Bloom Township Blazing Trojans
Last Year's Record: 6-4 (3-2 Southland Athletic Conference), lost to Simeon 13-10 in the first round of the Class 8A playoffs.
Head Coach: Tony Palombi, 25-66 at school and 28-81 overall
Assistant Coaches: Tom Tong, Kendrick Hall, Gabe Damiani, Chad Nardi, Eric Middleton, Tim Connolly.
Returning starters: 8 (5 offense, 3 defense).
Top Offensive Players: Justus Brantley, Sr., RB (136 carries, 1,026 yds., 12 TD); Kendall McGinnis, Sr., QB (60 comp., 115 att., 711 yds., 4 TD); Zerell Jackson, Sr., SB (22 rec., 252 yds., 2 TD); Jordan Benavides, Jr., SB; Wiley Jonah, Sr., WR.
Top Defensive Players: Kyle Pugh, Jr., LB (83 tackles, 2 sacks); Lawrence Evans, Sr., LB; Dominique Taylor, Sr., LB.
The Times breakdown: Bloom's first visit to the playoffs since 1989 was brief, but the 2012 trip was exhilarating. The Blazing Trojans fell 13-10 on a late touchdown to playoff perennial Simeon, and the returning players are anxious for another taste of the postseason. Palombi is calling this his fastest and strongest team ever. Young linemen on both sides of the ball may have his skill position players needing that speed often. Pugh, a junior, leads a speedy linebacking corps. The offense will likely rely on Brantley, who claims a team-best 4.45-second 40-yard dash time.
Quote: "After last year's success, the players are really excited to start this season. They have been working hard during the offseason. We haven't been this strong and fast in a long time." — Palombi
— Compiled by Phil Arvia