DuPage County football: What Week 1 told us
We wait weeks -- months -- for the season openers.
The projecting of top teams, top players, top games ... it goes out the window when we finally get to see the football games we've been talking about for seemingly forever.
Before beginning the whirlwind through the regular season, Eyes on Five takes a breath and reflects on an eventful Week 1 in DuPage County.
1. Power vs. Power:
It's no secret the DuPage Valley and West Suburban are two of the power conferences in DuPage County, and the head-to-head matchups last week were phenomenal.
Hinsdale Central pulled off a stunning 14-6 victory over Naperville Central as the back end of its defense, headed by Ryan Loughlin and Owen Goss, slowed the Redhawks' offense to about 170 total yards.
Two questions moving forward: Can Hinsdale Central make a go at Glenbard West for the WSC Silver title, and can Naperville Central rebound for another tough matchup this week against Lincoln-Way East?
The other head-to-head matchup went Waubonsie Valley's way, again, against Oak Park. The Warriors beat the Huskies for the second straight year, this time 23-14. With Oak Park loading up on the run, and with Waubonsie Valley playing without 1,000-yard rusher Bryce Logan, the Warriors leaned on the pass game and quarterback Ethan Nelson.
Biggest takeaway? Watch out for that Warriors defense.
2. New backs in town:
We knew about Logan. We knew about IC Catholic Prep's Kyle Franklin. We knew about Wheaton Warrenville South's Jake Arthurs and the other top returning running backs in the area.
Last week introduced us to new talents.
Glenbard West junior running back Jalen Moore exploded for 229 yards on 30 carries in a 45-28 win over Maine South, and he scored 3 touchdowns including a 28-yard pass from Braden Spiech. Hilltoppers coach Chad Hetlet was high on Moore after he rushed for 30 touchdowns at the sophomore level, but Moore showed he's ready for big-time football.
Another explosive debut came from Benet senior Sean Torres. He's primarily a linebacker, but he carried the ball 22 times for 146 yards in a 28-21 win over Naperville North.
Torres still played nearly half the defensive snaps, but he'll no doubt remain a key cog in that offense.
3. Playoff watch:
It's never too early to look ahead.
Let's list a few teams that didn't make the postseason last year but took a huge first step toward a playoff berth with an opening victory.
Downers Grove North rallied to beat Buffalo Grove 35-14.
Fenton blanked Larkin 33-0 in its debut game in the Upstate Eight Conference.
Westmont rolled to a 50-14 win over Collins.
Wheaton North held off Downers Grove South 13-12.
York edged Schaumburg 16-13 in overtime.
Keep an eye on these teams.
4. Don't worry:
Several good teams lost last week, but don't worry about at least two of them.
Actually, I do worry about Naperville Central's tough schedule. In addition to their DVC slate, the Redhawks face Lincoln-Way East, East St. Louis and Pickerington (Ohio) Central in nonconference action.
Still, it's wise not to count them out.
Willowbrook fell to Providence 14-7, but it was a smart game for the Warriors to schedule. Even with tough WSC crossovers against Oak Park and York, the Warriors have a path to at least six wins.
5. Stat time:
After 30 years of being a head coach, the last 15 at Waubonsie Valley, Paul Murphy is retiring as a teacher and a coach for the Warriors at the end of this school year.
Murphy, who's guided the Warriors to 12 playoff berths, entered the season with a 191-106 record, including a 97-51 mark at Waubonsie Valley.
He'll be celebrated Oct. 25 as part of the regular-season finale at home against Naperville North.