Crete-Monee- Crete will enter this season with a new/old coach in John Konecki, who takes over the program from Jerry Verde (Marian Catholic). Konecki, who was the Warriors offensive coordinator under Jerry Verde was the hands down favorite to take the job and expect a very smooth transition for Konecki this fall.
The Warriors welcome back 12 starters this fall (4 offense 8 defense) and while standout All Everything WR Laquon Treadwell is now at Ole Miss, the Warriors always have talent waiting to step up. The Warriors defense is loaded in 2013 and keep an eye on senior LB Nyles Morgan along with senior DE Chris Slayton plus junior S Omari Stringer. Morgan is a nationally ranked and recruiting linebacker with over 30 scholarship offers. Slayton also has several BCS level offers this summer and Stringer will be the next major D-1 recruit for Crete-Monee in the Class of 2015.
The biggest preseason question for Crete is can they develop a quarterback with the graduation loss of Marcus Terrell and continue to run it's no huddle shotgun offense as effectively as the state title team?
[RELATED: 2014 Illinois recruiting update]
Who else could get in Crete's path in Class 6A for 2013?
Cary-Grove/Fox Valley- the Trojans, the 6A state runner up in 2012 will be a bit younger and less experiences than last fall (especially in the offensive skills) yet this program like many others in the Fox Valley just reloads. Cary welcomes back 5 starters (2 offense 3 defense) in 2013 including junior OT Trevor Ruhland (6-foot-4, 280 pounds) who added his first offer from Minnesota a few weeks ago. The Fox Valley in general has been just getting better and better over the past dozen years or so and any 6A teams coming out of the FVC is a threat in 6A.
Niles Notre Dame/Lake Forest- both the Dons and the Scouts play "up" in enrollment every season in conference play and come state playoff time both teams are no question battle tested. Niles Notre Dame features standout senior RB Chris James again in 2013. James has several top level scholarship offers this summer. Lake Forest much like NND has been able to advance in the 6A field and if the Scouts can get out of the North Suburban Lake (featuring 8A Stevenson and 7A Lake Zurich) in one piece they have a real chance to be a threat.
The South Suburbs- Lemont is calling this a "reloading" year yet under head coach Eric Michaelsen all this team and program has done is reload each season and win state playoff games. Oak Forest made a solid state playoff run in 6A in 2012 and looks to be "up" again this season. Oak Lawn Richards has a ton of talent, welcomes back 14 returning starters (6 offense 8 defense) and head coach Tony Sheehan and HL Richards might have his best overall team heading into a season since the Gary Korhonen days.
[RELATED: Montini: Five who could challenge the Broncos]
Midwest 10/The Big 12 conferences- the combination of the former Mid State 6 conference (Peoria area schools) with the former Western Big 6 (Quad City schools) into the Midwest 10 conference should produce an even more battle tested teams in Class 6A in 2013. Peoria Richwoods had some serious graduation losses this past spring including 3 year All State RB Kendrick Foster (Illinois), yet the Knights under head coach Roland Brown just reloads. Also watch out for Rock Island and a handful of other schools in this new conference alignment. The Central Illinois located Big Twelve conference was down in 2012 and didn't advance any schools in Class 6A past the first round, a rarity for this great group of schools. Bloomington, Normal Community, Normal West, Danville, Urbana and others look to be much improved in 2013.
East St. Louis- For the first time in several years the Flyers will not petition the IHSA to be moved "up" to Class 7A and the Flyers are slated to be a 6A team this season. The Flyers are loaded with several top recruit on board along with 15 returning starters (7 offense 8 defense) and the move down from 7A will just make the entire South bracket in 6A become that much tougher. And did we mention the potential playoff road trips down to the Southern part of the state for the various Chicagoland 6A schools as another factor/advantage for the well traveled Flyers?
[Check out more from Edgy Tim here]
The Bubble teams- Batavia always seems to be a 6A-7A bubble team from an enrollment standpoint and if the Bulldogs, who played in 7A in 2012 "drops" into 6A they have the potential to win a state title. Providence Catholic is another enrollment bubble team that even as a 5-4 qualifier has the potential of winning it all in Class 6A.