Scouting the Naperville Central Redhawks
And how was your summer?
Ask Naperville Central that question, and the response might be a collective smile.
The Redhawks already expected a good football season, and then they welcomed a pair of transfers from Metea Valley: all-DuPage Valley Conference quarterback Payton Thorne, who has a scholarship offer from Western Michigan, and receiver Jayden Reed, who's committed to the Broncos.
All-DVC running back A.J. Deinhart returns from a 1,000-yard campaign, receivers Tommy Coyne and Tommy Carlsen are back, and Luke Hallstrom and Omarr Roberts are line veterans.
It's a unit more than worthy of a wide grin.
"(The transfers) totally changed everything, and we're still trying to figure it all out," coach Mike Stine said. "It's exciting to think about."
The wealth of offensive talent also helps the defense, where Carlsen and Jack Jopes shift sides to deepen a strong secondary that returns Braden Lindmark and Andy Delgado. Coyne and Reed also could play defensive back if needed.
The defensive line returns Lavar Archibald and Tommy Trepanier, who's moving from linebacker.
The key defensively is building around Mike Oliver and Mike Wang among the inexperienced linebackers.
"The front five on offense and the front seven on defense," Stine said. "That's where championships are won."
The Redhawks' defense may need time to catch up to the offense early in the season, but they won't be alone.
A lot of opposing defenses will have trouble keeping up with Naperville Central's offense.
"There's talent but it's still a matter of putting the right pieces together," Stine said. "There's only one football and we need to figure out how to get touches for everyone."
Coach: Mike Stine (12th year, 79-42).
2016 record: 4-5, 4-4, tied for fourth in the DuPage Valley Conference.
Top players: A.J. Deinhart (RB, 5-9, 185, sr.), Payton Thorne (QB, 6-2, 180, jr.), Tommy Coyne (WR, 6-2, 185, sr.), Jayden Reed (WR, 6-0, 170, sr.), Lavar Archibald (DL, 6-0, 260, sr.), Braden Lindmark (DB, 6-3, 175, sr.), Tommy Carlsen (WR-DB, 5-11, 180, sr.), Luke Hallstrom (OL, 6-2, 275, jr.), Tommy Trepanier (DL, 6-0, 210, sr.), Jack Jopes (DB-WR, 5-9, 160, jr.), Andy Delgado (DB, 5-6, 155, sr.), Mike Oliver (LB, 6-0, 195, sr.), Michael Wang (LB, 5-10, 185, sr.).
-- Kevin Schmit
Fri, 8/25, Naperville Central at Glenbard North, 7:30 p.m.
Fri, 9/1, Neuqua Valley at Naperville Central, 7:30 p.m.
Fri, 9/8, Metea Valley at Naperville Central, 7:30 p.m.
Fri, 9/15, Naperville Central at Waubonsie Valley, 7:30 p.m.
Fri, 9/22, WW South at Naperville Central, 7:30 p.m.
Sat, 9/30, St. Edward (Ohio) at Naperville Central, 1 p.m.
Fri, 10/6, Naperville North at Naperville Central, 7:30 p.m.
Fri, 10/13, Wheaton North at Naperville Central, 7:30 p.m.
Fri, 10/20, Naperville Central at Lake Park, 7:30 p.m.