Week 1 Matchup: Fremd vs. Lake Zurich
Fremd has THE toughest non-conference schedule of any team in Illinois. With its first two matchups against the likes of Lake Zurich and Rolling Meadows, and a road test at Maine South - the defending 8A state champions - Coach Lou Sponsel’s physical bunch faces a daunting task to begin the year.
But that suits the Vikings just fine, as Sponsel welcomes the early challenge to “See what we’re made of right off the bat.”
The Vikes open up the season at home under the lights at Edwin and Lorraine Gill Memorial Stadium on Friday, Aug.25th, at 7:30p.m. against the Bears of Lake Zurich. Coach Sponsel's team will be hungry to avenge last season's heartbreaking, season-opening loss - a Hail Mary pass on the final play of regulation.
Points should be at a premium in this matchup of defensive heavyweights from a year ago. The Vikings allowed a mere 16.3 points per contest in 2016 while the Bears were even stingier, giving up only11.4 points per game.
Both offenses could be in for long nights if they can’t stop Fremd returning defensive stalwarts, seniors Jake Fleming and Will McCabe ,or Lake Zurich standout, all-state linebacker and Wisconsin commit, Jack Sanborn, from living in each other's backfield.
Leading the way for Lake Zurich will be first-year head coach, Luke Mertens, who had a successful run as head coach at Lakes Community (72-50) and has been to the playoffs eight consecutive times.
Can Mertens' boys can come out and match the intensity of a Vikings squad hellbent on avenging last year's devastating loss and playing in front of its frenzied fanbase on Friday night? We'll soon find out.