After seeing its impressive run of eight consecutive West Suburban Conference Silver Division titles ended in 2016 by Hinsdale Central, Glenbard West regained the throne in 2017. And with seven returning starters on defense (led by defensive lineman Marky Winters) plus a game-breaking running back (Tyquan Cox), the Hilltoppers are favored to repeat as conference champs.
However, Glenbard West will have to hold off a strong Hinsdale Central team led by quarterback Matt Rush and running back Luke Skokna. The Red Devils host Glenbard West October 5 in a game that could go a long way in determining the conference champion.
Elsewhere in the West Suburban Silver, Oak Park and River Forest has a good chance to reverse its 2-4 league mark thanks to the return of several experienced players. Wide receiver Trevon Brown and defensive end Izaiah Ruffin (Cincinnati commit) will play key roles for the Huskies.
The rest of the conference is wide open. Lyons Township has to replace a bevy of starters from 2017, including three-year starting quarterback Ben Bryant (now at Cincinnati). Downers Grove North and York both have new coaches. Look for the Dukes to be a dark horse under the direction of new coach Mike Fitzgerald, who has a keen offensive mind. With the exception of blowout losses against Glenbard West and Hinsdale Central, Proviso West competed well against the rest of the conference teams despite a winless showing.
TOP 5 PLAYERS:
Marky Winters, DL, Glenbard West (SR)
Tyquan Cox, RB, Glenbard West (SR)
Luke Skokna, RB, Hinsdale Central (SR)
Izaiah Ruffin, DE, OPRF (SR)
Trevon Brown, WR, OPRF (SR)
GAMES TO WATCH:
OPRF at Hinsdale Central, Sept. 7
Glenbard West at Hinsdale Central, Oct. 5
OPRF at Glenbard West, Oct. 13
DID YOU KNOW: After being routed in last year's season opener at home by Maine South 62-34 (a school-record of points allowed in a game), Glenbard West reeled off nine consecutive wins en route to winning the conference. The Hilltoppers will have their chance for revenge when they visit the Hawks in Park Ridge (Aug. 24).
QUOTE: "There's a lot of good, competitive football in our league." - OPRF head coach John Hoerster
PREDICTED ORDER OF FINISH: Glenbard West, Hinsdale Central, OPRF, York, Lyons Township, Downers Grove North, Proviso West