Buffalo Grove thirsts for postseason progress
This is could be the end of the long drought in Buffalo Grove.
The Bison have not been to the playoffs since 2003, the longest such streak in Mid-Suburban League football.
And Buffalo Grove has not hosted a game since a fabulous state semifinal thriller in 2002 that featured Tommy Zbikowski.
That could all end this year, as hopes and expectations are high for a Buffalo Grove team that returns 12 starters.
"It has been a long time since we were in the playoffs," Buffalo Grove coach Jeff Vlk said. "I have been here since 2005 so I haven't had the experience and have never seen a Buffalo Grove playoff game."
Vlk and his staff know that his team has the heard the hype. It is something they have embraced -- to a point.
"We want the kids to enjoy all of this," Vlk said. "But we still have a season to play. We have a very solid team with a great mix of juniors and seniors. The parts that seniors don't fill, the juniors fit in quite nicely."
That main part will be a quarterback and running back, where the Bison will start a pair of juniors.
Connor Adams is back at quarterback. As a sophomore, he passed for 2,108 yards and 113 touchdowns while rushing for another 212 yards.
"Connor had some rough spots last year and there was a learning curve for him," Vlk said. "But all of that has paid dividends. He has really taken control and ownership of the offense."
Helping with that offense will be Tom Trieb (6-2, 215), who started at outside linebacker as sophomore last year. This season, Trieb will move to running back and carry most of the load, with help from Tyler Abdishi.
"It will be a young backfield," Vlk said. "But it should be an exciting one."
Adams and Trieb will get to operate behind an offensive line that has very good size, with three of five players back to give it some stability.
Max Merriott (6-4,227), who will be a three-year starter, will anchor the offensive line. Tommy Konwent (6-1, 256) and Eddie Morelli (6-0, 247) are also back. They will be joined by newcomers Josh Bleichman (5-11, 287) and Alex Marchok (6-1, 236).
The wide receiving corps looks very sound with three-year starter Zach Sheasby returning along with Matt Prawica. Jacob Schwartz and Troy Nelson will also contribute.
The defense should be quite solid thanks to a mammoth defensive line that is as experienced as it is huge. It is led by three-year starter Justin Gold (6-5, 215). Patrick Conlon (6-6, 278) and Evan Lindborg (6-4, 233) are back while Trieb will play defensive end.
At linebacker, Sean Jacobs will move inside. Lujke Muscarello is at the 'will' spot and Andy Polk will be the OLB.
Sheasby will be at safety along with Carter Gledhill. Ronald Michel along with Abdishi will be at corner while Tim Antonetti will also get a lot of plays.
Vlk said his team knows what is at stake here.
"That is something we talk about together as a team," Vlk said. "We want to be playing in week 10. But there is a process to get there. And we know there are stepping stones along the way."