Week 3 Photos from the Naperville North at Wheaton North football game on September 9th.
Paul Michna | Staff Photographer
First day of football practice at Wheaton Academy High School.Coach Ben Wilson shouts out direction to his team.
Paul Michna | Staff Photographer
Wheaton Academy will not lack motivation as it concludes its 2011 football season Friday at Montini.
The host Broncos being two-time defending Class 5A state champions has next to nothing to do with it. Warriors coach Ben Wilson is facing a greater adversary.
On Monday at Loyola Hospital in Maywood, the Warriors' fifth-year coach will have surgery to remove a 2.5-centimeter, benign tumor at the base of his brain, between the optic nerves and pituitary gland.
"That's why they want to get it out. They don't want it messing with those structures," said Wilson, who was diagnosed with the tumor on Oct. 10 but said it could have been there all his life.
Wilson, who expects a full though long recovery, will recuperate at home for the rest of the semester before returning to school in January.
"It's just really cool that we're going to end the season together and have the surgery before the season's over, and have that cloud hanging over everybody," Wilson said.
He had been experiencing vision problems and figured it was either stress-related or his eyes were simply failing. His wife, Leah, scheduled an optometrist appointment, which subsequently led to an MRI performed at Central DuPage Hospital in Winfield on Oct. 7 the night before Wheaton Academy (1-7, 0-4 Suburban Christian Blue) hosted Marian Central.
After receiving the diagnosis, Wilson told his players of the situation before Wheaton Academy's Oct. 11 morning chapel service; he announced it to the school as a whole shortly thereafter.
"We've run the gamut of emotions," Wilson said.
"You don't imagine your life turning in eight days like this," he said. "But the team has been great. Wheaton Academy has been very supportive. We're just looking at finishing our season well Friday against Montini, just having fun together."
As of now the tumor itself is not life-threatening but could be if left alone and could cause blindness due to pressure on the optic nerves. In the future Wilson said he will require MRI tests every three to six months to make sure there is no new growth.
"It's definitely scary going into surgery like this, I'm not going to lie," Wilson said. "But I really, truly do feel God's peace going into this, knowing He's in control. And He's going to get us through."
The Wheaton Bowl:
Whether it's the north side, the south side or all sides, there will be plenty of celebrating this weekend in Wheaton.
The DuPage Valley Conference football championship boils down to Friday's game between Wheaton North (7-1, 6-0) and host Wheaton Warrenville South (5-3, 5-1). The Falcons already have clinched a share of their first DVC title since 2002, but WW South can grab its own share its third straight DVC crown by beating Wheaton North for the 10th straight time.
"It's great for Wheaton football," said Tigers coach Ron Muhitch. "This game has as much energy as the Glenbard game."
That's quite a statement considering the Tigers' season opener was played against Glenbard West on ESPN2, but this looks to be a huge weekend for Wheaton football.
WW South and Wheaton North both are unbeaten in the DVC at the sophomore, freshman A and freshman B levels, meaning those three titles also will be decided in the cross-town game. The freshman games will be played Thursday while the sophomore game is before Friday's varsity game.
"We've got some good classes of kids strung together," said Wheaton North coach Joe Wardynski. "For all the levels to be at the top like this is a pretty unique situation."
Naperville Central (5-3, 4-2) scored a huge win with last week's 36-26 DuPage Valley Conference decision over Naperville North (5-3, 4-2).
Not only did it mean a cross-town victory over their fiercest rival, but the Redhawks also all but guaranteed themselves a playoff berth after spending the postseason at home last year.
Redhawks coach Mike Stine was especially impressed by his senior class. Stine said last week's win over the Huskies meant the class of 2012 notched 5 wins for the first time in their high school careers.
"This group has worked as hard as any group we've ever had," Stine said. "This just validates everything they've done. We've got a couple of stars in that senior class, but it's everyone working together."
Naperville Central can improve its playoff seeding by notching a sixth win Friday against visiting West Chicago.
"The last four weeks have been such a battle," Stine said. "We've got to keep it up."
For several area teams already eliminated from playoff contention, this weekend marks the end of the season. For many of the seniors, it'll be the last football game they play.
With that in mind, expect to see everyone's best effort in Week 9.
"We're definitely stressing that this week," said West Chicago coach Paul Reinke. "We want the kids to go out and give everything they have. We want their heads held high when they walk off that field for the last time."
A winning scenario:
Bringing an overall record of 2-6 into its season finale against Interstate Eight Conference crossover foe Herscher, Lisle is obviously on the list of non-playoff qualifiers.
Despite the record and its ramifications, Lions coach Dan Sanko praises his team.
"It'd be easy at 2-6 to just lay down, and they didn't," said the 15-year head coach, who is down five starters to injury, including three two-way starters.
"This week's been fun. It's been pretty much a joy to coach kids that don't give up like that."
Last week's game, a 53-21 loss to a Manteno team Sanko called the best in the entire Interstate Eight, Large or Small divisions, was a matter of simply facing a better team, he said.
"Our kids fought. I hope they do it again," Sanko said.
"I still enjoyed the year," he added. "You always have the ups and downs, but I still enjoy these kids. Like I told them, I love all of them."
Who knows how successful Metea Valley (3-5, 1-5 Upstate Eight Valley) could have been had quarterback Jarrett House not twisted a knee in the first quarter of the Mustangs' Week 4 game against South Elgin?
After a 3-0 start with a healthy House, the Mustangs have lost their next five games.
"Once our quarterback went out it really hindered us offensively and it affected our confidence," said Metea coach Ted Monken.
Quarterback is the most important position on the field, sure. But Monken anticipates the day when he can line up some defensive hulks better able to withstand Class 8A offensive linemen.
"You're not going to stop a lot of teams in 7A, 8A when your biggest defensive player is 215 pounds. We've got to have some bigger guys," said Monken, who did note that most of his players either worked hard in the off-season or played other sports.
Monken depicted 2010 as a success based on its record compared with last year's varsity debut. Last season the Mustangs beat only East Aurora. Friday they seek their fourth victory, against an Elgin team that brings a 1-7 record into Aurora.
"In all reality it's probably a pretty positive step forward," Monken said.
"We're still building," he said. "We're not going to give up, we're not going to quit working on this house. We've got some walls put up, but we're not finished."