Last year's record: 8-3 (6-1 SouthWest Suburban Red, conference champs), lost to Downers Grove North 28-13 in the second round of the Class 7A playoffs.
Head coach: Bill Mosel, 186-95 at Thornton and overall.
Assistant coaches: Dontrell Jackson, Tai Streets, Preston LeFlore, Ken Smith, Gus Jones
Returning starters: 12 (7 offense, 5 defense)
Top Offensive Players: JoWahn Brown 6-4, Sr., QB (129-of-179 passing, 1,885 yards, 29 TDs); Jauan Wesley, 6-0, Sr., WR (44 catches, 837 yards, 15 TDs); D'Andre Fuller, 5-11, Sr., WR; Myshawn Smith, 6-3, Sr., OL; Darian Hogan, 6-2, Sr., OL.
Top defensive players: Tyler Barbee, 6-1, Sr., SS; Cavion Clanton, 5-11, Sr., LB; Adonis Johnson, 5-11, Sr., LB; Ronnie Cross, 5-1, Sr., DB (19 solos, 25 assists, 5 INTs); Tifonte Hunt, 6-0, Sr., DB/KR (3 solos, 21 assists, 6 KO or punt returns for TDs).
The Times Breakdown: Thornton was the champion of a tough SWSC Red last year. It returns 12 starters and the key will be the development of the offensive and defensive lines. Offensively, Smith can be one of the best linemen in the SWSC Red. Hogan is also one of the key limemen. Iowa State recruit Wesley and Fuller are big-time, big-play threats. Brown will be one of the top quarterbacks in the state and the Wildcats should be able to move the ball. Defensively, the team is solid with linebackers Clanton and Johnson. Barbee, Hunt and Cross will make it hard for teams to go deep — especially if the defense can put pressure on opposing quarterbacks. Mosel is in his 28th year at Thornton and the Wildcats are coming off three straight playoff appearances.
Quote: "We will be inexperienced in the defensive line and their development over the length of the season will determine our success." — Mosel
— Compiled by Mike Nieto