[Mark Busch - firstname.lastname@example.org]
Coach: Pat Ryan (second season, 7-4)
Last year: 7-4, 3-1 Northern Illinois Big 12 East, lost, 46-20, to Sterling in the second round of the Class 5A playoffs.
Keep an eye on: Max Gagne had 468 receiving yards last year – which was third on the team but also third in the area. He’ll return as the top target for the Knights.
Other key players: Chaz Shaw, sr., RB/LB; Jonathan Alstott, sr., RB; Drew Hahn, sr., OL/DL; Jackson Clark, sr., C/DT; Sam Pryor, so., OL/DL; Chris Angelotti, sr., WR/DB; Kyle Angelotti, sr., WR/DB; Zach Denning, sr., S/WR; Bryce Cohoon, sr., LB
Coach’s corner: “We want to go into game week with the decision made,” Ryan said of the quarterback battle between Connor Buyck and Joe Smith. “It’s a real close quarterback competition.
“What we’ve talked about is the quarterbacks have to be able to not only be able to be good in the passing game, but also be able to not turn the ball over and be able to do some things with their legs in our run game, be a good athlete and also take control of out offense, too.”
The schedule: at Hinsdale South, vs. Geneva, at Rich Central, at Sterling, vs. DeKalb, at Sycamore, at Yorkville, vs. Morris, vs. Rochelle
The big game: Right before a five-game winning streak powered a run to the second round of the playoffs, the Knights lost, 31-13, to DeKalb.
The rematch is in Kaneland this year, and may be the last meeting of the two teams for a while with the Knights joining the Interstate Eight Conference and DeKalb still looking for a new conference. DeKalb, Morris and Kaneland shared the conference title last year.
X’s and O’s: Denning and Kyle Angelotti earned spots on the all-conference team at the end of last year, and both return to anchor a defense with eight returning starters. Ryan said he expects the defense to be fast and physical because of that experience.