Marian Catholic Spartans
Last Year's Record: 1-8, (0-6 East Suburban Catholic Conference), did not qualify for playoffs.
Head Coach: Jerry Verde, 0-0 at Marian Catholic, 56-14 overall.
Assistant Coaches: Mike Turay, Mike Taylor, Andy DeLaurentis, Nick Novak, Terry Barney, Dave Seneker, Josh Howe.
Returning starters: 11 (8 offense, 8 defense)
Top Offensive Players: Pat Schmidt, Sr. QB (22 comp., 55 att., 224 yds); Ki-Jana Crawford, Sr. WR (18 rec., 319 yds, 2 TD); Emilio Garza, Sr. WR; Dillon Burns, Sr. RB (51 att., 292 yds., 2 TD); Chris Taborn, Sr. K.
Top Defensive Players: Gage Bonczek, Sr. LB; Tim Mason, Sr. LB; Julian Davis, Sr. FS; Louie Longo, Sr. DB; Brian Richardson, Sr. DT; Carlos Gallegos, Sr. P.
The Times Breakdown: Verde won a state title at Crete-Monee in 2012, then jumped to his alma mater for a chance to do the job Dave Mattio held for 36 years. A linebacker as a player and the defensive mastermind at Crete, he switches to offense with the Spartans. Verde says Marian is "blessed to have some very, very talented skill-position players," including Crawford and Garza, who will be primary targets for Schmidt, back after breaking his throwing hand early last season. The Spartans will be able to play the field-position game, with Division I-level talents at placekicker and punter.
Quote: "I think we're going to win football games this year, I really do." — Verde
— Compiled by Phil Arvia