Oswego East is a program that has always prided itself on defence.

Head coach Tyson LeBlanc’s philosophy is to put his best athletes at quarterback, running back – and the rest on the defensive end.

That continues to be the case this season – with a twist. Oswego East changed their defense structure from 3-4 to 3-3-3, 3 high security.

“It allows us to have better athletes on the field,” LeBlanc said. “It’s something we started doing last year in feature film situations. We just took the plunge this year. The types of kids that we have in our program, we always have security type guys. We wanted to put them on the pitch in a position to succeed.

So far, so good.

Oswego East (4-1) in five games allowed just 44 points, and its defense was even better looking under the hood. The Wolves first-team defense allowed just three touchdowns, all three on big plays, including one on what LeBlanc attributed to a bad call.

While West Aurora managed to move the ball past Wolves last week and had the advantage in time of possession, the Oswego East defense rose to the occasion when it counted in a 21-3 win.

“We realized that we were a high pressure team; we’re more of a bend, but don’t break the philosophy now,” LeBlanc said. “West Aurora was able to move the ball on us, but in the red zone when the pitch gets tight, we do a good job of stopping people in those close areas.”

A leader in Wolves’ back line of defense is senior safety Mike Polubinski.

In Oswego East’s earlier defensive scheme, Polubinski was mostly in the middle of Cover-3 with more ground to cover. Now he says he’s pitchside, which changes his eye level a bit, but he doesn’t have to worry about as much space with a little more help.

“Teams might think they can take advantage of the running game, with more guys back and three guys on the line, but it’s quite the opposite,” Polubinski said. “Certainly, for me, it’s different in a way. I still cover a lot of ground being in the middle. It’s just different. I don’t need to go to the sidelines. I still do Cover-3 but instead of watching the slots and the tight end, I read two to one and walk out.

Polubinski said Wolves’ work in the red zone last week came down to a “battle of wills”. His twin brother Zach, an outside linebacker, had 12.5 tackles, four tackles for a loss and a sack in the win.

“It’s a testament to our courage,” said Mike Polubinski. “They can get a few first downs, but they don’t come close to the goal line.”

Wolves’ mettle will be tested this week with a match at Minooka. LeBlanc noted that Minooka runs 50% of his offensive plays in a tight double formation and runs the ball 92% of the time in that formation.

“There’s no secret what they’re going to do. We know what’s coming, it’s a matter of whether you can stop it,” LeBlanc said. “It’s that old style of smashmouth. The name of the game is physicality. You have to be physical. »

Good night for Plano QB

Plano’s long drive to Richmond-Burton last Friday was also a long night on the football field, a 49-6 loss to the Rockets, which Reapers coach Rick Ponx called a “team of state championship level.

But Plano could take some positives from the experience.

One of them was Armando Martinez’s play. Plano’s junior QB was 19 for 38 passing for 202 yards. Martinez also spread the wealth, with Waleed Johnson, Thomas Harding and Nick Serio all catching five assists and Noah Uhrich four.

“He was precise in what he did. We had a few drops and a penalty or he could have had an even better night,” Ponx said. didn’t count or that we didn’t. Nick Serio was another positive. He has a great pair of hands, not afraid to cross the middle, had a great catch on the first down. Having a kid like Nick which wasn’t a big part of the attack, seeing Armando throw it like we did, we took some good things out of the game, Armando wasn’t beaten, wasn’t sacked, we didn’t return the ball to the ground, there are little things we can choose.

The Reapers head home for their Homecoming game against Johnsburg, a huge game for both teams entering Friday with 2-3 records. Plano beat Johnsburg 27-26 last season.

“Every game from now on is a playoff game,” Ponx said. “We have to play our best football and string together some wins. We went there last year in the same situation and it was down to the wire. They will remember that and want to come to us and fight us. I think the kids are ready for that. They want to go home and put on a show for the fans, Homecoming always helps.

Ponx remembers Johnsburg RB Jake Metze, who rushed for nearly 250 yards against Plano last year. The anchor of a great Johnsburg offensive line is NIU rookie Jacob Welch.

“Our guys up front have to be strong and able to handle this,” Ponx said.

Foxes seek to fix mistakes

Yorkville coach Dan McGuire tipped the scales at Plainfield North’s defense for their 24-0 shutout against the Foxes last weekend – but also noted his team hadn’t helped their cause in any event.

The Foxes struggled in first downs, had 50 penalty yards and turned the ball over twice. It added up to a forgettable night offensively, as Yorkville failed to cross midfield and put extra pressure on their defense.

“When it’s third-and-15, the chances of getting a first down are pretty slim,” McGuire said. “If you look at our practices, we’ve had a fumble, an interception, a personal foul, a down, pretty much every practice we’ve had is self-inflicted on us. It’s hard to execute your game plan when you’re playing behind the sticks.

Still, even after the loss, Yorkville 4-1 is in good shape overall. The Foxes, in fact, nearly cracked the Associated Press’s Top 10 Class 7A poll statewide last week, among 14 7A teams receiving votes.

“One thing our kids should be proud of is that a lot of people are asking questions like ‘what happened’ last week. It’s a good team of football we’ve played,” McGuire said. “It just shows that the expectations for this program are high. It’s part of the deal. When people anticipate things are going well, things are amplified. We have to accept it and try to bounce back.

The Foxes will be looking to get back on track against a 1-4 West Aurora which, on paper, looks like a good opportunity to bounce back. Yorkville is 3-0 against West Aurora since the two schools joined the Southwest Prairie Conference, but last year’s game was decided by one point and a 2019 game by two points.

“In our league, you can throw records,” McGuire said. “They are well trained and they have good players. Every game was very tight.