For the first time in school history, the Raiders went 9-0 in the regular season, chugging through the Metro Suburban Conference unscathed, while going 3-0 against playoff teams.
The reward is a visit from nearby rival St. Francis in the Class 5A first round. The game is Saturday at 1 p.m. and will be broadcast by CN100 at Noon and 4 p.m. on Sunday, Nov. 3, and 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 5. You can also find the game throughout Chicagoland with Xfinity On Demand.
“We need to prepare the way we always do, being 1-0 every day at practice,” Glenbard South coach Jeremy Cordell said. “Fundamentals, playing fast, physical and together at all times are keys to our success. We stress communication and doing the little things right as well as getting better every day, setting a new bar every day. This will not change no matter how deep we play in the playoffs.”
Quarterback Alex Jeske is the team’s leader. Running back Zach Smith is an explosive threat in both the run and passing games. Receivers Jake Duffy, Clark Gary and Tyler Scott give Jeske multiple weapons to work with on the outside. Cordell is quick to praise an offensive line that has helped pave the way for 335 points scored in the regular season.
“Alex is a solid leader that everyone looks to in the huddle and on the entire team,” Cordell said. “Our receiver corps has done a great job of making plays and carrying out their assignments. All of that is great, but the offensive line will make us tick running the ball and in pass protection.”
Defensively, Connor Wills leads the team in tackles. Erwin Lane is the anchor up front defensively.
“Overall, we have a young, but intense and physical defense who works well together and plays with passion,” Cordell said.
That group will have its hands full with St. Francis star running back James Butler. He is one of the best backs in the Chicago area and he helped carry the Spartans to a playoff berth with consecutive wins to end the regular season.
After coughing up a lead and losing to Marmion 26-20 in Week 7, the Spartans stood at 3-4. But a big win over Guerin and a dominant 50-8 win over St. Edward, who reached the playoffs in Class 4A at 5-4, helped the Spartans squeeze into the playoff field.
“St. Francis is a very good football team,” Cordell said. “They are disciplined and have an explosive running back in James Butler. They play solid team defense and are sound on special teams, and run the ball very effectively while picking their spots to throw the football.”
Despite the 5-4 record, St. Francis is battle tested. All four of their losses came to teams that have either won state championships (Aurora Christian and Montini) or contended for them (Marian Central and Marmion) in recent years. All four are either 8-1 or 7-2 this season, so St. Francis has played in plenty of big games.
The winner of the game will get the winner of the game between No. 6 Lincoln-Way North and No. 11 Chicago Urban Prep Charter-Bronzeville in the second round.
- Paul Johnson, CN100 Correspondent
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