Preps Talk

High School Lites Preview: Playoffs Round 1

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High School Lites Preview: Playoffs Round 1

CSN Chicago will have cameras covering the biggest high school football games across Chicagoland on the IHSA playoff opening round edition of High School Lites, Friday at 11:00 p.m. In Class 8A, can Notre Dame get payback against Marist in after losing to the Redhawks back in September? Can Bolingbrook shock the IHSA prep football world once again and beat Naperville Central on the road? In 7A, can Downers Grove North hang with Libertyville? In 6A could the Thornton Township-Hinsdale South matchup be the best opening round game of the entire state playoffs?  

8A Playoffs (seeds in parentheses)

(25) O'Fallon at (8) Homewood-Flossmoor, 7:00pm

EDGY's Take: O'Fallon (5-4) makes the five-plus hour drive up north to face the Vikings. O'Fallon started off the season 0-4 and has won 5 straight games behind Illinois verbal commit RB Kentrail Moran who leads the O'Fallon offense. Can H-F (8-1) bounce back after a stunning 22-21 loss to rival Bolingbrook last week? Look for the Vikings to rely on its speed on both sides of the football and including WR/DB Kendric Pryor (Wisconsin) along with a strong group of offensive skills players. 

EDGY's Pick: H-F 41 O'Fallon 20 

(23) Marist at (10) Notre Dame, 7:00pm

EDGY's Take: This is an East Suburban Catholic Conference rematch from Week 4 when Marist (5-4) defeated Notre Dame (8-1) 49-42. The Dons will rely on senior QB Tyler Tsagalis (WIU) along with WR Tim Simon while Marist will counter with senior QB Brendan Skalitzky and the Redhawks also have big play potential on offense. Last possession wins? Be prepared for a ton of offense in  this terrific rematch.

EDGY's Pick: Notre Dame 48 Marist 47

(29) Fremd at (4) Oak Park-River Forest, 7:00pm

EDGY's Take: Fremd (5-4) started off the season at 5-1 but has since dropped three straight games-- not exactly the way the Vikings wanted to enter the state playoffs. Keep an eye on senior RB Kenney Lyke (Michigan State) along with junior QB Tom Josten. Oak Park-River Forest (8-1) have survived various injuries this season including losing standout junior QB Jeremy Hunt for the season. The Huskies have gotten it done with its running game led by senior RB Antonio Cannon along with a stellar defensive effort all season. Can Fremd dent the OPRF defense this week? Can the Vikings defense shut down the Huskies running game?

EDGY's Pick: OPRF 24 Fremd 14 

(27) Bolingbrook at (6) Naperville Central, 7:00pm

EDGY's Take: No one outside of Bolingbrook (5-4) saw the Raiders beating H-F last Friday, and thus getting into the state playoff. But the Raiders have indeed crashed the IHSA party. If Bolingbrook can avoid turnovers, look out. The Raiders defense is as solid as anyone in 8A and watch out for senior LB/TE Tuf Borland (Ohio State). Naperville Central (8-1) has seen its offense come alive late in the regular season behind senior QB Connor Joyce and a deep group of skills led by senior WR Emmanuel Rugamba (Iowa). Can the Raiders offense hold onto the football and finish drives with points? Can the Redhawks offense keep the Raiders defense on the field for extended drives?

EDGY's Pick: Naperville Central 21 Bolingbrook 14 

(17) Conant at (16) Stevenson, 7:30pm

EDGY's Take: You would expect a very close game when 16-seed Stevenson (6-3) will host 17-seed Conant (6-3) and I have a feeling that's exactly what we will get. Conant and head coach Bill Modelski will look towards senior QB Kyle Bradley along with do-it-all WR/DB Palmer Graham. Stevenson (6-3) and head coach Bill McNamara will let standout senior QB Jack Sorenson (Miami OH) lead the Patriots offense. Senior RB Tyler Vincent has also emerged as a big time running threat. Can the Conant defense hang with the Patriots? Can the Stevenson defense rise up?

EDGY's Pick: Stevenson 28 Conant 27 

(23) Bradley-Bourbonnais at (10) Glenbrook North, 7:00pm

EDGY's Take: If you needed an example that the new Class 7A 1-32 seeding system works, this game features two teams in Bradley (6-3) and Glenbrook North (8-1) who would have never dreamed of facing each other. Bradley and head coach Mike Kohl will rely on WR/DB Camron Harrwell and LB Mason Delong. Glenbrook North  and head coach Bob Pieper will give the football to senior RB John Clark early and often while QB Kevin Burnside is more than capable of getting the Spartans play action passing game on track. Can the Boilermakers defense shut down the Spartans running game? 

EDGY's Pick: Bradley 27 Glenbrook North 20

(30) Downers Grove North at (3) Libertyville, 7:00pm

EDGY's Take: Libertyville (9-0) has lived up to the preseason hype. The Wildcats are led by senior QB Riley Lees (Northwestern) and very strong line play on both sides of the football. Downers Grove North (5-4), coached by John Wander, play a very run-based conservative offense, who look to control time of possession and the football. Can the Trojans offense move the football against the Wildcats defense and keep Libertyville's offense (Lees in particular) on the sidelines? Can the DGN defense avoid giving up the big play? If North can avoid the early knockout punch from Libertyville, this could get interesting.

