Opening opposite each other to begin the season for the sixth straight year, Naperville Central and Waubonsie Valley are both looking to get off on the right foot in High School Cube Naperville Sun’s Game of the Week.
“Well, for us, it’s important because the two times we beat Naperville Central, it’s been at their place (Benedictine University in 2007 and at Naperville Central in 2011),” Waubonsie Valley coach Paul Murphy said. “It’s about time we won one at home. We haven’t beaten them at our place in two tries, so this will be the third time. I think it’s a great opening game for both schools. I think it’s gonna test our level of where we’re at in Week 1.
“Is it a must-win situation? No. Is it a game we want to win? Absolutely. Is it a game that can springboard you into having a heck of a season? I think so. More importantly, it’s gonna be about do the guys that are gonna have to step in that don’t have a lot of varsity playing experience, how are they gonna react in their first time playing in the bright lights on Friday night?”
Seeing its three-game winning streak in the series get snapped last year in a 21-7 loss to the Warriors, the Redhawks know how pivotal a win tonight would be while in the midst of feeling things out after going 9-4 and making a run to the Class 8A state semifinals in 2011.
“Just like we’re a different team this year than we were last year, so are they,” Naperville Central coach Mike Stine said. “So, really, you go into that first game with what your base system is because they don’t know for sure exactly what we’re gonna do.
“We don’t know, so you just gotta go in with what your base is and make some game adjustments. Hopefully you can make some plays. We know it’s gonna be a battle and it’s gonna be a war. But that’s the only way to get prepared for our conference.”