Preps Talk

Changes in the top ten highlight the latest Preps Power Rankings

Changes in the top ten highlight the latest Preps Power Rankings

The Power Rankings only saw a few shakeups this week as some new teams entered the picture. Two new teams are in the top 25 while the backend of the top 10 also saw some losses and some new teams.

1. Simeon (20-3, 9-0) (1) -- The Wolverines had the week off as they try to make another run in the Public League Playoffs. Looking like the most unstoppable team in Illinois this season, Simeon will be the favorites. 

2. Orr (19-3, 9-0) (2) -- Orr picked up another huge win as they took down conference rival Whitney Young to clinch an undefeated season in the Public League Red North/West. The Spartans will be another contender to watch in the upcoming Public League Playoffs. 

3. Curie (20-3, 8-1) (3) -- Really nice win over Missouri powerhouse Chaminade for the Condors this weekend as they beat a really talented team who just beat Whitney Young the week before. Curie has some huge wins this season of their own as they shouldn't be counted out in the Public League Playoffs. 

4. Morgan Park (16-8, 7-2) (5) -- Morgan Park had the week off as they try to recover and get healthy before the Public League Playoffs. If the Mustangs have their full roster of players, they'll be a really intriguing team to watch.

5. Whitney Young (19-6, 7-2) (4) -- The Dolphins fell to Orr on the road before regrouping and winning a game out in California. A dangerous team in the Public League Playoff picture, Whitney Young has the weapons to compete with anyone in the city. 

6. Evanston (18-4, 7-1) (11) -- The Wildkits had the best week of any team in the area as they knocked off Niles North and Oak Park-River Forest on back-to-back nights The revenge win over  the Vikings was huge for CSL South purposes. Evanston gets another huge game against No. 7 Loyola Academy this week.

7. Loyola Academy (21-3, 5-1) (9) -- The Ramblers continue to pick up double-digit wins as they dispatched St. Patrick and McNamara during the week. Holding St. Patrick to only 11 points was very impressive. Loyola has a tough week ahead as they battle Evanston as well as a Catholic League game against St. Joseph.

8. Niles North (20-3, 5-3) (6) -- Tough overtime loss against Evanston for the Vikings as they are now two games back in the CSL South. Niles North will have some opportunities to bounce back this week when they play New Trier and Prospect.

9. DePaul Prep (19-5, 4-2) (9) -- DePaul Prep ran past De La Salle in Wintrust Arena for another Catholic League win. The Rams have most of the week off until a Saturday tilt with Brother Rice in another conference battle. 

10. Fenwick (16-7, 7-0) (7) -- The Friars remain atop the Catholic League Blue but Fenwick did suffer a surprising letdown against Riverside-Brookfield on Saturday night. Upset aside, Fenwick is still one of the best teams in the area as they'll get a chance to bounce back against Marmion this week. 

11. New Trier (19-3, 6-1) (14) -- Two easy wins for the Trevians during the week as they scored double-figure wins over Manley and Glenbrook South. New Trier has a huge CSL South matchup with Niles North this week as they try to stay in the conference race.

12. Marist (20-3, 5-1) (8) -- The RedHawks fell in overtime to St. Rita but they came back with an overtime win over Notre Dame and a win over St. Ignatius. Marist will face Ag. Science and St. Viator in an important ESCC game this weekend.

13. Oak Park-River Forest (17-5, 8-0) (12) -- Earning another conference win over Glenbard West, the Huskies are still on top of the West Suburban Silver. OPRF did fall to Evanston, however, as they drop a spot for this week. The Huskies will take on York and Downers North in two tough matchups this week. 

14. Benet (18-4, 5-1) (14) -- Two double-digit wins for Benet in conference play this week as they took down Montini and Marian Central. Benet gets a tough ESCC game against Carmel this week and they have a tough non-conference game against St. Charles North as well.

15. West Aurora (17-4, 7-0) (16) -- Ten straight wins for the Blackhawks as they're one of the hottest teams in the area. Two double-digit road wins over West Chicago and Oswego this week as West Aurora faces crosstown rival East Aurora this week. 

16. Wheaton-Warrenville South (20-4, 11-1) (17) -- With a seven-game winning streak the Tigers are playing really well lately as they had two more double-digit wins over Glenbard North and Neuqua Valley. Wheaton-Warrenville South faces Naperville Central and Waubonsie Valley this week in DuPage Valley Conference play. 

17. Marian Catholic (15-4, 3-3) (18) -- The Spartans were able to hold off Carmel for an ESCC win as they have a busy week coming up. Marian Catholic has three games against Providence, Nazareth and Mount Carmel during the week.

18. Naperville North (19-2, 10-1) (19) -- Solid week for the Huskies as they earned three wins over Wheaton North, Lake Park and East Aurora. Naperville North gets two home games this week when they host Glenbard North and Neuqua Valley. 

