The 2011 season in the Mid-Suburban West saw the Palatine Pirates sweep through the division with a 5-0 record en route to a 9-2 record and second round playoff appearance in the Illinois high school playoffs after winning nine straight games to get to the second round. The Pirates return several key players including defensive standout Jesse Bobbit and running back Cam Kuksa. Bobbit is being looked at by several Division I programs while Kuksa is getting looks from lower division schools. Those two give Palatine an advantage as the 2012 season gets ready to start. The Barrington Broncos finished at 7-3 last season and will go to a spread offense in 2012 with junior quarterback Daniel Kubiuk. It will be interesting to see if this new offense can even increase the 26 point per game output the Broncos had in 2011. The Conant Cougars were the third team from the division to make the playoffs last season with a 6-4 record. Conant went 2-7 in 2010 but were able to increase their win total before a first-round playoff loss to Elk Grove by starting the season at 4-0. Can the Cougars go even deeper into the playoffs in 2012? Only time will tell.
The Fremd Vikings struggled to a 4-5 record after going 6-5 in 2010 and reaching the second round of the playoffs. Fremd has the battle of trying to get the city of Palatine back from the crosstown Pirates and will try to do so with a new head coach in Lou Sponsel, who takes over for retired coach Mike Donatucci. The Schaumburg Saxons were also 4-5 in 2011 after going to the second round of the playoffs in 2010. The Saxons started 2-0 last season and were 4-3 going into the final two weeks of the season but lost to Barrington and Conant to end the year and end any postseason hopes. The Hoffman Estates Hawks went winless in 2011 after just one win the season before and have more work to do if they want to be competitive in the division.
I think the division rests in the hands of Palatine and if they can improve on last season’s mark. With the return of Bobbit and Kuksa, big things are expected and the team will be tested right out of the gate by defending Class 5A state champion Montini on opening night. Barrington should be able to finish second with Fremd I believe finishing in third.