Opening night might be Aug. 26, but in some ways the St. Charles North season doesn't begin until Oct. 14.
That's Week 8 of the season, and that's when the North Stars travel to Geneva. The following week St. Charles North heads to Batavia.
Two years ago the North Stars went 0-2 against those two teams, 7-0 against everyone else in the regular season. Last year they did the same including a 42-41 loss to Geneva.
That's 0-4 against Batavia and Geneva, 14-0 otherwise. And that's why Weeks 8 and 9 will mean so much.
"We feel we've got the program to a certain level and we're trying to break through the glass ceiling and beat those teams," North Stars coach Rob Pomazak said. "We know this is now our time to do it. We are good on paper. We are telling the kids right now we have a lot of talent but we need to be a team. The kids are buying into it."
This year's senior class were freshmen when Pomazak took over for Mark Gould. They include 6-foot-6, 293-pound NIU-bound offensive lineman Isaac Hawn and 6-5, 300-pound lineman Sammy Ambrogio.
"We're going to be 7-0 going into those games," Hawn said. "We hope they are 7-0 as well. Me and Sam are the two guys everyone looks to. We're the heart of the o-line and that's the heart of the team."
Alex Westendorf, one of four sophomore starters, is 6-4, 275 and will play left tackle. A combination of senior Zack Bach, senior Michael Bancroft, senior Jake Kappel and junior Dylan Keegan round out a line blocking for a trio of talented backs.
Senior Eric Lins, a 3-year starter, will be joined by juniors Lucas Segobiano and Chris Edlund.
"Lucas is a special player who has potential to be as good as Eric," Pomazak said. "Not only do they have speed but they have strength."
The North Stars also return quarterback Zach Mettetal, a Memphis recruit for baseball. While his brother Tyler, a wide receiver, is out for the season following a baseball injury, Mettetal can look to 6-foot-4, 230-pound Colorado State-bound Griffin Hammer, sophomores Tyler Nubin and Billy Durocher, Jack Lewis and Adam Durocher, the team's kicker.
"We feel we are pretty athletic at that spot (wide receiver). We run an up-tempo offense. We are well-conditioned. We have had a great summer from a scheme standpoint so we feel we should be able to put points on the board," said Pomazak, who praised junior backup quarterback Michael Hohensee for pushing Mettetal.
"We feel we have tremendous depth at quarterback. It's great to have a kid like Zach who is a two-sport athlete and successful in both sports. He's a good leader. He does his job really, really well."
Pomazak also is looking forward to seeing what his four sophomores bring. The North Stars' freshman A team went 8-1 last year, their freshman B team went 9-0, and their sophomores were 7-2.
"We lost some of our sophomores to junior and that opened an opportunity for these guys to play in the summer," Pomazak said. "They are very good and we're excited what they can do on a Friday night."
Defensively, sophomore Daniel Daley will join the lineup at linebacker where 6-3, 230-pound senior Jack Wolf returns. Lins is a leader in the secondary where Segobiano also plays. Senior nose tackle Antonio Trippiedi, lineman Henry "Trey" Kellogg and linebacker Chris Cotter are others to watch for a team hoping to take another step forward.
"The kids had a great summer," Pomazak said. "They came back and studied their playbook. We didn't miss a beat. Our kids are competitive, they are working hard. They are poised for a good opening week against Schaumburg."