Kenneth Smith has completed his second year at Homewood-Flossmore High School, so he is still working on creating a feeder system for younger players.
"We had somewhat a down year this past year. Overall, we're putting a lot of things in place. Our foundation is getting stronger every year. We're looking forward to more continuing success overall. Creating a foundation is something that takes a little time.
Fortunately, he is blessed with some outstanding talent. Upcoming seniors Zach Fulton and John Thibideau are both being recruited by Illinois and numerous other schools. Fulton is the younger brother of former Illini offensive tackle Xavier Fulton.
"Zach is a big kid. Right now, he's probably about 6'-4" or 6'-5" and about 315 pounds. And he's still growing. He's gonna be a very good prospect.
"I met Xavier several times from going to football games, and whenever he had breaks he came back to the school. From what everyone tells me, Zach is bigger than Xavier at the same time.
"And Zach is developing that work ethic that Xavier had. The other P. E. teachers would tell me how they would have to kick Xavier out of the weight room. Whenever they would do their stretching, he would be perfect in everything.
"That's something that Zach's starting to develop, getting that Fulton work ethic going. He's soft spoken and has the deep voice also. The only difference is that Xavier has dreads and Zach has a low cut.
"Zach is developing a nasty streak, which is something I like. He's more of a run blocker than a pass blocker. But he's very physical. He likes to mix it up."
It may be difficult to know who is the better prospect, Fulton or Thibideau.
"He's about the same height, and he might actually be a little heavier. I think he's in the 320 pound range. He's one of the most athletic linemen I've ever seen. At the San Antonio combine, he did a 4.9 40 yard dash. That may not seem like a big deal, but at 6'-4", 320 pounds that's pretty good.
"College coaches have been in. When recruiting picks up for them, things are gonna be pretty good overall."
Smith also has a top prospect in the upcoming junior class.
"I have a sophomore kid that started for us this year at defensive tackle. His name is Michael Rouse. He's 6'-3", 285 pounds and led the team in sacks last year. He's that next great kid in the class of 2011."
Vikings athletes are well prepared for college thanks to the highly competitive conference within which they compete. Lincoln Way East, Lincoln Way Central, Bolingbrook, Lockport, Orland Park Carl Sandburg, and Tinley Park Andrew are in that conference. And Smith says the power of the league will get even stronger this fall.
"This upcoming year, Thornton is gonna join our conference."
The Vikings 4-5 record last season must be judged on the basis of the quality of competition.
"When you look at our record, it's somewhat misleading. Granted, there's probably two or three games we should have won, but when you look at the caliber of teams we played, if you make one mistake or if you have a starter not playing, that could be the difference in the ball game. Overall, I enjoy the competitive nature of our conference."