We've seen this before from Addison Trail's football program.
The Blazers, after graduating the bulk of its lineup from last year's West Suburban Gold title team, will fortify an inexperienced group with five sophomores, including quarterback Matt Gontarek.
Addison Trail did the same thing three years ago -- and has a history of utilizing sophomore talent. The Gold hopes remain intact. This year, not two years from now.
"Just because all those guys are gone, we still expect to win," said Addison Trail coach Paul Parpet. "The expectation is that we're going to win our first back-to-back Gold titles since 1996 and '97."
It'll be a tall order with only four starters back. The good news is two are offensive linemen in third-year varsity members Wyatt Klemm and Nathan Biewer. Linebacker Dylan Domek and defensive lineman Anthony D'Antonio also return.
Beyond that the Blazers feature newcomers poised to make an impact. It starts with Gontarek, a strong runner, and sophomore receiver Javvion Bradley, who Parpet believes can be a gamebreaker. Junior tailback Jim Wislek is a hard runner planning to find holes behind Klemm and Biewer.
"Early in they year we've got to hang our hat on the linemen," Parpet said. "They've got 20 games under their belts."
The defense also is young and inexperienced despite the return of Domek and D'Antonio. Sophomores Eric Gilliam, a linebacker, and Chris Lacni, a defensive back, must help anchor a unit that allowed 7.6 points a game last year.
A 40-player roster leaves little depth, but Parpet plans on utilizing only a couple of players -- Alex Glowacki and John Taylor -- extensively on both sides of the ball. That doesn't mean other players won't see spot duty on both sides, but the Blazers will two-platoon as much as possible.
If injuries strike, Parpet may have to dip further into his sophomore group for replacements. It wouldn't be the first time.
"Four or five times we've done this with sophomores, but we still expect to win," Parpet said. "It bodes well for the future but we want to win now."
-- Kevin Schmit
Coach: Paul Parpet (third year, 13-7).
2011 record: 8-2, 6-0, first West Suburban Gold.
Top players: Wyatt Klemm (OL, 6-3, 265, sr.); Nathan Biewer (OL, 6-5, 260, sr.); Dylan Domek (LB, 6-4, 210, sr.); Anthony D'Antonio (DL, 5-10, 210, sr.); Matt Gontarek (QB, 5-10, 180, so.); Javvion Bradley (WR, 6-2, 175, so.); Jim Wislek (RB, 5-10, 185, jr.); Eric Gilliam (LB, 5-10, 180, so.); Alex Glowacki (LB-RB, 6-1, 180, sr.); John Taylor (DB-RB, 5-9, 165, sr.); Chris Lacni (DB, 5-11, 175, so.).
Fri, 8/24, Addison Trail at West Chicago, 7:30 p.m.
Fri, 8/31, Proviso West at Addison Trail, 7:30 p.m.
Fri, 9/7, Addison Trail at Leyden, 7:30 p.m.
Fri, 9/14, Hinsdale South at Addison Trail, 7:30 p.m.
Fri, 9/21, Addison Trail at Morton, 7:30 p.m.
Fri, 9/28, Proviso East at Addison Trail, 7:30 p.m.
Sat, 10/6, Addison Trail at Glenbard West, 1:30 p.m
Fri, 10/12, Willowbrook at Addison Trail, 7:30 p.m.
Fri, 10/19, Addison Trail at Downers Grove South, 7:30 p.m.