Fenton committed to honoring first responders
About three seconds into a conversation with Fenton football coach Matthew Lynch is all it takes to understand the man's commitment, whether to Bison football, to students or to worldly concerns.
Lynch hits on it all in a program to be held before this Friday's game between Fenton and DePaul in Bensenville. It remembers the events of Sept. 11, 2001, and serves as a welcome and a tribute to first responders.
"The significance of us doing this is to make sure that our student body understands what took place on Sept. 11, 2001," said Lynch, who ran a similar program annually while he coached at Marengo. At that time what sparked his vision was alarm that students didn't know much history regarding World War II.
"How can we expect the young people to understand the significance of their own history if we as adults don't make it important," Lynch said.
The program, starting on the football field at about 6:30 p.m., will include police, fire and rescue workers from Bensenville, Elmhurst, Wood Dale and neighboring communities; members of the United States Army, Navy and Marines; members of Fenton's Board and School District 100; the Bison and DePaul football teams, members of Fenton's other fall sports, and band.
Lynch said all interested military personnel and first responders are welcome to participate; he can be reached by email at email@example.com.
Proceedings will include the Wood Dale Veterans of Foreign Wars presenting an American flag that was flown over Fort Adder in Iraq during October 2009, along with the unfurling of a huge flag on the field. Fenton graduate and LaGrange firefighter Reid Selvik will recite "A Fireman's Prayer" followed by Bensenville firefighters presenting a "Last Alarm" bell ceremony. Fenton student Danielle Smith will sing "God Bless America."
Lynch has arranged more in a roughly half-hour program. He emphasizes the aspects of "education beyond the classroom" and the opportunity to acknowledge the military and first responders.
"We need them to always know that we are extremely appreciative for their service to their community," he said.
Pack your bags:
For the second time in three seasons Naperville Central (1-2) is heading out of state to fill its football schedule.
This year the opponent is Trinity High School in Louisville, Kentucky, a program that's won 25 state titles, went 15-0 last season and entered 2018 riding a 30-game winning streak. This year, however, the Shamrocks have struggled to an 0-4 record.
Regardless of the record, the Redhawks know they're in for a challenge this weekend.
"They're a good team, they've just played tough competition," said Naperville Central coach Mike Stine. "There are some similarities with Hinsdale Central and Lincoln-Way East. They've got a lot of talent."
The Redhawks, who were approached by Trinity after playing St. Edward from Ohio the last two seasons, will leave Naperville at about 8 a.m. Friday and stop for a walkthrough at Franklin College just south of Indianapolis.
After the 7 p.m. Friday game they'll drive right back to Naperville, arriving home sometime around 2 a.m. Saturday.
"If we came back on Saturday we'd lose a whole day," Stine said. "They'll sleep better on a bus than they would in a hotel room. You put a few guys in a hotel room and they're not getting to sleep before 2 a.m. anyway."
It'll be an awfully long day, but one the Redhawks hope is punctuated with a victory.
"This would be a big win," Stine said. "But with a schedule like we have, any win is big."
It's not easy to win football games scoring 15 and 17 points. Waubonsie Valley (3-0) is doing that due to a defense allowing 11 points a game.
"They're lining up right, they're doing their assignments, and they are playing physical and they are playing fast," said Warriors coach Paul Murphy.
In Waubonsie's Week 3 17-10 win over Neuqua Valley, linebacker Carson O'Donnell was credited with 21 tackles. Safety Julian Cain made 17.
The defense brings a nice blend of classes. Seniors such as O'Donnell, Cain, linemen Garrett St. Clair and Jake Forrest, defensive backs Brandon Guido and Harper Cole have set an example.
Sophomore linebacker Grayson Griffin, son of Warriors defensive coordinator Ron Griffin, and juniors like middle linebacker Ryan Mutz, linemen Joey Gits and Demari Wilson and cornerback Elijah Smith -- who intercepted Neuqua twice -- have meshed well. Junior running back Bryce Logan, who has run for 378 yards, has also spelled Cole at cornerback due to injury.
Thus far Waubonsie's defense allows an average of less than 89 yards rushing.
"It's been a fun group to watch because they've bought in to do what we've asked them to do on a daily basis," Murphy said. "I just hope they keep playing the way they're playing."
Taking a shot:
It didn't take long for Mike Fitzgerald to put his stamp on York's football program.
The Dukes' offense -- powered by linemen Tim Glavan, Josh Mathiasen, Hayden Snyder, Dan Wagner and Jack Wall -- has shown the versatility that's become a trademark for Fitzgerald, who's in his first year as York's coach.
Led by running backs KeVon Robinson and Nick Conroy, two weeks ago the Dukes rushed for over 300 yards in a win over Addison Trail. In last week's victory over Lyons Twp., quarterbacks Joe Javorek and Danny Dunn combined for over 300 passing yards including 5 catches for 135 yards and 2 touchdowns by Josiah Scott.
It's that kind of dual threat the Dukes (2-1) will need to beat Glenbard West this weekend for the first time since 2007.
"You try to use your personnel in the best way possible," Fitzgerald said. "When you can run the ball like we've been able to, it really opens things up for the pass."
York's two victories already exceed last year's win total and matches it from two years ago. Riding two straight shutouts, the Dukes take a bunch of momentum into Friday's game in Elmhurst.
"You have to respect a lot of players in this offense," Fitzgerald said. "You can't just load up and stop one guy, or another guy will hurt you."
A football independent this season, Westmont (2-1) needed to search far and wide for opponents. This week's comes all the way from Ontario, Canada, the Wallaceburg Tartans, who answered Westmont's open date on the Illinois High School Association website.
Westmont coach Dan Woulfe said that on Thursday the Tartans will pile some 40 players, coaches and parents into a bus out of Wallaceburg, located across Lake St. Clair northwest of Detroit, more than a six-hour ride.
The group will arrive Thursday afternoon and the football team will practice at Westmont, then join the Sentinels for dinner at the school. Then the visitors will participate in Westmont's homecoming parade with their own float, aided by Westmont football parents.
"Once we figured out this team was going to be coming down as a part of the schedule, and we got it approved, that's one of the things my team moms jumped on, how we are going to get them involved," Woulfe said.
On Friday morning the Wallaceburg players will shadow Westmont's in school, and Wallaceburg is scheduled to attend Benedictine University's game against Olivet (Michigan) on Saturday.
As far as Friday's game, Woulfe has little to work with. Wallaceburg's own regular season has yet to start. Last season the Tartans went 6-0 in their league then lost their first playoff game to finish 6-1.
Teams don't trade game film up there. There is no Hudl video.
"We let them know that we're a spread offense and run a 3-4 (defense)," Woulfe said. "They got back to us and said they're a double-wing offense and they run a 3-4. So there's your scouting report."
The coach said Wallaceburg has traveled stateside before. For the Sentinels this may be a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
"I don't know how many of their friends are going to be able to say they played a team from Canada," Woulfe said.
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