Amundsen head football coach Grant Jones is entering his seventh year at the helm for the Vikings. After his team suffered a 2-7 record in 2011, missing the city and 5A state playoffs, he knows it’s time for them to bounce back. He also knows it won’t be easy after losing 17 seniors, including star tight-end Desroy Maxwell (who will be playing for Northern Illinois University this season).
“We’re going to miss all of (the seniors),” Jones said. “We’ll be young this year, but we’ll be ok. Our conference will be competetive, but we just have to try to outwork our opponents.”
The Vikings do have some key returning players, such as junior offensive lineman Tony Velasquez and quarterback/defensive lineman Jaylen Petty.
“Velasquez is going to be a big time player for us,” Jones said. “He’s been on the varsity team since his freshman year. Petty will definitely be a kid to look out for as well.”
The schedule will be full of challenging and exciting games for the Vikings, and one of the most intense games will likely be when they host Mather high school on September 14th.
“All of our games will be tough,” Jones said. “Teams are pretty evenly matched within the conference. Mather has been a rival of ours for a long time, since they’re so close. Alot of our kids went to the same grammar school as their kids, so they’ll get up to play each other.”
The Vikings kick their season off Saturday as they host Plainfield Central, and Jones knows that if the team gives it everything they’ve got, they can improve last season’s record.
“Im confident that our kids are going to play hard,” Jones said. “We’ve been instilling that in them since i’ve been here. We’re going to play hard and not take anybody for granted. We’re not a deep team, we don’t have 40 or 50 kids like a lot of high schools, but they’ll play hard and we’ll be ok.”