Top Ten QBs: Boone Thorgesen (Kaneland, No. 8), Payton Thorne (Naperville Central, No. 7)
Editor's note: The Daily Herald is counting down the Top 10 high school quarterbacks over the past 20 years, two at a time. We continue today with Kaneland's Boone Thorgesen (No. 8) and Naperville Central's Payton Thorne (No. 7).
No. 8 -- Boone Thorgesen, Kaneland
Back in Black blaring, big crowds and high-scoring shootouts -- Kaneland football games are a must-stop Friday nights during the high school football season.
Boone Thorgesen grew up in that atmosphere before taking center stage himself.
The son of Knights football coach Joe Thorgesen, Boone threw for 43 touchdowns and 3,696 yards, running for 10 more scores and 972 yards, in 2007 as the Knights went 11-2 and reached the Class 5A semifinals.
That success was made even more sweeter considering how Thorgesen's junior season -- which included a combined 26 touchdowns and 2,100 yards in just six games -- was cut short by a broken collarbone suffered against Batavia.
Now in his fourth year as a physical education and driver's education teacher at Geneva, Thorgesen said coming back to beat Batavia as a senior along with a thrilling 52-45 double overtime win over Sterling in the 2007 quarterfinals stick out as memories from his high school days.
"What I remember most is how much fun my teammates and I had playing football together," said Thorgesen, who also coaches football and track at Geneva. "Against Sterling, we tied the game on a hook-and-ladder to Casey Crosby and won on a goal-line stand. I remember everyone in the stands rushing the field and celebrating together."
After high school, Thorgesen played and was a student coach at Northern Illinois University. He has been teaching and coaching football the past eight years and said he "loves every bit of it."
No. 7 -- Payton Thorne, Naperville Central
It's not easy living up to a football legend, especially when dad is the legend.
Payton Thorne transferred to Naperville Central as a junior in 2017 with a lot of hype, and not only because of the strong sophomore season he enjoyed at Metea Valley.
Thorne's father, Jeff, is the head coach at defending Division III national champion North Central College and was an all-state quarterback at Wheaton Central in 1989. John Thorne, Payton's grandfather, coached the Tigers to four state championships before becoming Jeff's predecessor at North Central.
In a family of legends, Payton Thorne forged his own stellar path at Naperville Central.
"If you were going to build a quarterback, Payton has all the intangibles you'd want," said Redhawks coach Mike Stine. "When you put it all together, it makes him pretty special."
In three varsity seasons Thorne threw for more than 7,000 yards and 80 touchdowns including 3,079 yards and 40 touchdowns his senior year. After originally committing to Western Michigan, Thorne attracted a bunch of college attention and accepted a scholarship offer from Michigan State.
After redshirting last season, Thorne is expected to compete for the Spartans' starting quarterback job this upcoming season.
If the past is any indication, he's ready for the challenge.
"We really leaned on him a lot," Stine said. "He checks all the boxes as a quarterback."