Scouting the Willowbrook Warriors
It's another season when Willowbrook's football team doesn't return much experience.
And it's another season when the Warriors aren't concerned about it.
They were in the same situation a year ago and responded by claiming their first outright West Suburban Gold title and advancing to the Class 6A quarterfinals. Graduating a player like Jack Jessen -- an all-stater who rushed for 2,050 yards and led the defense with 90 tackles -- isn't easy, but Willowbrook is accustomed to the next-man-up mentality.
"The majority of the time you win with seniors, so we're OK with graduating one group and putting a new group out there," said Warriors coach Nick Hildreth. "None of our guys last year started as juniors and you see how they did."
However it shakes out, the Tumilty brothers will be at the heart of it. Scott and Sam, a junior, return to the secondary and will be in the mix to play quarterback along with junior Everett Stubblefield, last year's sophomore quarterback.
All three figure greatly into the offensive scheme regardless of where they play. Only two linemen -- Matt Knudtson and Tyler Walenga -- return to the offense. Franshun Jordan and D'onte Gholston take over at running back, while a revolving group of receivers looks to emerge.
The unit is tasked with making up for nearly 5,000 yards of graduated offense.
The defense is a little more experienced, although the entire linebacking corps must be replaced. Scott and Sam Tumilty combined for 11 interceptions, while lineman Nick Rushing notched 6 sacks.
Defensive back DeAndre Holliday and lineman Emmanuel Chavez also return. Look for Gholston and Jordan to be among the players filling the second level.
"It'll take a few weeks to figure it all out," Hildreth said. "But we'll get there."
One to watch: Hinsdale Central in Week 2 is the perfect test to see how well Willowbrook has reloaded from last season.
Coach: Nick Hildreth (eighth year, 38-33).
2017 record: 10-2, 6-0, first in West Suburban Gold.
Top players: Scott Tumilty (DB-QB-WR, 5-10, 171, sr.), Tyler Walenga (OL-DL, 5-10, 229, sr.), Emmanuel Chavez (DL-OL, 5-11, 240, sr.), Nick Rushing (DL, 6-3, 191, sr.), Sam Tumilty (DB-QB-WR, 5-9, 175, jr.), DeAndre Holliday (DB-WR, 6-2, 173, jr.), Matt Knudtson (OL-DL, 6-0, 271, sr.), Franshun Jordan (RB-LB, 5-11, 186, sr.), C.J. Harris (WR-DB, 5-9, 171, sr.), D'onte Gholston (RB-LB, 5-10, 171, sr.), Everett Stubblefield (WR-QB, 5-10, 166, jr.), Mohammad Ayesh (DB-WR, 5-9, 169, so.).
-- Kevin Schmit
Fri, 8/24, Curie at Willowbrook, 7:30 p.m.
Fri, 8/31, Hinsdale Central at Willowbrook, 7:30 p.m.
Fri, 9/7, Leyden a Willowbrook, 7:30 p.m.
Fri, 9/14, Willowbrook at Addison Trail, 7:30 p.m.
Fri, 9/21, Hinsdale South at Willowbrook, 7:30 p.m.
Fri, 9/28, Willowbrook at York, 7:30 p.m.
Fri, 10/5, Morton at Willowbrook, 7:30 p.m.
Fri, 10/12, Willowbrook at Proviso East, 7:15 p.m.
Fri, 10/19, Willowbrook at Downers Grove South, 7:30 p.m.