That's 'oh', as in zero for some DuPage County football teams

 
 
Updated 9/18/2018 9:26 PM
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  • Glenbard East's Bret Bushka evades Bartlett defenders during varsity football at Bartlett on Friday, Aug. 31, 2018.

      Glenbard East's Bret Bushka evades Bartlett defenders during varsity football at Bartlett on Friday, Aug. 31, 2018. Patrick Kunzer | Staff Photographer

The longer you can say "and oh", the better.

Eight DuPage County football teams remain unbeaten at the midpoint of the regular season, and that's a lot ... even for this area.

And it's not the teams you might think. Usually we'd be talking about Glenbard West, Naperville Central, etc., but tough schedules tagged the powers with early losses.

This week's Eyes on Five looks at four of the "and ohs" and the anatomy of an unexpected unbeaten.

1. King Glenbard:

Four Glenbard football teams, one unbeaten.

And it's Glenbard East.

The Rams are 4-0 and on the verge of their first five-win season since their lone playoff appearance in 1999. A win over fellow unbeaten South Elgin this week would make them 5-0 for the first time since 1971 and put the program a key step closer to its first conference title since 1965.

I covered that 1999 Glenbard East team and it was a trip the way Rams shocked their way to the Class 6A semifinals.

This year's team has a long way to go to match that group. But, led by third-year quarterback Bret Bushka, the Rams have a legitimate chance at doing something for the first time.

They could go 9-0.

Now, let's take a breath. Looking that far ahead is forbidden in high school football, but it's tough to ignore the schedule.

If Glenbard East beats South Elgin, the next two games are against winless teams. At 7-0 and with confidence rising, 9-0 would be mighty realistic.

But let's allow the Rams to get through this weekend before we get too far ahead of ourselves.

2. Wow-bonsie:

Last season marked the first time since 2006 Waubonsie Valley hadn't made the playoffs. The Warriors also fell short of the five-win mark for the first time in 14 years.

Well, the Warriors are back ... and unbeaten.

Specifically, they're back on defense.

With stinging linebackers like Grayson Griffin and Carson O'Donnell, the unit has allowed only 40 points. And the Warriors needed every one of their many stops ... especially a last-second red-zone stand to beat Oak Park 24-17.

The offense hasn't been explosive but it's been steady with first-year starting quarterback Jack Drow and running back Bryce Logan.

The path remains tough for Waubonsie Valley ... a second game against Neuqua Valley, a home nonconference game against Prairie Ridge, a trip to Naperville Central.

With a 4-0 start, though, the Warriors have a little breathing room in their quest for a return playoff trip.

Which is why this week's game against Naperville North is the perfect time to become postseason eligible.

3. Hear them roar:

Ten years ago an unbeaten Wheaton Warrenville South football team was an expectation. In fact the Tigers lost a total of five games and won three state titles between 2005 and 2010.

Three straight 2-7 seasons have been hard on the program but, to borrow a phrase from my old Mizzou days, it looks like the Tigers have restored the roar.

The defense didn't allow a point in the first three weeks and the unit has forced 16 turnovers. The offense has committed none.

A 16-0 turnover ratio? That's how you stay unbeaten.

After beating three winless teams, the Tigers showed their mettle last week by controlling previously unbeaten St. Charles East. Every level of the defense has stepped up, from lineman Jack Kelly, to linebacker Jake Stransky and defensive back Joe Ives.

Like so many of our unbeatens, a big test awaits this week. For the Tigers -- hitting the road for the first time after four home games -- it's defending Class 7A champion Batavia.

Win on Friday and it'll really start feeling like 10 years ago.

4. New names, new wins:

Five thousand yards of offense put on a cap and gown at Willowbrook in the spring. The Warriors graduated a huge amount of talent, including running back-linebacker Jack Jessen, last season's Daily Herald Red Grange All-Area Captain.

Rebuild, right? Wrong ... way wrong.

The Warriors have a new cast of characters, but they still look like a team capable of advancing to and beyond the state quarterfinals for a third straight year and defending their West Suburban Conference Gold Division title.

Remember this name: Tumilty.

Scott is a senior receiver and defensive back, while Sam is a junior quarterback and defensive back. Together they've accounted for a slew of big plays for Willowbrook, including a fourth-quarter touchdown pass to rally the Warriors to victory over Hinsdale Central.

About that Week 2 win. Beating Curie in the opener was one thing, but beating the Red Devils the next week was something else.

A win like that, against a team coming off a huge victory over Naperville Central, puts you on the map. But, again, another big game awaits the Warriors this weekend.

The West Suburban Gold title likely hangs in the balance in Friday's home game against Hinsdale South. Beat the Hornets and Willowbrook might see light at the end of the tunnel and a real shot at the program's first unbeaten regular season in 43 years.

Sorry ... I forgot looking ahead is not allowed.

5. Stat time:

Glenbard East's opponent this week has been ... how shall we say ... impressive.

South Elgin has outscored its competition 193-0, although none of the opponents have won a game. While the first four teams on the schedule are a combined 0-12, the upcoming five are 16-4.

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