High School Lites has plenty of great IHSA football playoff action from the semifinals on Saturday as NBC Sports Chicago has highlights of many of the area's top matchups.
Be sure to also follow us on Twitter @NBCSPreps for all of the latest IHSA football scores and highlights.
DRIVE: Prairie Ridge: Episode 14
Wintrust Athlete of the Week: Raby's Dq Smith McAllister
St. Xavier Team of the Week: Marist girls volleyball
This Week's Scores
Loyola Academy 17, Edwardsville 10
Lincoln-Way East 24, Maine South 14
Lake Zurich 14, Mount Carmel 7
Batavia 23, Benet Academy 13
Prairie Ridge 42, Hoffman Estates 21
Nazareth Academy 24, Providence Catholic 7
Phillips 27, Sterling 14
Dunlap 21, Washington 0
Morris 43, Raby 8
Rochester 31, Highland 14
IC Catholic 7, Byron 0
Pleasant Plains 41, Anna-Jonesboro 2
Gibson City 14, Newman Central Catholic 8
Maroa-Forsyth 25, Shelbyville 14
Tuscola 21, Athens 14
Lena-Winslow 12, Forreston 8
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.