Don't let 's 42-8 win last year over Riverside-Brookfield fool you. The Indians know this is a new season and going into Friday's 7 p.m. nonconference contest at Shuey Stadium in Riverside, they know they will face a veteran team.
"They were tough last year," said Indians senior running back Mike Anzalone. "We have our work cut out (for us) all week. We just have to go out there and do it again."
"We beat them, last year, pretty good, but this year they have 15 returning starters," Indians senior starting quarterback Damon Aleman said. "It should be a tough one."
(1-0) kicked off the season with a 54-0 triumph over Chicago Little Village at home last Friday.
The Bulldogs (0-1) fell to state-ranked St. Francis 20-14 in a tightly contested battle waged last Friday at College of DuPage in Glen Ellyn.
"Anytime somebody has 15 starters coming back, they are going to be pretty good," coach Eric Michaelsen said. "We need to prepare ourselves to step up in the caliber of competition, step up in the speed of the game."
"We have 15 starters coming back from last season, seven on offense and eight on defense," Riverside-Brookfield coach Jason Rech said. "It gives us experience, obviously, and these kids have been in some big games now (including last week). So, that always helps in terms of execution and performance."
played well on offense (345 yards, eight touchdowns) and defense (-47 yards on 32 plays, three fumbles, one recovered, two interceptions). It is enough to give an opposing coach a headache.
"Well, where do I start with ?" Rech said. "I think defensively, (Brad) Uher and (Kyle) Krull are the heart and soul of their defense. Their d-line gets off the ball, so we will have to play with leverage and finish blocks. Offensively, Anzalone, their tailback is quick and can make you miss. Again, with the size of their line, we have to play low and pursue to the ball. (Offensive left tackle Ethan) Pocic is a man amongst boys and his line-mates are not far behind. Tough challenge for us there.
"I expect us to play with passion, confidence, and determination. is a premier program in the state. They have lost one regular season game in three years, so we know it's a mighty challenge for us. We hope to improve some things from last week and give them our best shot."
Riverside-Brookfield, which finished last season 4-5, gave St. Francis a game, holding a slim 7-6 advantage at halftime.
"Their linebackers and safety fly around," Michaelsen said. Their "fullback, running back and quarterback do a nice job. (Their) tall receiver (Alex Huffhines) is a handful. (Their) linemen seem to get off the ball quite well. (We expect a) much tougher game. Last year, (the) breaks went our way. We need to continue to improve all areas of our game."
Key linebackers for Riverside-Brookfield are Mark Musial, Nick Callahan, Blake Beck, Andy Suzuki and Mark Swift, and the Bulldogs' safety is Bryce Bartlett. Riverside-Brookfield's starting quarterback Dylan Beketic hit Huffhines for its two scores against St. Francis. Tyler Floros and Callahan share the backfield as running backs.
"Riverside-Brookfield. Hey, they are a great team," said Krull, a senior linebacker. "I hear they got a new offensive coordinator. So, every team we play, we give them a lot of respect. We want to come out and hit them hard and keep our heads up."
Mike Alberts is Riverside-Brookfield’s new man to guide the Bulldogs' offense. He comes over from Immaculate Conception, where he was head coach the past two seasons and offensive coordinator for Immaculate Conception’s state title runs in 2002 and 2008.
The play "more option (and are) still able to throw well," Michaelsen said.
Anzalone (six rushes, 78 yards) and Tyler Jay (three catches, 65 yards) each had two touchdowns for . Mitch Balek was the leading rusher with 86 yards on six carries and one touchdown. Also scoring for on the ground were Eric Kirkman and Jacob Ricks and in the air, LaMarr Taylor.
"We have to have a great week of practice and get in the film room to see what they are going to do in certain situations," backup quarterback Zack Brosseau said. "We have to fix up our mistakes. They are going to be a great team, no doubt about it. So, we have to be ready."
Brosseau led the stats going 4 of 6 for 75 yards and two touchdown passes, while Aleman was 2 of 3 for 32 yards and one score.