On paper returning 22 starting positions means Metea Valley should be good.
Mustangs coach Ted Monken knows you don't play football on paper.
"I think we'll be all right, but it's tough to tell," he said. "You spend so many days practicing against your own team it's hard to get your own bearing."
After last year's varsity debut the following players all hope to break their own single-season and career records while exceeding last year's 1-8 record:
Jarrett House, a team leader Monken said trained exceptionally hard in the off-season, passed for 1,342 yards and 13 touchdowns.
Bringing speed along with defensive back Will King, TreSean Mackey ran for a team-high 557 yards and 6 touchdowns.
Alex Hagemaster caught 42 passes for 586 yards and 6 touchdowns as a sophomore. Mackey, receiver Raysean Parker and tight end Zach Wood accounted for the other 7 touchdown grabs. Hagemaster's 2 defensive interceptions tied Alan Williams, Jake Murawski and Chris Guyton.
Junior linebacker Donovan Rowsey led Metea in tackles with 77, 10 tackles for loss and 2 sacks with 3½.
Monken said team speed is a plus, but an apparent weakness is size on the lines. At 250 pounds and up offensive linemen Tyler Janczak, Colin Colclasure, Kameron Jefferson and defensive tackle Evan Retrigue sound pretty stout. Wood, a 222-pound tight end who also stars in lacrosse, won't take any guff.
Monken said his players heard it in the hallways after last year's record fell short of the 7-2 and 6-3 marks earned as freshmen and sophomores.
Stating that a playoff berth is indeed a goal, Monken hopes both the record and reaction motivated the Mustangs to execute as well "when the lights go on and the fans are screaming" as they have this preseason.
"We can't wait to play that first game and get a feeling of where we are as a program," he said.
Coach: Ted Monken (second, 1-8; seventh overall, 37-25).
2010 record: 1-8, 1-5, sixth in the Upstate Eight Conference Valley Division.
Top players: Alex Hagemaster (WR-DB, 5-10, 160, jr.), Jarrett House (QB 6-0, 205, sr.), Tyler Janczek (OL, 6-3, 265, sr.), Kam Jefferson (OL, 6-5, 255, sr.), TreSean Mackey (RB, 5-8, 160, sr.), Jake Murawski (LB, 6-0, 190, jr.), Raysean Parker (WR-DB, 6-1, 175, sr.), Evan Retrigue (DL, 6-3, 255, sr.), Donovan Rowsey (LB, 5-9, 205, jr.), Zach Wood (TE, 6-3, 225, sr.).
Fri, Aug 26 @ Plainfield East 7:30 p.m.
Fri, Sep 2 Quincy 7:30 p.m.
Fri, Sep 9 East Aurora 7:30 p.m.
Sat, Sep 17 @ South Elgin TBA
Fri, Sep 23 Waubonsie Valley 7:30 p.m.
Fri, Sep 30 @ Neuqua Valley 7:30 p.m.
Fri, Oct 7 @ Bartlett 7:30 p.m.
Fri, Oct 14 Lake Park 7:30 p.m.
Fri, Oct 21 Elgin 7:30 p.m.