Scouting the Glenbard West Hilltoppers
Search through Glenbard West's storied football history and you'll find team after team filled with offensive firepower.
This season's offense may top them all.
Running backs Ryan Diver and Dre Thomas combined for 2,000 rushing yards last season while receiver Alec Pierce, who holds more than a dozen scholarship offers, had 800 receiving yards. Alex Hollensbe is a dual-threat quarterback who pushed for playing time as a junior.
"It's as explosive an offense as we've had," coach Chad Hetlet said. "We've got two of the best backs in the conference, we've got a receiver who catches anything close to him, a quarterback who runs our offense very well."
Sam Fenske shifts from offensive line to tight end, bolstering the passing game along with Ben Reifel. That leaves Connor Skryd as the lone returning lineman, but offensive coordinator and line coach John Sigmund coming back to the program will be a big boost.
While the offense is stacked, the defense is an unknown. That's especially true in the linebacking corps so important with the Hitters. It's where Diver plans to help out.
"As good as our offense looks, it all hinges on our defense coming around," Hetlet said. "Hopefully our defense can catch up to our offense."
The safety is also critical in the system, and they have a good one in Pat Howard. Marky Winters and Aidan O'Keefe provide a pass rush up front.
Cornerback Jack Campanella is back but Nate Scheller is the only returning linebacker. Dan Howard helps fill the void but there's still work to do in the heart of the unit.
If the defense comes together, the Hilltoppers will be as dangerous as ever.
"It's a good chemistry group," Hetlet said. "I'm excited to see them work together."
One to watch: If the Hilltoppers knock off Class 8A contender Maine South in the opener, watch out.
Coach: Chad Hetlet (11th year, 112-16; 13th year overall, 130-28).
2016 record: 10-3, 4-2, tied for second in the WSC Silver.
Top players: Ryan Diver (RB, 5-10, 185, sr.), Dre Thomas (RB, 6-1, 185, sr.), Alec Pierce (WR, 6-3, 200, sr.), Pat Howard (DB, 5-8, 160, sr.), Alex Hollensbe (QB, 6-1, 175, sr.), Nate Scheller (LB, 6-1, 195, sr.), Marky Winters (DL, 6-2, 225, jr.), Aidan O'Keefe (DL, 6-0, 220, sr.), Jack Campanella (DB, 5-9, 150, sr.), Connor Skryd (OL, 6-1, 230, sr.), Sam Fenske (TE, 6-2, 235, sr.), Ben Reifel (WR, 6-1, 175, sr.), Dan Howard (LB, 5-8, 165, sr.).
-- Kevin Schmit
Sat, 8/26, Maine South at Glenbard West, 1:30 p.m.
Sat, 9/2, Proviso East at Glenbard West, 1:30 p.m.
Fri, 9/8, Glenbard West at Addison Trail, 7:30 p.m.
Sat, 9/16, York at Glenbard West, 1:30 p.m.
Fri, 9/22, Glenbard West at Downers Grove North, 7:30 p.m.
Fri, 9/29, Glenbard West at Lyons Township, 7:30 p.m.
Sat, 10/7, Hinsdale Central at Glenbard West, 1:30 p.m.
Fri, 10/13, Glenbard West at Oak Park-River Forest, 7:30 p.m.
Sat, 10/21, Proviso West at Glenbard West, 1 p.m.