Game week is here as Waubonsie, Neuqua, and Metea Valley gear up to hit the gridiron for the 2021 spring football season with part 2 of our Football Preview.
After capturing their first outright DVC title in 2019 the Neuqua Valley Wildcats return only few varsity starters but lose their chief offensive weapon in quarterback Mark Gronowski who took his talents to FCS powerhouse South Dakota State. So who will take the snaps for the Blue and Gold in week 1? It’s currently a battle between junior RJ Cluxten and Sophomore Mark Menecke. However head coach Bill Ellinghaus is confident in what the team has under center.
“We will get it done from the quarterback position and I’m excited on what those kids have been able to do for us in contact days and I know they’re both looking forward to competing and getting on the field with the rest of the guys.”
The Wildcats also return key contributors running back Armani Moreno and linebacker Trey Borske who look to lead the charge as the cats get set for a DVC schedule.
“We have a really good conference I mean Naperville Central, Naperville North, Waubonsie, Metea, DeKalb. I mean these are great schools as well and we look forward to playing each one of them. “Every time you step on the field in our conference you gotta be prepared ready and there’s no easy games it’s a grind it’s a bear and we look forward to it”
After a third straight 1-8 season the Metea Valley Mustangs will be without tight end Austin Frederick and running CJ Wilcox. They do return many varsity starters including quart back Logan Frederick. With a young squad second year head coach Jon Parpet knows that last years team can build on from experience.
“The personality of this team has yet to identify itself other guys are gonna have the opportunity to step up and you never know what it’s going to look like once the season starts and once the flow of the season gets going but you never replace great players but you just try to make a name for yourself when the season starts.”
With Frederick entering his first full varsity season after starting 8 games his Sophomore season the young QB still has a lot of room for improvement.
“He’s still only a junior there’s going to be those mistakes his database still isn’t full yet there’s going to be a matter of continuing to create that database for him to where he can respond and react to things that he sees quicker and quicker as the weeks go by”
With an opening day matchup against the DeKalb just days away the Black and Gold have plenty preparation to get done before the opening kickoff.
The Mustangs Eola Bowl rival, Waubonsie Valley is coming off a playoff absence for only the 2nd time since 2006. The Warriors bring in many new faces including new head coach Tom Baumgartner. With his coaching debut set to begin on March 20th against Naperville Central the new coach in town is ready for a challenging season.
“We’re young we certainly are we probably have somewhere between five and ten seniors that’ll play consistently and so we expect our juniors to step up and fill those holes that a really great senior class the last couple years that played a lot of Football for us left and you know we just wanna get better week in and week out.”
Despite the departure of running backs Bryce Logan and Antonio Torres the Green and Gold return wide receiver Sean Clinton who will be the go target for new junior Quarterback Nathan Pappas. As the season begins the 6 foot 1 signal caller is posed to be a big threat for opponents down the road.
“He can do a little bit of everything he can run the ball he’s a physical tough runner at the same time he’s incredibly accurate throwing the ball and he’s a really good decision maker and that’s why he’s our guy he’ll probably be our guy for the next couple years and we’re really looking forward to seeing him out there.”
Week kickoff only a week away the Warriors are ready what looks to be a tough DVC season.
With the Football Preview Part 2 for Naperville Sports Weekly, I’m Patrick Codo.
For Part 1 of the Football Preview, click here!
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