MORRIS – For every high school football team, summer workouts mean a new season is upon them.
Nowhere, possibly, is that more true than this season at Joliet West.
Dan Tito takes over as head coach after being at the school for 12 years, and the offense will have a different look with Joliet Central transfer Carl Bew at quarterback.
Tito takes over for Bill Lech, who guided the Tigers to their last playoff appearance in 2019. With new blood entering the program, Tito is optimistic about the future.
“I am excited about this team,” Tito said at Tuesday’s four-way 7-on-7 scrimmage with Morris, Bolingbrook and Wilmington. “We have a lot of high-character kids. I coached this group when they were freshmen, and it’s been great to see them grow up in the program. They bring a lot of energy, and we have had a wonderful summer so far.
“All of the kids have bought in to what we want to do, and it’s exciting.”
For Bew, the change of scenery has been virtually seamless. He transferred at the start of the second semester of last school year, so he had a chance to get to know his teammates. He was the starter for Joliet Central last season, which finished 0-9, and takes over a Tigers team that was 3-6 last season.
What has stood out to Tito about Bew is his leadership ability.
“Carl has done a good job at the controls,” Tito said. “He has really established himself as a team leader. He is one of those first-here, last-to-leave guys. He really wants to work to get better. On top of that, he’s a great athlete.”
Bew’s main weapons this season appear to be wide receiver Billy Bailey and running back Dante Morrow. And, like his coach said, he is ready to get to work.
“When I transferred, the guys on the team welcomed me with open arms,” Bew said. “It’s a fresh start here for everyone. The coaching staff is amazing, and we have a nice set of players. The summer has gone good so far, and we are using it to build our chemistry.
“I like taking charge and being a leader. I show up early and stay late. If the other guys on the team see someone doing that, then they want to do that. I am ready to get going, and I can’t wait until we are able to put the pads on.”
Bew said that the goal for the Tigers this season is to make the playoffs but that getting off to a good start is crucial. They begin the season with a road games against defending Class 8A state champion Lockport and then Minooka. They follow that with home games against Plainfield North and West Aurora. All but West Aurora were playoff teams last season.
“We have playoff teams our first three games, so it’s going to be a challenge,” Bew said. “We want to help bring the Joliet West program up.”