Familiar names among DuPage County's top teams
IC Catholic Prep has won three straight state titles.
Don't ask about a four-peat.
"We don't have that conversation here," said Knights coach Bill Krefft. "We as a program have learned the power of small wins."
As a state, Illinois has learned the power of the Knights' big wins -- 41 in 42 games over the last three years. Based on the returning talent, that pile of victories will grow.
Last season junior Kyle Franklin rushed for 2,378 yards and 37 touchdowns. Linebacker Kevin Cooke is back to lead the defense.
The most interesting development for IC Catholic Prep is at quarterback, where Danny Cronin transferred in after starting last season for Fenwick. Tommy Ryan and Nick Kozerski are also in the mix behind center.
In Class 8A the offensive talent at Naperville Central is stunning. Graduated quarterback Payton Thorne, now at Michigan State, has been replaced by another electric signalcaller, junior Minnesota commit Sam Jackson.
Sophomore receiver Reggie Fleurima, who already holds a half dozen scholarship offers, transferred in from Naperville North. Illinois-bound receiver Jadon Thompson is a Marist transfer.
"Every year you need to blend together different groups of players," said Redhawks coach Mike Stine. "This season is no different."
Whether it's in Class 8A or 7A, Glenbard West reloaded for a deep playoff run. Greyson Metz, Dave Lanciloti and Sean Michel are third-year starters on defense while Joey Richmond, Nick Seifert, Jalen Moore and Wheaton North transfer Samson Zander offer a dynamite group of running backs.
Willowbrook, after three straight quarterfinal berths, looks to take the next step and beyond with do-it-all quarterback Sam Tumilty. Last season he accounted for 2,530 passing yards, 1,270 rushing yards and 46 total touchdowns.
"Things are shaping up," Tumilty said. "We definitely have a lot of motivation coming in. We know what we have to do and we just have to keep working hard."
If that's not enough to think about with DuPage County's top teams, don't forget Montini after its run to the Class 5A final a year ago. Miami of Ohio-bound receiver Nate Muersch, heavily recruited offensive lineman Jeremiah Banks-Wall and seven defensive starters return for the Broncos.
"There's a long way to go, obviously," said Broncos coach Mike Bukovsky. "But it's a good thing when your best players have improved."