Glenbard North banding together to support former player
Glenbard North is helping one of its own.
During and after Glenbard North's DuKane Conference opener at home against St. Charles East, the Panthers football community will support 2005 graduate Matt Smith, who has been diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or "Lou Gehrig's disease."
A tailback and team captain voted all-DuPage Valley Conference in 2003 and a unanimous all-conference pick in 2004, Smith also was inducted into Glenbard North's wrestling hall of fame in 2018.
"He was a kid that did his job but never made a big deal about anything," said Panthers coach Ryan Wilkens. "He did things the right way."
The coach said Smith is "somewhat limited" by the disease at this point, and still coaches with the Carol Stream Youth Football Association. He is married with two children and has two nephews playing in the Panthers' underclass levels.
At Friday's game there will be a 50-50 raffle and T-shirts sold with Smith's name and No. 21 printed on the back. A fundraiser will be held after the game at Village Tavern & Grill on Schmale Road in Carol Stream, with a portion of the proceeds going to help the Smith family.
"He was a true team player," Wilkens said.
Back in action:
Three straight two-win seasons do something to a football program.
For Wheaton Warrenville South it suddenly became easier to schedule nonconference games following down years between 2015 and 2017. Ten losses during that span were by 8 points or fewer, but still, it was an unprecedented drought for the Tigers.
Nonconference opponents saw it as an opportunity to get a win against the slumping program.
"It was a tough time," said Tigers coach Ron Muhitch. "But even when we were 2-7 we were in every game. Now we've had four straight good years of freshman classes come through and it's paying off."
Last year the Tigers finished 10-2 and advanced to the Class 7A quarterfinals. They're 2-0 this season after dominant nonconference wins, and something interesting has happened.
WW South is in need of nonconference games next season now that Metea Valley and Lockport dropped the Tigers from their schedules.
It's another sign of the program's revival.
"It used to happen to us and now it's happening again," Muhitch said.
New look Mustangs:
Last week Metea Valley promoted sophomore quarterback Logan Frederick to varsity, starting him against Lake Park after only two days of practice.
Frederick showed growth throughout the game despite suffering a 35-12 loss. He threw for 238 yards and touchdowns to C.J. Wilcox and Jalen Johnson, another sophomore brought up last week.
With a full week of practice under his belt, Frederick has shown even more growth. And he's already in the top five on the team for cumulative time spent watching film on Hudl.
"It's been pretty impressive just to see that growth in a short period of time," said Mustangs coach John Parpet. "We see a drastic change just in practice. We're looking to take another step forward this week (at Belleville East)."
So many times Downers Grove South found itself on the other end of games like last week's 20-14 victory over York.
In Week 1, for example, the Mustangs fell 13-12 to Wheaton North after a penalty on a 2-point attempt led to a missed 42-yard extra point in the final two minutes.
Downers South didn't make the playoffs the last four years, the last two with 4-5 records. In both seasons the Mustangs could point to a loss like Week 1 as a reason why they didn't qualify.
Now that Downers South put one in the win column, maybe fortunes have changed.
"We needed a good win," said Mustangs coach Mark Molinari. "We've just come up short in a lot of games we always used to win. The kids knew last week was a big win. They want to be the group that turns it around here."