Football preview: St. Francis primed for big season in new stadium

AT A GLANCE

Class: 5A

Coach: Greg Purnell

2012 record: 5-4

Conference: Suburban Christian Blue, 3-5, 5th

TOP RETURNERS

TJ Jackson jr. RB/LB

John Vargyas jr. LB/OL

Tom Gitchell sr. LB/RB

Mike Andelbradt sr. OL

Ryan Benton sr. S

James Kalfas sr. OL

Joe Keefer sr. OL

Chris Smith sr. LB

Keegan Riccobene sr. OL

KEY NEWCOMERS

Zach Prociuk sr. QB

James Butler sr. RB

Justin Flood sr. LB

Steve Fassnacht jr. RB/DB

2013 SCHEDULE

Aug. 30 Riverside Brookfield, 7 p.m.

Sept. 6 at Plainfield South, 7 p.m.

Sept. 13 at Chicago Christian, 7:30 p.m.

Sept. 20 at Montini, 7:30 p.m.

Sept. 27 Aurora Christian, 7 p.m.

Oct. 4 at Marian Central, 7 p.m.

Oct. 11 at Marmion, 7:30 p.m.

Oct. 18 Guerin, 7 p.m.

Oct. 25 St. Edward, 7 p.m.

FIVE-YEAR RECORD

w-l conf. playoffs

'12 5-4 3-4 DNQ

'11 8-3 3-2 2nd round

'10 6-4 2-3 1st round

'09 7-3 2-2 1st round

'08 13-1 6-1 5A champs

BY THE NUMBERS

6.5: Yards per carry averaged last fall by TJ Jackson, who did an admirable job filling in for an injured Jack Petrando; the incoming junior finished with 554 rushing yards and eight scores

60: Combined tackles (solo and assists) for John Vargyas in 2012, which topped the Spartans

WEEK 1 MATCHUP

Who: Riverside Brookfield vs. St. Francis

When: 7 p.m. Friday

Where: 2130 W. Roosevelt Road, Wheaton

2012 records: Riverside Brookfield 2-7; St. Francis 5-4

Outlook: This is a special night for the Spartans as they open up their new football complex. On the field, St. Francis will try to continue their recent dominance of the Bulldogs, having beaten RB in each of the past three years. Last fall, the Spartans opened with a 57-12 victory. Keep an eye on James Butler, who rushed for 1,700 yards as a sophomore at Bartlett in 2011 before being ruled ineligible last year after transferring to St. Francis.