by Harold Bone
Clutch Sports Media 815 opens the 2023 IHSA high school football season with a NIC-10 matchup on Friday, August 25th, 2023.
Head Coach Anthony Capriotti and the Guilford Vikings are coming off a 7-3 campaign making the playoffs and finishing 3rd in the NIC 10 conference with a 7-2 record. Their explosive offense will try to recreate its performance with a mostly new cast of characters. The Vikings have a pair of wideouts who create matchup issues with their speed and route-running ability. Senior WR LaDamion Hoffman led the Vikings with 6 TDs. Sophomore pass catcher Messiah Tilson is coming off a great track season where he qualified for state as a freshman.
In 2023 the high-octane offense should get some help from the defensive unit with James Benson coming off a 5.5 sack junior season and 3-year starter Grant Nelson looking to improve on 51 tackles during his junior season.
The Vikings averaged 28 points per game last season while allowing just 19 points a game in getting the 7 wins. In last season’s matchup, the Vikings totaled 322 yards on the ground and allowed no 3rd down conversions in the 30-0 win.
Tony Ambrogio is entering his 3rd season as Head Coach of the Belvidere Bucs. He’s excited about how these players have been working to build the program since he took over in June 2021. Although they are coming off an 0-9 season signs are pointing up for the Bucs program. In 2023, opponents will have a tough time beating this talented Bucs squad.
Coming back from injury on offense is Senior QB Gunnar Vuorenmaa. He will be leading a young side of the ball that early in the season could be a wait-and-see who is ready to contribute at the varsity level. Dynamic sophomore RB Juan Cervantes brings a power-speed combo that teams will be fearful of this season. J
uan started on defense as a freshman last year, Jason Dean is a slot receiver, safety, and returner, on the lines senior Angel Murrillo will be going both ways, and Antonio Villareal will go both ways for the Bucs as well.
Another exciting player for the Bucs this season is sophomore returner Demetrius Taborn. He brings a ton of speed and wiggle to the return game that should set the Bucs up with a good field position.
On the defensive side, the Bucs will be lining up in an odd front that wants to Minimize the damage and make big plays when they need to be made.
The biggest indicator of how the season goes for the Bucs should be how many points the offense can put up. They only averaged 9 points a game last year. It’s very tough to ask your defense to allow so few points to get wins. We'll see if the defense can make some big plays to help give some confidence to their young offe
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