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William Korosec keeps making plays for Naperville North

Naperville North cornerback William Korosec is having too much fun to feel the weight of expectations.

The 5-foot-9, 155-pound junior is focused on helping the Huskies win games, including their DuPage Valley Conference showdown with Neuqua Valley on Friday, and isn’t worrying about living up to his family’s legacy.

Korosec’s father, Bill, was an all-state running back and Naperville Sun Football Player of the Year at Naperville North and coaches the running backs for the Huskies. Korosec’s older sisters, Madison and Taylor, starred for Naperville North’s girls soccer team before graduating in May.

“It’s all just fun,” William Korosec said. “I guess there’s maybe a little bit of pressure, but I don’t really think about it on the field.”

That’s just as well, according to Naperville North coach Sean Drendel.

“There’s a lot of pressure on that kid,” Drendel said. “He’s got his old man yelling at him every day, but he kind of just lets it fall off his back and just plays. We’ve put him on really good receivers, and he’s done a great job with it.”

Indeed, William Korosec had a big interception in his second game, a 28-13 win against Glenbard North. Then he made several key plays to help the Huskies (3-0) beat St. Mary’s of Michigan 40-13 on Saturday.

Two of the biggest plays against St Mary’s were pass breakups on either side of halftime.

St. Mary’s was on Naperville North’s 7-yard line late in the second quarter when William Korosec made a leaping play in the end zone to foil a would-be touchdown pass. Two plays later, senior cornerback Cole Clemens did the same to end the drive and preserve a 27-13 lead.

“It was tough,” William Korosec said. “I always had to be ready for the pass. I read fade, and he didn’t really do a release, so I just rode his hip and then made a play on the ball.”

That stop got the Huskies fired up. But junior safety Luke Williams said another pass breakup by William Korosec on the first drive of the third quarter so was important. It blunted the Eaglets’ momentum, and senior defensive lineman Gavin Ericksen’s sack stopped the drive at Naperville North’s 30.

Two plays later, Northwestern recruit Aidan Gray tossed a 5-yard touchdown pass to Williams to break the game open.

“It was a big play coming out of halftime,” Williams said. “They drove all the way down the field, and for us to get that big stop and go score after that was huge.”

Williams has played on the varsity team since he was a freshman, but he knew William Korosec would join him eventually.

“I’ve known William since we were in seventh grade,” Williams said. “I knew he was going to show what he had on the big stage.

“He’s great at covering, and he’s great at coming down and making a tackle. He’s definitely going to be a great player for us, definitely a Division I or Division II type of guy at DB.”

Williams has been tutoring William Korosec on the finer points of playing in the secondary.

“Defensive back is a really hard position, especially at his size, so you’re going to mess up plenty of times,” Williams said. “So just bounce back the next play. Even if one play didn’t go your way, it’s never over.”

William Korosec also hears from his dad.

“He talks to me before every game and tells me what I need to do, focus on my responsibilities,” he said. “He pushes me in practice. It’s helpful.”

Bill Korosec, a member of Naperville North’s Athletic Hall of Fame, relishes seeing his son succeed on the same field he did.

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“I told my wife (Kara) when we first met that we were going to move to Naperville and my kids were going to go to Naperville North,” Bill Korosec said. “She’s from Quincy, Illinois, so that’s quite different.

“After watching my daughters’ success on the soccer field, William has had a lot to live up to, and we’ve basically taken him to 5,000 soccer matches. It’s good to see that he’s stepping up and performing.”

The family moved to Naperville when William Korosec was a toddler and soon made a special memory.

“It was my first year coaching, so we took some pictures with him out on the field with the logo,” Bill Korosec said. “What’s great is he loves the football almost more than I did.”

William Korosec enjoys playing defense, but he’d love a chance to play running back like his father did.

“For now, I’m only on defense,” he said. “But next year I’m going to try to get some offensive plays.”

Matt Le Cren is a freelance reporter for the Naperville Sun.

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