DEKALB BARBS (2-7, 1-4 Northern Illinois Big 12 East)
It was not the easiest season for DeKalb, which had the unenviable task of trying to replace a head coach and a senior quarterback in the same year. First-year coach Todd Hallaron took over for Marty Sanders and junior QB Jack Sauter was named the starter after Brian Sisler graduated.
Peak: DeKalb laid the smack down on Yorkville, 47-0, in Week 8. The offense finally put it all together as Dre Brown and Sauter ran the ball effectively and the defense pitched its only shutout of the season.
Valley: A couple of fourth-quarter miscues led to a 33-27 loss in Week 2 against a Hampshire team that ended the year with a record of 3-6. The Whip-Purs scored on a last-second touchdown after DeKalb committed a penalty for too many men on the field.
2013 Outlook: The Barbs return a lot of talent for next year. Sauter will be a senior and now has a full year of varsity experience under his belt. Brown should get stronger and will continue to provide a game-breaking presence in the backfield. It's almost always a struggle in a coach's first season, especially for someone who has never been a head coach before. But just as consistently, year two usually brings vast improvement.
– Ross Jacobson, email@example.com, Twitter: @DC_Preps