Preps Talk

High School Lites Preview: Week 1


High School Lites Preview: Week 1

CSN Chicago will have cameras covering the biggest high school football games across Chicagoland on the season premiere of High School Lites, tonight at 11:00 p.m., just after White Sox baseball. The No. 1 team in the @CSNPreps Power Rankings, Homewood-Flossmoor, travels to Downers Grove South to take on the Mustangs. We’ll also spotlight a key rivalry game as Providence hosts Joliet Catholic. Mount Carmel takes on Marist under the lights at Soldier Field. Will Glenbard North or Naperville Central survive the first test in the new DuPage Valley Conference? 

St. Rita vs. Malvern Prep (PA), 4:00 p.m. at Soldier Field

EDGY's Take: This game is part of the annual Preseason Prep Bowl at Soldier Field. St. Rita and head coach Todd Kuska will take on the Friars out of Eastern Pennsylvania, who went 7-4 last season and welcome back 12 returning starters. The St. Rita Mustangs will look to reload this season with just seven starters back, including three on offense. Senior offensive lineman Drew Walega and senior linebacker Mike Tiernan are names to watch for St. Rita. Look for the Mustangs to focus on finding some key offensive playmakers in this opening game.

EDGY's Pick: St. Rita 17, Malvern Prep 14

King vs. Whitney Young, 5:00 p.m. at Rockne Stadium

EDGY's Take: King posted an 8-3 record under head coach Lonnie Williams last season, and the Jaguars have a standout name in senior wide receiver Phillip Powell (Western Illinois). Whitney Young is looking to bounce back under veteran head coach Tim Franken after a rare down season in 2014.

EDGY's Pick: King 31, Whitney Young 14

[MORE PREPS: CSN Preps Top 25 Preseason Power Rankings]

No. 2 Mount Carmel vs. Marist, 7:00 p.m. at Soldier Field

EDGY's Take: The Caravan are highly ranked for many good reasons, most importantly the return of senior quarterback Anthony Thompson (NIU) and a deep group of offensive skills players. Marist, under head coach Pat Dunne, might be unranked but they are loaded on the offensive side of the ball. The Redhawks have returning seven starters on offense, including senior quarterback Brendan Skalitzky and senior running back Darshon McCullough (South Dakota State). If the Redhawks defense can slow down the Caravan option/running game then this one could be a much closer game than many may think.

EDGY's Pick: Mount Carmel 24, Marist 21

No. 10 Phillips vs. Fenwick, 7:00 p.m.

EDGY's Take: Fenwick and head coach Gene Nudo will not care one bit about Phillips and its lofty preseason ranking. The Friars look to reload at some key spots this season, most importantly on the offense line with just senior Joe Calcagno the only returning starter. Phillips and head coach Tim McAllister have a roster loaded with speed and talent, including quarterback Quayvon Skanes (UConn). The Wildcats defense also has plenty of talent, including senior linebacker Amani Jones (Iowa) and senior defensive tackle Amir Watts (several major DI offers). Can Skanes make a smooth transition under center for Phillips? Can Fenwick handle the speed of Phillips?

EDGY's Pick: Phillips 31, Fenwick 21

Romeoville vs. Hinsdale South, 7:00 p.m.

EDGY's Take: Hinsdale South just missed making the @CSNPreps Power Rankings. Hornets head coach Mike Barry's team features the state's top ranked recruit in senior defensive end Josh King. Romeoville has a new head coach in alumn and former Notre Dame/NFL star Oliver Gibson. The Spartans are looking to improve after a 2-7 record in 2014.

EDGY's Pick: Hinsdale South 35, Romeoville 14

[MORE PREPS: Top 5 can't miss games in Chicagoland in 2015]

Crystal Lake South vs. Marian Central Catholic, 7:15 p.m.

EDGY's Take: Marian Central Catholic has a new head coach in former Johnsburg coach Mike Maloney. Look for the Hurricanes to mix in the run a bit more this season, while also throwing the ball as usual. Crystal Lake South and head coach Chuck Ahsmann will look towards his line play, led by senior Kevin Amren (6-foot-3, 280 pounds). The Hurricanes will counter with senior offensive/defensive lineman Gavin Dineen (6-foot-3, 265 pounds).

EDGY's Pick: Marian Central Catholic 27, Crystal Lake South 17

Cary-Grove vs. Prairie Ridge, 7:15 p.m.

EDGY's Take: Both are power programs in the Fox Valley Conference and this crossover game will have a playoff feel. Prairie Ridge welcomes back a ton of starters from last season. Keep an eye on sophomore quarterback Samson Evans and senior fullback Nate Griffin. Cary-Grove and head coach Brad Seaburg will need to reload this season. The Trojans will rely heavily on junior running back/linebacker Ty Pennington. Expect a quick, run heavy game between these two.

