Football preview: Wheaton Warrenville South hopes to bounce back from rare down year
Tigers at a glance
Coach: Ron Muhitch
2012 record: 4-5
Conference: DuPage Valley, 4-3, tied for 3rd
Ryan Graham sr. QB
Jon Callaway sr. OL
Jake Schultz sr. DB
Joe Machalek sr. LB
Joe Kazar sr. LB
Mocha Uchiyama sr. DL
Isaiah Campos sr. RB
Zach Moberg sr. RB
Savone Carter sr. WR
Ben Jackson sr. DB
Tom Cetina sr. DB
Mike Horton sr. FB
WHAT TO WATCH
LONG OFFSEASON: The Tigers aren't used to not playing in late October and early November but that is exactly what transpired in 2012 as the team went 4-5 and saw its nine-year playoff streak come to an end. You can bet the squad is chomping at the bit to get back on the field.
"We had a longer offseason and that is very unique," Muhitch said. "But the kids responded well and really jumped into the weightroom. They started to get some of that spirit back."
TOUGH ROAD AHEAD: Reaching that all-important five win barrier won't be an easy task for the Tigers, who again face one of the toughest schedules in the state of Illinois. The initial three-game stretch is daunting, beginning with defending Class 7A state champion Glenbard West and finishing with a pair of quarterfinalists in Maine South and Wheaton North. Matchups with Naperville North, Naperville Central and Glenbard North also loom.
GET THE O-TRAIN ROLLING: After scoring a combined 1,379 points from 2009-2011, Wheaton Warrenville South was held to 208 points in nine contests last year. With an experienced Ryan Graham back under center, look for that number to go up. Skill players include running back Isaiah Campos and Zach Moberg and wide receiver Savone Carter.
"I think we will run the ball much better than last year," Muhitch said. "Both Isaiah Campos and Zach Moberg are really good kids and Mike Horton is a strong fullback."
We were one or two plays away in a lot of games last year. Now as seniors, they have to make those plays happen. Those are big steps we need to have take place.
Ron Muhitch Tigers head coach
BY THE NUMBERS
2: Starters on offense that return from 2012 with four also back on defense.
23: Seasons in which Wheaton Warrenville South has reached the postseason since 1988, falling short in just 2002 and 2012.
35: Combined victories last fall for the first three teams on the Tigers' 2013 schedule (Glenbard West, Maine South and Wheaton North)