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Article updated: 8/14/2013 10:58 PM
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Up and at 'em: Eder era starts at Round Lake
 

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Up and at 'em: Eder era starts at Round Lake
  • Video: Football Focus: First Practice

  • New coach Jordan Eder leads his players during the first day of football practice Wednesday at Round Lake High School.

    Purchase Photo | New coach Jordan Eder leads his players during the first day of football practice Wednesday at Round Lake High School. Steve Lundy | Staff Photographer

  •  New head coach Jordan Eder puts his players through the paces during the first day of football practice Wednesday at Round Lake High School.

    Purchase Photo | New head coach Jordan Eder puts his players through the paces during the first day of football practice Wednesday at Round Lake High School. Steve Lundy | Staff Photographer

  •  Players run through plays during the first day of football practice Wednesday at Round Lake High School.

    Purchase Photo | Players run through plays during the first day of football practice Wednesday at Round Lake High School. Steve Lundy | Staff Photographer

  •  Quarterback Willie Bourbon runs the offense Wednesday at Stevenson High School.

    Purchase Photo | Quarterback Willie Bourbon runs the offense Wednesday at Stevenson High School. Steve Lundy | Staff Photographer

  •  Running back Tim Vestuto, left, runs through plays during the first day of football practice Wednesday at Stevenson High School.

    Purchase Photo | Running back Tim Vestuto, left, runs through plays during the first day of football practice Wednesday at Stevenson High School. Steve Lundy | Staff Photographer

  •  Offensive tackle Zach Novoselsky, left, blocks during the first day of football practice Wednesday at Stevenson High School.

    Purchase Photo | Offensive tackle Zach Novoselsky, left, blocks during the first day of football practice Wednesday at Stevenson High School. Steve Lundy | Staff Photographer

  •  Running back Freddie Araiza carries the ball during the first day of football practice Wednesday at Round Lake High School.

    Purchase Photo | Running back Freddie Araiza carries the ball during the first day of football practice Wednesday at Round Lake High School. Steve Lundy | Staff Photographer

  •  Head coach Bill McNamara talks with his players during the first day of football practice Wednesday at Stevenson High School.

    Purchase Photo | Head coach Bill McNamara talks with his players during the first day of football practice Wednesday at Stevenson High School. Steve Lundy | Staff Photographer

  •  Cole Steger, left hands off to Ron Steadman during the first day of football practice Wednesday at Round Lake High School.

    Purchase Photo | Cole Steger, left hands off to Ron Steadman during the first day of football practice Wednesday at Round Lake High School. Steve Lundy | Staff Photographer

  •  Running back Freddie Ariza carries the ball during the first day of football practice Wednesday at Round Lake High School.

    Purchase Photo | Running back Freddie Ariza carries the ball during the first day of football practice Wednesday at Round Lake High School. Steve Lundy | Staff Photographer

 

Chances are, Tyler Norkus slept well Wednesday night.

The Round Lake senior was probably a bit spent after running through drills and conditioning at practice on Wednesday, the first official day of high school football practice in the state of Illinois.

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Norkus, the Panthers' center, was also somewhat sleep-deprived.

"I could barely sleep (Tuesday night) because I was so excited to get out here," Norkus said as he stood on the practice field. "There are a lot of good things coming out of this (program) right now."

For Round Lake, the start of football practice and the 2013 football season is also the start of a new era.

Jordan Eder was named the team's new head coach in May and brings all the enthusiasm one would expect from a 25-year-old who just landed his first full-time job and coaching position.

Eder, an Antioch and Carthage College graduate, was subbing and working some part-time jobs over the last few years while looking for a teaching job in physical education. In the meantime, he coached high school football as an assistant for a year at Carmel and the last two years at Grant.

"I applied for the (physical education) job (at Round Lake) and knew about the opening for head coach and that's always been a goal of mine so I figured I'd give it a shot and things went well," said Eder, who was an offensive lineman in both high school and college and graduated from Antioch in 2006.

Eder started two years at Carthage and graduated from there in 2010.

"I knew it would be a challenge," Eder said of his new job. "But I felt like in only the few years I've had experience, the two guys I worked for in Andy Bitto (Carmel) and Kurt Rous (Grant), I think they're two of the best, if not the best head coaches in the area. I just learned so much from them and I knew that I had the basics and I saw how their programs run and the success they had and I figured that I can use the things I learned from those two and try to build this program into a successful program like theirs."

Already, the Panthers seem to be buying into Eder's plan. They are clamoring for change after years of losing seasons.

Last year, Round Lake was 0-9. The Panthers have won just three games since 2007.

"The new coaches are changing the mentality around here," senior wide receiver Chris Washington said. "They're pushing us a lot harder in practice and expecting a lot more out of us. We've been working really hard in practice and it's showing.

"We think we can win now."

It will help that veteran quarterback John Ridley will be back under center. And he'll be surrounded by speedy weapons such as Washington and junior running back Freddy Araiza. But mostly, it's the intangibles that have the Panthers most excited.

"There's a difference in the air this year," Araiza said. "This team is better this year."

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