St. Charles East

97 Days to Kickoff: Thornwood

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97 Days to Kickoff: Thornwood

CSNChicago.com preps reporter "Edgy" Tim O’Halloran spotlights 100 high school football teams in 100 days. The first 75 team profiles will focus on teams making strides across Chicagoland and elsewhere in the state. Starting July 31, we’ll unveil the @CSNPreps Top 25 Power Rankings, leading up to kickoff on Friday, Aug. 25.

School: Thornwood

Head coach: Kenneth Smith

Assistant coaches: Jim Sokoloski, Thomas Carr, Terrence Henderson, George Walker, Bryan Fomby, Deoplus Williams, Kourtney Young, Vince Kasley, Cederick Cole, Martell Frazier

How they fared in 2016: 5-5 (2-4 Southwest Suburban Conference) The Thunderbirds made the Class 7A playoffs and lost to Rolling Meadows in opening-round action.

[MORE: 98 Days to Kickoff - St. Charles East]

2017 regular season schedule:

8/25 - @ Rich Central

9/1 - vs. Rock Island

9/8 - vs. Lincoln-Way Central

9/15 - @ Stagg

9/22 - @ Neuqua Valley

9/29 - vs. Thornton

10/16 - vs. Andrew

10/23 - @ Lincoln-Way East

10/20 - @ Thornridge

Biggest storyline: Can the Thunderbirds make it back-to-back state playoff appearances?

Names to watch this season: Senior RB Peerless Jackson, Senior LB/DE Dillon Watson, Junior DE Ogochukwu Nosike

Biggest holes to fill: The Thunderbirds will need to replace its entire starting offensive line from 2016.

EDGY's early take: Smith takes over one of the south suburbs’ biggest sleeping giant football programs. Thornwood has a building full of capable and very talented athletes. If Smith can get this team to buy into his program, they could surprise people once again this season.

98 Days to Kickoff: St. Charles East

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98 Days to Kickoff: St. Charles East

CSNChicago.com preps reporter "Edgy" Tim O’Halloran spotlights 100 high school football teams in 100 days. The first 75 team profiles will focus on teams making strides across Chicagoland and elsewhere in the state. Starting Jul. 31, we’ll unveil the @CSNPrepsTop 25 Power Rankings, leading up to kickoff on Friday, Aug. 25.

School: St. Charles East

Head coach: Bryce Farquhar

Assistant Coaches: Tim Wolf, Jon Kittl, Olijuwon Davis, Nolan Possley, Pat Schiller, Brian Teresinski, Gabe Nyenhuis, Mike Budziniski, Greg Bess, Len Asquini and Chris Goryl

How they fared in 2016: 11-1 (6-0 Upstate 8 River), lost to Palatine in the 8A state quarterfinal.

2017 Regular Season Schedule:

Aug. 25 – Rock Island

Sept. 1 – @ Glenbard East

Sept. 8 – @ Geneva

Sept. 15 - vs St. Charles North

Sept. 22 - @ Batavia

Sept. 29 – @ Bartlett

Oct. 6 - Larkin

Oct. 13 - Elgin

Oct. 20 - @ Streamwood

Biggest storyline: Can the Saints make another deep run in Class 8A?

Names to watch this season: Senior QB/DB Clayton Isbell, Senior RB/LB Nick Garlisch and Junior FB/LB Justin Jett

Biggest holes to fill: The Saints will need to reload up front, as junior Justin Hill (6-foot-3, 265 pounds) is the lone returning starter on the offensive line.

EDGY's Early Take: The Saints posted an impressive season in 2016. And sure, they will need to reload a bit, but the overall core is still very strong for the 2017 season. If the Saints can build up on the offensive and defensive lines, they could win the Upstate 8 River and make a strong run in Class 8A again this season.