LEMONT – Hit hard by graduation, Lemont will feature one of its youngest football teams in years. A player that does return with experience is senior linebacker Drew Hayes, who was second on the defense a year ago with 49 solo tackles. He also added a sack and an interception.
Schmid: How did the offseason go?
Hayes: It was a pretty productive offseason overall. But we still have to get a few things together.
Schmid: What are your thoughts on this being one of the more inexperienced Lemont teams?
Hayes: More or less, we've got to learn the things where as in years past, we had to solidify them. But the younger guys are getting it way faster than some guys have in the past. It's coming together real well.
Schmid: How is the defense coming along?
Hayes: We are definitely progressing. In the summer, I was a little skeptical. But once we've gotten to here, in game week, I don't want to keep repeating myself but it's definitely coming together.
Schmid: What about the offense, which returns only one starter?
Hayes: A lot of those guys, last year they were there but just not getting reps. They were playing behind guys like Tim [McAuliffe] and Ethan [Pocic]. But they look good.
Schmid: What are a few keys to having another successful season?
Hayes: We have a few guys injured right now so staying healthy is one. We've also got to be coachable, I think we've got some of the greatest coaches in the state. And we need to stay disciplined. We all have our responsibilities, and if we do those, we can win some games.
Schmid: Do you get a sense that people believe this will be a down year for Lemont?
Hayes: Everybody in school, I think they are doubting us. But this is Lemont football. I don't want to be cocky but I am confident.
Schmid: What did you take away from last season?
Hayes: Probably some of the greatest memories of my life. I got to play with some great guys. And it was definitely a learning experience. I was a junior and was getting coached by the older guys and now I have to pass that along to the younger guys. We have some big shoes to fill.
Schmid: Did the loss to Crete-Monee in the Class 6A semifinals stay with you guys for a while?
Hayes: Losing by one, I still think about it and I'm sure everybody who played in that game still does. We played so hard in that game, everybody left it on the field.