ELMHURST – In taking over for Matt Rush under center this fall, Hinsdale Central quarterback Michael Brescia certainly had big shoes to fill.
But after accounting for four more touchdowns in Friday’s 28-21 victory over York Friday, the junior is making it look easy.
All Brescia has done so far for the undefeated Red Devils (6-0, 3-0) is toss 13 touchdown passes, against no interceptions, while running for another seven scores, including the game-winner against the host Dukes midway through the fourth quarter.
He credits learning from Rush, now a freshman QB at Washington University in Missouri, for the smooth transition.
“It was big, going under his wing and learning from him,” Brescia said. “He was a great quarterback and a great leader. He taught me a lot of things, like how to stay calm and stay composed. He really helped me.”
Also helping the junior has been senior wide receiver Braden Contreras, who hauled in three touchdown passes from Brescia on Friday. The duo has now accounted for 10 scores through six weeks.
“We brought him up (to the varsity) last year so I figured he would be the starter,” Contreras said. “I kind of took him under my wing too. We worked out together all offseason, even in the snow. This is my senior year and we all want to make it special. And he is someone that wants to be good.”
Contreras has 23 catches on the fall for just over 400 yards.
“Throughout the offseason, we hung out a lot,” Brescia said about his star receiver. “We went to the field and practiced a lot. If he could go to the field, he was ready to go and was pushing me to go. It’s been a great combination, us just pushing each other to get better.”
Head coach Brian Griffin, whose team is currently tied for first place atop the West Suburban Silver conference standings with Glenbard West, said both are very special kids.
“Michael is an up and coming junior and he’s worked so hard to get where he is as,” the coach said. “And Braden is just Braden, he’s a great athlete and he works so hard too. And it’s all kind of set up by the offensive line. We are really physical in the run game and that sets up the pass.”
Indeed, Mark Skokna chipped in with 146 rushing yards on 28 attempts, 37 of which came in the final three minutes as Hinsdale Central ran out the clock.
“Up the middle, we were missing four starters on defense,” Griffin said. “For the kids to come together and play well and finish the game, they all stepped up. It was a lot of fun.
“That’s what we are, we are a team. We won’t win as individuals.”
Also providing a special performance was York running back Nick Conroy, who gained 180 yards on 29 attempts. The senior found the end zone on three occasions, the last of which tied the score at 21-21 in the third quarter.
Conroy’s first two touchdowns came in the second quarter and erased an early 14-0 deficit.
The Dukes fell to 3-3 with games remaining against Willowbrook, Oak Park and Proviso West. Two victories will give them a chance at reaching the playoffs.