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The building process has just started. It may look promising, but a skeptic believes when he sees.
Then your eyes turn away from Mundelein's varsity baseball diamond, where the dugouts and backstop are gone.
On the adjacent field the varsity football team is practicing under a hot sun. Veteran players bark at each other after a disagreement about how much running is supposed to be done, and coach George Kaider grins while talking to a visitor as he lets his boys resolve a squabble among themselves.
"This is good," he said.
It's another good sign. There remains much work to do for a squad that hasn't won a football game since the final week of the 2010 season, but Kaider is clearly proud.
And pumped about Mundelein Football.
"I think we're ahead of schedule," Kaider said. "I didn't think we'd have ownership and year-round commitment yet. I thought it would be a four- or five- or six-year process."
"I think a lot of it is because these kids have known me already for four years just as a counselor in the school," Kaider added. "We have only 40 kids on the team, but it's 40 of the 'right' kids. It's 40 kids that have made the commitment — 6 a.m. for the last nine months, lifting in the morning. We got every kid playing two or three sports, and they're still coming in and lifting every day and they train. So we've proven that's a myth (that it can't be done)."
Among the changes this year is a new offense more suited to the athletes Kaider has. The Mustangs have ditched the spread and will run a Wing-T featuring a quick passing game.
"It's awesome," senior fullback and captain Matt Hutchison said. "I think our offense is going to kill it this year. There's a great vibe. 'E-man' (Emanuel Jones) is going to be running the ball a lot. I think I'll be getting the ball a lot. 'O'D' (Dillon O'Donoghue) can catch. Chance (Lindsey) can catch. It's going to be a lot better than it was last year."
Gavin Graves will operate the Wing-T and wing the football. He quarterbacked the varsity as a 14-year-old last fall. A vocal leader, he's now 6 feet and 180 pounds, and a team captain.
"Gavin has grown up quite a bit," Kaider said. "He's still got to work on his arm strength, but he's got great accuracy, and he's got great sleight of hand. His backfield action is probably his best attribute."
"I think I have great teammates," Graves said. "With the guys that we have now and the captains by my side, I feel a lot more confident in my control of the offense, my control of the tempo and my ability to control the game."
O'Donoghue (6-2, 180) plays strong safety and wide receiver, and is another team captain. He earned honorable mention all-conference honors last year.
"I think our best football player is Dillon O'Donoghue," Kaider said. "In the summertime, he was almost unstoppable in 7 on 7. He's just a big hitter."
Kaider calls the senior Lindsey (6-0, 175), who's another veteran, the team's shutdown cornerback. Lindsey will also play wingback on offense.
"He's such a winner," Kaider said. "Over the summer, the college coaches just were drooling over him because he's got great body position and body control."
Justin Spoerl, who grew up in Mundelein before moving to Las Vegas, transferred in following last football season. The 6-1, 215-pound senior will play defensive tackle and strong offensive guard.
"Strongest high school kid I have ever seen in my life," Kaider said. "He bench-presses 360 pounds. He squats 600 pounds. He's an absolute monster."
Senior outside linebacker Albert Mota (5-6, 160), who's also a team captain, is "tough as nails," Kaider said. The senior Jones (6-0, 200), who boasts 4.6 speed, will play strongside linebacker and tailback. Like Spoerl, he's strong (315 bench, 500 squat).
Sophomore middle linebacker Jake Gokan is the brother of former Mustangs standout Cody Gokan, who played at Valparaiso and is new to Kaider's staff.
Junior nose guard Matt Spitzer (6-1, 230), who played on varsity last year, is yet another guy Kaider is high on.
"He's a monster in the weight room," Kaider said. "He just plays with emotion that most kids don't have. He's got a fight in him. He's going to be hard to block."
Kaider moved David Adams (6-1, 220) from offensive tackle to tight end and is "jacked" about the decision, as the coach has seen great things from the athletic veteran.
Senior center Joe Trapani (5-11, 225) returns at center. Kaider calls strong tackle Joe Nagel (6-3, 240) athletic and the team's best junior lineman.
Hutchison (5-6, 150) is strongly built despite his small frame (5-6, 150).
"He's a sparkplug," Kaider said. "He's just this jacked little dude."
The Mustangs have tweaked their defense, too. They'll play a Cover 2 with a 3-4 front.
"Our defensive line is going to be one of the best I've ever coached," Kaider said.
The Mustangs are bigger and stronger. Now they have to be better, too.