RIVERSIDE – Riverside Brookfield opens the 2013 football season in less than a week. The Bulldogs are in school and anxious to get in season. Armed with a returning starter at quarterback, Jack VandeMerkt, and plenty of quick athletes at skill positions the Bulldogs are expecting to improve on 2012's 2-7 record.
AT A GLANCE
Coach: Brendan Curtin
2012 record: 2-7
Conference: Metro Suburban, 2-2, T-3rd
Justin Agne sr. RB/LB
Zach Greenwell sr. OL/DL
Lou Grigoletti jr. OL/DL
John Husir sr. OL/DL
Brian Kulaga jr. RB/LB
Adolfo Linares jr. RB/LB
Gabe Lopez sr. OL/DL
Gerrand Moody sr. WR/LB
Jordan Petronella jr. LB/TE
Jack VandeMerkt sr. QB
Matt Chapp jr. RB/DB
Nick Cundari jr. DL/OL
Mike McCabe jr. TE/LB
Lewis Rogers sr. CB/WR
WHAT TO WATCH
SPEED TO BURN: A number of state-qualifying track athletes will give the Bulldogs lots of speed and athleticism. Lewis Rogers qualified for state in the 300-meter hurdles and was joined by current football teammates Gerrand Moody and Matt Chapp on the qualifying 4x400-meter relay. Rogers, who will play both cornerback and wide receiver, was an honorary captain in 2012 after breaking his wrist at a practice three days before the first game of the season and missed the whole season. Moody will be a big part of the defense at linebacker. Juniors Chapp, Mike McCabe and Marvin McKenzie have earned early praise after taking the 4x200 relay to state. Coach Brendan Curtin said the Bulldogs will try to utilize a short passing game to let the athletes work in the open field.
VETERAN LINE: Four starters are back on the offensive line for the Bulldogs. Junior captain Lou Grigoletti is receiving early interest from colleges. Seniors Zach Greenwell, John Husir and Gabe Lopez also started on the O-line last fall. Coach Brendan Curtin said Husir might play more on the defensive line this year, but the Bulldogs expect to be good at the line of scrimmage.
"That doesn't happen too often so that's exciting," Curtin said.
RUNNING QUARTET: Junior Adolfo Linares was RB's leading rusher last season with 227 yards and a touchdown, but he may share carries with three other runners this fall. Senior Justin Agne had 17 carries last year and juniors Brian Kulaga and Matt Chapp should join in the mix. All four will also play defense.
"Between those four guys they can all contribute in the backfield so obviously it will be kind of by committee, go with the hot hand," Curtin said.
"Every year we're always trying to make it to the second season. That's certainly an ambition and a goal of ours to try and get there, but those intangibles I think we need to continue to improve upon."
BY THE NUMBERS
13: Returning starters on offense and defense for the Bulldogs
4: Playoff-qualifying teams from 2012 on RB's schedule, including Gary West (Ind.)
5.81: Yards per carry Brian Kulaga had as a sophomore (16 carries for 93 yards)