EDGY's Pick: Libertyville 27 Downers Grove North 14 

6A Playoffs

(13) Hinsdale South at (4) Thornton, 7:30pm

EDGY's Take: This game has the potential of being one of the best overall opening round games in the state.  Hinsdale South (6-3) has balance on offense with QB Sean McCormack and senior RB Marcus Curry while senior DE Josh King is the state's top ranked recruit in the Class of 2016. Thornton Township (8-1) has speed to burn with senior QB Sam Taylor III along with senior RB/DB Tionte McDaniel, both pivotal in the Wildcats offense. Can Hinsdale South's defense contain and slow down Thornton? Can the Wildcats defense shut down the Hornets offense?

EDGY's Pick: Thornton Township 28 Hinsdale South 27 

5A Playoffs

(13) DuSable at (4) King, 4:00pm at Gately Stadium

EDGY's Take: This Class 5A opening round game features two Chicago Public League teams. King (7-2), with veteran head coach Lonnie Williams at the helm, has been battle tested this season coming out of the CPL Illini Land of Lincoln conference. DuSable (6-3) and head coach Robert Anderson will need to bounce back from a 22-21 loss to Washington last week.  King senior WR Phillip Powell (WIU) is an impact player for the Jaguars.

EDGY's Pick: King 37 DuSable 12 

(12) Rich Central at (5) St. Laurence, 7:00pm

EDGY's Take:  St. Laurence (7-2) is having a terrific season behind QB Alex Martinez and RB Fayezon Smart—part of a Vikings offense that has been generating points in bunches all year. Rich Central (6-3) also has a potent offense. Keep an eye on RB Deshawn Jones and with QB Jyran Mitchell. Can the Vikings defense contain the Olympians offense? Can the Olympians defense find an answer for the Vikings passing attack? 

EDGY's Pick: St. Laurence 35 Rich Central 21 

Public League champion Simeon remains clear No. 1 in latest Preps Power Rankings

Public League champion Simeon remains clear No. 1 in latest Preps Power Rankings

The Class 1A and 2A regionals begin this week and the regular season is finishing up for every other team in the state. We're getting that much closer to state titles being decided in Peoria. Simeon remains the clear No. 1 in the latest Power Rankings after beating No. 4 Whitney Young and No. 2 Orr by double digits on the way to earning a third straight Public League Playoff title, while a couple of familiar faces are back in the tail end of the rankings.

1. Simeon (25-3, 9-0) (1) -- Simeon stays at No. 1 after winning the Public League Playoffs for the third consecutive year. The Wolverines have now defeated teams No. 2 through No. 6 in the Preps Power Rankings for a 6-0 record on the season in which the average margin of victory has been 14.5 points per game. The clear No. 1 in the state of Illinois, Simeon has the week off before the Class 4A playoffs.

2. Orr (22-4, 9-0) (2) -- Orr put up a good fight but they ultimately fell short to No. 1 Simeon in the Public League Playoff title game. The Spartans did gain revenge on No. 3 Curie, however, with a big semifinal win on Friday. Orr has to forget the title loss ahead of the Class 2A Playoffs that begin this week as the Spartans try to repeat as champions.

3. Curie (23-4, 8-1) (3) -- The Condors have only lost to No. 1 and No. 2 when it comes to in-state losses as they remain one of the most complete and balanced teams in the state. Curie has the week off before the IHSA Playoffs.

4. Whitney Young (22-7, 7-2) (4) -- Whitney Young earned a huge quarterfinal win over Morgan Park before falling to Simeon in the Public League Playoff semifinals. The Dolphins also have the week off before they attempt to repeat as Class 4A champions. 

5. Morgan Park (18-9, 7-2) (5) Disappointing result for the Mustangs as they lost on a buzzer-beater in the Public League Playoffs to Whitney Young. Defending champions in Class 3A, the Mustangs will rest this week before the playoffs begin.

6. Fenwick (18-7, 8-0) (8) -- The Friars earned two wins during the week as they beat Marmion while also getting a huge conference road win at Loyola. Fenwick will battle Taft during the week.

7. New Trier (22-3, 8-1) (9) -- New Trier had one of the best weeks of any team in the area as they picked up wins over Maine South and Evanston. Now the leaders in the rugged CSL South, the Trevians have some more tough games against Niles North and Glenbrook North this week. 

8. Evanston (20-5, 8-2) (6) -- Evanston's red-hot recent play was finally slowed down as they fell to rival New Trier. The Wildkits will try to bounce back when they play Vernon Hills in a Central Suburban crossover this week.

9. Oak Park-River Forest (21-5, 12-0) (11) -- The Huskies finished the West Suburban Silver season unbeaten following wins over York and Proviso West. OPRF gets a great test right before the playoffs when they face Hinsdale South in the West Suburban championship game.

