Football preview: Jackson returns to lead Glenbard North
AT A GLANCE
Coach: Ryan Wilkens
2012 record: 12-2
Conference: DuPage Valley, 7-0, 1st
Chris Edwards sr. OL
Justin Jackson sr. RB/DB
Sam Kriese sr. DB
Connor Dombrowski sr. DL
Eric Graham sr. OL
Bryan Leckner sr. TE
Kendall Holbert sr. WR
Joe Fierro sr. LB
Colin MacGaffey sr. WR
Cyrus Parker sr. DE
Jamique Davis jr. LB
Matt Kos jr. DT
Brett Gasiorowski jr. QB
Luke Greenberg jr. LB
Robert Collier sr. DB
WHAT TO WATCH
SUPERSTAR STATUS: Glenbard North graduated a senior class that left an impressive legacy, but one player that does return is all-state running back Justin Jackson. Headed to Northwestern, the senior accounted for close to 3,000 yards of total offense in 2012 while also being a major contributor on defense.
"With losing [QB Brian] Murphy, Mario [Rodriguez] and [D'angelo] Hodges, those are three huge losses," coach Ryan Wilkens said. "But having Justin back, his ability to play both ways really helps us on both sides of the ball."
HELPING HANDS: While Jackson will no doubt carry the brunt of the offensive load, the Panthers will need other players on that unit to step up. Chris Edwards and Eric Graham spearhead an offensive line that will feature three new faces. Brett Gasiorowski takes over at quarterback while Kendall Holbert and Bryan Leckner return at wide receiver and tight end respectively.
"The young guys are anxious to step in and help us try to match the success we've had in previous years," coach Ryan Wilkens said.
GETTING DEFENSIVE: Along with a punishing ground game, the Panthers have long been known for their physical, aggressive-style of defense. This year's group shouldn't deviate from that, though eight of eleven starters will be new. Connor Dombrowski is a force from his defensive end position while Cyrus Parker steps in on the other side of the D-line. Joe Fierro, Jamique Davis and Luke Greenberg move in at linebacker while Sam Kriese and Jackson lead the secondary.
"This group is selfless. We are asking a lot of guys to do different things than they did last year, whether it's learning a new position or playing both ways."
Panthers head coach
BY THE NUMBERS
2,602: Yards rushing last year for Justin Jackson, who carried the ball 420 times for the Panthers
10: Consecutive years in which Glenbard North has reached the postseason
4: Second-place state trophies Glenbard North has captured (1991, 2000, 2007, 2012)