This fall marks our first opportunity to cover football camp and Friday night's first games. Your hometown, south suburban Patches started popping up last fall with the school year and the fall sports season already under way—some of our Patches debuted during playoff season.
We're packing Patch with a host of features about the kids, the games, the cheering section and the community that comes together around the local sports scene. Over the season, you'll meet players in video profiles. You'll see stunning photo galleries of our cheerleaders and marching bands—and fans in the stands. You'll get to know some super fans, too, and the folks in the booster clubs who help keep spirit high.
But it's not just what we'll show you. We hope you'll share with us, too, through Facebook Fan Clubs like the ones we're hosting for the Oak Forest Bengals and the Sandburg Eagles. (Look for your school soon!)
Our sports editor, , will rank the football teams every Friday, and give you the video rundown on the whys and wherefores of his analysis. And if this season's games get you thinking about the games of yesteryear, you might want to check out Glory Days, our weekly look back at the glory days of the Southland's most memorable athletes. Like this one about . Glory Days has proven to be one of our most popular features.
Got a tip or a suggestion? E-mail Ron Kremer at firstname.lastname@example.org.
And if you want a little insight into the upcoming football season, check out our 2011 Fall Football Preview package:
- Coach Dave Wierzal will look for his big boys to hold the line for the Eagles in the early going.
- The Titans are looking to build off their playoff run from last year. And, with eight returning starters on offense, they have the experience and explosiveness to do so.
- The Thunderbolts have depth at the skill positions and linebacker slots for first-year coach Jim Malec.
- Coach Brian Buglio discusses the importance of the season-opener against Thornton Fractional North and what a victory would mean for Stagg.
- A team of "Grabowskis" looks to qualify for the playoffs for the third consecutive season
- Tevin Coleman is one of 12 returning starters, giving rise to the notion the Bengals can extend their streak to 12 straight seasons of reaching the IHSA playoffs.
- Led by quarterback Blake Winkler, running back Tyler Starke and wide receiver J.J. Robertson, the Griffins should have defensive coordinators reaching for antacids all fall.
- A year of growing into second-year coach Brett Hefner's system has the Knights excited about Friday nights this fall.
- After enjoying success on lower levels or biding time on the inaugural varsity ranks, sophomores and juniors move up and get a chance to shine for Phoenix.
- The secondary has plenty of experience, but the Warriors will need some less-seasoned players to step up on the defensive line to make some tackles.
- Dan Hartman takes over as the Mustangs' coach and will look to utilize the speed of Victor Baker and the other playmakers as Evergreen Park looks to return to the IHSA playoffs.
- After reaching the Class 8A semifinals a year ago, the Vikings know they will get every opponent's best shot.
- Even with an inexperienced squad, the Bulldogs' expectations are always high and that's the case once again as new football season is set to begin.
- Under first-year coach Sean Lucas, the Spartans are bidding to rebound from a 2-7 season.
- The Blazing Trojans' youngsters gained experience under fire a year ago. Now, they're ready to dish out some lumps on their own.
- The Olympians figure to be explosive with pitch-and-catch combination of Devonte Black and Sean Mitchell leading the way.
- The Celtics look to return to their winning ways after a truly uncharacteristic season last fall.
- The Spartans will turn to ground game and Jeruel Taylor, who will be running behind a big offensive line.
- First-year coach Jim Bolhuis is calling on the Knights' seniors to help Chicago Christian turn the corner.