Football Season Preview West Suburban | SW Suburban | Southland
CONFERENCE: West Suburban Silver
HEAD COACH: Jon Beutjer
2022 RECORD: 9-3
2023 OUTLOOK: Lyons is thinking big.
Fourth-year coach Jon Beutjer said the Lions are not merely eyeing a West Suburban Conference Silver title, but an IHSA state title as well.
The Lions made it to the Class 8A quarterfinals in 2022 and return six starters on offense and seven on defense this season.
Wide receiver/linebacker Noah Pfafflin has verbally committed to Colgate while offensive tackle/defensive tackle Eddie Tuerk committed to Illinois.
Senior quarterback Ryan Jackson threw 26 touchdowns and only three interceptions last season.
“This team is senior-laden across the field and will look to build off of last season’s successful campaign to compete for a West Suburban Conference championship and IHSA state title,” Beutjer said.
The Lions open the season with a road game against Prospect (9-2 last season).
DID YOU KNOW? Last year’s nine wins were the most for the Lions since going 10-2 in 2010
Aug. 25 at Prospect, 7
Sept. 1 Wheaton-Warrenville South, 7
Sept. 8 Hinsdale Central, 7
Sept. 16 at Glenbard West, 1:30
Sept. 22 at Proviso West, 7:30
Sept. 29 Oak Park, 6
Oct. 6 Downers Grove North, 7
Oct. 14 York, 1:30
Oct. 20 at Proviso East, 7:30
CONFERENCE: West Suburban Gold
HEAD COACH: Bob Organ
2022 RECORD: 3-6
2023 Outlook: As Organ begins his 14th season at the helm, he does so with five returning starters on offense and four on defense. Tyler Nichols, who will play tight end and outside linebacker, is a 6-foot-4, 220-pound senior from whom Organ expects major contributions along with fellow senior Michael Barnes (6-3, 195) who will start at wide receiver. Jeremiah Jones (RB/CB), Danny Torres (S/WR), Julian Richard (LB/FB) and Ulley Mancilla (DL/OL/TE) will also contribute. Junior Devon Hall and sophomore Jaleel Winfield are competing for the starting quarterback nod with both players expected to play significantly this season. “We’re faster across the board than we’ve ever been,” Organ said. “We’re going to run first and then throw but we have some targets to throw to. We’re going to do a little bit of everything this year. On defense, we’re going to cater to our speed and run around and fly around.”
Did you know?
Organ has ties with season-opening opponent Riverside-Brookfield as his daughter Hannah is an R-B grad currently playing softball at Bradley University. Her sister Emily is a senior student-athlete for the Bulldogs.
Aug. 25 at Riverside-Brookfield
Sept. 1 vs. Niles West
Sept. 8 at Proviso East
Sept. 15 vs. Hinsdale Central
Sept. 22 vs. Downers Grove South
Sept. 29 vs. Leyden
Oct. 6 at Addison Trail
Oct. 13 vs. Willowbrook
Oct. 20 at Hinsdale South
HEAD COACH: Sam Styler
2022 RECORD: 6-4
2023 OUTLOOK: The Bulldogs will play this season as a member of the Southland Conference after moving over from the Metro Suburban Red. Next season, R-B is slated to compete in the Upstate Eight. The Bulldogs will be led this season by three-year starter Diego Gutierrez (6-0, 185) at quarterback. The senior passed for 1,900 yards and 20 TDs last season. Luke Kumskis (6-3, 220) is also a returning all-conference performer who will play tight end, H-back, defensive tackle and defensive end this season. He also holds a 4.2 GPA. Manny Garcia-Rivera (6-4, 320) is a four-year starter at guard. Anthony Petrucci (WR/CB), Jack Grivetti (MLB), David Valencia (OLB/RB), Muhammad Salem (WR/RB), Jakub Buksa (LB), James Espino (WR/K) and Tohma Tucker (WR) are also expected to play key roles this season. “We’re very fortunate because we have 25 seniors back,” Styler said. “This group has come together. They’ve taken the program into their hands and taken accountability. We hope to send them out on a good note.”
August 25 vs. Morton
Sept. 1 vs. Hinsdale South
Sept. 8 vs. Bloom Township
Sept. 15 at Kankakee
Sept. 22 at Crete-Monee
Sept. 29 vs. Thornton
Oct. 6 vs. Thornridge
Oct. 13 at Thornwood
Oct. 20 at Rich Township
Did You Know? In eight season openers against neighborhood rival Morton since 2014, the Bulldogs are undefeated and have outscored the Mustangs 226-121. The closest game was in 2015 as R-B edged Morton 19-18.
CONFERENCE: SouthWest Suburban Conference Blue
HEAD COACH: Troy McAllister
2022 RECORD: 3-6
2023 OUTLOOK: The injury to prized quarterback Christian Evans last year was crushing, and the Eagles finished 3-6.
If there is a silver lining, it is that junior Anthony Shelton, who stepped in after Evans’ injury, heads into this season with some experience. He and junior wide receiver Charlie Snorek (eight touchdowns in 2022) have had more time to work with each other.
The skill players should be helped by an offensive line that includes Matt Marek (offers from Miami-Ohio, Toledo, Akron and Ball State) and Zach Barrett (Chattanooga, Bucknell, Lindenwood and Grand Valley State).
On defense, lineman Jaden Weaver holds offers from Ball State and Miami (Ohio).
Third-year coach Troy McAllister said the expectations are to return to the playoffs even with a host of new starters and younger athletes playing.
DID YOU KNOW?: Last year’s 3-6 finish was the first sub-.500 record for McAllister since 2010, his first year at Phillips.
Aug. 25 St. Rita, 7:30
Sept. 1 at Oak Forest, 7
Sept. 8 at DeKalb, 7
Sept. 15 Lockport, 7:30
Sept. 22 at Lincoln-Way Central, 7
Sept. 29 at Homewood-Flossmoor, 7
Oct. 6 Bolingbrook, 7:30
Oct. 13 at Lincoln-Way East, 7
Oct. 20 Stagg, 7:30
CONFERENCE: SouthWest Suburban Red
HEAD COACH: Colt Nero
2022 RECORD: 2-7
2023 OUTLOOK: Seven returning starters on offense and nine on defense give the Chargers some experience.
Senior Lebarion Gilmore, who goes by the nickname “Happy,” hopes to make Chargers fans gleeful. Gilmore has a Division I offer from Akron and has made visits to Northern Illinois and Illinois.
The quarterback/defensive back was a key in snapping the Chargers’ 23-game losing streak last year, when they opened the season with a 14-8 non-conference win over Reavis.
Stagg beat Oak Lawn the next week to open the season 2-0, but dropped its final seven games while scoring only 22 points in those losses.
This year, they open with Joliet Central, Oak Lawn and Belleville West, three teams that combined for a 1-26 record last year, before heading into SouthWest Suburban Conference Red action against District 230 foe Andrew.
DID YOU KNOW?: Stagg alum T.J. Griffin, who was redshirted in 2022 during his first season at Illinois, is fourth on the Illini depth chart at free safety.
Aug. 25 at Joliet Central, 6:30
Sept. 1 Oak Lawn, 7
Sept. 8 Belleville West, 6
Sept. 15 at Andrew, 6
Sept 22 Homewood-Flossmoor, 6
Sept. 29 Lincoln-Way West, 6
Oct. 6 at Lincoln-Way Central, 6
Oct. 13 at Bradley Bourbonnais, 6
Oct. 20 at Sandburg 7:30
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