Football preview: Downers North looks for another deep playoff run

Published: Tuesday, Aug. 27, 2013 5:01 p.m. CDT • Updated: Tuesday, Aug. 27, 2013 5:16 p.m. CDT
Caption
Downers Grove North quarterback David Edwards plays catch during practice Wednesday Aug. 21 at the school. Mark Busch - mbusch@shawmedia.com
Photo gallery: Downers Grove North gets ready for football season  
   

DOWNERS GROVE – With the high school football season kicking off Friday, teams across the state will be taking the field with one goal in mind — make it to the state finals Thanksgiving weekend. The players and coaches at Downers Grove North believe they have the pieces in place to do just that.

WHAT TO WATCH

WEARING THE TARGET:
North had an up-and-down regular season in 2012 but put together a memorable playoff run to the quarterfinals. A slew of starters return to the team, and opponents will be aiming to test their mettle against the Trojans.

"I think we have to stay focused," junior quarterback David Edwards said. "We had a nice run last season, we return a lot of guys and we have high expectations for this season, but we're going to take things one game at a time."

BOYS UP FRONT: North's option offense will only be as good as the lineman paving the way. Center Brian Grippando, left tackle Jalen Reams and Ryan Policheri give the Trojans plenty of experience in the trenches. If practice is any indication, the O-line could be one of the team's greatest strengths.

"The O-line is doing great this year," running back Kyle Leto said. "They've improved and they're a lot bigger. I'm looking forward to running behind them."

THE KEYS, PLEASE: The Trojans last made the playoffs in consecutive seasons in 2005 and 2006. They certainly have the makeup of a playoff team, but head coach John Wander said there are two keys to making it to the postseason.

"We have to avoid injuries just like everyone else, and we have to take care of the football," Wander said. "We can't turn it over."


AT A GLANCE



Class: 7A

Coach: John Wander

2012 record: 7-5

Conference: West Suburban Silver, 2-4, 6th place

TOP RETURNERS

Charles Creamer sr. RB

Mike Dashut sr. LB

Vontae Diggs sr. DE

Zach Dutcher sr. LB

David Edwards jr. QB

Brian Grippando sr. C

Joe Hill sr. DT

Dan Izewski sr. LB

Gareth Jones sr. S/K/P

Kyle Leto sr. RB

Richard Olekanma sr. DL/WR

Ryan Policheri sr. OL

EJ Phillips jr. DT

Sean Sandecz sr. S

KEY NEWCOMER

Grant Kasal sr. DT

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