Preps Talk

High School Lites quarterfinal football capsules and picks


High School Lites quarterfinal football capsules and picks

NBC Sports Chicago will have cameras covering the biggest high school football games across Chicagoland on the IHSA playoffs' quarterfinal edition of High School Lites, Saturday at 11:00 p.m. Can we expect a shootout when Naperville Central travels to Maine South?  Can Loyola win on the South Side when they take on Marist? Can Lake Zurich win on the road at St. Rita? Also, can Lemont take down 5A top seed Phillips at Gately Stadium?

All games Saturday. Rankings shown reflect class seeds.

Class 8A

#13 Naperville Central (9-2) at #5 Maine South (10-1), 1:00 p.m. 

EDGY's Take: Naperville Central was able to hold off H-F last Friday 31-28 as the Redhawks stopped the Vikings in the red zone with under a minute to play. Central has plenty to offer including junior QB Payton Thorne, senior RB AJ Deinhart and senior WR Jayden Reed (Western Michigan).  Maine South and head coach Dave Inserra canmatch score-for-score. Their offense features senior RB Fotis Kokosioulis (NIU), senior QB John O'Sullivan and a deep group of receivers led by senior WR/S Cam Stacy.  Can either team's defense slow down and contain each other's offense on Saturday? I fully except a tight, back and forth game here. 

EDGY's Pick: Maine South 41 Naperville Central 35

#6 Loyola (10-1) at #3 Marist (11-0), 7:00 p.m.

EDGY's Take: Loyola just seems to be getting stronger and better as the season progresses. The Ramblers features senior QB Quinn Boyle. He, along with the always-tough Loyola defensive unit represent the biggest threats. First year head coach Ron Dawczak of Marist has a ton of talent on both sides of the football. Junior QB Mike Markett has several weapons, including RB Delonte Harrell, TE TJ Ivy (Indiana) and a deep group of receivers. The Redhawks defense also has talent with the likes of DE Gavin McCabe (Indiana) and DT Elijah Teague (Minnesota). Can Marist go toe-to-toe with the CCL Blue's finest? The battle in the trenches alone will be well worth the price of admission. 

EDGY's Pick: Marist 27 Loyola 21

Class 7A

#17 Benet  (8-3) at #9 Lincoln-Way Central (10-1), 1:00 p.m.

EDGY's Take: Benet Academy, under head coach Pat New, has relied on a tough defense all season long. The Redwings have also needed to reload on offense because of various injuries, but they're hitting their stride in the postseason. Keep an eye on senior LB Devin Petersen, junior RB Ben Hickey and sophomore QB Colin Gillespie. Lincoln-Way Central is back in the quarterfinals for the first time since 2000. Head coach Jeremy Cordell will rely on a senior-heavy squad, paced by a strong running game which features FB Mike Morgan and RB Matt Pollack. Senior SS Peyton Nigro is a leader on the defensive side of the ball. Can Lincoln-Way Central run the football consistently against the Benet defense? Can the Redwings offense keep the Knights defense off balance? 

EDGY's Pick: Lincoln Way Central 21 Benet Academy 20

#4 Batavia (10-1) at #12 Lincoln-Way West (9-2), 1:00 p.m.

EDGY's Take: Batavia and head coach Dennis Piron have won two straight nail biters to make the 7A quarterfinal round. The Bulldogs defense has been the team's strength all season. Keep an eye on senior SS Michael Niemiec, junior D-1 level LB Michael Jansey and LB Luke Weerts. The Batavia offense has also been solid, led by QB Riley Cooper (1,718 yards 21 touchdowns). Lincoln-Way West plays hard-nosed, no-nonsense football under head coach Dave Ernst. The Warriors are led by a strong running game with sophomore RB Caleb Marconi. Their speedy defense is led by senior S Matt Murphy and senior OLB Jake Price. Can West run the football against the Batavia defense?

EDGY's Pick: Batavia 21 Lincoln-Way West 13

#3 Lake Zurich (11-0) at #11 St. Rita (9-2), 5:00 p.m.

EDGY's Take: Lake Zurich and first year head coach Luke Mertens (who once coached at St. Rita) will travel to the South Side on Saturday. The Bears will bring a balanced offense, led by QB Evan Lewandowski and RB/LB Joey Stutzman along. The are quick and tough-as-nails on defense. Linebacker Jack Sanborn (Wisconsin) leads the unit. St. Rita and had coach Todd Kuska has played lineup roulette all season long because of injuries; however, they keep finding ways to win. The Mustangs will run the football with RB Chris Childers (Indiana State) and a big, very physical offensive line. On defense, the Mustangs plays very fast and physical. Can St. Rita run the football consistently against the Lake Zurich defense?

EDGY's Pick: Lake Zurich 24 St. Rita 17

Class 6A

#4 Willowbrook (10-1) at #1 Prairie Ridge (11-0), Nov. 11, 1:00 p.m.

