Scouting the Glenbard North Panthers
Things don't change much at Glenbard North.
"We're going to play good defense and we're going to run the football," said Panthers coach Ryan Wilkens, sitting on 99 career victories.
"We've got a lot of young kids that are looking for the opportunity," he said.
That includes an all-new offensive line surrounding 2017 contributors such as tight end Mike Wellman, running back Angelo Cusumano and fullback Jake Wilson.
Cusumano and senior Maksym Shershen were among six backs who ran for at least 124 yards last season. Jordan McQuarter and Kelvin Hicks provide new options. Last season 2,104 of Glenbard North's 2,895 offensive yards came on the ground.
"We run the ball so much we always split it up a little bit," Wilkens said. "That's what we'll do again this year."
New quarterback Mike Vazquez, a junior, understands the system, Wilkens said. That makes sense since he's the younger brother of since-graduated star offensive lineman Jose Vazquez.
The Panthers look to reload up front, headed by Justyn Orozco, Jahquell Reese, Nico Wegner, 290-pound Ben Voigts and center Johnny Cassidy, son of Glenbard North graduate and offensive line coach John Cassidy.
Linebackers Wellman and Cusumano, end Wilson and defensive back Kobie Jamison get the "D" off to a good start. Wellman ranked second on last year's squad with 48 tackles. Jamison snagged a team-high 3 interceptions.
The big key is getting the offensive line to jell. Two-way starters may be common across the board, but that's not atypical at Glenbard North.
"The competitive level is very high," Wilkens said, "because there's a lot of positions up for grabs."
One to watch: The Panthers kept Neuqua Valley from the playoffs in 2017. Guess where they open the season.
Coach: Ryan Wilkens (14th season, 99-45).
2017 record: 5-5, 4-4, tied for fifth in the DuPage Valley Conference.
Top players: Angelo Cusumano (RB-LB, 5-10, 200, jr.), Jaheim Edmond (WR-LB, 6-1, 215, jr.), Kelvin Hicks (RB-DL, 5-10, 195, jr.), Rory Hills (WR-DB, 5-11, 155, jr.), Kobie Jamison (WR-DB, 5-10, 175, jr.), Jordan McQuarter (RB-LB, 5-9, 185, jr.), Justyn Orozco (OL-DL, 6-1, 255, sr.), Jahquell Reese (OL, 5-11, 275, jr.), Maksym Shershen (WR-LB, 5-11, 190, sr.), Mike Vazquez (QB, 5--11, 165, jr.), Mike Wellman (TE-LB, 6-2, 215, sr.), Jake Wilson (RB-DL, 5-10, 195, sr.).
-- Dave Oberhelman
Fri, 8/24, Glenbard North at Neuqua Valley, 7:30 p.m.
Fri, 8/31, Warren at Glenbard North, 7:30 p.m.
Fri, 9/7, Glenbard North at St. Charles East, 7 p.m.
Fri, 9/14, Batavia at Glenbard North, 7:30 p.m.
Fri, 9/21, Glenbard North at Wheaton North, 7:30 p.m.
Fri, 9/28, Glenbard North at Lake Park, 7:30 p.m.
Fri, 10/5, St. Charles North at Glenbard North, 7:30 p.m.
Fri, 10/12, Wheaton Warrenville South at Glenbard North, 7:30 p.m.
Fri, 10/19, Glenbard North at Geneva, 7:30 p.m.