Scouting the York Dukes
It'll be easy to spot York's strength this season.
Look no further than the strongmen up front.
The Dukes' offensive line returns four starters led by 6-foot-2, 275-pound Josh Mathiasen. For a football program that hasn't reached the playoffs since 2011, it's a great starting point for a return trip.
"We're definitely going to lean on the offensive line," coach Mike Fitzgerald said. "They've got a lot of size and they're very athletic for their size."
In addition to Mathiasen, Tim Glavan, Jack Wall, Dan Wagner and newcomer Luke Skwiot average 255 pounds. That's good news for running backs Nick Conroy, who last season rushed for a team-high 401 yards, and Pat Kastner.
But keep in mind this is a Mike Fitzgerald offense. Junior Max Assaad is a power-armed quarterback with a deep corps of receivers led by Owen Pechous. He snared 25 catches for 234 yards and 4 touchdowns.
"These kids have been able to handle a lot," Fitzgerald said. "Their understanding of the offense is so much better this year. I feel like we're in a great place right now."
To grab that elusive playoff berth, though, the Dukes need to rebuild a defense that returns only one starter in lineman Chris Eckard. Expect to see Mathiasen, Kastner, Fred Levins, Luke Malaga and others to play both ways.
"When you graduate 10 defensive starters, you get a lot of competition," Fitzgerald said. "That's what we're seeing right now."
Competition is what it's all about in the West Suburban Silver. So many quality teams and only so many playoff spots.
York will make a run at one of them.
"That's 100 percent our goal this season, to make the playoffs," Fitzgerald said. "We need to work hard and have that consistency day in and day out."
One to watch: The race to five wins must include WSC crossovers, starting Week 2 against Downers South.
Coach: Mike Fitzgerald (second year, 4-5; fourth year overall, 19-12).
2018 record: 4-5, 3-3, fourth in West Suburban Silver.
Top players: OL-DL Josh Mathiasen, sr.; OL Tim Glavan, sr.; WR Owen Pechous, sr.; DL Chris Eckard, sr.; RB Nick Conroy, sr.; OL Jack Wall, sr.; OL Dan Wagner, sr.; LB-RB Pat Kastner, jr.; QB Max Assaad, jr.; LB-TE Fred Levins, jr.; WR-DB Luke Malaga, jr.
-- Kevin Schmit
Fri, Aug 30, York at Schaumburg, 7:30 p.m.
Fri, Sep 6, Downers Grove South at York, 7:30 p.m.
Fri, Sep 13, York at Downers Grove North, 7:30 p.m.
Fri, Sep 20, Lyons at York, 7:30 p.m.
Sat, Sep 28, York at Glenbard West, 1 p.m.
Fri, Oct 4, Hinsdale Central at York, 7:30 p.m.
Fri, Oct 11, York at Willowbrook, 7:30 p.m.
Fri, Oct 18, Oak Park-River Forest at York, 7:30 p.m.
Fri, Oct 25, York at Proviso West, 7:30 p.m.