Football: Scouting the West Suburban Gold
By Kevin Schmit
West Suburban Conference Gold Division
Teams: Addison Trail, Downers Grove South, Hinsdale South, Leyden, Morton, Proviso East, Willowbrook.
Key games: Leyden at Willowbrook, Sept. 7; Willowbrook at Addison Trail, Sept. 14; Downers Grove South at Hinsdale South, Sept. 14; Hinsdale South at Willowbrook, Sept. 21; Willowbrook at Downers Grove South, Oct. 19.
Top players: Jaelynn Blecke, DB, Downers South; Kyler Britten, QB, Leyden; Nick Daudelin, QB, Addison Trail; Marquese Garrett, QB, Hinsdale South; Ali Issa, DL, Downers South; Jayden Lambert, RB-WR, Downers South; Terrill McCray, WR-DB, Hinsdale South; Sam Tumilty, QB-DB, Willowbrook; Scott Tumilty, QB-DB, Willowbrook; Jake Zaborowski, OL, Addison Trail.
Outlook: With five different champions in five seasons, your guess is as good as ours. Defending champion Willowbrook was gutted by graduation, but that was the case last year also. The offensive personnel especially will look different. It'll start at quarterback with either Scott or Sam Tumilty, or Everett Stubblefield. All three figure into the offensive scheme at a number of spots. Graduated running back-linebacker Jack Jessen is the biggest loss in the conference. It'll take a few players, including Franshun Jordan and D'onte Gholston, to try and replace his impact. Downers South is loaded with playmakers headed by Jayden Lambert. Last year he played quarterback as a sophomore up on varsity but with George Ross taking over behind center, Lambert is free to play running back or receiver. The defense is in good hands with linemen Ali Issa, Shawn Lee and Kendall Burrow returning. Hinsdale South's offense will be interesting to watch with Marquese Garrett, who last year rushed for 900 yards as a sophomore, shifting to quarterback. Addison Trail hopes to use its Gold slate as a springboard to return to the playoffs. Quarterback Nick Daudelin, who started four games last season, keys the offense. Leyden finds its motivation from the disappointment of missing last year's playoffs despite being eligible with a 5-4 record. Six starters return on each side of the ball for the 2016 Gold champions including quarterback Kyler Britten.
Quotable: "Expectations are good," said Willowbrook coach Nick Hildreth. "You want that kind of pressure. We'll use every week to gain that respect and prove we're a program capable of winning the title again."
-- Kevin Schmit