Preps Talk

High School Lites opening round football capsules and picks

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High School Lites opening round football capsules and picks

NBC Sports Chicago will have cameras covering the biggest high school football games across Chicagoland on the IHSA playoffs' opening round edition of High School Lites, Friday at 11:00 p.m. Who wins the battle between Notre Dame and Minooka on the Reservation?  Can Warren Township find a way to upset Bolingbrook on the road? Who wins the battle of spectacular defenses when Glenbard North takes on Batavia? And finally, can Providence Catholic stun Richards in Oak Lawn? Or will the Bulldogs take a bite out of the Celtics?

Numbers in parentheses reflect class seeding.

Class 8A

(18) Notre Dame @ (15) Minooka, 7:00 p.m. 

EDGY's Take: Head coaches Mike Hennessey (Notre Dame) and Terry McCombs (Minooka) will bring a combined 70-plus years of coaching experience to the field on Friday night. Notre Dame (7-2) wants to run the football early and often with junior RB Ty Gavin. Minooka (7-2) will utilize its running game with RB Owen Kapple. QB Zach Gassner is more than capable with the play-action passing game. Can Minooka's speedy defense contain Notre Dame's RB Ty Gavin? 

EDGY's Pick: Minooka 21 Notre Dame 17

(21) Warren Township @ (12) Bolingbrook, 7:30 p.m.

EDGY's Take: Warren Township (6-3), coached by Bryan McNulty, features a strong passing attack and a strong defense. Keep an eye on QB Ian Schilling, WR Micah Jones (Notre Dame) and RB Martin Walker Jr. Bolingbrook (7-2) and head coach John Ivlow also boasts a strong offense, but will senior QB Anthony Vespo be available after a Week 9 injury? The Raiders still feature a strong running game with junior RB Quentin Pringle and Anthony Williams Jr. The Raiders also feature an athlete-filled defense which includes DT Deshaun Mallory. What's the matchup to watch? Warren's receivers against Bolingbrook secondary: a classic strength-versus-strength showdown.

EDGY's Pick: Bolingbrook 26 Warren Township 21

Class 7A

(29) Glenbard North @ (4) Batavia, 6:00 p.m. 

EDGY's Take: Glenbard North (5-4) needed a Week 9 win over Neuqua Valley to make the state playoff field. The Panthers' calling card has been their defense. Their offense will look to run the football with senior RB/LB Jayleen Fitzpatrick. QB Lee Rady also played well in the win over Neuqua Valley. As for Batavia (8-1), they're looking to bounce back after a Week 9 loss to rival St. Charles North. The Bulldogs are balanced on offense, featuring QB Riley Cooper. They also have a tough-as-nails defense which includes junior LB Michael Jansey and LB/DL Luke Weerts. Whose defense blinks first? 

EDGY's Pick: Batavia 14 Glenbard North 13

(28) Alton @ (5) Lincoln Park, 6:00 p.m.

EDGY's Take: Alton (5-4) makes the over-300 mile one-way trek to Lane Stadium on Friday to take on Chicago Big Shoulders conference champion Lincoln Park (8-1). Alton will be paced on offense by RB Darrell Smith and QB Kevin Caldwell. The Cardinals defense has also played well all season. Lincoln Park will counter with a strong offense led by senior QB Jacob Dowell and senior RB Tavares Bean. Can Alton avoid "bus lag" and get out of the gates strong? Has Lincoln Park been as battle-tested as Alton?

EDGY's Pick: Alton 27 Lincoln Park 20

(17) Benet @ (16) Maine West, 7:00 p.m.

EDGY's Take: Benet Academy (6-3) has been dealing with a rash of injuries this season, but coach Pat New and company have won three out of its last four games. Their players to watch include sophomore QB Colin Gillespie and senior LB Devin Petersen. Coach Jason Kradman's Maine West Warriors (7-2) are back in the state playoffs for the first time since 2002. West will rely on RB/LB Jake Bellizi and senior TE/DE Matt Hentgen. Keep an eye on the offensive/defensive line play. Can the Warriors win in the trenches against Benet?

EDGY's Pick: Benet Academy 28 Maine West 17

(19) Andrew @ (14) Plainfield North, 7:00 p.m.

EDGY's Take: Andrew (6-3) is in the state playoffs after last season's 1-8 campaign. Head coach Adam Lewandowski's T-Bolt offense will be guided by QB Jack Condon and RB Tai Gannaban. Plainfield North (7-2) is looking to make another deep playoff run after losing in the 7A state final game to East St. Louis. The Tigers will rely on senior QB Brady Miller and a defense that's loaded with speed. Can the Plainfield North defense contain the T-Bolts' running game? Can the Andrew defense deflate the Plainfield North passing game?

