CSNChicago.com preps reporter "Edgy" Tim O’Halloran spotlights 100 high school football teams in 100 days. The first 75 team profiles will focus on teams making strides across Chicagoland and elsewhere in the state. Leading up to kickoff on Friday, Aug. 25., we unveil the @CSNPreps Top 25 Power Rankings.
Head coach: Joe Sanchez
How they fared in 2016: 9-2 (4-1 Mid Suburban West Conference), made the Class 8A state playoff field, defeated Leyden then lost to Maine South in second-round action.
[MORE: CSN Preps Preseason Power Rankings - No. 21 Nazareth Academy]
2017 regular season schedule:
Aug. 25 vs. Warren Township
Sept. 1 @ Elk Grove
Sept. 8 @ New Trier
Sept. 15 vs. Glenbrook South
Sept. 22 vs. Fremd
Sept. 28 @ Palatine
Oct. 7 vs. Hoffman Estates
Oct. 13 @ Schaumburg
Oct. 20 vs. Conant
Biggest storyline: Can the Broncos replace several graduated starters from a season ago?
Names to watch this season: senior QB/ATH Raymond Niro, senior WR/DB Alec Andrea
Biggest holes to fill: The Broncos welcome back just a handful of starters, and have to reload on both the offensive and defensive line.
EDGY's early take: Despite the lack of returning starters, the Broncos always find a way to compete under Sanchez. Niro is a speedy game breaker who could see action all over the field. Also, keep an eye on Andrea and senior wide receiver Jake Parsons.
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 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.