52 Days to Kickoff: Thornton

52 Days to Kickoff: Thornton 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 Aug. 5, we’ll unveil the @NBCSPrepsTop 25 Power Rankings, leading up to kickoff on Friday, Aug. 30.

School: Thornton Township

Head coach: Dontrell Jackson Sr.

Assistant coaches: Preston Leflore - OC, Marvin Smith - WR's, Tiras Hill - OL, Leon Simmons - DC, Dennis Pennington - Safeties, Deonte Hood - Corners and Derrick Woods - DL

How they fared in 2018: 5-4 (4-3 Southwest Suburban Conference). Thornton failed to qualify for the IHSA state football playoff field.
2019 regular season schedule:

Aug. 31 vs Kankakee
Sept. 7 @ Rich East
Sept. 14 vs Thornridge
Sept. 20 @ Crete-Monee
Sept. 28 @ Bloom Tonwnship
Oct. 5 @ Gary Roosevelt
Oct. 11 @ Rich South 
Oct. 18 vs Rich Central
Oct. 26/2019 vs Thornwood

[MORE: 55 Days to Kickoff - Kankakee]

Biggest storyline: Welcome to the Southland. Can the Wildcats fare well in a new conference home in 2019?

Names to watch this season: QB Derrick Williams (Sr.), WR/S Darrion Kidd (Sr.) and H-Back Elijawah Tolbert (Sr.)
Biggest holes to fill: The Wildcats will welcome back 10 returning starters (six on offense) but will need to add several new names on the offensive and defensive line.

EDGY's Early Take: No one was as surprised as Thornton on playoff pairings night when they ended up staying home for last year's postseason. Look for the Wildcats to rely heavily on standout multi-sport athlete QB Derric Williams. He is a solid team leader and has strong group in the offensive skills department at his disposal. Thornton moves from the Southwest Suburban conference to the Southland this fall. While they will play five of their first seven on the road, look for the Wildcats to compete right away for the top tier of the conference. 

CSN Preps Basketball Power Rankings: No. 9 Thornton

CSN Preps Basketball Power Rankings: No. 9 Thornton

School: Thornton

2015-16 record: 25-4, 13-1 in the SouthWest Suburban Red

Postseason results: Lost to Simeon, 88-75, in Class 4A Bloom Sectional finals. 

Players to watch: The return of senior guard Alonzo Verge to the area is one of the season's biggest storylines as he's an instant Player of the Year candidate who can really score. As a sophomore a Willowbrook, Verge put up big scoring performances, averaging 23 points a game and scoring in thrilling ways.

[RELATED: CSN Preps Basketball Power Rankings - No. 10 Hillcrest]

Why they're in the Power Rankings: Besides Verge, this Thornton team won 25 games and made a sectional title game in head coach Tai Streets' first season and this team is talented and plays well together. 

Did you know? Thornton is seeking its first sectional title since 2009, which is also the last year they went to Peoria.