St. Charles East will have to wait one day longer to open its football season than most, but Saints coach Mike Fields thinks the matinee matchup against host South Elgin one week from today will be worth the wait.
In fact, if Fields has his way, East and South Elgin will remain football scheduling partners for years to come.
"We loved the location just because we're so close to each other," Fields said. "I love those rivalries that are close together. We really thought this would be a good fit for both teams, thought it would be a very competitive game. I'd like to see it be long-term. I'd like to play against South Elgin for years here, and we're trying to get that done.
" … I'm a big tradition guy. If we could sign them the next 10 years, I would love it because I think tradition is a great thing."
All of the Storm's home games are Saturday afternoon kickoffs. Although South Elgin is part of the Upstate Eight Conference's Valley Division, the opening-week matchup will be considered a nonconference game, not a UEC crossover. The Saints' crossover game will come Sept. 20 at Neuqua Valley.
Fields said East will have the same two nonconference opponents it has this year again in 2014 – South Elgin and Jacobs – but he would like to return West Aurora to the Saints' annual slate after that.
"Keep it close to home," Fields said. "It's good for fans to not have to travel so far and still get good, competitive games, and that's what we're trying to establish."
The IHSA instituted new restrictions on preseason practice this season that curtailed teams' ability to stick with their usual two-a-day regimen in the preseason. Fields said that was evident in the quality of some of the Saints' recent practices.
"We're seeing the effects of not having that second doubles week, I'll tell you that," Fields said. " … You just deal with it and move on, but I wish the days were longer."
Santos 'more comfortable' at prep school: Earlier this week, we reported on K.J. Santos opting to transfer from Geneva to a prep school, Vermont Academy, for his junior year.
Santos' father, Joe, said Santos made the decision both for basketball and academic reasons.
"I guess the closer to school starting he said 'I really want to go,' " Joe Santos said. "We were in Puerto Rico and we tested him a little bit on his resolve but he was [determined]."
Santos, a 6-foot-7 wing, has Division I scholarship offers from Xavier, VCU and DePaul, among others. Joe Santos expressed some regret that his son's basketball experience at Geneva did not pan out the way the family had hoped but did not want to publicly delve into specifics, saying "the kid's more comfortable in leaving than staying."
"Geneva's a fantastic community … but I don't know what happened with KJ here," Joe Santos said. "I just don't get it, and more importantly, the kid wants to go."
Joe Santos confirmed that senior girls basketball standout Sidney Santos, K.J.'s older sister, will remain in Geneva. Another older sister, Ashley Santos, graduated from Geneva and plays collegiately at Marquette.
Coming attraction: For those who have inquired about our football season preview coverage, the Chronicle's 28-page preview section will publish Thursday.
You know the drill – we'll have feature stories, team previews, commentary, photo portraits of some of the area's top talent, rosters and schedules.
Of course we can't go cold turkey on football until Thursday, so look for other football tidbits between now and then, both in print and online.
• Jay Schwab is sports editor of the Kane County Chronicle. He can be reached ay 630-845-5382 or firstname.lastname@example.org.