Fremd has turned Mid-Suburban West football into a broken record.
That has led to a familiar tune from some coaches in the division after the Vikings set the MSL mark with a seventh straight outright or shared division title.
"It's cliche, but Fremd is the team to beat until somebody beats them," said Hoffman Estates coach Bill Helzer.
"I told our kids there are three playoff teams back from last year and right now nobody has dethroned Fremd," said Barrington coach Joe Sanchez. "Until then you have have to pick Fremd."
Fremd has Division I linemen Brian Bobek (Ohio State) and Jack Konopka (Northwestern) and quarterback Richard Concialdi back from last year's 11-1, Class 8A quarterfinalist. Linebackers Justin Wallace and Michael Sahli and defensive backs Michael Risher and Tyler Mundt lead an experienced defense.
But the Vikings face a big challenge before they even get to the West in 7A semifinalist Lake Zurich and crossovers with Elk Grove, Prospect and Buffalo Grove.
"We'll be challenged a lot more than the past couple of years," said Fremd coach Mike Donatucci. "By far it's the most balanced our schedule has ever been."
Two of Fremd's first three West games will be two of its biggest challengers in Schaumburg and Palatine.
The Saxons have experience up front to go with quarterback Mark Iannotti and running back Shepard Little, an all-area pick as a sophomore who missed last year for disciplinary reasons. Leading the defense are linebacker Josh Marchok and safety Bob Quilico.
Palatine also has experience and multi-talented threats in quarterback-safety Cody Bobbit, receiver-cornerback Dan Haze and running back-quarterback-linebacker Jim Smearman. Jesse Bobbit returns at safety and will play receiver as part of a talented sophomore class that figures to start making an impact this year.
Barrington hopes to rebound from its first losing season since 2001 with 1,000-yard rusher and junior Chase Murdock behind a big, experienced line led by seniors Pat Bolger and Jimmy Kristof and junior Dan Voltz.
"People are probably looking at us as the fourth-best team in the West and rightfully so," Sanchez said. "We were a 3-6 team and we have a lot to prove."
Conant hopes an infusion of young, skill-position talent makes a difference with the experience of lineman Kenny Kalish, safety John Altobelli, nose tackle Trace Ancona and receiver Brian Wadsworth.
And Hoffman expects to be improved with quarterback David Gutierrez and running back Michael Reeves running the triple option for a second straight year. Dalton Garrett will be a big part on both sides of the ball.
"I don't think there are any dogs on the schedule," Donatucci said. "It's going to be very tight."
Fremd 5-0 11-1
Schaumburg 4-1 6-4
Palatine 3-2 7-3
Barrington 2-3 3-6
Conant 1-4 2-7
Hoffman 0-5 0-9
2010 predicted order of finish: 1. Fremd, 2. Schaumburg, 3. Palatine, 4. Barrington, 5. Conant, 6. Hoffman Estates.