Hinsdale Central football season preview

2014 schedule
Aug. 29 at Bolingbrook 7 p.m.
Sept. 5 at Addison Trail 7:30 p.m.
Sept. 12 York 7:30 p.m.
Sept. 19 at Proviso West 7:30 p.m.
Sept. 26 Glenbard West 7:30 p.m.
Oct. 3 at Lyons 7:30 p.m.
Oct. 11 Hinsdale South noon
Oct. 17 Oak Park-River Forest 7:30 p.m.
Oct. 24 at Downers Grove North 7:30 p.m.

Best game on the schedule: Hinsdale South at Hinsdale Central at Dickerson Field, noon Oct. 11

Expectations are high at District 86 rival South, where senior quarterback Rob Regan returns along with 6-foot-6 defensive end Josh King, one of the top juniors in the state. For the 32nd annual Doings Cup, the Hornets want to end the Red Devils’ 12-year winning streak. Central won 17-7 last season in a meeting of 3-3 teams — Central made the playoffs, while South missed out.

Best-case scenario: Injuries at quarterback derailed last season for the Red Devils, who employed four different QBs. They look to have good depth at that position this year, but still will keep their fingers crossed. During the preseason, the Devils added 6-foot-8, 215-pound senior Matt Rafferty, who last played football as the starting quarterback of the sophomore team. Rafferty, who is being scouted by Division I basketball programs, is in a battle with returning QB Thomas Ives for the starting position. “We would like to stay healthy. If we can do that, we feel we can compete with every team in the league,” Hartman said.

Best member of the secondary: “It’s tough to tell because we play a lot of zone coverage,” Ives said. “It might be [senior cornerback] Alex Byrnes. He’s quick and strong and he can move well. It depends on the situation in our coverage, but he can be tough to beat.”

Best volunteer: “[Senior defensive lineman] Nick Groves helps out at the Community House with several projects,” Ives said. “He’s definitely involved in the community. This summer, I was there to take a picture for a 3-on-3 basketball tournament. I met the director of Community House, who asked if I played football. He said, ‘Nick Groves is here all the time.’ ”

Best teammate: “I think a good kid who is not a leader, but the kid with the most positive outlook is [senior defensive lineman] Conrad Slone,” senior nose tackle Tristen Nevotne said. “You look at the kid and he’s not going to start, but he puts 100 percent into everything he does every day.”

Best student-athlete: “[Senior linebacker] Jimmy Thompson is one of our best students,” Ives said. “He is in all honors classes and gets mostly A’s. He has a high score on his ACT.”

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2013 record: 5-5 overall, 3-3 West Suburban Silver

2013 playoffs: Lost 42-14 to Oswego in Class 8A first round

Head coach: Dan Hartman, entering first season

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