Glenbard West senior Jackson Goleash isn’t staying up nights worrying how his team will replace star running back Sam Brodner this season.
“It’s not about the size of the dog, it’s about the size of the fight in the dog,” Goleash said. “We’re always gonna be fighting harder than the other team, punching them in the mouth. Glenbard West has never been a super-talented team but they’ve always found a way to step up and I believe we will do that too.”
Brodner’s star power, and tremendous penchant for game-winning plays, helped lead Glenbard West to a 14-0 run and the Class 7A state title last season. The Hilltoppers are expected to make a run at another title this season, they are the Sun-Times’ No. 5 preseason-ranked team.
“I don’t know that you really, truly replace [Brodner] but I think you can find ways of creating offense,” Glenbard West coach Chad Hetlet said. “We won a state championship without him and we won a lot of football games without him doing similar things. He was as good of a running back as I’ve ever seen in high school football. We’ve got other guys to pick up the load. I think we will go back to being a multiple attack team with anywhere from five to six guys carrying the ball each game.”
Senior Dionte Moorehead is expected to be one of the Hilltoppers key players this season, he will play fullback and defensive end.
“[Playing both ways] will be a little tough but I’m not worried about it too much,” Moorehead said. “I just have to fight through it and embrace it.”
Hetlet hasn’t settled on a starting quarterback yet. He says seniors Cole Brady and Kolin Kennebeck are “battling it out.”
Glenbard West’s defense returns seven starters, so the offense should have some time to figure out life with a new quarterback and without Brodner.
“I’d be disappointed if [the defense] isn’t the strength of our team,” Hetlet said. “But that’s not to say that we can’t be good on offense as well. The defense comes out with a lot of game experience so they should be a little bit further ahead of where they were at this time last year.”
The Hilltoppers open with three road games: Bolingbrook, Hinsdale South and York.
“That’s your eye on the prize all off season, thinking about that first game,” Hetlet said. “We are eager to go over there, we know that is a hard place to play. They are talented and well-coached.”
Glenbard West faces Downers North at home in Week 4, a traditional Saturday afternoon game in Glen Ellyn.
“Growing up I always came to the games,” Hilltoppers senior Chris Langan said. “The whole town comes to support us. There is no better feeling than coming to a home game and having the whole town there cheering us on. Running down the hill, it’s amazing.”
GLENBARD WEST SCHEDULE
Aug. 26, 7 p.m.: at Bolingbrook
Sep. 2, 7:30 p.m.: at Hinsdale South
Sep. 9, 7:30 p.m.: at York
Sep. 17, 1:30 p.m.: vs. Downers Grove North
Sep. 24, 1:30 p.m.: vs. Lyons
Oct. 1, noon: at Hinsdale Central
Oct. 8, 1:30 p.m.: vs. Oak Park-River Forest
Oct. 14, 7:30 p.m.: at Proviso West
Oct. 22, 1 p.m.: vs. Addison Trail