Scouting the Hinsdale Central Red Devils
No more talk about board meetings, referenda and coaching changes.
The threat of budget cuts shutting down Hinsdale Central's program is no longer a concern, which means the sole and happy focus is a Week 1 challenge against Naperville Central.
And with a new coach established in longtime assistant Brian Griffin, the Red Devils are ready to keep the momentum going from eight straight playoff appearances.
"Excitement is a great word for it," said Griffin, an 11-year assistant and former Red Devils linebacker who replaced Dan Hartman, now at Lyons Twp. "They were hoping everything would come through and it happened. Every player wants to be out there, but you really feel it with this group."
In terms of Xs and Os, Griffin says the changes from previous seasons won't be drastic. Offensively, though, the personnel will look quite different from a year ago.
There's strength up front with Yale-bound Kiran Amegadjie and Michael Dunphy returning at tackle. Receiver Braden Contreras is back after snagging 32 passes for 641 yards and 10 touchdowns.
The question is in the backfield, where Michael Brescia takes over at quarterback and a trio of running backs -- Nick Franko, Mark Skokna and junior Jaylen Laws -- shares the load in the ground game.
Few teams boast the defensive secondary talent of the Red Devils. Owen Goss, a Colgate commit, Guy Goss and Andrew Novatney all return. Linebacker Luke Pyle and lineman Lucas Schwartz are also back.
With the off-season turmoil behind them, it's finally time to win again.
"This is a tough schedule to try and find five or six wins," Griffin said. "It's a challenge, but I love the fact that the expectation at Hinsdale Central is to be great."
One to watch: Brian Griffin's first game at the helm is a doozy at home against Naperville Central.
Coach: Brian Griffin (first year).
2018 record: 8-3, 5-1, tied for first in West Suburban Silver.
Top players: DB Owen Goss, sr.; WR Braden Contreras, sr.; OL Kiran Amegadjie, sr.; OL Michael Dunphy, sr.; DB Guy Goss, sr.; DB Andrew Novatney, sr.; RB-LB Nick Franko, sr.; LB Luke Pyle, sr.; DL Lucas Schwartz, sr.; WR Matt O'Neill, sr.; QB Michael Brescia, jr.; RB Jaylen Laws, jr.
-- Kevin Schmit
Fri, Aug 30, Naperville Central at Hinsdale Central, 7:30 p.m.
Fri, Sep 6, Hinsdale Central at Morton, 7:30 p.m.
Fri, Sep 13, Hinsdale Central at Hinsdale South, 7:30 p.m.
Fri, Sep 20, Hinsdale Central at Oak Park, 7:30 p.m.
Fri, Sep 27, Downers North at Hinsdale Central, 7:30 p.m.
Fri, Oct 4, Hinsdale Central at York, 7:30 p.m.
Fri, Oct 11, Proviso West at Hinsdale Central, 7:30 p.m.
Sat, Oct 19, Hinsdale Central at Glenbard West, 1:30 p.m.
Fri, Oct 25, Lyons at Hinsdale Central, 7:30 p.m.