Football previews 2023: Scouting the Chicagoland Catholic League/East Suburban Catholic Conference White Division
2022 record: 4-5, 1-2 Green
Coach: Patrick New
Worth noting: Benet is trying to return to the postseason after just missing out the past two years with 4-5 records. The Redwings entered Week 8 last season with a 4-3 record, but they couldn't beat either Joliet Catholic or Nazareth to earn a spot in the playoffs. The program made the playoffs eight straight seasons starting in 2012 under New and reached the Class 7A semifinals in 2012, 2016 and 2017. ... Craig Harmon became Benet's offensive coordinator this offseason after coaching 18 years in college, 10 at the Division I level. He most recently served as the quarterbacks coach at Temple and will bring in a more college-style offense to Lisle. ... Junior Ryan Kubacki Jr. will take over as the starting quarterback this season. Kubacki is expected to be an athletic quarterback who should be a threat both passing and running the ball. ... Benet will need to replace tight end target Pierce Walsh, who signed with Minnesota. Senior wide receivers Rocky Rosanova and Pat Pitello bring back experience and should be key targets for Kubacki ... New considers this season's defensive line the best he's had in 10 years. Seniors William Van Someren and Gavin Malec and juniors Liam Rooney and Declan Walsh should create issues for quarterbacks and stop running backs. ... Benet moves over to the White after the CCL/ESCC realigned its divisions for a season. New is excited to bring back old rivalries with Providence and Montini.
2022 record: 3-6, 0-3 Orange
Coach: Mike Bukovsky
Worth noting: Bukovsky is trying to bring back the same atmosphere the Broncos had when they made the playoffs each season from 1993 to 2019 and won six state titles. Montini brought in some familiar coaches from the past and changed its offseason program structure to better prepare the Broncos for a long CCL/ESCC season. The Broncos will see if those changes help as they try to return to the postseason after back-to-back 3-6 seasons. ... Senior running back Alex Marre returns for his third year as a starter. He added 15 pounds since last season to put his frame at 5-8, 180-pounds, and worked on his speed and explosion. ... Senior Mick Ranquist and junior JC Hayes should lead the way for an offensive line that returns all five starters from last season. ... Junior Gaetano Carbonara and sophomore Brody Boyer will compete for the starting quarterback spot. Bukovsky wants to go back to running Montini's offense like it did before, which could involve three to four different quarterbacks playing in a game. ... Senior linebacker George Asay is ready to lead the way for the Broncos' defense in his third year as a starter. Junior defensive linemen Nico Castaldo and Douglas Mateo will provide physicality.
2022 record: 9-5, 2-1 Orange
Coach: Tyler Plantz
Worth noting: Providence will try to build off a strong first year under Plantz. The Celtics reached the Class 4A state title game last season after taking down St. Laurence in Week 9 to qualify for the playoffs. They went on to beat Wheaton Academy, Joliet Catholic, Richmond-Burton and St. Francis before losing to Sacred Heart-Griffin in the championship. ... Senior Colin Sheehan steps in as the starting quarterback after serving as the backup last season. Plantz was proud of the work Sheehan put in over the offseason and expects a big season. ... Senior running backs Kaden Nickel and Jamari Tribett will bring back experience running the ball. Tribett rushed for 1,388 yards and eight touchdowns last season. ... Senior Alex Gibson is expected to be a big target for Sheehan and should be a tough run blocker. ... Senior Dan Mezger and Chris Piazza and junior James Barry will bring back experience on a talented offensive line. ... After plugging in different players defensively, Providence will have more stability this year. Senior defensive linemen Jack Bochenczak and Byron Olson and junior defensive backs Luke Leverett, Gavin Hagan and Jayden Mikulski will bring back experience. ... The Celtics will start the season in St. John, Ind., where they will face Lake Central on Aug. 25.
2022 record: 3-6, 1-2 Orange
Coach: Adam Nissen
Worth noting: St. Laurence will try to return to the postseason for the first time since the Vikings qualified in Nissen's first year in 2019. The Vikings just missed out on qualifying in 2021 with a 4-5 record and fell a couple of games short last season. Nissen is encouraged an experienced group of seniors can lead the way back to the postseason. ... Senior Corey Taubr will return as a captain with experience as a slot receiver and a safety. Taubr has been a three-year captain for St. Laurence, a first in Nissen's career. ... Senior running back Aaron Ball will return for his third year as a starter while Jack McGeehan will do the same on an experienced offensive line. Both will be important leaders on and off the field. ... Senior Evan Les and junior Tim Hyland will battle for the starting quarterback position. ... Senior linebacker Connor Cleary will join Taubr in leading the defense with three years of experience. Junior linebackers JaSean Mays and Jacob Bylina also will make an impact in turning around a defense that allowed 28 points per game during the regular season.
FIVE PLAYERS TO WATCH
George Asay, Montini, LB, sr.: A key defender who's ready to take the next step both on and off the field.
Jamari Tribett, Providence, RB, sr.: Tribett is an experienced runner who has proved that he can rush for over a 1,000 yards.
Rocky Rosanova, Benet, WR, sr.: Will be a key piece to a new offense and should be big target for his first-year quarterback.
Corey Taubr, St. Laurence, WR/S, sr.: A three-year captain who will make an impact on both sides of the ball.
Kaden Nickel, Providence, RB, sr.: Another strong rusher for the Celtics who will complement Tribett.
FIVE CAN'T-MISS MATCHUPS
Week 2 - Providence at Joliet Catholic: The Holy War lives on despite the Celtics and the Hilltoppers being in different divisions.
Week 4 - Benet at Montini: Both teams will need to win this matchup if they want to compete for the White crown.
Week 6 - Montini at Providence: Two longtime Catholic League rivals reconnect with a pivotal midseason matchup.
Week 8 - Providence at Mount Carmel: A late crossover game between the defending 4A state runner-up Celtics and defending 7A state champion Caravan.
Week 8 - St. Laurence at St. Rita: Two teams with players from the same neighborhood battle it out late in the year.