Dundee-Crown football coach Vito Andriola could not have selected a more appropriate word for his team to consider.
“It was ‘significant,’ ” Andriola said. “We always pick a word, and what we talked about last week was that it was a significant game. We talk about being significant.”
It has been awhile, but D-C certainly appears to be significant again. The Chargers are the lone unbeaten team in the Fox Valley Conference Valley Division as they visit Cary-Grove’s Al Bohrer Field at 7:15 p.m. Friday. D-C (3-0 overall, 1-0 FVC Valley) has not started 3-0 since 1993 and has opened eyes all around a division that seems more balanced, top to bottom, than ever.
“We have six significant games left, and that’s the fun part,” Andriola said. “That makes this fun because we really haven’t been in [a significant game]. That makes it good. We want to rise to the challenge.”
D-C edged Crystal Lake South, 14-13, last week to add more significance to its game against defending Valley champion C-G (1-2, 1-0).
“Man, it’s fun for once,” Chargers linebacker Tim Schanmier said. “We’re actually a team. We’re actually noticed by people. We’re going in with a good head about it. We have a lot of confidence going in, but you don’t want to have too much.”
D-C started 3-1 last season and failed to get another victory, but the Chargers, in Andriola’s second season, were more competitive.
With a small sample of games at this point, D-C looks like it can play with anyone in the Valley.
“D-C is a real good team,” C-G coach Brad Seaburg said. “When you look at film of D-C and South, they have really thick kids who can play.”
The Trojans also won an emotional game last week, nipping Huntley, 16-13, on a late 60-yard pass from quarterback Jason Gregoire to receiver Larkin Hanselmann. The Class 6A state runners-up were close to dropping to 0-3. Andriola respects what C-G has accomplished over the past decade, with FVC titles and three state championship appearances, including the 6A title in 2009.
“We talk about playing one of the best programs in the state of Illinois,” Andriola said. “Cary-Grove epitomizes what high school football is. Their kids play hard, fast, they do a great job and they handle themselves with class. That’s what we want to do. We want to emulate that.”
There is no doubt C-G’s players have taken notice of what the Chargers have done.
“This is not the normal Dundee-Crown everyone was used to,” Gregoire said. “We had three tough games and this is a tough fourth game too. They’re a hungry team.”