Glenbard South, Glenbard East ready to renew rivalry
Rivalry week in the Upstate Eight Conference brings Glenbard South to Lombard on Friday to face Glenbard East.
During Glenbard District 87 Teacher's Institute Day meetings on Tuesday in Carol Stream, Glenbard South football coach Ryan Crissey couldn't wrench a game plan out of Rams coach John Walters.
"I couldn't get any secrets out of him," Crissey said.
Maybe he can get something from word on the street.
"A lot of our players grew up playing with and against those kids from grade school," said Crissey, who for the past two seasons has fielded defensive back Easton Lange, a Glenbard East transfer. "It provides them bragging rights for 365 days and it even feeds into basketball season."
Glenbard East (6-1, 6-1) holds a 13-7 advantage in a series that debuted in 1973. It includes 13 games when Glenbard South (5-2, 5-2) joined Glenbard East in the DuPage Valley Conference, plus last season's 38-7 Rams win in Glenbard South's first year in the Upstate Eight.
While noting that Glenbard South draws some Lombard students, Walters takes a pragmatic stance on this contest.
"Right now we're jockeying for playoff position. They're trying get in, trying to get to 6 (wins). We're thinking about potentially getting a home game Week 10," he said.
"We're looking forward to a nice crowd Friday night and a competitive football game."
Hinsdale Central (7-0, 4-0 West Suburban Silver) faces its stiffest test of the season with a Saturday showdown at Glenbard West (7-0, 4-0).
The Red Devils have beaten Glenbard West only once since 2007, but they'll head to Duchon Field with a ton of momentum. They'll also have one of DuPage County's best quarterback-receiver combinations.
Junior quarterback Michael Brescia and senior receiver Braden Contreras, who holds six college scholarship offers, have developed quite a rapport in their first full varsity season on the field together.
"They're both just playing at a real high level," said Red Devils coach Brian Griffin. "That's what we expected from Braden after a great junior season, but Michael's just gotten better every week."
Brescia has thrown for 826 yards and 14 touchdowns with no interceptions. Twenty-three of Brescia's 60 completions have gone to Contreras, who has 401 receiving yards and 10 touchdowns.
Offensive balance will be crucial against Glenbard West, meaning running back Mark Skokna needs to keep up his recent surge. But the Brescia-to-Contreras combination must have another good showing.
"They're fun to watch," Griffin said. "They do a lot of those little things you just can't coach."
The other half:
Benet (6-1) suffered its first loss last week in Saturday's CCL/ESCC crossover game at Loyola. The Redwings fell behind 22-0 by the end of the first quarter and couldn't work their way back.
Coach Pat New sent a clear message to his team after the game.
"When you win your first six games it gets you in a complacent mindset," he said. "It seemed like they were satisfied with six wins and getting in the playoffs."
Benet, indeed, has clinched a program-record eighth straight playoff berth but can significantly improve its seeding the last two weeks of the regular season. After a trip to St. Rita on Friday, the Redwings play host to Nazareth in Week 9.
Last season Benet saw its seeding tumble after a Week 9 loss. The Redwings don't want that to happen again.
"The only good thing about a loss like that is you learn a lot," New said. "We know what we need to work on."
It's been a struggle for Addison Trail this season, but the seven losses tell only part of the story.
The Blazers are extremely young with only five seniors represented in their 22 starting positions. The inexperience especially shows in a critical spot.
Three sophomores -- two in only their second year of football -- start on the offensive line: Nate Figueroa, John Voinea and Jason Houser. The growing pains have been evident, but there's definite growth.
"We have to keep in mind that we've got 15-year-old boys going against 18-year-old men on the line," said Blazers coach Paul Parpet Jr. "When you're on the offensive line, that's the most important job on the field. It's a lot to ask of kids that age who don't have much experience."