Preps Talk

High School Lites semifinal football capsules and picks

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High School Lites semifinal football capsules and picks

NBC Sports Chicago will have cameras covering the biggest high school football games across Chicagoland on the IHSA playoffs' semifinal round edition of High School Lites, Saturday at 11:00 p.m. Who wins the Revenge Bowl in Frankfort between Maine South and Lincoln-Way East?  Can Loyola travel well and beat Edwardsville? Can Mount Carmel keep rolling in the postseason and defeat Lake Zurich? Also, can the Chicago Public League make a statement, with Phillips and Raby both making it to the IHSA state finals next weekend in DeKalb?

All games Saturday. Rankings shown reflect class seeds.

Class 8A

#5 Maine South (11-1) at #1 Lincoln-Way East (12-0), 6:00 p.m.

EDGY's Take: Lincoln-Way East defeated Maine South 28-26 back in Week 5 as the Griffins defense held Maine South running back Fotis Kokosioulis to just 17 yards rushing. Look for South to make some adjustments on offense this time around. The Hawks' offense remains one of the state's most dangerous attacks.  Can the East defense keep the Maine South offense in check? Can the Lincoln-Way East offense, led by senior QB Brendan Morrissey, run the football consistently again against the Maine South defense? Revenge factor for both teams here since East beat the Hawks back in Week 2 while Maine South ended the Griffins season at East last season. Will weather/wind be a factor?

EDGY's Pick: Lincoln-Way East 24 Maine South 21

Loyola Academy (11-1) at Edwardsville (9-3), 2:00 p.m.

EDGY's Take: Loyola will take the 289-mile drive to Edwardsville to take on a Tigers team that has been on fire ever since starting the season 0-3. Edwardsville, under head coach Matt Martin, features a young, but speedy offensive skills group led by junior QB Kendall Abdur-Rahman and freshman RB Justin Johnson. Loyola has received a big season from QB Quinn Boyle and several key backups in an injury-plagued season. Last week at Marist, the Ramblers received a breakout performance from RB Trevor Cabanban. Can Loyola continue to win in the postseason as the injuries keep mounting? Can Edwardsville run the football consistently against one of the state's top defenses? Also, can the Ramblers defense avoid giving up the big play against an Edwardsville team that's lived by the big play allseason?

EDGY's Pick: Loyola 28 Edwardsville 21

Class 7A

Benet Academy (9-3) vs. Batavia (11-1) at Benedictine University, 1:00 p.m.

EDGY's Take: Benet Academy got another big game from their defense unit in last week's 14-10 win over Lincoln-Way Central. Batavia trailed 10-0 at the half to Lincoln-Way West, but took full advantage of eight West turnovers for the 20-10 come-from-behind win. Both Batavia and Benet Academy play great defense, while their offenses want to establish the run. That said, both are capable of a play-action passing game. Can the Benet Academy defense lock down QB Riley Cooper and the Batavia offense? Can the Batavia defense, led by senior safety Michael Niemiec and a strong front seven, derail Redwings' RB Ben Hickey and QB Colin Gillespie? Last possession wins?

EDGY's Pick: Batavia 14 Benet Academy 13

Mt. Carmel (9-3) at Lake Zurich (12-0), 1:00 p.m.

EDGY's Take: Mount Carmel came out on fire in last week's 21-18 win over East St. Louis. QB Rad Premovic was sharp running the Caravan's veer option game while the defense, paced by senior OL/DL Jeremy Cooper, had a strong performance as well. Lake Zurich walloped St. Rita last week 49-17. The Bears offense was rolling behind senior QB Evan Lewandowski and senior RB/LB Joey Stutzman. Can the Lake Zurich defense contain the Caravan's veer option game? Can the Mount Carmel defense tame a Lake Zurich offense that's capable of both the run and the pass? How healthy is Mt. Carmel heading into this game? 

EDGY's Pick: Lake Zurich 31 Mount Carmel 21

Class 6A

Prairie Ridge (12-0) at Hoffman Estates (10-2), 4:00 p.m.

EDGY's Take: Prairie Ridge will hit the road this week and will rely on its option game led by senior QB Samson Evans (Iowa). They have a big, physical offensive line led by OL/DL Jeff Jenkins (Iowa) and a speedy defense led by senior LB Joe Perhats. Hoffman Estates has a ton of skills and speed. QB Austin Coalson will look to WR/LB Jaylan Alexander (Purdue), WR/DB Jayvon Blissert and WR/DB Trevon Hall to carry the load. Can the Hoffman Estates defense slow down the Wolves' option game? Can the Prairie Ridge defense contain the speedy Hawks offensive skills?

EDGY's Pick: Prairie Ridge 31 Hoffman Estates 27

Nazareth Academy (11-1) at Providence Catholic (8-4), 2:00 p.m.

