Nick Summers

CSN Preps Preseason Power Rankings: No. 7 Lake Zurich

CSN Preps Preseason Power Rankings: No. 7 Lake Zurich

CSNChicago.com preps reporter "Edgy" Tim O'Halloran spotlights 100 high school football teams in 100 days. The first 75 team profiles will focus on teams making strides across Chicagoland and elsewhere in the state. Starting Jul. 31, we'll unveil the @CSNPreps Top 25 Power Rankings, leading up to kickoff on Friday, Aug. 25.

School: Lake Zurich

Head coach: Luke Mertens

Assistant coaches: Shane Williams, Aaron Towne, Jeff Bartlett, Nick Summers, Rick Erickson, Kelly Henkel, Will Koukal, Aaron Lewandowski, Christian Wollard 

How they fared in 2016: 8-3 (6-1 North Suburban Conference), made the Class 7A state playoff field. They defeated Harlem, then lost to Fenwick in second-round action.

[MORE: CSN Preps Preseason Power Rankings - No. 8 Waubonsie Valley]

2017 regular season schedule:

Aug. 25 @ Fremd

Sept. 1 vs. Montini Catholic

Sept. 8 vs. Waukegan

Sept. 15 vs. Zion-Benton

Sept. 22 @ Warren Township

Sept. 28 @ Lake Forest

Oct. 6 @ Stevenson

Oct. 13 vs. Libertyville

Oct. 20 @ Mundelein

Biggest storyline: Can the Bears put last year's hazing controversy behind them and stay focused on the field?

Names to watch this season: senior LB Jack Sanborn (Wisconsin), senior QB Evan Lewandowski, senior OL Ian Fitzgerald

Biggest holes to fill: The Bears will need to find some replacements in the secondary.

EDGY's early take: Lake Zurich has been dealing with a hazing controversy since the end of last season. Over that time, several key administrators and coaches were replaced, including head coach Dave Proffitt. Mertens, who guided the Lakes football program for over a decade, steps in as head coach. He inherits a very experienced team on both sides of the football, including 14 returning starters (eight offense, six defense). Lake Zurich has the potential to become a state title contender in 2017.