As Glenbard East embarks upon its final year in the DuPage Valley Conference, the Rams' football team is hoping for a fond farewell.
The DVC hasn't been too kind to the Rams through the years, and an immense number of graduation losses won't make this season any easier. Faith in the program, however, breeds confidence in the potential.
"We're replacing a lot of guys, but it's not going to look any different," said Glenbard East coach John Walters. "These guys have all gone through the program, so they should be able to pick things up easier."
Despite a 1-8 record last season, the Rams managed to break program records for most passing yards, passing touchdowns and completions with graduated quarterback Joe Kotch. Only one offensive starter returns, however, lineman Ben Sullivan. That leaves 10 new starters and 10 underclassmen in charge of reloading.
Junior Drake Pusateri takes over at quarterback after starting at the freshman and sophomore levels. If new receivers such as Joe Nolan and Joey Moore emerge as go-to players, the Rams may be able to keep pace with last year's passing prowess.
"(Pusateri's) really taken the reins and runs all the facets of our offense," Walters said. "Drake's proven that he's the guy."
Even with only Sullivan returning to the line, Walters is confident in running back Dominic Wilberton's ability to balance the pass game.
Perhaps the biggest area of confidence is in the secondary with safety Javon York, an Illinois State recruit who also will see time at running back and receiver. He joins two other returning members of the secondary for a Rams defense looking to rebound from allowing at least 40 points eight times last season.
It'd make Glenbard East's swan song in the DVC much easier on the ears.
"We did a lot of nice things on offense last year, but we need to show up on defense," Walters said. "We gave up too many points and too many explosion plays. That needs to change."
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Fri, 8/30 Willowbrook at Glenbard East 7:30 p.m.
Fri, 9/6 Glenbard East at Oswego East 7 p.m.
Fri, 9/13 Glenbard East at West Aurora 7:30 p.m.
Fri, 9/20 Glenbard East at Naperville Central 7:30 p.m.
Fri, 9/27 Glenbard North at Glenbard East 7:30 p.m.
Fri, 10/4 Glenbard East at Wheaton North 7:30 p.m.
Fri, 10/11 Naperville North at Glenbard East 7:30 p.m.
Fri, 10/18 Glenbard East at Lake Park 7:30 p.m.
Fri, 10/25 WW South at Glenbard East 7:30 p.m.