EDGY's Pick: Plainfield North 27 Andrew 21

[MORE: High School Lites Podcast: Who's on upset alert?]

Class 6A

(13) Providence @ (4) Richards, 7:00 p.m.

EDGY's Take: This playoff matchup reminds many of the days when Hall of Fame head coaches Gary Korhonen (Richards) and Matt Senffner (Providence Catholic) roamed the sidelines. The Celtics and Bulldogs locked horns in several memorable playoff games. This year, Mark Coglianese's Providence crew relies on a strong running game featuring RB De'Shon Gavin (WIU). The team comes in with a 5-4 record, but they're battle-tested. Richards (7-2) is coached by Tony Sheehan. They'll want to run the football with RB Derek Flowers. Junior QB/S Sebastian Castro is a two-way starter and a big key for the Bulldogs this season. Can either team gain control the line of scrimmage? 

EDGY's Pick: Providence Catholic 31 Richards 28

Class 5A

(10) Kaneland @ (7) Lindblom, 4:00 p.m. 

EDGY's Take: Coach Patrick Ryan of Kaneland (6-3) has a battle-tested team, hailing from the Northern Illinois Big 12 East conference. Their offense is led by QB Jack Douglas and RB Jonathon Alstott. Lindblom (8-1) has a ton of speed on both sides of the football including senior WR CJ Rutherford and senior WR/DB Joshua Bufkin. How well can coach Justin Pressley's Eagles fare outside of the Chicago Public League? Can the Kaneland defense stay with the speedy Eagles offense?

EDGY's Pick: Kaneland 28 Lindblom 21

(13) Peoria @ (4) Hillcrest, 7:00 p.m.

EDGY's Take: Peoria (6-3), the defending Class 5A state champs, has one of the top offenses in the state. They are led by senior QB Coran Taylor (Illinois) and senior RB Geno Hess (SEMO). Keep an eye on senior OL Marques Cox. Hillcrest (7-2) and head coach Maurice Weaver can also move the football on offense behind QB Rocky Griffin and WR/DB Corey Crooms. The Hawks defense has been very solid all season. Can the Hillcrest defense slow down the Lions "basketball-on-grass" offense? 

EDGY's Pick: Hillcrest 40 Peoria 28

1-on-1 with Antioch quarterback Athan Kaliakmanis

1-on-1 with Antioch quarterback Athan Kaliakmanis

Need proof that the college football recruiting process is evaluating and offering players younger than ever before? All you need to do is ask Antioch quarterback Athan Kaliakmanis (6-foot-3, 185 pounds).

Kaliakmanis, who as a freshman was Carmel's starting quarterback before transferring to his home school district after the fall semester, recently landed his first verbal scholarship from Syracuse. Kaliakmanis, who is also on several college recruiting radar screens this winter, was easily one of the stronger performers in a loaded quarterback field at the recently held EDGYTIM MLK Underclassmen Showcase, powered by EFT Football Academy. 

I caught up with Kaliakmanis and discussed how Syracuse gave him his first scholarship, his recent transfer to Antioch and much more. 

The latest AP preps boys and girls basketball poll

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The latest AP preps boys and girls basketball poll

Here are the latest rankings of Illinois high school basketball teams in each class, according to an Associated Press panel of sportswriters:

BOYS

Class 4A

School                                        W-L       PTS               PRV

1. Simeon (12)                          17-3      128              1

2. Curie  (1)                              17-2       118               2

3. Whitney Young                     17-4       96                 4

4. Belleville West                     17-2       94                 3

5. Danville                               15-2       79                  5

6. Bolingbrook                         15-2       48                  10

7. Niles North                          18-2       34                  T7

8. Moline                                 16-4       33                  9

9. Normal Community            16-4       18                  6

(tie) Bloomington                    14-6       18                  NR

Others receiving votes: Evanston Township 14, Marist 10, Normal West 7, Loyola 6, Rockford Jefferson 4, Quincy 3, Benet Academy 3, Fenwick 1, New Trier 1

Class 3A

School                                                               W-L        PTS       PRV

1. Morgan Park (10)                                       15-7        117       1

2. Springfield Southeast (1)                            14-2        96         5

(tie) Marian Catholic (Chicago Heights)        14-3        96         3

4. Hillcrest                                                       16-4        76         4

5. Springfield Lanphier (1)                              14-2        75         2

6. DePaul College Prep                                   18-4        65         7

7. Alton Marquette                                         20-0        58         6

8. Centralia                                                     14-2        36         8

9. North Lawndale                                          13-7        15         9

10. Burlington Central                                    17-2        11         NR

Others receiving votes: Champaign Central 3, Bogan 3, Lincoln 2, Mahomet-Seymour 2, Carbondale 2, Benton 2, Tolono Unity 1

