LOMBARD – Mike Maduko is one of seven returning starters from Montini's Class 5A state championship team. The linebacker is now captaining the team, which is going for a fifth straight state title.
Santaromita: What do you think about playing a strong team like Maine South in Week 1?
Maduko: You can't start off the season with a better game than Maine South. They're a top dog 8A school and we're one of the top 5A schools. This is going to show that little schools can and will compete with any school in the state.
Santaromita: What's different about this year's team?
Maduko: It's not really what's different. Every other group of seniors has left a mark on the program. We don't want to be the team to ruin the streak. We just want to keep it rolling and set good examples for next year's team.
Santaromita: Is the main motivation to not end the streak?
Maduko: It's not really not to ruin the streak. It's more so a self accomplishment and just knowing that we went out on top.
Santaromita: What's it like to play alongside Nile Sykes at linebacker?
Maduko: I love playing with Nile. For how big he is, he can really move. He brings a lot of energy to the team and he's a good character to play with. He's never down on his teammates. He's just a person that I would love to go to war with and be on the field with.
Santaromita: What are the strengths of the team?
Maduko: Defense and leadership.
Santaromita: Is that a little different for the defense to be stronger?
Maduko: Usually we're an offensive team, but this year we're kind of switching it up. We've got big players like [Ohio State recruit] Dylan [Thompson] and Nile. It's kind of turning the tide to defense.
Aug. 30 Maine South, 7:30 p.m.
Sept. 7 at East St. Louis, 6:30 p.m.
Sept. 13 at Wheaton Academy, 7 p.m. (Wheaton College)
Sept. 20 St. Francis, 7:30 p.m.
Sept. 27 at Marmion, 7:30 p.m.
Oct. 4 IC Catholic, 7:30 p.m.
Oct. 11 Marian Central, 7:30 p.m.
Oct. 19 at Aurora Christian, 7 p.m.
Oct. 25 at Aurora Central Catholic, 7 p.m.
WEEK 1 MATCHUP
Who: Montini vs. Maine South
When: 7:30 p.m. Friday
Where: Duffy Memorial Stadium, 19W070 16th St., Lombard
2012 records: Montini 12-2, Maine South 11-1
Outlook: This is one of the most anticipated Week 1 games in the state. The two programs each have five state titles and have combined for eight since 2004. The 8A Hawks are without quarterback Matt Alviti, now at Northwestern, but are still expected to be one of the best teams in the state. "We're hoping to get the reputation of being able to beat an 8A school like Maine South," said senior defensive lineman Dylan Thompson.