Mount Carmel Caravan
Last year's record: 13-1 (3-1 Catholic League Blue), beat Glenbard North 28-14 to win the Class 8A state championship.
Head coach: Frank Lenti, 326-59 at school and overall.
Assistant coaches: David Lenti, Pete Kammholz, Mark Antonietti, Bill Nolan, Mike Minogue, Jerry Blew, Bob Sanders, Dan O'Brien.
Returning starters: 8 (3 offense, 5 defense)
Top offensive players: Matt Domer, 6-0, Sr., RB (1,365 yards, 8.8 avg., 20 TDs, 8 catches, 65 yards, 6 KO Ret, 148 yards); Nate Oquendo, 6-1, Sr., OL; Steve Dumezich, 6-4, Sr., OL; Marko Boricich, 6-3, Sr., QB ((7-10, 89 yards, 1 TD); Sam Connolly, 6-2, Sr., TE; Jimmy Mickens, 5-10, Sr., RB (243 yards, 5.2 avg., 4 TDs).
Top defensive players: Steve Richardson, 6-0, Sr., DL (45 tackles, 21 TFLs); Enoch Smith, 6-3, Sr., DT (23 TFLs); Connolly, 6-2, Sr., LB (42 tackles, 11 TFLs, 3 fumble recoveries); Troy Weissenhofer, 6-0, Jr., ILB (10 tackles, 2 TFLs); Christian Searles, 5-9, Sr., DB (39 tackles, 4 INTs, 9 break-ups; Deontae Brown, 6-1, Sr., DB (51 tackles, 1 INT); Nick Johnson, 6-0, Sr., OLB (24 tackles, 14 TFLs).
The Times Breakdown: The Caravan lost a lot from their Class 8A state championship team and the key will be for the seniors to step up in the way the Class of 2013 did. Marko Boricich takes over at quarterback for Don Butkus (St. Francis). Illinois recruit Domer will have to be a leader on an inexperienced offense. The key again is the offensive line, which came together last year. Oquendo is the leader and Dumezich, Oscar Reyes and Kyle Thomas are expected to step in and open the holes for Domer and Mickens. Boricich is a good passer and Connolly should have plenty of balls thrown his way. Minnesota recruit Richardson and Michigan State recruit Smith will anchor the defensive line. Johnson, Connolly and Weissenhofer give the Caravan a strong linebacking crew. Brown and Searles are two of the best defensive backs in the Catholic Blue. Once again, in Lenti's 30th year as coach, the Catholic Blue will be as tough as ever. There is not a lot of depth, but if this team comes together and stays healthy, it can accomplish a lot.
Quote: "It's not about talent, it is a bout team. You have to have great chemistry and great senior leadership to be successful. You have to have everybody buy in and have a 'we' thing instead of a 'me' thing." — Frank Lenti
— Compiled by Mike Nieto