October 27, 2021
Analysis


2019 season preview: Scouting the Mid-Suburban West

Barrington

Head Coach: Joe Sanchez (18th season, 129-55)

Last year's record: 7-4

Key returners: Tommy Fitzpatrick (QB), Quinn Ketel (RB), EJ Darlington (WR/CB), Ray Schmitz (OL), NIko Kutrombis (OL), Matt Reedy (DL), Lukas Van Ness (DL), Colin Cress (DL/OL), Dayven Shinhoster (LB), Hayden Kraus (LB), Lucas Kozlowski (DB), Johnny Podlesnik (DB), Nick Barron (DB).

Outlook: After starting last season 3-3, the Broncos finished the regular season with three straight wins before taking down Oswego East, 23-14, in the first round of the Class 8A playoffs. They lost to Homewood-Flossmoor, 30-7, the following week. Senior defensive end Lukas Van Ness committed to Iowa this summer, and senior wide receiver EJ Darlington, who had 49 receptions last season, has gotten offers from some FCS and lower division schools. Barrington also returns starting QB Tommy Fitzpatrick. Barrington will have nonconference tests early from Warren in Week 1 and New Trier in Week 3 before the Broncos pursue the conference title that eluded them last season.

Conant

Head Coach: Bryan Stortz (3rd season, 7-12)

Last year's record: 6-4

Key returners: Mason Reiger (TE/LB), Ronald Williams (RB/DB), Tony Datoli (TE), Malik Frederick (RB), Kyle Prodzinski (DL/OL), Jeremy Betancourt (WR/S), Derek Lewandowski (DL/OL), Dom Maiorello (DL), Jake Sersen (RB/LB), Walter Pedro (DL/OL).

Notable newcomers: Jeremy Carell (RB/S), Jack Hominac (RB/LB), Matthew Botello (QB/CB), Christian Gripper (DL), Marktwain Green (WR/CB).

Outlook: Stortz became head coach at Conant after an 0-9 season in 2016, and after going 1-8 in 2017, returned Conant to prominence last year. The Cougars went back to the playoffs after a two-year hiatus and earned a share of the Mid-Suburban West title. Running back Malik Frederick impressed as a sophomore and should be even more involved in the Cougars' heavy-run attack, which will be bolstered by a veteran offensive line. Conant should once again be in the thick of the Mid-Suburban West race.

Hoffman Estates 

Head Coach: Tim Heyse (3rd season, 17-6)

Last year's record: 7-3

Key returners: Max Lock (RB/LB), Darrien Waits (DB), Nate Fisher (LB/WR), Jashawn Johnson (WR/DB), Marcos Bustos (OL), Jeff Meyer (OL), Couvoise Howard (DL), Jaylin Williams (DB), Mekhi Williams (RB).

Notable newcomers: JoJo Lovelace (QB), Jonah Walton (WR), Nick Johnson (LB), Kyle Frymire (LB), Julian White (DE), Eddie Resendez (OL).

Outlook: The Hawks return two key running backs in senior Max Lock and junior Mekhi Williams, but are still a very young team. With new quarterback JoJo Lovelace, Hoffman Estates wants to stretch the field this season with sophomore Jashawn Johnson and junior Jonah Walton. Heading into Heyse's third season, the Hawks have set their eyes on their first conference championship in 25 years. The Hawks will have a tough ending to their season, facing Barrington and Fremd in Weeks 8 and 9.

Fremd

Head coach: Lou Sponsel (8th season, 35-35)

Last year's record: 5-5

Outlook: A young roster led the Vikings to a 1-3 start last season, but they eventually rallied to win a share of the conference title and qualify for the Class 8A playoffs. That experience should make Fremd a contender once again this season. Quarterback Ryan Saxe showed promise as a sophomore last season, and the Vikings could open up the passing game a bit more after graduating top running back Nick Rattin, who ran for more than 1,100 yards last year. Junior lineman Jack Walsh is a name to keep an eye on.

Palatine

Head Coach: Corey Olson (3rd season, 8-12)

Last year's record: 1-8

Key returners: Ronald Todd III (RB), Nathan Cwiakala (OL), Brian Fernandez (OL), Andrew Oles (OL), Luka Popovic (WR), Mossimo Vadimoskos (DL), Peter Russchenberg (DL), Tyler Pecson (LB), Eric Pecson (DB).

Notable newcomers: Charles Harris (WR), Jay Houskins (DL).

Outlook: Palatine is coming off an aberration of a season, where it went 1-8 and missed the playoffs for the first time since 2006. Coach Corey Olson heads into his third year with a solid group of returning starters who are now juniors: Peter Russchenberg at nose guard, Ronald Todd at running back and Eric and Tyler Pecson in the defensive secondary. Though the Pirates are optimistic about the season, they will have a tough nonconference schedule with St. Charles North, Rolling Meadows, Evanston and Maine South. Palatine is promising, especially with new quarterback Joe Ayala, who got some snaps last season, but the Pirates will have to overcome a loaded schedule to get back to the postseason.

Schaumburg

Head Coach: Mark Stilling (15th season, 74-66)

Last year's record: 4-5

Key returners: Shamaree Brown (WR/DE), Mike DiGioia (RB), Luke Jessie (QB/WR), Allen Okanovic (OL), Dane McMahon (OL), Isaiah Garcia (WR/DB), Tony Rofrano (WR/DB), Jeremy Serio (DT), Anthony Hernandez (DB), Tyler Fortune (DB/WR).

Notable newcomers: Jose Rodriguez (DL), AJ Prowell (WR/DB), Derek Kulak (OL), Blake Buchanan (LB), JJ Calabria (LB), Ricky Chevarria (WR/DB), Ayobami Arokoyo (DE), Anthony Komperda (WR/LB).

Outlook: The Saxons missed the playoffs for the third time in five seasons last year after a tough conference season that saw them finish 1-4 after a 3-1 start in nonconference play. Junior Luke Jessie will make the move to quarterback after playing wide receiver as a sophomore. Coach Mark Stilling called junior running back Mike DiGioia a "throwback" whom has started every game since he was a freshman. Senior senior wide receiver Shamaree Brown should be a difference maker. Defensively, Schaumburg is a bit undersized, but Stilling believes the unit will be able to generate pressure. Stilling said that the team made big strides last season, and is looking at the Week 1 matchup with York as a barometer for the season.