Sometimes promotions are not necessarily deserved.
That's not the case for Schaumburg as seven sophomores -- including returning starter Matt Zolper on the offensive line -- could be in the starting lineup.
"Our sophomore class is extremely talented," said Schaumburg coach Mark Stilling. "It's not like we're trying to put guys in places and they have no business being on a varsity field."
All-area picks and graduates in quarterback Mark Iannotti, running back Shepard Little, defensive lineman Joe Zolper and safety Bob Quilico took care of business to lead the Saxons to a share of the Mid-Suburban West title and a trip to the second round of the Class 8A playoffs.
But if there's one area the Saxons are glad to have some experience, it's on the offensive line. Along with Zolper, center Mike Baumhart started every game and tackle Bill Tomaszewski got a couple of starts and meaningful time.
"Baumhart and Tomaszewski are really leaders," Stilling said. "They're aggressive and they get after you."
Junior quarterback Nick Anzelmo has the ability to run and throw. Senior running back Brandon Kibby saw some action when Little was nicked up last year and senior Mike Mallett is back at receiver.
And sophomores in receivers Stacey Smith and Ryan Tuma and running back Sadaris Patterson provide some dangerous capabilities.
"I don't think it will be fun for people to tackle those guys," Stilling said.
It also doesn't figure to be enjoyable to be tackled by third-year starter and state champion wrestler Josh Marchok as he moves from linebacker to defensive end.
Don Wiencek returns at defensive tackle and Stilling said senior linebacker Dru Richardson "seems like he's been here forever" after starting the last two years at cornerback and strong safety.
Junior free safety Cole Reyes was promoted to the varsity during last season and has the ability to be like the hard-hitting Quilico.
And veterans such as Marchok and Richardson will do what it takes to put Schaumburg in position to have four straight winning seasons for just the second time (1973-76).
"Our kids are pretty focused and Josh and Dru have extremely high standards for themselves," Stilling said. "Not only in terms of performance but in the way they conduct themselves. It's really helpful for the younger kids because those two catch everything."
Saxons at a glance
Coach: Mark Stilling (33-28, seventh year)
Last year: 8-3, 4-1 (West co-champs, 7A second round)
Pos. Name Ht./Wt. Yr.
QB Nick Anzelmo 6-0/185 Jr.
TB Sadaris Patterson 5-9/180 So.
T Bill Tomaszewski 6-3/225 Sr.
G Matt Zolper 6-2/275 So.
C Mike Baumhart 6-0/210 Sr.
G Justin Sanchez 6-0/250 So.
T Max Wiers 6-2/225 Sr.
TE Akema Collins 6-1/200 Jr.
WR Mike Mallett 6-0/175 Sr.
WR Stacey Smith 5-8/165 So.
WR Ryan Tuma 5-9/165 So.
Pos. Name Ht./Wt. Yr.
DE Josh Marchok 6-1/220 Sr.
DT Don Wiencek 6-2/270 Sr.
DT Kyler Hunter 5-10/210 Sr.
DE Rashad McFadden 6-2/205 Jr.
LB Dru Richardson 5-9/200 Sr.
LB Nick Casey 6-1/195 Sr.
CB Juwaan Richard 5-10/165 Jr.
CB Zack Beck 5-9/165 Sr.
FS Cole Reyes 6-2/185 Jr.
SS Eric Watson 6-2/200 Sr.
WS Ryan Woloszyk 5-10/175 So.