Football, more than any other prep sport, relies on the beginning of the regular season to provide answers.
From AAU basketball to summer baseball, from club volleyball to indoor track, other sports offer some sneak previews and early clues that football coaches, players and fans just don’t have.
Week 1 of 2012 did tell us a few things: Montini and Lincoln-Way East still have potent offenses despite losing some marquee players, Glenbard West is the team to beat in Class 7A and there’s a crop of first-year starting quarterbacks capable of putting up big numbers.
Montini, after graduating two of its top three receivers and its starting quarterback, won a 40-37 overtime shootout at Palatine on a night Broncos coach Chris Andriano was inducted into the Palatine High School Hall of Fame. Quarterback Alex Willis, making his first start since transferring from Wheaton Warrenville South, passed for 306 yards and three touchdowns, and Joe Borsellino and Mark Gorogianis
both piled up more than 100 rushing yards.
Lincoln-Way East, meanwhile, showed it could still move the chains after sending quarterback Blake Winkler to Illinois State and receiver Jason Robertson to Illinois. The Griffins’ Tommy Fuessel was done for the night early in the third quarter after going 3-of-4 passing for 73 yards and a touchdown and running eight times for 76 yards and another score in a 31-6 win over Carmel.
Glenbard West’s defense stood tall in its neighborhood showdown with Wheaton Warrenville South, getting six sacks and two interceptions en route to a 28-7 win. Nathan Marcus, one of the nation’s top tight ends in the Class of 2013, also had a big game on the other side of the ball with three sacks.
Willis wasn’t the only rookie quarterback to make a splash in his debut. Among the others: Batavia’s Micah Coffey (298 yards, four TDs), Neuqua Valley’s Dylan Andrew (12-of-14, 187 yards, rushing TD) and Stevenson’s Willie Bourban (three TDs).
The opening week also saw some high-profile players go out with injuries.
Joliet Catholic running back Ty Isaac, a USC recruit and the state’s top player, left a 40-34 loss to Providence with a shoulder injury. The good news is there was no fracture; on Monday, Isaac tweeted that he expected to be out no more than two weeks.
Palatine lost its top two players, defensive back Jesse Bobbit and two-way standout Cam Kuksa, early in the loss to Montini. Bobbit, who had been slowed by a knee injury in the preseason, was originally feared to have suffered a broken rib. But X-rays were negative. “Every day he seems to be a lot better,” Palatine coach Tyler Donnelly said early this week. “He isn’t going to play this week. We’ll get him back soon I hope.”
Kuksa suffered a broken ankle and is expected to miss four weeks. “They think he can start running in two weeks,” Donnelly said.
Bartlett senior quarterback Steve Hrbacek suffered a season-ending injury early in the Hawks’ 49-0 loss to Wheaton North, breaking his clavicle. “The kids kind of got deflated from that,” Bartlett coach Tom Meaney told the Courier-News’ Erik Jacobsen. “They like [Hrbacek] and he’s a good leader, so we’re all going to miss him.”
Game of the week
Montini 40, Palatine 37 (OT): This one had a little bit of everything, including Palatine rallying from a 21-0 deficit without Bobbit and Kuksa, two 300-yard passing games (by Montini’s Willis and Palatine’s Ethan Olles) and a two-point conversion pass and a game-winning field goal by the Broncos’ Andrew Harte.
By the numbers
2 – Wins by DuPage Valley Conference teams; Wheaton North shut out Bartlett and West Aurora rolled by rival West Aurora 59-19.
26 – Consecutive losses by Dundee-Crown before a 54-12 win over Elgin on Friday.
38 – Carries by Waubonsie Valley’s Austin Guido in a 34-14 win over Naperville Central. He gained 278 yards and scored three touchdowns.
Week 2 look-ahead
The top games this week include No. 1 Maine South traveling to Wheaton Warrenville South, which seeks to avoid starting 0-2 for the second straight season; Lincoln-Way East going to Montini in what could be a shootout; and the battle for Mount Greenwood bragging rights when Marist goes to Brother Rice.