At this point Montini expects one thing -- to compete for a state championship.
The Broncos have won three straight and four in eight seasons.
Despite graduating quarterback John Rhode and Division I players like Jaleel Johnson and superstar receiver Jordan Westerkamp from a team that averaged nearly 43 points a game, the ultimate goal doesn't change.
"Our kids are only thinking about one thing. That's to be down in Champaign and play the big game," said Montini coach Chris Andriano.
Pivotal among them is senior Joe Borsellino, son of Broncos offensive coordinator Lewis Borsellino, directing the spread offense one last season. The three-year starter, who can play any skill position on the field, caught 71 passes for 1,009 yards and 10 touchdowns last year, ran for 281 yards and 11 scores and even threw a touchdown pass. Receiver Mark Gorogianis is a two-year starter.
Running back Dimitri Taylor earned 1,110 yards and 10 touchdowns, and he'll follow a huge offensive line that returns its left side -- tackle David Sarkan and guard Tate Briggs, who has several Mid-American Conference offers.
Also enjoying that protection will be junior quarterback Alex Wills, who came out of the Wheaton Warrenville South program. How Wills and fellow QB Jimmy Barron -- who led Montini's sophs to a 9-0 mark in 2011 -- execute and read defenses will dictate the team's success.
So too will defense. Regardless of the title, Andriano said Montini "bent a lot," allowing 314 yards a game. He thinks this unit may be better. Key components include defensive backs Tucker Mucha and Matt Diedrick, linebackers Mike Maduko, Joe Nitti and Charlie Long. Returning defensive end Fred Beaugard is in a delicate situation having dislocated his shoulder this summer after doing the same last season against Marmion.
He and his teammates will also play with a target on their backs.
"This year more than ever the target is on our backs and we'll mentally have to be tougher than ever before," Andriano said.
Coach: Chris Andriano (34th year, 244-117).
2011 record: 12-2, 5-1, second in the Suburban Christian Conference Blue Division.
Top players: Fred Beaugard (DL, 6-3, 245, Sr.), Joe Borsellino (WR-DB, 5-11, 185, Sr.), Tate Briggs (OL, 6-5, 300, Sr.), Matt Diedrick (DB, 5-10, 185, Jr.), Mark Gorogianis (WR, 6-0, 185, Sr.), Andrew Harte (K-P, 6-1, 175, Sr.), Mike Maduko (LB, 5-10, 185, Jr.), Tucker Mucha (DB, 5-10, 175, Sr.), David Sarkan (OL, 6-0, 245, Sr.), Dimitri Taylor (RB, 5-9, 185, Sr.).
Fri, 8/24, Montini at Palatine, 7:30 p.m.
Fri, 8/31, Lincoln-Way East at Montini, 7:30 p.m.
Fri, 9/7, Wheaton Academy at Montini, 7:30 p.m.
Fri, 9/14, Montini at St. Francis, 7:15 p.m.
Fri, 9/21, Marmion at Montini, 7:30 p.m.
Sat, 9/29, Montini at Immaculate Conception, 1 p.m.
Fri, 10/5, Montini at Marian Central, 7:30 p.m.
Fri, 10/12, Aurora Christian at Montini, 7:30 p.m.
Fri, 10/19, Aurora Catholic at Montini, 7:30 p.m.