DOWNERS GROVE – With the high school football season kicking off Friday, teams across the state will be taking the field with one goal in mind — make it to the state finals Thanksgiving weekend. The players and coaches at Downers Grove South believe they have the pieces in place to do just that.
WHAT TO WATCH
WELCOME NEW QB: Mike Zebold was the man under center last season, but he has graduated and left the starting job to Jordan Skach, who saw some playing time last season. There's more on his plate this year, but he feels he's ready for it.
"Like everything, it takes a lot of work," Skach said. "We've been getting good about getting our reps in and making sure they're quality reps. We do our best to get better every play, every chance we get."
COACHING CHANGE: Longtime head coach John Belskis retired after last season, and longtime defensive coordinator Mark Molinari is now at the helm. There may be a new captain of the ship, but not much else has changed.
"The coaching staff is still pretty much the same. I'm still going to call defense, and I have an assistant coach, Dan Bielawski, who's really done a lot of the defense when I've been doing head coaching stuff," Molinari said. "We had a great program, and we're just trying to get the kids to work hard and get the best athletes out to play. I'm fortunate that I'm not having to do a rebuild. I just have to keep the foundation that's already been set for us and just keep building on it."
NO SPAIN, STILL GAIN: The Mustangs rode Brian Spain out of the backfield last season, but with his graduation, they turn to a new stable of running backs. Alec Arvanitakis steps in as the primary back, but he will have help from Le'devin Smith and others.
"I feel I'm ready because in the offseason, the team as a whole was working really hard and I worked hard, too, so I think I'm ready for it," Arvanitakis said.
AT A GLANCE
Coach: Mark Molinari
2012 record: 4-5
Conference: West Suburban Gold, 4-2, T-2nd place
Alec Arvanitakis sr. RB/DB
Mike Connolly jr. LB
Rashaun Cowan sr. LB
Marcus Rutledge jr. OL
Jordan Skach sr. QB
Le'devin Smith sr. RB
Erik Swenson so. OL
Javon Turner sr. WR
Deandre Washington sr. DB
Eric Denby jr. S
Watch Downers Grove South run the option at the goal line during practice. Visit shawurl.com/qlx.