EDGY's Take: Nazareth Academy pulled off a big 20-17 win on the road last Saturday on Sacred Heart-Griffin's field. The Roadrunners' defense put the brakes on a very strong Cyclones running game. Nazareth's offense has been a strength all season, led by QB Bobby Grimes, RB/DB Devin Blakely and a deep core of receivers. Last week, Providence Catholic was able to wear down St. Laurence 49-24 as the Celtics again got a big game from its read option offense, led by RB De'Shon Gavin (WIU) and QB Cade Kalinowski. Can Providence run the football against the Nazareth defense? Can the Celtics' defense defend and contain the multiple weapons in the Nazareth offense?

EDGY's Pick: Providence Catholic 29 Nazareth Academy 28

Class 5A

Phillips (12-0) at Sterling (12-0), 2:00 p.m.

EDGY's Take: Last week, Phillips relied on their defense to set the tone. Then, the offense went to the air behind QB J'Bore Gibbs and company. It resulted in a 15-3 win over Lemont. The Wildcats feature college-level talent all over the field. Keep an eye on RB/LB Craig Elmore, WR/DB Fabian McCray, TE Jaleel Billingsly, DE Terrance Taylor (Toledo) and DT Queneil Morrissey (NIU). Sterling has a potent ground game, led by RB Nyrell Sullivan and a good-sized, athletic line. It's led by senior OL/DL Tyler Willman. QB Trey Morse is also a very capable passer and has several top targets. Can Sterling's line play match up well against the Phillips' fronts? If the Phillips defense takes away the run, can Sterling throw their way to DeKalb? And, if the Sterling defense takes away the Phillips running game can they throw their way to DeKalb? 

EDGY's Pick: Phillips 30 Sterling 21

Class 4A

Morris (10-2) vs. Raby (11-1) at Chicago's Hanson Stadium, 4:00 p.m.

EDGY's Take: Morris and head coach Alan Thorson will rely on the power running game with RB Kam Dransfeldt and an offensive line that averages nearly 260 pounds per man. Raby and head coach D'Angelo DeReef might have one of the most fun teams to watch in the postseason. The Raiders offenses thrives off the big play. They're led by QB Tyshun Turnipseed, RB DQ Smith and a stable of receivers and backs with speed. Can the Raby defense take away the Redskins' power run game? Can the Morris defense cover the Raiders receivers and prevent giving up the big play?

EDGY's Pick: Morris 28 Raby 27

Class 3A

IC Catholic (11-1) at Byron (12-0), 2:00 p.m.

EDGY's Take: Immaculate Conception and head coach Bill Krefft are back, knocking on the state final door once again. The Knights have rolled behind a balanced offensive attack that features RB Lazerick Eatman, WR Khali Saunders and QB CJ West. The defense has been strong with LB Khalil Saunders and LB Kevin Cooke. Byron offense can run the football. Look for a lot of those plays from head coach Jeff Boyer. RBs Nolan Bielskis and Ricky Messling lead the Tigers Wing-T offense. Can Byron keep the football away from the IC offense? Can IC control tempo and force Byron into a higher scoring affair?

EDGY's Pick: Immaculate Conception 28 Byron 14
 

High School Lites Podcast: The revenge game of…'The Revenge Game'

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High School Lites Podcast: The revenge game of…'The Revenge Game'

What will “Lincoln-Way East vs. Maine South, Part III” be like? We’re about to find out.

On September 1, Lincoln-Way South made a statement in a revenge game (of sorts) in a 28-26 victory in Park Ridge. The win erased the sting of a loss on their home field the previous season to those same Hawks. Fans will be treated to the third such battle in a year.

Joe Collins and “Edgy” Tim O’Halloran will catch up with special guest Maine South head coach Dave Inserra about Saturday. The panel will also break down the rest of the IHSA semifinal slate and go into specifics on some controversial calls the previous weekend.

Listen to the full podcast here:

Preps Basketball Power Rankings: No. 7 Bolingbrook

Preps Basketball Power Rankings: No. 7 Bolingbrook

School: Bolingbrook

2016-17 record: 30-2, 9-1 SouthWest Suburban Blue

Postseason results: Finished third place in Class 4A.

Players to watch: Not many teams have a better trio of guards than the Raiders this season. Senior Kaleb Thornton and juniors Tyler Cochran and Joseph Yesufu are all back for Bolingbrook as all three guards can handle, score and distribute. It wouldn't be a shock if any of these three players emerged as All-Area candidates.

Why they're in the power rankings: High school basketball remains a guard-driven game and Bolingbrook can run with anyone in the state when it comes to perimeter firepower. Head coach Rob Brost has built a consistent winner at Bolingbrook and he has a lot of pieces to like with this group. 

Did you know? Bolingbrook has taken third place in Class 4A in two of the last three seasons.