19. Joliet Central (18-4, 10-0) (21) -- The Steelmen picked up wins over Lockport and Oswego during the week as they stayed unbeaten and in the lead in the Southwest Prairie. Joliet Central will battle Minooka this week in conference play.

20. Bolingbrook (16-5, 4-2) (10) -- Tough week for Bolingbrook as they were defeated by Lockport and Springfield Lanphier. The Raiders haven't been the same these past two weeks as they host Sandburg and Stagg this week. 

21. Hillcrest (18-5, 10-0) (22) -- Hillcrest earned a tough win over Lemont in South Suburban play as they continue to be the class of the league. The Hawks will try to stay unbeaten in league play when they face Bremen this week. 

22. Aurora Christian (21-0, 9-0) (23) -- The Eagles needed to rally to pick up one of its best wins of the season in knocking off Oswego East as they remain the area's only unbeaten team. Aurora Christian faces a tough battle against 20-1 Winnebago this week, a team they already defeated during the holidays.

23. Leo (17-5, 6-0) (24) -- Leo continues to play great ball as they took down St. Laurence and Nazareth during the weekend. The Lions have to go on the road to face Montini in the Catholic League White this week. 

24. Homewood-Flossmoor (13-6, 5-1) (NR) -- The Vikings enter the Power Rankings after some quality wins in recent weeks over teams like Hillcrest and Lincoln-Way East. A dangerous team who is leading the SouthWest Suburban Blue, Homewood-Flossmoor plays Stagg, Lockport and Marshall this week. 

25. Hinsdale South (16-5, 6-2) (NR) -- The Hornets are back in the Power Rankings following an important conference win over Willowbrook. Senior Zion Griffin is putting up his Player of the Year case as he put up a monster outing. Hinsdale South faces Downers South and Leyden this week. 

What to watch for in this weekend's state-title hockey game between Loyola Academy and Stevenson

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What to watch for in this weekend's state-title hockey game between Loyola Academy and Stevenson

A state champion will be crowned Saturday at the United Center, when Loyola Academy Gold plays Stevenson for the Boys Red Division State Championship.

Here are some of the storylines we’re watching ahead of the game.

1. Coaching connection: These two coaches have known each other for more than 20 years. Loyola head coach D.J. LaVarre coached against Stevenson head coach Tom Wood when Wood played youth hockey. LaVarre also knows Tom’s dad, Jim, who is the former head coach at Stevenson. Currently the coach Stevenson’s JV 2 team, Jim won the AHAI high school coach of the year in 2007.

2. Fun rewards for players of the game: At Stevenson, the player of the game is awarded a hard hat. At Loyola, it’s a championship belt.

3. International influence: Stevenson’s goalie, Elias Sandholm, is a transfer student from Sweden and has the highest save percentage in school history, .951. He made the all-state team and the Chicago Showcase team.

4. Next man up: In net for Loyola will most likely be Hugh Brady, a senior who stepped up when Thomas Moran went down with a hip injury. Brady has played 47 games and has a .945 save percentage.

5. A drought will be snapped: Stevenson has never won a state championship. Loyola is looking for its first since 1996.

Puck drop is at 3 p.m., with the girls’ state championship game, Glenbrook vs. New Trier, starting at 11:30 a.m.

One more fun note: Team USA gold medalist and Palos Heights native Kendall Coyne will drop the ceremonial puck prior to both games.

St. Charles North's Peyton Brown, Tyler Nubin ready for their time in the spotlight

St. Charles North's Peyton Brown, Tyler Nubin ready for their time in the spotlight

St. Charles North has been one of the more impressive on the rise IHSA football programs over the past four seasons, and the North Stars feature some big time names along with names to watch for the 2018 season. 

North Stars junior QB Peyton Brown (6-foot-3, 180 pounds) needed to sit and wait his turn last season, but Brown is already drawing serious recruiting attention and traction this early spring from several FBS and FCS schools. Brown is expected to draw plenty of college coaches at his upcoming spring workouts once the spring recruiting evaluation begins in mid April. 

While Peyton Brown is trying to gain more recruiting attention this spring, St. Charles North junior defensive back Tyler Nubin (6-foot-2, 188 pounds) is approaching 20 scholarship offers this early spring with his latest offer coming from Michigan. Nubin has also started to draw national recruiting attention and Nubin will also see his share of Power 5 college coaches in school this spring.

I had a chance to catch up with Peyton Brown and Tyler Nubin at the sixth annual Franklin Middle School Dodgeball Tournament in Wheaton. Proceeds from the event benefited the Northern Illinois Food Bank, Cammy Can, Jack’s Army and Franklin Middle School.