EDGY's Pick: Prairie Ridge 21, Cary-Grove 14

No. 12 Providence Catholic vs. No. 13 Joliet Catholic, 7:30 p.m.

EDGY's Take: Joliet Catholic has the upper hand in this great Will County showdown when it comes to experience. The Hilltoppers bring back a ton of experience and talent, especially up front, with senior defensive lineman/tight end Ken Aguirre (6-foot-2, 290 pounds), senior guard/defensive tackle Zeveyon Furcron (6-foot-2, 305 pounds) and senior offensive lineman Tyler Witt (6-foot- 3, 305 pounds). Providence Catholic and head coach Mark Coglianese put away the 2014 Class 7A state title trophy and try to find some replacements in the offensive skills department, with the exception of junior running back Richie Warfield. He's expected to carry a heavier load this fall. Can the young and talented Celtics defense slow down the Hilltoppers ground-and-pound attack?

EDGY's Pick: Providence Catholic 27, JCA 26

[MORE PREPS: The beauty that is high school football season]

No. 14 Montini Catholic vs. No. 18 Maine South, 7:30 p.m.

EDGY's Take: Lots of familiar faces on both sidelines for this terrific opening game. Both Montini Catholic and Maine South run the same offense, and both are expect to do great things this fall. Maine South will look towards three-year starting quarterback Brian Collis, along with senior offensive/defensive lineman Liam O'Sullivan (Cincinnati) and junior guard Kevin Jarvis. Montini Catholic will counter with its explosive offense. Keep an eye on senior quarterback Justin Blake, along with junior running back Prince Walker and a deep group of receivers led by senior Tyler Millikan. Blake, who started at wide receiver last season, brings speed and a serious pass/run option this fall for the Broncos.

EDGY's Pick: Montini Catholic 38, Maine South 31

No. 19 Oswego vs. No. 20 Batavia, 7:30 p.m.

EDGY's Take: Another great non-conference opener. Batavia and head coach Dennis Piron welcome back nine starters (five offense, four defense) and are led by senior quarterback Kyle Niemiec and senior linebacker Colin Thurston. Oswego and head coach Brian Cooney counter with senior quarterback Steven Frank, one of the state's top signal-callers, while also focusing on the rushing attack. Can Oswego's defense get the ball back from the Batavia offense? Can the Batavia defense defend the play=action pass and the deep ball from Oswego?

EDGY's Pick: Oswego 27, Batavia 24

No. 15 Glenbard North vs. No. 5 Naperville Central, 7:30 p.m.

EDGY's Take: The first of a weekly DuPage Valley 'Game of the Week' of sorts is starting this season as the newly realigned DVC (Metea Valley/Neuqua Valley/Waubonsie Valley) features no weeks off whatsoever. Naperville Central brings back experience on offense with senior quarterback Connor Joyce, senior wide receiver Emmanuel Rugamba (Iowa) and three starters on the offensive line. Glenbard North and head coach Ryan Wilkens feature a potent backfield with senior Devion Hodges and junio Vittorio Tricase, while the defense is led by senior defensive lineman Lucas Cherry and senior defensive back Justin Pitts. Can the Redhawks defense slow down the speedy backs from Glenbard North? Can Glenbard North keep the Redhawks offense in check? I see the potential for a close game.

EDGY's Pick: Naperville Central 28, Glenbard North 27 OT

Downers Grove South vs. No. 1 Homewood-Flossmoor, 7:30 p.m.

EDGY's Take: The Vikings, the consensus top-ranked team in Chicagoland, open up the season on the road as they will look to live up to the hype in 2015. The Vikings rely on senior quarterback Bryce Gray, plus senior running backs twins Devonte Harley-Hampton and Deante Harley-Hampton, along with a very quick and physical team on both sides of the ball. Downers Grove South features four-star ranked senior offensive tackle Erik Swenson (Michigan). The Mustangs are also reloading, in particular, in the offensive skills department.

EDGY's Pick: Homewood-Flossmoor 41, Downers Grove South 10

[#DriveVikings: Follow DRIVE all season long on Twitter!]

Saturday's notable games

No. 3 Glenbard West vs. No. 16 Bolingbrook, 1:30 p.m.
No. 4 Simeon vs East St. Louis, 6:00 p.m. at Gately Stadium
Brother Rice at Brother Rice (MI), 2:30 p.m.
South Elgin vs. St. Charles East, 1:30 p.m.

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


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