26 Years Later: Glenbard West is back

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Even football can by cyclical. Several members of Glenbard West’s previous state championship team helped mold this year’s Class 7A state finalists.

Glenbard West’s current undefeated Hilltoppers will try to equal 1983’s undefeated Hilltoppers when the Hitters meet DuPage County rival Wheaton Warrenville South (12-1) at 4 p.m. Saturday at Memorial Stadium in Champaign.

The 1983 champs won the school’s only state football title by beating Bartonville-Limestone 21-7 in the Class 5A final at Northwestern University. The football team completed an unusual first when Glenbard West became the first school in state history to win volleyball and football state titles two weeks apart. The feat was duplicated in 2003 by Joliet Catholic and now Cary-Grove has an opportunity Saturday when the Trojans (13-0) meet Providence (12-1) in the Class 6A championship. The volleyball team beat Lyons for the Class 4A title Nov. 14.

The foundation for this year’s Glenbard West finalist was established years ago when many of the current Hilltoppers played youth football with the Glen Ellyn Golden Eagles. The Eagles’ eighth grade varsity program was coached for at least eight years by former state champions Andy Andreasik and Bryan McWherter. Other former Glenbard state champions that helped as assistant coaches were Chris Hart, David Seidler, Bob Cvengros and Rich Jensen.

Andreasik, currently a Chicago attorney living in Glen Ellyn, was the best player on the 1983 state champion and was the only Division I recruit from the Class of 1984, eventually playing for Duke for four years. Andreasik was a defensive lineman and tight end for the state titlists.

“Obviously, this is making it more fun knowing a lot of the kids,” said Andreasik, who has been a regular spectator at West’s playoff games. “It’s great to see the team do as well as their doing. It’s great for the town.”

Some of the current Hilltoppers Andreasik and Company coached include future Division I offensive lineman Jordan Walsh, linebacker Connor Loftus, quarterback Tyler Warden, lineman Greg Kuhn, center Tommy Nalon, running back Adam Bruere and reserve running back Trace Sorey, the son of former Bears lineman Revie Sorey.

Warden (above) is a 6-foot-6 senior receiving college interest, but Jensen remembers when Warden was a still-tall, 6-foot eighth grader.

“Watching Tyler Warden’s poise in the pocket, he’s the same quarterback as he was in eighth grade,” said Jensen, who owns his own environmental consulting firm in Glen Ellyn. Jensen took over this season as the head coach for the Eagles’ eighth grade varsity squad. He brought in McWherter as an assisant. Another of the team’s assistant coaches was former Hinsdale Central quarterback Brad Bower, who played at Illinois and Ohio, and works for Jensen.

Andreasik left the eighth grade varsity team before this season to coach his own son, Ross, a sixth grader, who could become the first son of a 1983 state champion to play for the Hilltoppers. The starting linebacker from 1983, Randy Wasnik, also coaches his son Kyle in the Eagles program.

Jensen, who was a junior on the state championship team, was the first former Hilltopper champ to coach youth football. He started with the Hinsdale Falcons youth team in the 1990s and brought along McWherter, Andreasik and Seidler as assistants. Jensen took a break from youth football to coach Hinsdale Central’s freshman team for five years starting in 1999. After that stint, Jensen joined the Eagles program and brought his former teammates back into coaching.

Before watching last week’s semifinal game, several members of the 1983 state championship team met at the Barrington home of former teammate John Howe before heading to Lake Zurich.

“The advice I have for this year’s kids is soak it all in. It’s goes by fast, but they are memories that last forever,” Jensen said.

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Former Glenbard West quarterback Chris Hart breaks free in the 1983 Class 5A state championship game against Bartonville-Limestone at Dyche Stadium in Evanston.

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