By Megan Mawicke

Chicago (CBS) — Former Mount Carmel quarterback Jordan Lynch has come full circle as he prepares to lead the Caravan into Saturday’s 7-A semifinal at Gately Stadium. Lynch has made replacing the legendary Frank Lenti, who won 11 state championships, look easy.

After Mount Carmel, Lynch was a star at Northern Illinois, a Heisman finalist, in training camp with the Bears and won a Grey Cup in the Canadian Football League. So why did he want to return home to coach the Caravan?

“When I see the trophies, I don’t have one,” Lynch said. “I had a trophy at every level of football besides high school. So that’s one of the reasons I came back here. I want that championship ring.”

The players bought into Coach Lynch’s style pretty much from the get-go because he was so easy to relate to. The 27-year-old coach was in their shoes less than a decade ago.

“He just brings a different kind of air to the gym,” Koron Walker, a linebacker at Mount Carmel, said. “He changes stuff around, keeps us fresh, keeps us on our toes. It’s nice.”

“He’s still pretty young, so I mean we have the same kind of connection,” quarterback Rad Premovic said. “I learn a lot from him.”

Lynch says his age helps him relate to the young players.

“I’ve been through the same problems they’ve been through,” Lynch said. “Even the kids who have been recruited,  I’ve been recruited too.”

The Caravan got revenge on Lake Zurich last week, who ousted them in the playoffs last year. Now, they face East St. Louis who they knocked out of the playoffs last season.

“They’re probably the biggest team we’ve played all year,” Premovic said.

“They’re well-coached. I think they have the most wins in Illinois history,” Lynch said. “We’re going to have our hands full. That’s for sure.”

The Caravan is 10-1 this season and will play East St. Louis at 5 p.m. Saturday.