Lonergan key to Fenton Bison success

 
Updated 8/26/2015 5:27 PM
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  • Eric Lonergan, left, works on morning drills during the first week of football practice at Fenton High School in Bensenville.

      Eric Lonergan, left, works on morning drills during the first week of football practice at Fenton High School in Bensenville. Daniel White | Staff Photographer

The bad news is Fenton's football team returns only one starter.

The good news is it's Eric Lonergan.

Not that Lonergan can carry the load on his own, but returning the team's top player -- a player who will contribute at running back and middle linebacker -- is a good starting point as the Bison build with young talent.

"There are going to be some growing pains along the way, but we'll see what happens if we can get some confidence going," said Bison coach Mark Kos.

The first step in building confidence is getting distance from last year's disappointment when the Bison won their first four games but missed the playoffs by losing five straight.

As many as nine juniors could be on each side of the ball, which makes Lonergan's impact even more important. He was second on last year's team with 376 rushing yards and 4 touchdowns and led the defense with 49 tackles.

Kos, though, doesn't want to lean too heavily on his senior leader.

"He's the kind of kid who wants to be out there for every snap, but we plan to get him some rest," Kos said.

Ivan Rodriguez and Greg Cazares also will get snaps in the backfield, and Corey Hausen, a defensive back last year, is a dual-threat quarterback filling the shoes of three-year starter Willie Wassmann.

Several players in addition to Lonergan will see time on offense and defense. Josh Jakalski and Angelo Duvall are a pair of lineman slated for "one-and-a-half" duty while playing full time on one side of the ball and part time on the other.

That extra playing time means valuable varsity experience for a group that needs it.

"The potential's there," Kos said. "Hopefully, the maturation process is quick."

The breakdown

Coach: Mark Kos (sixth year, 26-22).

2014 record: 4-5, 0-5, sixth place in Metro Suburban West.

Top players: Eric Lonergan (RB-LB, 6-0, 210, sr.); Ivan Rodriguez (RB-LB, 5-11, 195, jr.); Josh Jakalski (OL-DL, 6-3, 240, sr.); Corey Hausen (QB-DB, 6-5, 200, sr.); Oliver Aguirre (TE-LB, 5-11, 175, jr.); Angelo Duvall (OL-DL, 6-4, 330, jr.); Greg Cazares (RB, 5-7, 155, jr.); J.T. Mason (WR, 5-9, 140, jr.); Tony Cantarelli (WR, 6-1, 180, jr.); Kevin Corona (DB, 5-6, 140, sr.).

-- Kevin Schmit

Schedule

Fenton

Fri, 8/28 Leyden at Fenton, 7:15 pm

Sat, 9/5 Fenton at Walther Christian, 1 pm

Fri, 9/11 Ridgewood at Fenton, 7:15 pm

Fri, 9/18 Fenton at Elmwood Park, 7:15 pm

Fri, 9/25 Fenton at Glenbard South, 7:15 pm

Fri, 10/2 Fenton at Aurora Central Catholic, 7:15 pm

Fri, 10/9 Riverside-Brookfield at Fenton, 7:15 pm

Fri, 10/16 Wheaton Academy at Fenton, 7:15 pm

Fri, 10/23 Fenton at IC Catholic Prep, 7:15 pm

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