Getting ready for kickoff

  • Naperville Central's Samuel Jackson crosses the goal line with a touchdown against Naperville North in a football game last season at Central High School.

      Naperville Central's Samuel Jackson crosses the goal line with a touchdown against Naperville North in a football game last season at Central High School. John Starks | Staff Photographer

 
 
Updated 8/28/2019 9:23 PM

Welcome back, sports fans!

Eyes on Five returns for another season of DuPage County prep football. We'll be here from August through November, week after week bringing you the scoop on players, games and issues facing our teams and our sport.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

Let's dive right in with a look at what's to come in 2019 and beyond.

1. Transfers:

It's getting bad, folks.

What began as a sporadic event, the idea of transferring from one high school to another, has turned the summer into a "silly season" for high school football. In DuPage County it's never been as bad as this off-season.

Wheaton North lost three players to Wheaton Academy and two to Glenbard West. Naperville North lost two to Naperville Central.

Even Montini, which obviously attracts its share of transfers, lost one running back to Willowbrook and another to Maine South.

And Nazareth? The Roadrunners are attracting talented receivers from Lake Park to Indiana because everyone wants to catch passes from Michigan-bound junior quarterback J.J. McCarthy.

Is it a blip or a trend? We'll take a closer look throughout this season.

2. Districts:

Ready or not, districts are coming in 2021.

Or are they?

At the preseason West Suburban Conference football meeting, York athletic director Rob Wagner announced to the coaches that he and other athletic directors are preparing a proposal they hope negates districts and allows conferences to remain in place.

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It's no wonder the WSC -- a league with stable membership since 1986 -- opposes districts, which will eliminate conferences for football and replace them with groupings of eight or nine schools that are formed geographically by enrollment.

The question, though, is how many other factions are planning similar proposals? Unless the anti-district groups unite under a single plan, the movement may go nowhere.

We'll find out soon enough because proposals must be submitted this fall.

3. SMAC:

In the offseason the Sports Medicine Advisory Committee created new participation rules for football.

No longer can players compete on consecutive days, and entering for just one play equals playing in a game. If you do play in a game, you also can't participate in contact drills the next day in practice.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

The rules have caused havoc with schedules, mainly with the junior varsity level. Instead of taking place Saturday, those games are being moved to Monday. That means JV players can't have contact in Tuesday practices.

Expect to see significant pushback on this. In fact there are petitions circulating to protest the rules. One originating from Naperville Central parents already has nearly 1,500 signatures from supporters throughout the state and even the country.

There's room for compromise here.

Let's hope they find it.

4. Oh ... and on the field:

More than anything, Eyes on Five will look at the best of DuPage County football.

Based on preseason prognostications, this area has a legitimate shot at four state titles: Class 8A (Naperville Central), Class 7A (Glenbard West and Willowbrook), Class 5A (Montini) and Class 4A (IC Catholic Prep).

Will it happen? Probably not.

Will surprises jump up and bite us? Probably.

Will we be there every step of the way? Absolutely.

5. Stat time:

This is the first of 14 Eyes on Five columns we'll bring you this season.

From the openers to the title games Thanksgiving weekend, tune in right here to keep up with the latest news in DuPage County prep football.

Twitter: @kevin_schmit

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