Scotty Tumilty has moved on from last season, but he hasn’t completely forgotten.
Why would he?
Tumilty, a Willowbrook senior, was a starting cornerback for a team that won the program’s first outright West Suburban Gold title and advanced to the Class 6A quarterfinals before losing to eventual champion Prairie Ridge.
Before that, Tumilty was called up to varsity in Week 8 his sophomore year. He was a backup defensive back and special teams player for a team that reached the 7A quarterfinals. It’s been Willowbrook’s most successful two-year run since 1975-76.
It’s a new year, and much of the experience has graduated.
The mindset around Villa Park remains the same.
“Next man up, that’s what the coaches always say,” Tumilty said. “We don’t have a ton of returners from last year, but the guys are ready to step up.”
While the Warriors will be hard-pressed to replace Suburban Life Player of the Year Jack Jessen, he of the 2,050 rushing yards and 90 tackles, the cupboard is far from bare.
Willowbrook’s defensive backfield, in particular, should be a strength and brings back the most experience. Tumilty and younger brother Sam Tumilty, who combined for 11 interceptions, return, as does talented junior DeAndre Holliday. They’ll be particularly important with Willowbrook replacing its entire linebacking corps. Scotty Tumilty noted that two sophomores could see time at linebacker.
“We try to make sure that the younger guys know their stuff, and if they’re in a wrong spot fix them,” Tumilty said. “When game time comes we are full go. The coaches might get mad and yell at them, so we try to calm them down and make sure they are emotionally and physically ready.”
That leadership seems a natural fit. Football is in the Tumilty family DNA. The boys’ father, Scott, was a three-sport star at Naperville Central, and later an All-American in football and track at Augustana. Scott briefly was Willowbrook’s head coach in 2011, but resigned before coaching a game. He’s since been an assistant at Maine South.
The ball-hawking brothers, opposite corners last year, have been moved to safety this season.
“The pass is not a big adjustment,” Scotty Tumilty said. “It’s more reading the run.”
To that end, Tumilty took a strength training class in the offseason, borrowing a workout from his dad’s at Maine South. He lifted four days a week, and has seen noticeable gains. Tumilty, who has designs at playing at the next level, has been in contact with a number of Division II and Division III schools. The experience of playing “massive” guys from Prairie Ridge influenced Tumilty to put in the time to get stronger.
“Stronger, faster, more explosive,” Tumilty said.
The brothers will be busy on both sides of the ball. They’ll share time at quarterback, along with junior Everett Stubblefield.
“We’ll both be in there for different formations and concepts,” Scotty Tumilty said. “When I’m playing quarterback Sam will be out wide.”
Tumilty looks forward to forging the same chemistry that made the last two years such a renaissance around the program.
“We loved playing with each other,” Tumilty said. “I’ve tried to incorporate that with the new guys, a team bond. That’s the main thing I took out of last year is that trust.”
Coach: Nick Hildreth
2017 record: 10-2
Emmanuel Chavez sr. DL
DeAndre Holliday jr. DB
Matt Knudtson sr. OL
Nick Rushing sr. DL
Everett Stubblefield jr. WR/QB
Sam Tumilty jr. DB/QB/WR
Scotty Tumilty sr. DB/QB/WR
Tyler Walenga sr. OL
Aug. 24 Curie 7:30 p.m.
Aug. 31 Hinsdale Central 7:30 p.m.
Sept. 7 Leyden 7:30 p.m.
Sept. 14 at Addison Trail 7:30 p.m.
Sept. 21 Hinsdale South 7:30 p.m.
Sept. 28 at York 7:30 p.m
Oct. 5 Morton 7:30 p.m.
Oct. 12 at Proviso East 7:15 p.m.
Oct. 19 at Downers Grove South 7:30 p.m.