Conference: Chicago Catholic (White)
First-year Aurora Christian coach Dave Beebe cuts to the chase about the 2014 Eagles.
"You've basically got a brand new coach in a brand new conference with a brand new team," he said. "So, should be interesting."
Aurora Christian transitions to the Chicago Catholic White with a longtime assistant at the helm of the program and former head coach Don Beebe nearby as offensive coordinator.
Having seasoning in those leadership positions could prove especially crucial in the early stages considering the return of only two consistent starters from last season.
Quarterback Austin Bray and offensive lineman Jake Smith helped the Eagles' spread attack to another high-powered effort last season. Bray, for one, is optimistic about the new crop of talent flanking him, especially fellow senior Jacolby Maxwell, a wide receiver with strong hands and good route awareness.
St. Charles North transfer Nick Edlund, a senior Dave Beebe calls "a bundle of energy," helps accelerate the growth of the running back group. Per the usual in the Eagles' offense, a few players, including sophomore Zach Bosek, will see time in the offensive backfield and in the slot.
"They've been doing great," Bray said. "A lot of the guys who didn't get a chance to play last year, they're stepping up this year."
Dave Beebe looks for a handful of two-way starters to emerge on both lines. Sophomore Sean Kuhn joins Smith and Minooka transfer Brock Whalen as sturdy, durable players up front. Linebacker and defensive back were all but open competitions in camp. A projected returning starter at linebacker, Trevor Hills, transferred to Glenbard North.
Dave Beebe figures his team will be tougher to handle down the stretch of the season, which includes four home games in the last five.
"If you ask me which I'd rather have, chemistry or experience, I'll take chemistry every time," Dave Beebe said. "Experience will come, we'll get that. It's just going to take some time."
– Kevin Druley, email@example.com
Coach: Dave Beebe (first season)
2013 record: 9-4, 4-3 Suburban Christian Blue. Lost to Stillman Valley, 28-26 in Class 3A state semifinal.
Fast fact: Beebe's brother, Don, who stepped down after last season, remains as offensive coordinator. Don Beebe went 97-26 in 10 seasons, winning a pair of Class 3A state titles.
Special teams spotlight: Senior Nick Van Gilse takes over at placekicker after Trevor Hills transferred to Glenbard North.
Bottom line: Considering all that's new, the Eagles still could be in position to rally for a familiar postseason spot by holding serve at home in the final month-plus.
Memory banked: "Probably just being able to experience playing with the Aurora Christian football team. ... [Coaches Dave and Don Beebe have] taught me a lot about life and my relationship with Christ. Having the opportunity to have the coaches and what they teach us, it's helped me mature as a man."– Austin Bray, Sr., QB
Aug. 29 Senn 7 p.m.)Sept. 5 Urban Prep-Bronzeville, 7:30 p.m.Sept. 13 @ Lake Forest Academy 2 p.m.Sept. 19 St. Ignatius 7:30 p.m.Sept. 26 Kankakee Bishop McNamara 7 p.m.Oct. 3 St. Rita 7 p.m.Oct. 10 @ St. Laurence 7:30 p.m.Oct. 17 Marmion 7 p.m.Oct. 24 Leo 7 p.m.
Marquee matchup: Oct. 17, vs. Marmion. Which former Suburban Christian Conference Blue power garners first bragging rights in this Chicago Catholic Conference crossover? The Eagles are part of the league's White Division, while the Cadets play in the Green.
2013 RESULTSAug. 30 DuSable W, 67-0Sept. 7 Bronzeville W, 55-0Sept. 14 Walther Christian W, 59-7Sept. 20 Wheaton Academy W, 52-14Sept. 27 St. Francis W, 24-14Oct. 4 Marmion L, 35-14Oct. 12 IC Catholic Prep L, 48-6Oct. 19 Montini L, 49-0Oct. 26 Guerin W, 48-7Nov. 2 IC Catholic Prep W, 24-3Nov. 9 Oregon W, 49-20Nov. 16 Seneca W, 36-27Nov. 23 Stillman Valley L, 28-26