Coach: Sean Saylor (first season).
2013 record: 11-1 overall, 6-0 BNC East.
Fast fact: Former coach Tim Haak, an Illinois High School Football Coaches Association Hall of Famer, retired after 29 seasons with a 173-108 career record.
• RB Christian Kramer is fast and shifty and has rushed for 2,240 yards in the past two seasons. Kramer ran for an area-best 1,290 yards and 13 touchdowns last season.
• QB Peyton Schneider returns to start for a third season in the backfield with Kramer. Schneider threw for 1,102 yards with 11 touchdowns and five interceptions last season. He completed 58.4 percent (80 for 137) of his passes.
• Junior DE Zach Martin was a tough defender last season and returns to lead the defense.
• Harvard lost a large portion of its teams and its starters to graduation. Saylor said last year’s senior class had 14, the same number of this year’s juniors and seniors combined. Numbers could be a problem as the Hornets have less than 20 players on their roster.
• Saylor was pleased with the progress made in the new system over the summer. The Hornets will run a lot of one-back offense from a pistol set, giving Kramer room to run and turning Schneider loose more than ever. “We wanted to get these things in and have a firm grasp over the summer,” Saylor said. “I feel confident in the kids understanding those things. Have we mastered them? No way. We’re a long way from there.”
• Saylor is impressed with sophomore Hunter Freres, who will start at safety and could get some time in the offensive backfield. “[Freres] doesn’t look like a sophomore,” Saylor said. “He’s picked up everything well and he’s physically very mature for a sophomore. He’s a special kid.”
Drill that stands out
Hornets’ Nest: The drill is a four-on-four with three defensive players lined up face-to-face against three offensive blockers. There is a ballcarrier 4 yards behind the line and a defender 4 yards behind the line.
Date Opponent Time
Aug. 29 Rock Falls 7 p.m.
Sept. 5 @ Winnebago 7 p.m.
Sept. 12 @ Richmond-Burton 7 p.m.
Sept. 19 Burlington Central 7 p.m.
Sept. 26 Marengo 7 p.m.
Oct. 3 North Boone 7 p.m.
Oct. 10 @ Rockford Christian 7 p.m.
Oct. 17 Genoa-Kingston 7 p.m.
Oct. 26 @ Johnsburg 7 p.m.
*– BNC East Division game
– Joe Stevenson