NEWS

Pioneer Press football preview: Hinsdale Central Red Devils

By Gregg Voss
Pioneer Press

8/24/2017

Coach: Dan Hartman (fourth year)

Last time out: 9-1, lost to Waubonsie Valley 33-23 in first round of Class 8A playoffs

Mark the calendar: Oct. 13 vs. Lyons. Whenever these two West Suburban Silver rivals get together, it's usually a battle. The Red Devils won 28-21 a year ago.

First-and-10: Hinsdale Central's offense figures to be a pick-your-poison proposition for defenses this season.

Back is 2016 leading rusher Luke Skokna, who as a sophomore ran for 1,078 yards on 212 carries (5.1 yards per carry) and 16 touchdowns.

Last year's leading receiver, Garrett Oakey, is also back. He had 25 receptions for 439 yards and five touchdowns as a junior in 2016. Oakey will also come out of the backfield in a limited role after rushing for 296 yards a year ago.

Senior tight end Matt Bjorson, an Indiana recruit, returns after 325 yards receiving last year.

The offense will be led by a new quarterback, junior Matt Rush, who was tutored all summer by his predecessor, Josh Bean, who is now a freshman at Columbia.

Three-and-out: Perhaps the most glaring graduation loss on defense was Mike linebacker Gianni Frasca, who led the Red Devils in tackles a year ago with 73. Junior Sean Kelly will be taking his spot.

Kelly has "done really great in practice and we're thinking he's going to be a really big player," Hartman said.

The secondary figures to be sound with the return of a pair of safeties in senior captain Nick Biancalana and senior Nik Andrejevic.

"Our philosophy is to fly to the ball, all 11 of us," Andrejevic said. "We all run under 5 (seconds) for the 40 (yard dash), and our big thing is speed and aggression. That's what we focus on."

Keep an eye on: Hinsdale Central rolled through the 2016 regular season undefeated, winning the West Suburban Silver for the first time since 2004, and making its sixth straight playoff appearance.

But everything fell apart in the first round in a deflating loss to Waubonsie Valley. Hinsdale Central was the second seed and Waubonsie Valley was seeded 31st. The loss has carried over to this season.

"They are really using it as a motivation for this year to make that deeper (playoff) run that we're looking to make the last couple of years," Hartman said.

Added Andrejevic: "Our coaches have talked about being elite, and the first step toward that is winning playoff games."

Gregg Voss is a freelance reporter for Pioneer Press.

Twitter @Pioneer_Press

2017 schedule
8/26 at St. Xavier (Ohio)
9/1 WILLOWBROOK, 7:30
9/8 at Oak Park-River Forest, 7:30
9/16 DOWNERS NORTH, 12
9/22 at York, 7:30
9/30 PROVISO WEST, 12
10/7 at Glenbard West, 1:30
10/13 LYONS, 7:30
10/20 at Hinsdale South, 7:30

Copyright © 2017, Chicago Tribune

http://www.chicagotribune.com/suburbs/burr-ridge/sports/ct-dhd-hinsdale-central-football-2017-season-preview-tl-0824-20170824-story.html

BACK to INDEX

SUBMIT NEWS