By Scott Taylor | @Taylor_Sports
When you return your quarterback from a playoff team, you tend to be in good shape for the upcoming season. That is what the Lions have this year as quarterback Mark McGrath returns after a strong season last year. He will also have returning running back Grant Haen back, as well as tight end Mark Pivek. A newcomer to the passing game this year is tight end Cameron Stitt.
While the Lions had some huge outputs last year offensively (4 games of more than 40 points), they also had three games with just one touchdown against the better defenses. Their offense will need to be more consistent in those games, particularly against Wilmington, if they want to win the Interstate-8 Small Division this year.
The same cast that leads the offense will also be leading the defense this year. McGrath will be quarterbacking the defense from the defensive back position, while Pivek and Haen both return at linebacker. Stitt is also expected to contribute at linebacker, while Ben Laning enters the fold on the defensive line.
Lisle featured a strong defense last year, allowing just 153 points in 10 games and has some key pieces back. They also pitched two shutouts and allowed just single digits to their opponents five times.
With key pieces back on both sides of the ball, another playoff berth isn’t out of the question after a 7-3 year last year. However, the year ended with a bitter taste in a 42-7 loss to Byron to open the playoffs. They snuck up on some teams last year following a 1-8 season, but won’t do that this year. Still, expectations are fairly high for the Lions.
“We are expecting to have a very competitive team this season,” Lisle coach Paul Parpet said. “With a good mix of returners and newcomers we should be very solid on both sides of the ball.”