School: St. Francis
Head coach: Mike Fitzgerald
Assistant Coaches: Geoff Durian, Gary Vargyas, Joe Kraft, Matt Battaglia, Brett Werner-Powell, Pat Rosmonowski, Ryan Rosmonowski, Allen Vega, Pete Dixon, Frank Salinas, Matt Favero
How they fared in 2014: 10-3 (3-1 Chicago Catholic League Green Conference); The Spartans made the 6A state playoffs and defeated Grayslake North, Lakes and Hinsdale South before losing to Nazareth Academy in the state semifinal round.
Biggest storyline in 2015: Can the Spartans reload in 2015?
Names to Watch: RB Will Purdom, a senior running back, will be a key in the Spartans offense this fall. OL/DL Kevin Killian, a senior, is an experienced two-way starter for the Spartans.
Biggest holes to fill: Gone is graduated do it all QB/LB Clint Bobowski along with a deep group of starters from a season ago.
EDGY's Early Take: The Spartans will be pretty green on both sides of the ball. However, second year head coach Mike Fitzgerald has a plan and this team will challenge for a state playoff spot.
NBCSportsChicago.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 July 30, we’ll unveil the @NBCSPrepsTop 25 Power Rankings, leading up to kickoff on Friday, Aug. 24.
Head coach: John Rone
Assistant coaches: Andrew Porter, Ron Rivera, Chris Lewis, Ryan McGuire and Clint Connelly
How they fared in 2017: 8-2 (5-1 South Suburban Red Conference). Shepard made the Class 6A state football playoff field. The Astros lost to Marmion Academy in opening round action.
2018 Regular Season Schedule:
Aug. 24 @ Leyden
Sept. 1 @ Stagg
Sept 7 vs Hillcrest
Sept. 14 vs Eisenhower
Sept. 21 @ Richards
Sept. 28 @ Oak Lawn
Oct. 5 vs Reavis
Oct. 12 vs Evergreen Park
Oct. 19 @ Argo
Biggest storyline: First-year head coach John Rone. Can the Astros challenge once again for the South Suburban Red conference title under a new head coach?
Names to watch this season: RB/LB Chris Harrison and TE/DE Kevin Graham
Biggest holes to fill: The Astros bring back 10 returning starters (five offense, five defense). Overall depth could also be a concern.
EDGY's Early Take: Shepard will be led by former Eisenhower assistant Rone, who was able to retain an experienced staff at Shepard. It will help ease the transition from former head coach Dominic Passolano this summer. If the Astros can get off to a good early start they have the overall talent to again make a state playoff appearance in 2018. Can they challenge conference power Richards in the South Suburban Red race?
Head coach: Bob Padjen
Assistant coaches: Trent Jensen, Jesse Kikkert, Jonathan Hill, Doug Smith, Mike Tisza, Rob Shell and Tim Russell
How they fared in 2017: 6-4 (3-3 South Suburban Blue Conference), T.F. South made the Class 6A state football playoff field. The Rebels lost to Danville in opening round action.
2018 Regular Season Schedule:
Aug. 24 @ Thornwood
Sept. 1 vs Julian
Sept. 7 vs Oak Forest
Sept. 14 @ TF North
Sept. 21 vs Bremen
Sept. 28 @ Reavis
Oct. 5 vs Hillcrest
Oct. 12 @ Lemont
Oct. 19 @ Tinley Park
[MORE: 86 Days to Kickoff - Reavis]
Biggest storyline: T.F. South has advanced to the playoffs 20 times in the past 24 seasons. Can the Rebels get back to the IHSA state playoff field and make more noise this fall?
Names to watch this season: QB Kamron Clayton LB Michael Smith
Biggest holes to fill: The Rebels will need to replace seven starters on each side of the football this fall.
EDGY's Early Take: T.F. South head coach Bob Padjen was able to keep the Rebels on a winning path in his first season as Rebels head coach after several years serving in an assistant role. South always has talent. If the underclassmen can step up this summer, look for the Rebels to challenge for the top half of the South Suburban Blue conference race.