EDGY's Take: Willowbrook is making its second straight quarterfinal appearance. They remain the lone West Suburban Conference team in the state playoff field. Coach Nick Hildreth's Warriors will have dominant senior RB/LB Jack Jessen (Northwestern wrestling) in their arsenal. Their defense held a very strong DeKalb running game to just 87 yards in a 29-10 win last week. Prairie Ridge got a last minute, come from behind, miraculous game winning touchdown to beat rival Cary-Grove 17-13. Samson Evans, who scored the game-winning 66-yard TD last week, leads the punishing option attack, They also feature OL/DL Jeff Jenkins (Iowa) and a very quick defense led by LB Joe Perhats and LB Jacob Ommen. Can Willowbrook find the football and contain Samson Evans? Can Prairie Ridge contain Jack Jessen?

EDGY's Pick: Prairie Ridge 24 Willowbrook 14

#7 Hoffman Estates (9-2) at #14 Belvidere North (7-4), 4:00 p.m.

EDGY's Take: The Hoffman Estates Hawks, with head coach Tim Heyse, are soaring so far in the postseason. They will rely on their passing game, behind QB Austin Coalson and a deep group of receivers including WR/LB Jaylan Alexander, senior WR Jayvon Blissett and senior WR/DB Trevon Hall. Belvidere North and head coach Jeff Beck will want to run the football-- it will be their first, second and third option. Keep an eye on QB Callahan Diericks and FB Cruz Garza. Can Hoffman Estates get the football back from the Belvidere North offense? Can the Blue Thunder defense match up against the speedy and athletic Hawks' offensive skills department?

EDGY's Pick: Hoffman Estates 27 Belvidere North 20

#13 Providence Catholic (7-4) at #8 St. Laurence (8-3), 2:00 p.m.

EDGY's Take: Providence Catholic had little issue beating Normal West last week 33-7. The running game, led by RB De'Shon Gavin, QB Caden Kalinowski and a big offensive line took control in the win. St. Laurence, once again, got a huge playoff performance from RB Tori Clinton. The Vikings defense limited a strong Hinsdale South passing attack en route to a 32-16 win. Can the Providence defense limit Tori Clinton's explosive plays? Can the Celtics depth (especially on the offensive and defensive line) be a difference maker on Saturday?

EDGY's Pick: Providence Catholic 28 St. Laurence 21

Class 5A

#1 Phillips (11-0) vs. #4 Lemont (10-1) at Chicago's Gately Stadium, 1:00 p.m.

EDGY's Take: Phillips, featuring head coach Troy McAllister, rolled over Solorio 55-14 as RB/LB Craig Elmore continues to make a serious case as Chicagoland Player of the Year.  The Wildcats have a roster loaded with college level talent including QB J'Bore Gibbs (South Dakota State), DL Queneil Morrison (NIU) and DE Terrance Taylor (Toledo). They also have an underclassmen group that features another five or six D-1 level prospects. Lemont and head coach Bret Kooi will rely on a balanced offense led by QB Marcus Mathias, RB Anthony Martin and WR Austin Nagel. They also have a defense that has been a strength all season. Can Lemont win time of possession against the Wildcats defense? Can Phillips consistently move the football against the Indians defense? 

EDGY's Pick: Phillips 28 Lemont 17

Class 4A

#2 Raby (10-1) vs. #3 Dixon (10-1) at Chicago's Hanson Stadium, 6:00 p.m.

EDGY's Take: Raby and head coach Deangelo Dereef trailed Richmond-Burton 18-14 at the half last week before QB Tyler Turnipseed and the Raiders offense kicked things into high gear. They ran away in the second half, rolling to a 38-18 win. Dixon will look to hit the road this week and play Raby on the artificial surface at Hanson Stadium. The Dukes feature RB Arthur Cox and good overall team speed. Can Dixon play well in the big city on Saturday? 

EDGY's Pick: Raby 35 Dixon 29

Class 3A

#8 Wilmington (10-1) at #5 IC Catholic (10-1), 5:00 p.m.

EDGY's Take: Wilmington and veteran head coach Jeff Reents will rely heavily on the power-running option offense led by QB Conner Dempsay along with RB Matteo Lombardi. Immaculate Conception and head coach Bill Kreft will look towards his big-play offense with QB CJ West and RB Lazerick Eatman. The Knights also feature two talented twins in junior WR/LB Khali and WR/DB Khalil Saunders, both of whom are drawing recruiting looks this fall. Can Wilmington play ball control and run the football against the IC defense? Can the Wildcats defense slow down the Knights multiple weapon offense?

EDGY's Pick: Immaculate Conception 34 Wilmington 20

Recruiting news and notes: Nazareth Academy's Devin Blakley verbally commits to Miami of Ohio


Recruiting news and notes: Nazareth Academy's Devin Blakley verbally commits to Miami of Ohio

Nazareth Academy junior three star ranked defensive back Devin Blakley (5-foot-10, 190 pounds) decided to give Miami of Ohio his verbal commitment earlier this week.

"Miami of Ohio is just a great fit for me so I decided to commit," Blakley said. "I've known for a while now that Miami was the place for me. I just didn't see any reason to keep waiting so I called up the coaches and committed."

Blakley, who had offers from the likes of Iowa State and Air Force long with multiple Mid American Conference schools is the second State of Illinois pledge for the Redhawks Class of 2019. Blakley joins Simeon QB Alante Brown who earlier this month gave Miami of Ohio his verbal commitment. 

