The last Mid-Suburban League football team with a perfect record realizes it isn't perfect.
"We know as a team we make mistakes," said Conant senior defensive lineman Adam Starks. "One of the reasons we've had some success is we've been able to build off our mistakes every week."
Make no mistake, Conant is building the kind of success that hasn't been seen in its program in awhile. It improved to 4-0 and doubled its win total from a year ago when it lost its final seven games.
On Friday night, the losses that piled up for Conant in its 18-7 victory were by swarms of defenders. Fourteen stops behind the line of scrimmage. Nine sacks.
Linebacker Gino Prestia had 4 tackles for losses and 3 sacks. Linebacker-defensive end Danny Lampert had 4 sacks. Starks, defensive lineman Colin Otubu and middle linebacker John Maevski also joined in the sack attack.
"We have each other's backs," Maevski said after holding Hersey to 186 total yards.
"Team bonding," Starks said of one of the reasons for the turnaround. "We're all clicking and we all know who is doing what."
A big part of that equation was the addition of Tony Wolanski to run the Conant defense after putting together one of the MSL's most consistently successful units at Rolling Meadows. Starks smiled and said Wolanski isn't afraid to let them know when something isn't done right.
"He brings a winning attitude," Lampert said.
"He's helped us a lot to all be together," Maevski said.
"Tony called a great game," said Conant coach Bill Modelski. "The thing is our kids are executing what we're doing pretty well for the most part. They're flying around and hitting.
"If you fly around and hit people you're going to be good."
Lampert personifies Conant's defensive turnabout.
He didn't play last year and wasn't projected to start this year until Laderrian Watson was injured in the preseason.
The 6-foot, 168-pound Lampert had 2 interceptions last week as he plays outside linebacker when Conant lines up in a 3-4 and goes to defensive end in a 4-3.
"I worked hard all summer so when I was called on I could play," Lampert said. "When I got the opportunity I had to kind of pounce on it."
Just like he was pouncing all over Hersey's backfield Friday night. Modelski said Lampert was going to have a role on defense but now he's a big part of the Cougars' early-season roll.
"He's playing well for us," Maevski said.
"He's been one of our better players on defense," Starks said. "He's really stepped up and showed his potential."
Now a Conant team off to its best start since 2003 has the definite potential to make the playoffs for the first time since 2006. There are still plenty of tough tests ahead starting with next week's visit by eight-time defending MSL West champion Fremd.
But Conant is in a much better place than it has been going into the start of division play. A perfect place.
"We're just a different football team," Modelski said.
"We were hoping," Maevski said of having this kind of start to the season. "We knew we had a good team coming up."
Let the record show it's still the only perfect one in the MSL.