St. Charles North went 9-2 last year, but North Stars running back Lucas Segobiano knows that there are some doubters out there this season.
"We don't believe this as a team," said Segobiano, "but a lot of people think we're not going to be as good this year, because we lost a lot of talented players (through graduation) from last year's team."
"We're out to prove that we're just as good this season, if not better."
The Stars took a big step in the right direction in that regard Friday night, defeating Schaumburg 38-13 on the road at Gary Scholz Stadium.
Segobiano led the way on offense for St. Charles North, rushing for 147 yards and scoring 3 touchdowns.
Hezekiah Trotter scored twice for Schaumburg but the Saxons couldn't find any consistent offensive play.
"Our defense was on the field a long time tonight," said Saxons coach Mark Stilling, "and that's on us as an offense.
"We couldn't sustain any drives, and that's something we've got to get better at."
St. Charles North dominated time of possession in the first quarter, but only had a 7-7 tie to show after 12 minutes due to a hesitant performance that included a couple of turnovers, some penalties and a slew of dropped passes.
But the Stars' defensive unit started to dominate in the second quarter, and a touchdown by Segobiano (his second of the game), then a TD grab by teammate Tyler Nubin, put St. Charles North up 21-7 at halftime.
Nubin's reception was a thing of beauty as he hauled in a 23-yard toss from quarterback Michael Hohensee in the back corner of the end zone.
Nubin had to tiptoe the end line, leaping to make a spectacular catch.
"We needed a score," said Nubin, " so Mike told me to go deep and run hard. I knew I was still in the field of play -- I know where I am on the field at all times."
The Stars' defense, led by outside linebacker John Williams, held Schaumburg to a three-and-out to start the second half.
Then the visitors opened up a 28-7 advantage when Segobiano ran right up the gut for a 10-yard touchdown.
"We came out tonight with a very narrow mindset," said Williams. "We didn't want to get caught up in the moment -- we just wanted to stay focused.
"We were a little sluggish in the beginning tonight, but we made some minor adjustments, some different play calls. Nothing super big, but enough to make a difference."
St. Charles North scored twice more in the fourth quarter, on a 7-yard run by Sam DeMarco and a 37-yard field goal by Brandon Eickert.
Schaumburg's Trotter found pay dirt in the fourth quarter on a 57-yard run, following up his impressive 96-yard kickoff return for a TD in the first stanza.
Segobiano's other 2 touchdowns came on a 4-yard run and a 19-yard pass reception
"We started a little slow," said Segobiano, "but we picked up our defense in the second quarter and in the third quarter we came out and locked it down and asserted our dominance."