Area football teams preparing for 2014 campaign
Practice for Illinois high school football teams began this past Monday and the 10 schools covered by this paper hit their respective fields with more questions than answers.
But even for squads that struggled the previous year the first week of practice in a new season brings with it a fresh batch of high hopes and optimism.
Some of the storylines that fans will keep an eye on throughout 2014 include the following:
• Richards’ quest for a state championship. The Bulldogs return a fair amount of talent from a team that finished second in Class 6A in 2013. Richards is the last area team to win a state title in football, having done so in 1989. Last year’s runner-up finish was the Bulldogs’ second since 2001.
• Evergreen Park’s bid for a fourth straight playoff appearance. The Mustangs qualified for the postseason from 1992-95 under coach Brett Nelson and hope to tie that school record after going 8-4, 9-4 and 10-1 in Dan Hartman’s three coaching seasons. Hartman left to coach at Hinsdale Central and Ray Mankowski, Evergreen’s boys’ track coach and a former assistant at Mt. Carmel, has taken over the program.