The 2012 season was highlighted in the Big Northern Conference’s East Division by the Richmond-Burton Rockets, who went to the Illinois High School Association Class 4A title game before losing in the championship. The 2012 season is closing in and the Rockets look strong again with the return of Matt Malecki and Adam Kinsella, who started all 14 games for R-B in 2011. Richmond will need to replace 19 starters from last season’s team but has shown in recent years that large losses due to graduation won’t slow this team down.
The team that got closest to Richmond in 2011 were the Burlington Central Rockets. Burlington went 4-1 in the BNC East with only a 9-7 loss to Richmond being their lone divisional loss in going 7-3 overall in losing their first round playoff game. Ryan Ritchie will head into his senior year at the quarterback position for Burlington as the Rockets try to knock off Richmond for the divisional title.
The Harvard Hornets also went 7-3 in 2011 after starting the season with a 6-0 record before losses to Burlington Central and Richmond-Burton slowed Harvard’s momentum heading towards the playoffs. Tim Haak’s teams have always been prepared and play a strong brand of football. They will be a team that will make things hard on Richmond and Burlington this season. The Marengo Indians were 4-5 last season but for the Marengo program, four wins is a major improvement over past years. This season may allow for another opportunity for the Indians to take the next step and begin to move Marengo back towards the dominance the program had back in the 1990′s.
The North Boone Vikings started strong at 3-0 before hitting a brick wall and winning just one of their final six games to finish tied with Marengo at 4-5. Genoa-Kingston finished 1-8 in 2011 with their only win coming against winless Rock Falls in a BNC crossover. One new addition in 2012 will the Rockford Christian Lions, who were 5-4 last season and will have their growing pains being in a new conference. I’m thinking that Richmond and Burlington will be the two teams to beat with Burlington Central having a bit of a lead with a senior quarterback leading the team.