Antonio Torres leads Naperville Central past Waubonsie ValleyMike Clarkon March 21, 2021 at 12:22 am

Naperville Central’s Antonio Torres (3) breaks free for a touchdown against Waubonsie Valley.
Naperville Central’s Antonio Torres (3) breaks free for a touchdown against Waubonsie Valley. | Allen Cunningham/For the Sun-Times

Antonio Torres is going to be pretty busy for the next couple months, so maybe it made sense for him to take the second half off on Saturday.

Antonio Torres is going to be pretty busy for the next couple months, so maybe it made sense for him to take the second half off on Saturday.

The junior running back made his Naperville Central debut after transferring from Waubonsie Valley — coincidentally against his old team — and put up some big numbers before halftime.

Torres caught a 55-yard scoring pass on Central’s first play from scrimmage and added two more touchdowns in the No. 10 Redhawks’ 47-0 DuPage Valley win at home.

He also scored on runs of 29 and 60 yards, finishing with nine carries for 111 yards and two catches for 66 more.

“It was a little weird,” Torres said of playing Waubonsie. “It’s my old school. I had a lot of love over there. But you know, when it comes down to it, you’ve got to handle this and take the ‘W.’”

Torres made the all-conference team as a sophomore, and Naperville Central coach Mike Stine sees a lot higher ceiling than that for the 5-10, 180-pounder.

“I told some college recruiters a couple weeks ago … I don’t want to curse the kid, but he has some similarities to Justin Jackson,” Stine said. “Those are big shoes to fill, but Antonio is special.”

Jackson starred at Glenbard North and Northwestern before moving on to the NFL, where he’s played the past three seasons for the Chargers.

Torres isn’t just turning heads on the football field. He’s also a returning state placer in wrestling after taking fifth in Class 3A at 170 pounds. He won’t get a chance to win another medal, because wrestling won’t have a postseason this school year.

But that hasn’t dampened his enthusiasm for his other sport, which will start before the football season ends.

“I’m prepared,” Torres said. “I wrestle sometimes on Sundays … just to make sure I’m in wrestling shape when it comes time so I can go out and perform like I usually do.”

Torres wasn’t the only Redhawk with a long scoring play Saturday. Junior receiver Reggie Fleurima, who committed to Northwestern earlier in the week, had a 63-yard TD reception.

Yet another playmaker for Naperville Central is senior receiver Keon Green. He had five catches for 68 yards and a TD in his first game since breaking an ankle in last year’s regular-season finale against DeKalb.

It makes for plenty of options for junior quarterback Owen Prucha, who was 12-of-15 passing for 252 yards and three TDs in his varsity debut.

“I was really anxious, I’m not gonna lie,” Prucha said. “I had a lot of nerves leading up to this. Once everything got going — you saw the score — everything worked out.

“It’s a good feeling to be able to trust all your receivers and your (running) back.”

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