New Trier junior three star ranked athlete recruit Duke Olges (6-foot-5, 240 pounds) has been looking harder at his multiple college offers and options. Olges, who has been playing baseball for the Trevians this spring will make two unofficial visits this weekend then will begin to narrow down his favorite schools.

"My plan is to go see Duke and Virginia this weekend and see how everything goes with those visits," according to Olges. "After that I'm either going to narrow things down to a top schools list or I might even make a decision. I just feel that I have some great offers right now and don't want to wait too long in making a decision. Playing the waiting game is a risk because kids are already starting to make decisions. I don't want to miss out and lose some great offers."

Stevenson junior inside linebacker recruit Maema Njongmeta (6-foot-1, 210 pounds) has continued to add scholarship offers this spring including recent offers from both NIU and Toledo. Njongmeta was also able to head out east over his recent spring break and made a handful of college visits.

"I was able to go out to visit Princeton, Army and Penn over my spring break then we headed up to Canada to visit with some family," Njongmeta said. "All three visits I felt went very well and overall it was a fun trip. I thought it was very beneficial to see all three schools in person. Army has the whole military stigma but it was good to see the academy in person. It was great to see what West Point and academy life is all about in person and it was super cool. Every school brings something different to the table. I was able to definitely get a better feel for each school I visited."

Njongmeta has reached also out to someone very familiar with the recruiting process in former Stevenson and current Northwestern super back Cameron Green.

"We have a wonderful lady who works at our school who was able to get me in touch with Cameron Green. I knew of Cameron since I was in eight grade but didn't know him at all. He's a great guy and has been a big help for me. He's given me some good advice and is someone who's been through the process and knows what I'm going through with the recruiting process."

Urban Prep Bronzeville junior defensive back Jeremiah Webb (6-foot-1, 187 pounds) was able to add his first scholarship offer earlier this week from Northern Illinois University. 

"I'm still really excited (about adding his first offer from NIU) and my phone has been blowing up," Webb said. "I've been working hard for a long time now and it just feels good to add my first offer from NIU."

Webb has been eyeing the NIU Huskies program for some time now.

"I've been looking into NIU for a long time. They have a great, winning program and have been to multiple bowl games over the years. NIU is also close to home and I've been to NIU for a camp last summer and I also went to the NIU spring game. It's great to get my first offer from such a good program like NIU."

Webb has also drawn recruiting attention from Northern Iowa, Iowa State, Cornell and Holy Cross so far this spring. 

Recruiting news and notes: Simeon's Alante Brown verbally commits to Miami of Ohio


Recruiting news and notes: Simeon's Alante Brown verbally commits to Miami of Ohio

Simeon junior quarterback Alante Brown (5-foot-10, 170 pounds) earlier this week decided to give Miami of Ohio his verbal commitment. Brown, who narrowed down his Top 4 schools to the Redhawks along with NIU, Western Michigan and Toledo pointed towards a few key reasons he gave Miami of Ohio his commitment.

"I was able to see everything that Miami has to offer," Brown said. "They offer a great education and very strong overall academics. The football program is heading in the right direction plus they already have a younger team. I'm hoping to help bring in even more kids in my class and I've already started to work on a few guys from here about Miami."

West Aurora sophomore defensive tackle Denver Warren (6-foot-3, 300 pounds) has been one of the top recruit names to watch in the Class of 202 in Illinois. Warren, who has scholarship offers from the likes of Illinois, Indiana, Michigan State and Iowa State made a recent visit to Illinois.

"I had a good visit to Illinois," according to Warren. "They have a great overall energy and I just liked it. Illinois also has a strong brotherhood between the players and the coaches. The coaching staff at Illinois is pretty amazing. It was my first time ever at Illinois and I liked the facilities and the stadium. Illinois is also pretty close to home. I just came away impressed with the bond between the players and the coaches at Illinois."

Warren is also planning to transfer at the end of the spring semester to IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida. 

"It's a great opportunity and I want to go and get better and take my game to the highest level. My Mom and I have looked really hard at everything and I made my final decision and talked to my coaches about it. I'm going to visit IMG Academy on May 10th and 11th and I'll go back to register for school on July 14th."

St. Charles North junior three-star ranked defensive back Tyler Nubin (6-foot-2, 185 pounds) made a verbal commitment to Minnesota Thursday morning.

"I had a really good visit to Minnesota," Nubin said. "I spent the day with Coach (PJ) Fleck and the defensive backs coach Jahmile Addae. Their coaching staff is just unbelievable and the facilities are top notch."

Nubin held 16 scholarship offers this spring, including six offers from the Big Ten conference.  

Momence junior three-star ranked athlete Jason Bargy (6-foot-5, 240 pounds) has drawn nine Power 5 scholarship offers so far this spring and made a recent visit to Illinois.

"I wanted to see the tempo and how the coaches get after the players," Bargy told Orange and's Doug Buschon. "How the guys interact with each other. "

Bargy, who doesn't plan to announce any Top schools list is planning to make a college decision "over the next few months."