Football Preview: Niles West

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2012 record: 5-5 overall, 1-4 CSL South

2012 playoffs: Lost in first round of Class 8A to Palatine

Head coach: Scott Baum, entering his fourth year

Game to watch: Niles West at Niles North, 1 p.m. Sept. 7.

This contest between the Skokie rivals, which Niles West won 30-21 last year, is always marked on the calendar for bragging rights.

Who made the most of the offseason?

“Tommy (Galanopoulos) spent a lot of quality time in the weight room,” Wolves coach Scott Baum said of his junior quarterback. “He’s grown a little and he’s stronger.” For Galanopoulos to have a big season, he’ll likely need an assist from senior center Louis Reinemann. He was a guard last year, but Reinemann “stepped up” because Niles West didn’t have anyone in line to play center, senior offensive and defensive tackle Dennis Gargovic said.

What adjustments did the program make during the offseason?

“The kids are grasping more of what we put in last year for our offense,” Baum said. “We’ve expanded the plays and are polishing things up.” The Wolves were an explosive team last year and had several big plays. Opening up the playbook could continue that trend. “We have a couple of new things that we’re doing to keep the defenses off balance,” senior running back and defensive back Nick Johnson said. “We don’t want to give them the same looks that we did last year.”

Who will be a difference maker this season?

“We’re going to go as (Johnson) goes,” Baum said. “Nick is a tremendous student-athlete. He’s not fast, but he’s very agile. He was an all-conference player last year.” Johnson is in line to be one of the top running backs in the CSL South, but he might be even better on the defensive side of the ball.

— Mark Perlman

What I did over my summer vacation … Andy Loathaveerungsawad

I went to Thailand because my uncle was sick. He was diagnosed with liver cancer a couple of months ago. I was mostly in the hospital with him. I didn’t do very much, but I managed to go fishing. I didn’t get to lift at all, so when I got back I was really out of shape.

— Loathaveerungsawad is junior lineman on both sides of the ball whose parents are from Bangkok, Thailand

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