10. Benet (21-4) (6-1) (12) -- Two wins for the Redwings this week when they beat Joliet Catholic and Stevenson. Things aren't easy for Benet this week as they head to Marian Catholic before hosting Carmel in two tough ESCC games. 

11. West Aurora (19-4, 8-0) (13) -- The winning streak is now 11 for the Blackhawks after beating South Elgin. West Aurora will play Bartlett and crosstown rival East Aurora this week as they try to keep the momentum going into the playoffs. 

12. Marist (23-4, 6-2) (15) -- Marist picked up a double-digit win over St. Patrick during the week as they prepare for the Class 4A draw. The RedHawks will have an ESCC game against Marian Central this week. 

13. Niles North (22-4, 5-4) (8) -- The Vikings fell to CSL South rival Maine South and followed that up with an overtime win over a tough Wisconsin team in St. Catherine's. The Vikings get a crack at conference leader New Trier this week before playing Maine West in a tough Central Suburban crossover. 

14. Marian Catholic (20-4, 5-3) (16) -- Three wins for the Spartans during the week as they knocked off Nazareth, Rich Central and Marian Central. Marian Catholic gets a tough test this week when they host Benet in its final ESCC game.

15. Naperville North (23-2, 14-1) (17) -- The Huskies have won eight straight games as they clinched at least a share of the DuPage Valley Conference with a win over Waubonsie Valley this week. Naperville North hosts Wheaton-Warrenville South this week to decide the DVC title.

16. DePaul Prep (20-6, 5-3) (19) -- Picking up a convincing double-digit win over Mount Carmel, the Rams got back on track after the loss to Brother Rice. DePaul Prep will host Montini during the week as they prepare for Class 3A. 

17. Loyola (21-6, 5-3) (10) -- Tough recent stretch for the Ramblers as they fell to St. Joseph and Fenwick to fall out of the Catholic League Blue race. Loyola hosts Steinmetz for a tune-up this week. 

18. Hillcrest (21-5, 13-0) (21) -- Hillcrest survived a tight win over T.F. North before winning convincingly against Oak Forest. The Hawks have the week off as they prep for Class 3A. 

19. Leo (19-5, 8-0) (22) -- Finishing the regular season with a big win over Marmion, the Lions will be one of the area teams to watch in the Class 2A playoffs as they are in the Marshall Regional. 

20. Homewood-Flossmoor (16-6, 7-1) (23) -- Another huge win for Homewood-Flossmoor as the Vikings took down Bolingbrook to keep a lead in the SouthWest Suburban Blue. Homewood-Flossmoor goes on the road this week to battle Sandburg and Lockport. 

21. Hinsdale South (20-5, 10-2) (24) -- The Hornets stayed hot with wins over Addison Trail and Proviso East as they clinched the West Suburban Gold. Hinsdale South has a tough battle against Oak Park-River Forest in the West Suburban championship game this week. 

22. St. Viator (22-5, 8-0) (25) -- The Lions picked up some wins against Carmel and Bartlett. St. Viator will try to close out the ESCC with an undefeated record when they play Nazareth this week. 

23. Bolingbrook (17-6, 5-3) (18) -- Bolingbrook fell out of the SouthWest Suburban Blue conference race when they lost to Homewood-Flossmoor. The Raiders still have some tough games to close out the regular season when they play Lincoln-Way East and Stagg.

24. Maine South (20-7, 6-4) (NR) -- Huge win for Maine South as they knocked off Niles North after losing to New Trier in overtime earlier in the week. The Hawks close out the regular season with a Central Suburban Crossover against Highland Park.

25. Willowbrook (22-5, 9-3) (NR) -- Willowbrook is back in the rankings by earning three double-digit wins over Morton, Leyden and Downers South. The Warriors have only lost to ranked teams like West Aurora and Hinsdale South lately as they've been playing well. 

Five top-25 matchups highlight loaded episode of High School Lites

Five top-25 matchups highlight loaded episode of High School Lites

High School Lites had five matchups between top-25 teams on Friday night as the Public League Playoff semifinals and big matchups in the CSL South, Catholic League Blue and SouthWest Suburban Blue took shape.

Be sure to follow us on Twitter @NBCSPreps for the latest news and scores for IHSA basketball.

Wintrust Athlete of the Week: Palatine's Eduardo Orozco

Saint Xavier Team of the Week: Maine West girls basketball

Highlights

No. 1 Simeon holds off No. 4 Whitney Young

No. 2 Orr gets revenge on No. 3 Curie

No. 9 New Trier takes down No. 6 Evanston

No. 8 Fenwick handles No. 10 Loyola Academy

No. 23 Homewood-Flossmoor rallies past No. 18 Bolingbrook

Oswego East upsets No. 20 Joliet Central

Andrew shuts down Thornridge

Sandburg tops Lockport in OT

Richards runs by Shepard

Maine West captures second straight girls basketball regional title