He was that close to being a Lakes Eagle.
If only Jordan Eder had been born in 1989, or later, rather than in 1988.
He was in the last class at Antioch Community High School that did not split when a new high school, Lakes, opened less than 4 miles away in Lake Villa 12 years ago.
At least he can say he played in the first varsity football game between District 117 schools Antioch and Lakes. Back then, in 2005, Eder and his Antioch teammates destroyed Lakes 42-7.
"I'm an Antioch grad (2006) but Lindenhurst is where my family and I have grown up," Eder said.
Lakes named the just-turned-29-year-old Eder -- rhymes with leader -- its new football head coach this week. He isn't necessarily going home, because he essentially never left. Since graduating from Carthage College, where the offensive lineman continued his football journey, he's coached football at Grant, Carmel Catholic, Round Lake and his high school alma mater.
When Luke Mertens, the only football head coach in Lakes history, accepted the head job at Lake Zurich last month, Eder quickly applied at Lakes. He's been teaching physical education at Antioch and coaching football under Sequoits coach Brian Glashagel the last two years.
"I've spent my entire life here, so obviously Lakes High School was always appealing," said Eder, whose younger brother Jeffrey played quarterback for Lakes. "I just didn't know when or if it would open. I didn't expect it to open, and when it did, there was no doubt that was the goal."
Eder, who will also teach P.E. at Lakes, knows he has huge shoes to fill, but he doesn't view that as a negative.
"I'm fortunate to go in and follow a guy like Luke, who's obviously very organized, very successful," Eder said. "A lot of things have been built in, in terms of the work ethic and the dedication those kids have had. To go into something with such standing is a huge asset to me."
Another positive for Eder is that he expects the majority of Lakes coaching staff to stay put. That should help in his transition, as should the fact that he's been a varsity head coach. His last stop before Antioch was Round Lake, where he directed the Panthers to a 1-8 record in 2013 and 2-7 mark in 2014.
The won-lost records can't be considered a reflection on Eder, considering Round Lake's varsity has won just 16 games since 2002.
"That experience was unbelievable, and I wouldn't trade it for anything," Eder said. "I got hired at 24 years old with a few years of assistant-coaching experience. A huge two years of building and growing for me. It forced to me to figure things out on my own and really come together with my systems and the things that I found to be important."
When he left, he could hold his head high.
"The off-the-field things that we accomplished is what I'm the most proud of, in terms of building a culture and involving the community and the parents and getting everyone tied in," Eder said. "Those are the things that I want to bring to Lakes."
Not that he has to fix anything with the Eagles. They've been to the state playoffs eight years in a row. Take out Year 1, when Eder and his Antioch teammates handed the "expansion" Eagles one of their 8 losses, and Lakes advanced to the postseason nine times in 11 seasons under Mertens.
Scheme-wise, Eder plans to keep doing the Eagles were doing under Mertens, and that includes running a spread offense.
"It's, by no means, an overhaul job," Eder said. "It's just a matter of me putting my name on it and some of things that I believe in and my style, and really just keep things going the way they've been. They've been incredibly successful and not just in athletics but the school itself. It's an honor to still be a part of the district."
Eder was a finalist for the Grant job, which went to Grant alumnus Chris Robinson. He doesn't hide the fact that he wanted another crack at running a football program.
"I wanted to be a head coach (again), for sure," Eder said. "Even when I left Round Lake, I knew that was my goal. The move to Antioch was to grow not only as a head coach but as a teacher at a great district and learn as much as I could. The Grant (position) I felt was a great opportunity. I love the conference and the area."
Eder and his wife of nearly two years, Jennie, are house-hunting in the Lindenhurst/Lake Villa area. He knows this area and its people as well as anyone, after all.
"We're working on starting our own family," Eder said. "We know this is where we want to be and raise our kids."
The future looks bright for Lakes' new leader, Jordan Eder.
• Follow Joe on Twitter: @JoeAguilar64