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Summer camps start march toward high school football season

It's summer break for many high school students, but football teams are already in the preparation phase for the upcoming fall season.

Some area teams, like Montini and Addison Trail, are taking part in competitive 7-on-7 tournaments while others are just happy to learn about their teams and develop chemistry via summer camps and practices.

The Broncos and Blazers both competed in the Red Grange Classic at Wheaton Warrenville South, a 32-team 7-on-7 tournament that featured a collection of powerhouse programs in the state. Montini, the defending champion, placed fourth, while Addison Trail went 4-5 in the two-day tournament.

Montini, which features senior quarterback Charles Norgle fighting for the starting job and Indiana commit Leon Thornton at wide receiver, went 4-1 in pool play on June 26. The Broncos later lost in the second round of the double-elimination day two, but rebounded with five straight wins before Maine South eliminated them.

Glenbard East is getting a later start to its summer preparation for a couple reasons. First, the various Rams teams are spreading out summer camps so multi-sport athletes aren't getting overworked doing multiple workouts in one day. Second, coach John Walters thinks the team will benefit from consecutive weeks of summer practices instead of multiple breaks in between, one which would be for the week of the Fourth of July.

The Rams start summer practice July 7. Otherwise, things remain the same.

"It's the same drill," Walters said. "We're going to do our thing, install our offense and defense. We have 7-on-7s and linemen challenges ahead."

The Rams are preparing for a debut season in the Upstate Eight Conference in the fall. East is in the Valley division and will face Neuqua Valley, Metea Valley, Waubonsie Valley, Bartlett, South Elgin, East Aurora and old DuPage Valley Conference foe West Aurora. Facing an almost entirely new schedule presents challenges, but Walters doesn't think it will have a big impact come game night.

"There's really no secrets going into Friday night," Walters said. "We have an idea of what they're going to do and they will have an idea of what we're going to do."

For Willowbrook, camp started June 16. The Warriors already hosted a 7-on-7 event on June 26 and host another July 12.

Another West Suburban Conference team, York, is looking to rebound from two straight losing seasons under new head coach Matt Monken. The Dukes haven't missed the playoffs for three straight seasons since 1985.

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