School: Vernon Hills
Head coach: Bill Bellecomo
Assistant coaches: Corey Atwell, Greg Stilling, Tim Dydo, Jason Czarnecki, Avelino Cortez, Dave Schroetter, Mike Larsen and Ryan Feeney
How they fared in 2017: 2-7 (1-4 Central Suburban North Conference). Vernon Hills failed to qualify for the state playoff field.
2018 Regular Season Schedule:
Aug. 24 @ Grayslake Central
Sept. 1 @ Waukegan
Sept. 7 vs Hersey
Sept. 14 @ Wheeling
Sept. 21 @ Highland Park
Sept. 28 vs Deerfield
Oct. 5 @ Maine West
Oct. 12 vs Maine East
Oct. 19 @ Glenbrook North
[MORE: 61 Days to Kickoff - Maine West]
Biggest storyline: It's all about the team bouncing back from last year's 2-7 record. Can the Cougars wipe the slate clean and get back into the IHSA state playoff field this fall?
Names to watch this season: WR/LB Mehki McCarthy and QB Derek Jarrell
Biggest holes to fill: The Cougars played a very young team last season; that said, they will still need to fill a few holes in key spots, namely on the OL and in the secondary.
EDGY's Early Take: Vernon Hills went young in 2017 one year after being the Class 5A runner-up. The Cougars will benefit from a much more experienced team in 2018. Senior QB Derek Jarrell --and his arm-- was a big part of the Vernon Hills offense in 2017. If the team can improve a bit, especially on the defensive side of the football this summer, they can challenge for the Central Suburban North title play into November.