Lake Park, Schaumburg look to shake things up this season
Lake Park's football squad is looking to go out with a bang.
After going 1-7 in conference play and finishing 2-7 overall last season, the Lancer have one more shot at making some noise before leaving the DePage Valley Conference.
The Lancers will get an early opportunity to redefine themselves as conference contenders, opening with Waubonsie Valley on Aug. 25.
Waubonsie topped Lake Park 12-8 in last season’s opener, and if the Lancers want to improve they will need to figure out a way to shut down the passing game.
An early win and a bit of confidence could help the Lancers tackle a tough schedule that includes Wheaton-Warrenville South in week two and DeKalb in week three.
The Lancers return 15 starters, and key among them are seniors Jackson Behles and Diamante Smith.
Behles returns as Lake Park’s quarterback, while Diamante will be a starting wide receiver.
A number of players will also play dual roles, mostly on offense and defense. Gino Romano and David Kirkpatrick-Hardwick will play at tight end but also see time as outside linebacker and defensive end, respectively.
J.J. Arey will play wide receiver but also split his time as a strong safety. R.J. Krause will divide his time as a defensive tackle and middle linebacker, sharing defensive tackle duties with Brandon Diez De Medina.
Joe Buck will line up as a guard, and Gianluca Caruso will be another safety.
Other Lancer returning starters include wide receiver Johnny Pacione and running backs Michael Mazzocchi and Randale Jennings.
Schaumburg is another program looking for a boost. The Saxons went 1-4 in the Mid-Suburban West Conference and 4-5 overall, just missing the state playoffs.
Schaumburg is playing a much tougher schedule this season, opening with a tough game against Charles North.
Charles North defeated Schaumburg 42-10 in their last matchup.
In week 2, the Saxons will play Prospect, a new team added to their schedule after the Illinois High School Association made changes to school classifications. They then should have an easier time against Niles North in week three.
A lot of experience returns to Schaumburg’s 50-man roster, starting with Deontae Arnold at quarterback. The senior will also have some playing time as a wide receiver, along with junior Joseph Trevino and Tyler Robinson. Robinson will also play as a fast safety.
The Saxons are stocking up on defense with juniors Cameron Conroy and Connor Casamento-Berry as outside linebackers. Victor Olaitan will play as the team’s cornerback and kicker, and E.J. Galeizo will also share cornerback duties.
David Drs will play tackle and defensive end along with Paul Anderson, who shares his time as a corner.
Nick Woodworth takes to the line as a middle linebacker. He will be accompanied by guards Joseph Cunha, Matthew Hosp and Jaylen Young. Patrick Opalacz will be the Saxons last defensive end, and Andy Ayala will be the Schaumburg’s strong safety.