Scouting the IC Catholic Prep Knights
When you're king of the hill, where do you go from there?
Back to work.
"We have an opportunity to get better from where we were," said IC Catholic Prep coach Bill Krefft.
A little hard to believe coming off a 14-0 season and a third straight state title, ICCP's first in Class 4A, but not unfathomable for this juggernaut.
While not as experienced as past Knights teams, Krefft feels the defense may be faster, and superstars remain on both sides of the ball.
Junior tailback Kyle Franklin ran for 2,378 yards and 37 touchdowns last season. He has expanded his knowledge of the Knights' read-option offense and has improved on pass protection and receiving.
"He's just a better running back," said Krefft, who saw Franklin clock Marengo for 338 yards and 6 touchdowns in the 2018 quarterfinals.
On defense, linebacker Kevin Cooke is a devastating filler. He returns a whopping 183 tackles, 338 over two seasons.
Danny Cronin was Fenwick's starting quarterback in 2018, and after transferring to IC Catholic was battling fellow senior Tommy Ryan for the spot. Both have their pluses, and both can shine on defense.
While IC Catholic returns no starting offensive linemen, a program hallmark is rotating eight or nine linemen, so returners such as Kevin Akins and Julian Vega are ready.
Same thing on defense. Cooke and lockdown cornerback Chauncey Lee are joined by varsity-tested Justin Hall, Alonzo Howard and Deontae Oatman.
Watch out for Koby Reed, a three-year starting defensive tackle slimmed down from 300 pounds to also impact on offense, in the process becoming a team leader.
Inevitably, that is the work.
"I'm excited about the opportunity to coach another group of kids that are IC men," said Krefft, one of those himself.
One to watch: IC Catholic beat Bishop McNamara 31-21 to win the 2018 Class 4A title. The MSC Blue rivals meet Week 4 in Kankakee.
Coach: Bill Krefft (eighth year, 69-16).
2018 record: 14-0, 6-0, first in the Metro Suburban Blue.
Top players: OL-DL Kevin Akins, sr.; LB-RB Kevin Cooke, sr.; QB-DB Danny Cronin, sr.; RB Kyle Franklin, jr.; WR-DB Justin Hall, jr.; OL-DE Alonzo Howard, jr.; DB Chauncey Lee, jr.; DB Deontae Oatman, jr.; OL-DL Koby Reed, sr.; DB-QB Tommy Ryan, sr.; OL-DL Julian Vega, jr.
-- Dave Oberhelman
Fri, Aug 30, IC Catholic Prep at Althoff Catholic, 7 p.m.
Fri, Sep 6, IC Catholic Prep at Joliet Catholic Academy (Joliet Memorial Stadium), 7:30 p.m.
Fri, Sep 13, Wheaton Academy at IC Catholic, 7:15 p.m.
Fri, Sep 20, IC Catholic Prep at McNamara, 7:15 p.m.
Fri, Sep 27, Aurora Christian at IC Catholic, 7:15 p.m.
Fri, Oct 4, Aurora Central at IC Catholic, 7:15 p.m.
Fri, Oct 11, St. Edward at IC Catholic Prep, 7:15 p.m.
Fri, Oct 18, IC Catholic Prep at St. Francis. 7:30 p.m.
Fri, Oct 25, IC Catholic at Riverside-Brook., 7:15 p.m.