Super 25 countown: H-F082809/chicago heights Tim Williams quarterback for Homewood-Flossmoor looks to throw in the season opener with Marian. (Carol Dorsett SouthtownStar Newspaper)
Updated: August 20, 2011 5:07PM
A year ago, Homewood-Flossmoor football was at a crossroads.
The Vikings were coming off a 1-8 season, their worst since going 0-7 in 1960, and were trying to adjust to a new coaching staff.
Now those bad times are just a fleeting memory for H-F, which is No. 8 in the Sun-Times preseason Super 25. Craig Buzea, who revived a struggling Michigan City, Ind., program in his last coaching job, engineered a similar turnaround at H-F by leading the Vikings to a 10-3 record and a berth in the Class 8A semifinals.
With quarterback Tim Williams and a bunch of other veterans of that postseason run back, the attitude is definitely a little different in Flossmoor this fall.
‘‘It seems like we have a lot more fan support,’’ said Williams, who is getting Division I looks for both football and basketball. ‘‘We feel a lot more confident than we did last year. Everybody expects us to at least get to the same point as last year.’’
Credit much of the optimism to the return of Williams, a 6-6, 210-pound senior who passed for more than 2,100 yards and 21 touchdowns last season. Pretty good numbers, but Williams focused on improving during the offseason — when he wasn’t spending time on the basketball court refining his skills there.
‘‘I worked on keeping the ball high on my release, rolling out with the ball, keeping it by my chest,’’ he said.
Buzea and his staff, meanwhile, brainstormed ways to get the most out of their
exceptionally athletic quarterback.
‘‘We’ve done a lot of things to magnify his talent,’’ Buzea said. ‘‘Last year we were more of a play-action team.’’
The Vikings also had a veteran running back in Malik Norman, who has since graduated. This year, Williams will be handing off mainly to Anfernee Roberts. But multi-talented Sheldon Jones could get some carries as well as he lines up in the slot or at tailback.
‘‘I think the run game should be all right with the new running back,’’ Williams said. ‘‘Sheldon might go back there, too.’’
Jerry Butler and Sean Jones bring experience to the wide receiver spot, while Willie Ross is another pass-catching option at tight end. Jake Thompson, a third-year varsity player, will anchor the offensive line.
H-F’s defense must replace tackle Michael Rouse III, who’s now at Purdue. Michael Anyiwo and Kevin Karner will be relied on to lead the way up front, with Keith Carter, Eric Hewlett and Keith Smith in the mix at linebacker. Jones and Roberts are both returning starters in the secondary, but Buzea is wary of overworking them given their increased offensive duties.
All of that’s being sorted out in a preseason that’s more upbeat and less uncertain than a year ago.
‘‘We can’t remember where we were at last year,’’ Buzea said. ‘‘Practices — they know what to do, what’s expected of them. It’s almost like they could run themselves.’’