Glenbard West looks to take another big stride after stepping up to 8A
In a sense, it's second and goal for the Glenbard West football team.
It's the Hilltoppers second season in Class 8A, and their goal is to get to the state finals.
The Hilltoppers had a phenomenal season in 2015, going unbeaten on their way to the Class 7A state championship. They then moved up to 8A, where they proved they belonged by defeating unbeaten Homewood-Flossmor to advance to the quarterfinals. Loyola Academy, however, was too much, cruising to a 42-13 victory over Glenbard West.
Loyola Academy was ranked No. 1 in the state and finished runner-up in the tournament, losing to Maine South, 27-17.
The Hilltoppers have their chance to prove their mettle right off the bat this year, as they host the state champions on Aug. 26 in the season opener.
The team features a 28-man roster, including senior Kolin Kennebeck at quarterback, three running backs-- Ryan Driver, Keith Bowers and Jack Murphy -- looking to get their hands on the ball, returning wide receivers Danny Olmstead, Jack Dorsey and Aaron Kemp, and tight ends Sam Fenske and Cameron Lilly
The returning champion Maine South got some revenge last season when they beat Loyola Academy en route to their sixth Class 8A title. It was their first championship since 2010 and ended a 30-game winning streak for Loyola.
This season, the Hawks have no shortage of quarterbacks, with Jack O’Sullivan starting and backups including Robert Inserra, who will double as a strong safety, Nick Leongas and Patrick McCarthy. McCarthy will also play defensive tackle when not taking snaps.
Wide receivers Cam Stacey, Rory Hayes, Kyle Leavitt, Adam Molina and Matt Holbrook are also playing multiple positions.
Hayes will alternate between catching the football and delivering hits as an outside linebacker. Leavitt will also play on both sides of the ball as a strong safety, while Holbrook will play as a cornerback. Molina is the only receiver to stay on offense by alternating as a running back.
On the line are Andrew Masterson, switching between outside and middle linebacker positions, and Jack Pistorius, Danny Maratos and Matt Fortune are outside linebackers.
Junior nose guard Jon Halvorsen and senior defensive end Eugene Lee are returning to a strong defensive squad.
Adam Andras is a triple threat, alternating between guard, tackle and defensive tackle. Thomas Yager and Dan O’Malley will flip between guard and tackle, with Jack Farragher playing guard and center.
Rounding out the defense are John Cleary (defensive tackle and tight end), Dan Sargeant (tackle and tight end), Emmett Zima (defensive end, defensive tackle) and Robert McDarrah (guard and nose guard).