Elk Grove and Larry Calhoun will be exploring new territory this year.
Calhoun, who is in his third year as head coach for the Grenadiers, will be finding out what life is like without Adam
O'Malley, who'd even started at quarterback the year before Calhoun arrived.
"It was a big loss for all of us," said Calhoun of O'Malley's departure. "But we have a couple of guys that we think will be pretty good in their own right."
A.J. Lorenz, who is a junior and was the sophomore quarterback last year, and senior Sean Fege have both been looking good in practice, according to Calhoun.
"They aren't as battle-tested and they don't have the same deep vertical passing game," Calhoun said. "But they run our offense very well and we are excited to have them."
Michael Babiarz will be taking over at running back this season. Calhoun likes his work ethic and his toughness.
"He has really secured that spot for us," Calhoun said. "He has worked very hard in the off-season."
While the backfield has yet to put up any yards, they will like what they have in front of them.
The Grenadiers offensive line is huge. Led by returning starter Michael Parisi (6-foot-4, 250 pounds), Elk Grove features Antony Kifarkis (6-1, 305), Mitch Wojcik (5-10, 240), Paul Was (6-1, 250) and junior Daniel Dalenberg (6-3, 290).
"I loved my guys on the offensive line last year," Calhoun said. "But I think we are greatly improved there this year. Parisi looks great and Dalenberg is the real deal."
At the slot receiver, Matt Wary, who led the team with 41 catches for 435 yards, returns. He will be joined by Alex Manahilov while Joseph Gatziolis Malk Odishoo and Nico Quirindongo.
Calhoun will look to his 3-5 defense to keep opponents in check. Michael Miceli, Azeez Alani and Daniel Jamieson will play upfront. Wary and Sean Oldenburg return to anchor a linebacking corps that includes Odishoo, Daniel Larucci, and Brian Keegan.
Along with the linebackers, Elk Grove corners should be solid with Manahilov and Quirindongo holding down those spots while Brandon Post will be at safety.
"We are expecting a really solid second year running this scheme," Calhoun said. "We have some guys who get after the ball."
Elk Grove will have its hands full to keep their streak alive after making the playoffs the last five years. The Grens open at St. Charles North and then have Mid-Suburban League crossover games with Barrington, Fremd and Schaumburg.
"I think we will be a different look," Calhoun said. "We will be a slightly different flavor but still pretty good. Every week will be a dogfight -- I am certain of that. Win or lose, our guys will strap it on."