Glenbrook South:'We hope to be a fast and dynamic offense'
If experience on the offensive and defensive lines means anything, Glenbrook South enters the 2021 fall football season in pretty good shape.
Titans six-year head coach Dave Schoenwetter reported that he's got five players back who got starting reps on the offensive line this past spring, in addition to getting tight end Jack DiSano back for his senior season.
There are four more returning starting linemen on the defensive side of the ball.
From tackle to offensive tackle, Schoenwetter noted Chris Fish, Drew Duffy, Ryan Cunningham, David Palkovic and Danny Liebrandt all return to the offensive line. Duffy is the lone junior among them. These linemen helped the Titans average 155 yards rushing in the last abbreviated season.
A former Glenbrook South quarterback, it must make Schoenwetter feel a little more secure.
Those linemen will pave the way for two more senior returners, running backs Will Collins and an all-Central Suburban League South back, Matt Burda, who bulled his way to 478 yards and four touchdowns in five games for the Titans in March and April. In a 51-0 win over Niles West, Burda ran for 142 yards and three touchdowns.
The defensive linemen are the only returning starters for the Titans: nose guard Palkovic, defensive tackle Etor Agbenya, and defensive ends Tommy Corbett and Jacque Gariepy, all seniors. Gariepy is the leading returning tackler with 15, which ranked seventh on the team this spring. He made 5.5 tackles for loss including three sacks.
Schoenwetter seemingly has his ground game intact, and is confident in the "possibilities" of the passing game.
"We hope to be a fast and dynamic offense that plays physical football," he stated.
Senior Nic Swanson is slated to take over for graduated quarterback Michael Bauer, while seniors Trent Spaete and Carmelo Livatino and junior Chuck Gottfred come up to fill receiver spots.
The Titans will miss their tall, top receiver from last season, Justin Leszynski, but that graduate and DiSano were like mirror images of each other running patterns in the spring. DiSano, who goes about 6-foot-4 and 235 pounds, caught 25 passes for 158 yards and a touchdown.
Defensively, Schoenwetter said experience lacks behind the strength on the line. Senior Jack Downing is among several who were competing for linebacker spots, and the coach pointed out junior Tommy MacPherson was a top newcomer to the defensive backfield.
Glenbrook South missed its final game due to a CSL crossover opponent having COVID issues. When they did play, several statistical categories suggested a much better team than one that finished 1-4 overall and in league play.
The Titans gained 72 first downs to opponents' 48, and on average compiled 44.2 yards more than their foes, running for 270 yards more than opponents.
DiSano punted half as many times as Glenbrook South's foes, averaging 34 yards on 13 boots with five inside the opponents' 20-yard line.
Glenbrook South won time of possession, owned a tiny margin on red zone scoring percentage (70.6% overall) and converted 41.2% of its third-down opportunities to foes' 27.5% in the same amount of chances.
Should the Titans continue with that sort of production and improve upon a minus-6 turnover margin, they may realize Schoenwetter's goals for this season.
"We hope to be very competitive within our conference," he said. "In addition, we are hoping to compete in the (Illinois High School Association) playoffs this season.
"We recognize the sort of quality programs that exist in the CSL South, and we hope to be on their level."