CARPENTERSVILLE – Two months ago, Dundee-Crown football coach Vito Andriola calling his offensive backfield the “best he’s ever coached” would have made perfect sense.
The Chargers had tailback Cody Lane, a bruising runner, and halfback T.J. Moss returning. Fast and compact Cordero Parson, a former linebacker, was switching from defense to offer another threat.
Then Lane, a Northwest Herald All-Area first-teamer, suffered a torn left ACL in summer workouts, and likely will be sidelined for the season. Despite the injury, Andriola heaps the highest praise on his backfield.
“We lost a good football player [in Lane],” Andriola said. “But if we could afford anywhere … this is the best backfield I have ever coached. I’m really proud of them, they really worked hard.”
Lane weighs about 200 pounds and was tough for defenses to deal with, rushing for 1,181 yards and 18 touchdowns. Andriola still thinks the Chargers can be very productive in the backfield.
“We’re missing a big part without Cody, but we’re compensating in other ways,” Moss said. “Our line’s definitely improving and we have a great backfield with other guys moving in.”
Cordero Parson is a strong, compact runner who Andriola says was misplaced with the defense.
“I made a mistake,” Andriola said. “I kick myself in the butt on that one.”
D-C finished 3-6 last season, winning its first three and ending a 26-game losing streak. The Chargers return 12 starters – not counting Parson, who switches sides – and have higher expectations, even in the tough Fox Valley Conference Valley Division.
“It drives all of us more to succeed because we know what it feels like to win,” safety Sam Franckowiak said. “It’s not people coming in and thinking we’re going to lose this year, because now that we’re used to winning a few games, we know what it’s like. We know how to handle it and how to practice like winners now.”
D-C struggled with the FVC Valley portion of its schedule last season, but Andriola, now in his third year with the Chargers, saw a more competitive team.
“I thought we should have been 7-2,” he said. “What you think and what [you are] is a bunch of different things.”
It was still much better than another winless season. Andriola pointed out that last year’s senior class had seen a D-C varsity team win only once in three previous years.
“It makes us get that taste of winning back in our mouths,” said linebacker Tim Schanmier, a third-year starter. “We haven’t had that for a while here. Winning those first couple games felt really nice and we want to keep it going this year and get three or four more [than last year].”