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Fresh faces making impact on gridiron for Wheaton teams, West Chicago

Published: Thursday, Oct. 10, 2013 1:46 p.m. CDT • Updated: Tuesday, July 29, 2014 9:58 p.m. CDT
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Erica Benson - ebenson@shawmedia.com Wheaton Warrenville South's Isaiah Campos (left) and Keishawn Watson have been major contributors for the Tigers' offense this season.

Every football season brings with it change as former players graduate and new names gain recognition for their exploits on the fields. From seniors having their best seasons yet to underclassmen making big impacts, these breakout players are helping their teams achieve.

Isaiah Campos

School: Wheaton Warrenville South

Position: Running back

Year: Senior

Impact: With some question as to how the Tigers’ running attack would play out this fall, this senior has stepped up and grabbed the reigns. Starting with a breakout 123-yard, 2 touchdown performance in Week 2 against Maine South, Campos has proven to be a focal part of South’s offense and had totaled 492 yards and six scores through six weeks.

Justin Flood

School: St. Francis

Position: Linebacker

Year: Senior

Impact: A Bartlett transfer (along with running back James Butler) who was forced to sit out last year, this senior has made an immediate impact in his return to the field. Flood led the Spartans with 30 solo tackles, to go along with 17 assists, through the first five games, including a season-high nine against Aurora Christian.

JP Forcucci

School: Wheaton North

Position: Wide receiver

Year: Junior

Impact: A quarterback at the sophomore level a year ago, Forcucci has made the switch to wide receiver this fall. The junior has proven to be the perfect complement to Matt Biegalski and tops Falcons’ wideouts with 31 catches while sharing the touchdown lead (five) with Biegalski.

Tyler Gabriele

School: Wheaton North

Position: Defensive end

Year: Senior

Impact: A JV player a year ago, this senior has made great strides in 2013. The defense end had a pair of sacks through six games to go along with a forced fumble and a fumble recovery, which he returned 27 yards for a score in Week 1. Gabriele has also added 10 solo tackles and 15 assists.

Danny Lazzerini

School: West Chicago

Position: Running back

Year: Junior

Impact: While the Wildcats search for their first win, this junior has quickly made a name for himself. A hard-nosed runner, Lazzerini began the year with a two touchdown performance against King and on Friday, rushed for a season-high 128 yards against Bartlett. He has seven scores on the fall.

David Thrasher

School: Wheaton Academy

Position: Quarterback

Year: Sophomore

Impact: Taking over for an injured Nathan Lopez at quarterback, this sophomore has done a nice job as of late in his first varsity season. Thrasher completed 7-of-8 passes for 165 yards and two touchdowns in Saturday’s win over Guerin, which came after a four-TD performance (three passes and one run) the week prior against Walther Lutheran.

Jacob VanDyke

School: Wheaton North

Position: Linebacker

Year: Senior

Impact: This senior has gone from a non-factor at the varsity level a season ago to arguably the Falcons’ top all-around defensive player this fall. Contributing in all facets, the linebacker has totaled 25 solo tackles and 40 assists through six weeks, including a team-high nine tackles for loss. VanDyke also had two interceptions.

Keishawn Watson

School: Wheaton Warrenville South

Position: Wide receiver

Year: Junior

Impact: Part of a relatively inexperienced group of receivers, this junior has stepped to the forefront as the Tigers’ big-play guy. Bursting onto the scene with a 47-yard TD reception against Glenbard West in Week 1, Watson is averaging 20.9 yards per reception (15 catches for 313 yards) through six weeks to go along with three scores.

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