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High school football gets rolling on Friday night

Glenbard East and Willowbrook haven’t played a Friday-night season opener since 2012. The Rams and Warriors were supposed to meet in Friday-night openers during each of the last two seasons, but Mother Nature intervened. Stormy weather, including lightning in the area, caused the 2013 opener in Lombard to be postponed for one day. Inclement weather also postponed last year’s opener in Villa Park, pushing the opening kickoff to the following afternoon.
This Friday’s weather forecast calls for calm conditions that will allow the Rams and Warriors to tangle under the lights in front of a spirited audience at Glenbard East. The Saturday contests over the last two years didn’t have the attendance, or corresponding energy level, of a usual Friday-night meeting.
Glenbard East has won the last two season openers against Willowbrook. The Rams have won eight of 10 meetings against the Warriors since the two schools renewed their football rivalry in 2005, ending an eight-year hiatus.
The Rams are beginning their second season in the Upstate Eight Conference after leaving the DuPage Valley Conference. Glenbard East enjoyed a strong start to the 2014 season, posting a 3-1 record through four games. The Rams’ next three games were heartbreaking overtime losses to Waubonsie Valley and Bartlett, followed by a 42-36 loss in an offensive shootout at South Elgin. Glenbard East lost its next two games to finish the season with five straight losses.
Glenbard East’s Upstate Eight Valley Conference schedule will be different from last year. Three opponents from last year—Waubonsie Valley, Neuqua Valley and Metea Valley—have all left the conference. West Chicago has joined the conference, which will feature six teams this season.
In addition to Willowbrook, Glenbard East’s non-conference opponents in 2015 include the Glenbard South Raiders, who will visit Lombard on Sept. 4. The Rams and Raiders haven’t met on the gridiron in 20 years, when both teams were DuPage Valley Conference rivals. Glenbard East will play a non-conference game at another former DVC opponent—Glenbard North—on Sept. 18. The Rams, whose 2015 schedule includes six home games and three road games, will play their fourth non-conference game against Geneva on Oct. 9.
Willowbrook, which posted winning seasons and earned playoff berths in 2012 and 2013, will attempt to bounce back from a 2-7 record last year. The Warriors will play their first two games on the road before opening the West Suburban Gold Conference season with a home game against District 88 rival Addison Trail on Sept. 11.
Montini, which claimed the IHSA Class 5A second-place trophy in each of the last two seasons, will open its 2015 campaign with this Friday’s home game against perennial power Maine South. The two teams met in last year’s memorable season opener in Park Ridge. Montini held what appeared to be a commanding 35-15 lead in the fourth quarter, but the Hawks scored three late touchdowns to pull out a 36-35 victory.
The Broncos’ first three games of the 2015 season are against teams that advanced to the playoffs last year. Montini, which won four straight IHSA Class 5A state titles from 2009-12, will close out its regular season with another three games against playoff opponents.