Senior Darren Little now has a bigger role for Elk Grove's football team.
Little would get the very occasional carry at running back last year and the first part of this year. But Elk Grove coach Brian Doll said Little would start getting the ball more along with Stefan Skoneczka after quarterback Dejan Basara went out with a broken collarbone in Week 4.
On Thursday night, Little rushed for 77 yards on 17 carries while also handling his linebacker duties as Elk Grove took sole possession of first place in the Mid-Suburban East and improved to 6-1 overall with a 24-21 win at Prospect.
"With Dejan being one of our main guys, we knew we had to pick it up," Little said. "That came from the coaching staff. We were all in a meeting and they said we had to step up.
"We all had the talent. We have to play our game and if we play our game we're hard to beat."
A concussion suffered by sophomore defensive lineman Johnny Assimakopoulos gave senior Tom Jansen his starting shot. Jansen's play has kept him on the field as part of a rotation now that Assimakopoulos has returned.
"They were unsure of my ability but I proved it in games," Jansen said. "It's nice because the two main guys next to me (Dan Egan and Greg Johnsen), if I do something slightly wrong they can pick it up for me.
"We have a solid line group and everyone can do the job."
Combine that with the play of sophomores Adam O'Malley at quarterback, Mike Bishoff at linebacker and Travon Royal at safety and Elk Grove is in position to surprise many people by winning its first MSL East title since 2004.
"When people think down about us we play our best and have something to prove to them," Little said. "We want to be conference champions and that's been our goal since the summer."