St. Charles North is set to debut its new turf field this fall, and the North Stars look like they have the athletes to make that fast track look even faster.
Led by junior running back Lucas Segobiano, the team MVP last year with 17 touchdowns and 1,300 all-purpose yards, coach Rob Pomazak said his team goes six to eight deep at the skill positions.
There's also wide receiver/cornerback Tyler Nubin, a junior already with offers from Central Michigan and Illinois State, slot Jack Lewis and newcomers like Tommy Nelson, Matt Spotts and Matthew Groskopf.
"It's as good as advertised," Pomazak said about the new field after the first practice Aug. 14. "It was like Christmas morning getting out there at 7 a.m. The kids were practicing like their hair was on fire. We couldn't be more grateful to our administration, our boosters and obviously the District 303 board members for seeing the vision we had."
Directing the North Star attack is quarterback Michael Hohensee, a 6-foot-2, 205-pound senior with an NAIA offer to Culver-Stockton who backed up three-year starter Zach Mettetal last year.
"Michael is a big, strong kid. Workhorse," Pomazak said. "Mike played behind Zach but probably would have started on 90 percent of the teams we played on our schedule. Michael is prototypical quarterback. Great size, great vision, great pocket presence. Can really deliver the ball. Over the summer I think people started to see how good he can be in the 7-on-7 circuit. Zach was a good quarterback but Michael might be the one who breaks all the records when it's all said and done."
The North Stars have two returning starters on the offensive line, senior Dylan Keegan and junior Alex Westendorf.
Defensively, junior end Tobi Adedara has earned offers from North Dakota and Dayton. Junior Dan Daley is back at middle linebacker, Segobiano will move from outside linebacker to safety, Chris Edlund and Billy Durocher are returning linebackers, and Nubin is ready for his second year at cornerback.
This group will have big shoes to fill after a 9-2 season that ended in the second round of the playoffs with 6 turnovers in a 27-21 loss to Rockford Auburn.
"It was a great season for the program," Pomazak said. "We had some marquee wins but at the end of the day we felt we left a little meat on the bone. But a great group of seniors, couldn't be prouder, that was our first group we had as freshmen and they put the program in a place it hasn't been before. It was a big step for us.
"Now we reload. Obviously there's some areas we are losing some great football players but we're gaining great football players in other areas. We don't expect it to be the same team but in no way, shape or form is this a transition year for us. We've got a great group of kids who are excited to prove that they are going to carry on the North Star football tradition. We are preparing for a great season and a long playoff run."
Pomazak said the main concerns are how his returning juniors mature and handle their second varsity seasons, and how some of the newcomers on the line hold up.
They will be tested early, including a Week 2 matchup against Bolingbrook when the North Stars get to debut their turf.
"We felt we needed to challenge ourselves earlier in the season and see where we're at," Pomazak said. "We know we are going to have our hands full but we welcome that challenge. We can use whatever happens in that game as a building block.
"The line is always something that until you go against someone else you don't know what you have. We have a good group but they are young. It will be a quick learning curve for them. Those are things we'll keep a tight eye on as the first third of the season progresses."