Class 2A

School                                                     W-L        PTS       PRV

1. Orr (12)                                             16-3       120       1

2. Winnebago                                        16-1       103       4

3. Pinckneyville                                    19-2        88         2

4. Eldorado                                           20-0        75         6

5. Warsaw West Hancock                    20-1       72          3

6. Williamsville                                    15-1        56         7

7. Gibson City-Melvin-Sibley                18-2       50          5

8. Leo                                                   13-5       34          8

9. Monticello                                        12-1       21          9

10. Bureau Valley                                18-2       15          10

Others receiving votes: Bloomington Central Catholic 8, St. Joseph-Ogden 6, Farmington 5, Teutopolis 4, Momence 3

Class 1A

School                                                   W-L       PTS        PRV

1. Aurora Christian (10)                       16-0     118         1

2. Colfax Ridgeview (2)                       18-2      110         2

3. Annawan                                          16-2      83          T4

4. East Dubuque                                   16-2      77          3

5. DePue                                               18-1      76          T4

6. Sterling Newman                             17-3      65          6

7. Payson Seymour                              17-1      53           7

8. Quest Academy                               17-4      35           8

9. Milford                                             14-3      20          10

10. New Berlin                                     16-4      9            NR

Others receiving votes: Winchester-West Central 8, Cissna Park 3, Newark 2, Cairo 1

GIRLS

Class 4A

School                                                      W-L              PTS    PRV

1. Edwardsville (9)                                  19-0             99     1 

2. Rockford Boylan (1)                            21-0             88     2 

3. Montini                                               23-2             78     3 

4. Rock Island                                          17-7             67     T4

5. Maine West                                        21-1             66     T4

6. Geneva                                                17-3             44     7 

7. Lincoln-Way East                                21-3             32     6 

8. Benet                                                   19-3             26     8 

9. Normal Community                            18-5             11     9 

10. Marist                                               16-4             10     NR

Others receiving votes: Mother McAuley 8, Springfield 6, Bolingbrook 5, Whitney Young 4, Bradley-Bourbonnais 3, Danville 2, Loyola 1

Class 3A

School                                                  W-L     PTS    PRV

1. Morton (6)                                      23-1     96     1 

2. Richwoods (4)                                 22-1     94     2 

3. Glenbard South                               18-2     67     4 

4. Kaneland                                         19-2     61     5 

5. Bethalto Civic Memorial                19-2     55     3 

6. Nazareth                                         20-2     51     6 

7. Effingham                                       17-1     35     7 

8. Charleston                                       18-1     30     9 

9. Breese Central                                19-3     24     NR

10. Bloomington Central Catholic      18-4     22     10

Others receiving votes: Evergreen Park 11, Burlington Central 3, Bishop McNamara 1

Class 2A

School                                                   W-L     PTS   PRV

1. Harrisburg  (11)                              23-0    110   1 

2. Illini West (Carthage)                     23-2     95    2 

3. Watseka                                          23-1     85    3 

4. Eureka                                             19-3     77    T6

5. Oakwood                                         22-2     50    T6

6. Pleasant Plains                                19-2     45    8 

7. Monticello                                       15-2     43    5 

8. Teutopolis                                       20-3     39    4 

9. Payson Western                              20-4     29    10

10. Chicago Marshall                          14-6     11    NR

Others receiving votes: Harvest Christian Academy 8, Sesser-Valier 7, Tuscola 2, St. Joseph-Ogden 2, Farmington 1, Paxton-Buckley-Loda 1

Class 1A

School                                                  W-L     PTS   PRV

1. Annawan (9)                                    25-0     96    1 

2. Danville Schlarman                         22-1     81    2 

3. Lebanon                                         20-0     72    3 

4. Jacksonville Routt                           19-4     58    6 

5. Shiloh                                              20-4     43    7 

6. Lewistown                                       21-4     41    5 

7. Lanark Eastland                              19-4     39    4 

8. Stockton                                          19-2     34    10

9. East Dubuque                                  18-3     15    NR

10. Princeville                                     23-4     11    8 

Others receiving votes: Aurora Christian 10, Colfax Ridgeview 9, DePue 7, Newark 5, Winchester 5, Walther Lutheran 4, Milford 4, Sterling Newman 3, Altamont 3, Bushnell-Prairie City 2, Cissna Park 2, Centralia Christ Our Rock 2, Aquin 2, Galena 1, Okawville 1