Last season: 2-8 (2-5 in District 7-4A)
Key players: LB Roemello Davis (5-10, 180), DB Kabeon Guy (5-10, 165), LB Julio Arvizu (5-10, 160), OL Jacob Guerra (5-8, 200), OL Elias Enriquez (6-3, 230), WR Brennan Bibbs (5-11, 160), WR Elijah Pierson (6-0, 170), LB Demetri Burton (5-11, 195)
The big picture: After a year as Arlington Heights offensive coordinator, Phil Young enters this season as the head coach and the man in charge of trying to return the Yellow Jackets to their former winning ways. He will try to do so with an offense featuring a mobile quarterback. The two top candidates for the job — sophomore Deion Hair-Griffin and junior Harrison Lewis — are threats to run and pass for big plays. “I’ve always had success when I had a quarterback who could throw the ball and run it,” Young said. “We’re going to have a quarterback that has got to be able to move with the ball in his hands.” Whoever wins the QB job will have a pair of talented senior wideouts to target — Brennan Bibbs and Elijah Pierson. Pierson was a second team all-district selection as a junior. Another returning second team all-district selection is linebacker Roemello Davis. The senior leads a defensive unit that will have to try to slow down a number of potentially explosive offenses that await Arlington Heights in District 7-4A.
Quotable: “Our coach now is more strict on discipline and doing what you should do — little things. Everybody who’s been here for the last four years is buying in. ... Now we’re going to be serious and everything is falling into place.” — LB Demetri Burton
“The thing we’re most excited about is the way these boys have bought into our off-season. They have been eager to learn our thought process about how tough we want to be. We want to be the most well-conditioned team every time we take the field.” — Coach Phil Young
Notable: Last season’s fifth-place tie with two others snapped a streak of four consecutive playoff appearances for Arlington Heights.
— Mark Wright
Special to the S-T
Senior receiver Elijah Pierson will try to help Heights return to the playoffs after an off year.
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