Football preview: Wheaton North reloads behind Thorson, Biegalski

Published: Wednesday, Aug. 28, 2013 9:32 a.m. CDT • Updated: Wednesday, Aug. 28, 2013 9:34 a.m. CDT
Caption
Erica Benson-ebenson@shawmedia.com Wheaton North's Clayton Thorson passes the ball while the team scrimmages to prepare for their football season Friday August 23 2013.

AT A GLANCE
Class: 7A
Coach: Joe Wardynski
2012 record: 10-2
Conference: DuPage Valley, 6-1, 2nd

TOP RETURNERS
Clayton Thorson sr. QB
Matt Biegalski sr. RB
Jesse Dean sr. OL
Beau Martin sr. LB
Mike Cerone sr. DB
Kendall Anderson sr. OL/DL

KEY NEWCOMERS
Dee Alexander sr. RB
Dom Garza sr. RB
J.P. Forcucci jr. WR
Jack Carrico sr. LB
Ben Moore jr. DB

WHAT TO WATCH

DOMINANT DUO: Very few quarterback-wide receiver connections in the state of Illinois should be more fun to watch than the pairing of Clayton Thorson and Matt Biegalski. Thorson, a Northwestern recruit, will be the full-time QB after splitting time under center and at wide receiver last fall. Biegalski was nearly unstoppable in 2012, finishing with 11 touchdowns receptions.

"We went down to Hoover [Ala.] and saw a bunch of good teams and good players," coach Joe Wardynski said. "I don't think I would have traded our QB for anyone I saw."

FILL THE VOID: Three-year starting running back Patrick Sharp graduated leaving a big hole in the backfield. Last fall, Sharp finished with 833 rushing yards and 13 touchdowns. Trying to fill his shoes will be a pair of seniors, Dom Garza and Dee Alexander. Those two combined to carry the ball 25 times for 146 yards and one score in 2012.

SOMETHING TO PROVE: The Falcons are coming off a very impressive 2012 campaign, falling just a few points short of a trip to the Class 7A semifinals. But the squad can't afford to rest on its recent success, especially after getting hit hard by graduation. Now is the time for some new faces to step up.

"I asked the kids recently how many games did this team win last year. And the answer is zero, this team didn't win any last year," coach Joe Wardynski said. "It is a new team and we haven't proven anything."

COACH'S QUOTE
"Clayton [Thorson] and Matt [Biegalski], they can make up for some places we are unsure of. Those are guys that are known commodities."
Joe Wardynski Falcons head coach

BY THE NUMBERS
17.7: Average yards per reception for Matt Biegalski in 2012 as the wideout caught 43 passes for 759 yards and 11 scores
15: Combined touchdowns that QB Clayton Thorson accounted for last fall (seven passing, four rushing, four receiving)
6: Consecutive years the Falcons have reached the postseason, dating back to 2007

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