While the Milas touch might be gone, Rolling Meadows still thinks it can still mine some football gold.
Jack Milas, who led the Mustangs last season by throwing 32 touchdowns while passing for over 2,700 yards, has taken his arm to Ball State. But Rolling Meadows coach Matt Mishler thinks quarterback Bobby Suchecki can be just as dominant this season.
"It is a tough hole to fill without Jack," Mishler said. "But we won't lose a beat with Bobby. He played well when he got into the games last year. He knows our system backward and forward."
The Mustangs will return just six starters from last year from a team that was East division champion and lost in the opening round of the playoffs while averaging over 34 points per game last year. But matching that kind of offensive output doesn't worry Mishler at all.
"This is a unique situation," Mishler said. "We have a bunch of guys who were juniors last year and were sitting behind some talented seniors. I think the guys this year will hit the ground running."
Much of that running will be done Kevin Montero, a 5-foot-10, 180-pound senior who played sparingly last year. Mishler says could be one of the best running backs in the area this year.
"He looks very good there," Misler said. "He is hard-nosed runner who isn't afraid to run inside."
Matt Long (6-2, 220) and Billy Golaris (6-1, 305) will anchor the offensive line while Greg Off (6-6, 278), Jason Scheele (6-0, 240) and Francisco Trejo (5-11, 218) will also contribute up front. Matt Campbell, who was one of the Mustangs' top receivers last year, and 6-5 Matt Dolan along with Alex Niecikowski and Jack O'Neill will be Suchecki's main targets.
"We have every intention of having our offense as high-powered as it was last year," Mishler said. "We like to play up tempo."
On the other side of the ball, outside linebacker Eddie Cardenas keys a defensive front 7 that's showing great promise.
"I am really excited about our defense," Mishler said. "I think our front 7 are going to be a ton to deal with. We needed to replace our whole secondary, but I think we have some playmakers there."
Long and Golaris along with returning starter Jaquain Love and Kevin Connor will be the defensive front in the Mustangs' 3-4 scheme. Nico Chido, who also returns from last year, and first-time starter George Someris will be inside linebackers. Campbell, Romello Boykin, Peyton Dezonna and Calvin Gunn make up the secondary.
With that defense, the Mustangs will be looking to make the playoffs for the 10th time in the last 11 years.
"That is always our goal," said Mishler, whose teams have qualified for the postseason in both of his campaigns as head coach. "We have a group that has been part of knowing how to win. We are going to build on that."