HINSDALE – April 20 brought a highlight for Brian Allen as he put a close to his college football recruitment by committing to Michigan State. His plans for the next level are all lined up, but the offensive lineman hopes to create more highlights this fall with his Hinsdale Central teammates.
Rossi: As seniors, what do you hope to accomplish this year?
Allen: Just have fun, that's the first priority. But we want to win football games. We've been working hard all summer so hopefully we can come together at the right times and things can go our way.
Rossi: How much progress did you guys make over the summer?
Allen: This is the first year I've played here where I feel this good going into the season, so that's a good thing. We've had glimpses [of our potential] but we've kind of been on a roller coaster the last couple years. We've had our highs and our lows; but when we're up there, we're rolling so I'm excited for what we're capable of.
Rossi: What do you feel best about on this team?
Allen: The offensive line as a whole. We're a lot stronger than we have been recently. We have good team chemistry because we're all friends. It's fun to be around everybody.
Rossi: How much does the team think of the early playoff exit last year?
Allen: We're not really putting our finger on anything. Obviously we want to go all 14 weeks. Last year I think we kind of underachieved and peaked early. We had a tough game against Glenbard West and after that everyone was kind of like, 'Those are the 7A state champs and we should have beat them.' This year I think it's a different attitude, a different mindset going into the season that we need to finish games.
Rossi: What's the key to closing out close games instead of having them slip away?
Allen: We've just been trying to get mentally tougher in practice, team time and scrimmages. Everything we do we do 100 percent. Last year it seemed like we took plays off and stuff like that, and it ultimately cost us.
Rossi: Do you feel like you guys wear a target just because of some the players on the team?
Allen: Yes and no. Ian [Bunting, Michigan-bound receiver] is kind of a bigger target than I am because I'm an offensive lineman so there's only so much you can do. But I don't think there's any added pressure because of it.
WEEK 1 MATCHUP
Who: Bolingbrook at Hinsdale CentralWhen: 7:30 p.m. FridayWhere: 55th and Grant streets, Hinsdale2012 records: Bolingbrook 8-3; Hinsdale Central 7-3Outlook: The Red Devils will see where the rank among Class 8A teams right off the bat as they face a perennial playoff qualifier in the Raiders. Central features two Division I players in lineman Jack Allen (Michigan State) and wide receiver Ian Bunting (Michigan) while Chase Hamilton is new at quarterback. Bolingbrook quarterback Quincy Woods is the full-time starter after filling in late last season, and running backs John Hall and Jaden Huff give Central's defense plenty to prepare for.
COACH'S QUOTE "Chase [Hamilton] started at corner and played wide receiver last year, and he brings a whole new dimension to [quarterback] because he runs well and runs the offense well." Rich Tarka
BY THE NUMBERS
5.36: Average yards per rushing attempt for the offense last season57: Combined 2012 win total for the nine teams on Central's 2013 schedule22: Tackles racked up at defensive tackle for Brian Allen last year
Aug. 30 vs. Bolingbrook, 7:30 p.m.
Sept. 6 vs. Addison Trail, 7:30 p.m.
Sept. 13 at York, 7:30 p.m.
Sept. 20 vs. Proviso West, 7:30 p.m.
Sept. 28 at Glenbard West, 1:30 p.m.
Oct. 5 vs. Lyons Township, 12 p.m.
Oct. 11 at Hinsdale South, 7:30 p.m.
Oct. 18 at OPRF, 7:30 p.m.
Oct. 25 vs. Downers Grove North, 7:30 p.m.