Waubonsie Valley’s Demario Webb and Jack Eddy have waited for an opportunity. Now, they’re going to get it.
Eddy predominantly stood on the sideline last year with quarterback Dylan Warden piloting the offense, while Webb was delivering blocks for Austin Guido, the co-Upstate Eight Valley Offensive Player of the Year who rushed for 2,365 yards and 31 TDs.
With Warden and Guido graduating, the time is now for Webb and Eddy as they look to finish their senior seasons as a 1-2 punch.
“Jack’s paid his dues being behind Dylan. He also started before (on sophomore team in 2011),” Waubonsie Valley coach Paul Murphy said. “And Demario has got a ton of experience having blocked for Austin so we’re expecting big things from both of them.”
Eddy doesn’t offer the same athleticism as Warden, but should bring more to the passing game. Illinois State recruit Christian Gibbs will be the team’s top receiver. He’ll look to fill the void left with Troy Fumagalli (26 catches, 441 yards, 5 TDs) now at Wisconsin.
Running backs Jon Fizer and Tony Durns, receivers Keaton Casey and Devin Strickland and tight ends Hugh Griffin and Justin Rich will look to move the chains behind a somewhat experienced offensive line, which includes returning starters Jon Harris, Anthony Napolitano and Noah Szott.
“In my nine years here this is the most flexible we’ve been personnel-wise,” Murphy said. “We think we can run the ball well again and we think Jack will allow us to spread the ball out more, but like always, we’re going to take what they give us.”
The Warriors are coming off an unforgettable season, one in which they won their most games since 1992. While some contributors from a year ago are back, they lost nearly 40 players to graduation, so several new faces will need to make an impact.
“The seniors in this group tend to be less vocal than last year and lead more by example,” Murphy said. “They’re very good workers and they go about their business.
“When last year’s group were freshmen, you knew they could be something special. This group doesn’t have the same accolades, but they’ve improved every year.”
Harris and Napolitano are expected to pull double duty and also play on the defensive line. Gibbs will likely do the same at cornerback. Defense end/strong safety Kurtis Chione also returns while senior linebacker Hugh Griffin (123 tackles in 2012) will lead the way.
“Now it’s time for the seniors to become leaders,” Murphy said. “Success breeds success and we’re going to see if we can reload rather than rebuild.”
The Warriors will look to start strongly. Of the team’s first four opponents, only Oswego (9-2) is coming off a winning season. They’ll open at Naperville Central.
“We know Naperville Central is hungry after missing the playoffs, Oswego’s coming off a nice run and Streamwood has an enthusiastic new coach,” Murphy said. “We’re playing playoff-quality teams, hope to be ranked and want to make a run in the playoffs.”