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.
School: Lincoln-Way East
Head coach: Rob Zvonar
Assistant coaches: Joel Pallissard, Dale Augustine, Ed Lefevour, Lance Logan, Tom Grogan, Anthony Pignatiello, Wilber Milhouse, Jeremy Vestal, Matt Nelson, Matt Mrozek, Matt Mrozek, Jake Aleck, Tom Lynch and Mike Sazama
How they fared in 2017: 14-0 (7-0 Southwest Suburban Conference). Lincoln-Way East made the 8A playoff field and defeated Joliet West, St. Charles East, Oswego and Maine South. They advanced to the state championship game and defeated Loyola Academy to win the title.
2018 Regular Season Schedule:
Aug. 24 @ Crete-Monee
Aug. 31 vs Naperville Central
Sept. 7 vs Andrew
Sept. 14 @ Sandburg
Sept. 21 vs Lincoln-Way Central
Sept. 28 vs Homewood-Flossmoor
Oct. 5 @ Lockport
Oct. 11 @ Thornwood
Oct. 19 vs Bolingbrook
[MORE: 79 Days to Kickoff - Crete-Monee]
Biggest storyline: Can the Griffins pull off a rare back-to-back Class 8A state title win this season?
Names to watch this season: WR/RB AJ Henning, LB Gus Christensen and OL Dane Eggert
Biggest holes to fill: The Griffins will need to replace 14 graduated starters from a season ago.
EDGY's Early Take: If you don't like seeing Lincoln-Way East near or at the top of the rankings year in and year out, you better get used to it. The Griffins and head coach Rob Zvonar have been on a serious roll, including a stacked roster which has both talent and sheer numbers. Lincoln-Way East has some high-level names this fall including top-ranked junior WR/RB AJ Griffin along with up and coming senior QB Jack Baltz. They also feature three returning offensive linemen back in the fold, led by senior Dane Eggert (6-foot-3, 270 pounds). East's defense will be inexperienced in some spots, but senior LB Gus Christensen (5-foot-5, 165 pounds) leads a very quick unit. While the Griffins have holes to fill they also have one of the state's best --and extraordinarily deep-- rosters. They should be able to weather a very tough early schedule.