Scouting the Glenbard East Rams
A year ago Glenbard East gained 2,087 yards passing but just 771 yards rushing.
The Rams look to even it up.
If successful they could make noise in the revamped Upstate Eight Conference and vie for their second playoff berth and first since 1999.
"Our goal this year is to establish balance," coach John Walters said.
Four returning starting offensive linemen, including all-conference left tackle Ben Pham, aim to carve lanes for new featured back Jake Netchin. Walters describes the senior's style as "a bull in a china shop. He runs the ball with a wrestler's mentality."
All-conference receiver Jeremy Johnson can run the ball but specializes in catching it, 40 catches for 517 yards, 6 touchdowns in 2017.
Again, Glenbard East's offensive ringleader is quarterback Bret Bushka. The team co-captain isn't prototype tall but can get those hard rushing yards, with 4 touchdown runs in 2017. Bushka completed 51 percent of his passes for 1,239 yards and 9 touchdowns.
"He's a guy who knows our system completely inside and out," Walters said.
Seven defensive starters return plus senior cornerback Mashar Lewis, finally healthy after a rash of injuries marred his underclass years.
Three-year starting linebackers, all-UEC force Anthony Shockey and Jake Baka, were the Rams' Nos. 2-3 tacklers last season with 67 and 65, respectively. Safety Dan Hurtado, cornerback Nehemiah Jones and defensive end Nick Andrews each are returning starters; defensive linemen Ruben Ramirez and Jesus Lopez also got reps.
"We're going to have a tremendous amount of seniors on the field Friday night," Walters said. "They're going to know what it takes to win a ballgame."
One to watch: Week 4 hosting West Aurora, standard bearer of the new Upstate Eight.
Coach: John Walters (eighth year, 16-47; ninth overall, 18-54).
2017 record: 3-6, 3-2, third in Upstate Eight Valley.
Top players: Nick Andrews (OL-DL, 5-10, 225, sr.), Jack Baka (LB, 6-0, 195, sr.), Bret Bushka (QB, 5-10, 190, sr.), Dan Hurtado (DB, 5-9, 165, sr.), Jeremy Johnson (WR, 6-1, 175, sr.), Nehemiah Jones (DB, 6-2, 185, sr.), Jesus Lopez (DL, 5-11, 240, sr.), Dylan Marin (OL, 6-1, 305, sr.), Ben Pham (OL, 6-0, 230, sr.), Anthony Shockey (LB, 6-2, 220, sr.),
-- Dave Oberhelman
Fri, 8/24, Elgin at Glenbard East, 7:30 p.m.
Fri, 8/31, Glenbard East at Bartlett, 7:30 p.m.
Fri, 9/7, West Chicago at Glenbard East, 7:30 p.m.
Fri, 9/14, West Aurora at Glenbard East, 7:30 p.m.
Sat, 9/22, Glenbard East at South Elgin, 7:30 p.m.
Fri, 9/28, East Aurora at Glenbard East, 7:30 p.m.
Fri, 10/5, Streamwood at Glenbard East, 7:30 p.m.
Fri, 10/12, Glenbard East at Glenbard South, 7:30 p.m.
Fri, 10/19, Glenbard East at Larkin, 7:30 p.m.