies will simply balance the offense a little more.

"We're going to look different, and I like that," said Huskies coach Sean Drendel. "We're not solely going to be dependent on the offensive line like last year."

That's not to say there aren't some bugs to work out in the passing game. For starters, Connor Johannes, Evan Kujawski and Chris Gajcak came into camp battling for the quarterback spot.

Decisions on the offensive line, where the Huskies' top seven graduated, are also difficult with 15 players vying for time. Receiver Anthony Rehayem, who caught 13 passes last year, leads a promising receiving corps that includes Austin Mezmar. Leon Hardy will be a strong addition in the backfield.

"We really like those guys," Drendel said of his skill players. "We wanted great balance last year, we just didn't get it. This year we need to make teams respect us throwing the ball."

The situation on defense is more solidified with half the starting lineup and three of the top six tacklers returning. Danny Schertz is back at free safety, as are linebackers Ben Brancaleon and Kevin Mlady.

Because of the depth and talent at running back, you're likely to see Brown and Crosby at the corners at times.

Opening the season against Neuqua Valley and starting DuPage Valley Conference play with Glenbard North, Wheaton North and Wheaton Warrenville South will be a telling time for the new-look Huskies.

"A lot will depend on early in the season when we go through the gauntlet," Drendel said.

Follow Kevin on Twitter @kevin_schmit

Schedule

Fri, 8/30 Naperville North at Neuqua Valley 7:30 p.m.

Fri, 9/6 Thornton at Naperville North 7:30 p.m.

Fri, 9/13 Naperville North at Glenbard North 7:30 p.m.

Fri, 9/20 Naperville North at Wheaton North 7:30 p.m.

Fri, 9/27 WW South at Naperville North 7:30 p.m.

Fri, 10/4 Lake Park at Naperville North 7:30 p.m.

Fri, 10/11 Naperville North at Glenbard East 7:30 p.m.

Fri, 10/18 Naperville North at West Aurora 7:30 p.m.

Fri, 10/25 Naperville Central at Naperville North 7:30 p.m.

(North Central)

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