No. 6 Fremd
Last season: 11-1 overall, 5-0 Mid-Suburban West, lost in the 8A quarterfinals, ranked 13th in final 2009 poll
Season ahead: In Fremd coach Michael Donatucci’s 18 seasons, he’s had three Division I offensive linemen, all of who happened to come in the past two years. Last season he had Christian Lombard, now at Notre Dame, and this season he has Brian Bobek, who is committed to Ohio State, and Jack Konopka, who is a Northwestern recruit.
“We’ve had good ballplayers come through over the years, but having three big guys together at one time, that’s once in a career,” Donatucci said.
Donatucci and the Vikings benefitted from that rarity last season and are likely to do so again this year. With Bobek, Konopka and Evan Schaeffer back on the O-line, Fremd’s offense has high expectations again. The Vikings also return starting quarterback Richard Concialdi and senior running backs Isaiah Coleman and Justin Wallace. Leading rusher Evan Wright, who graduated, will need to be replaced.
“We’ll be more two-backs than we were last year,” Donatucci said. “Justin Wallace and Isaiah Coleman are both downhill runners. They’re not the shifty type of runner that Evan was, but both are legit 4.6 [seconds in the 40-yard dash] and both can run.”
Wallace also could make an impact on the defense as a linebacker and defensive end. The Vikings also return defensive linemen Dan Muehfeldt, Levi Jorgensen, Konopka and Bobek, linebackers Michael Sahli and Alex Van Duch and defensive backs Tyler Mundt and Mike Risher.
“We have an opportunity to be as good as we were last year,” Donatucci said.
Player to watch: Senior center Brian Bobek (6-2, 280 pounds) is considered one of the best centers in the country. He’s headed to Ohio State next season.
Newcomer to watch: The Vikings have a number of young guys who will be given an opportunity to shine.
Key game: Aug. 27 at Lake Zurich – This is a matchup of two top-10 teams. Both teams have experienced offensive lines and love to run the ball. Fremd won 10-7 in last year’s season-opener.
What they’re saying: “On paper, this is the toughest schedule we’ve had,” Fremd coach Michael Donatucci said. “It doesn’t make you sleep easy at night for sure.”