Preps Talk

High School Lites semifinal football capsules and picks


High School Lites semifinal football capsules and picks

NBC Sports Chicago will have cameras covering the biggest high school football games across Chicagoland on the IHSA playoffs' semifinal round edition of High School Lites, Saturday at 11:00 p.m. Who wins the Revenge Bowl in Frankfort between Maine South and Lincoln-Way East?  Can Loyola travel well and beat Edwardsville? Can Mount Carmel keep rolling in the postseason and defeat Lake Zurich? Also, can the Chicago Public League make a statement, with Phillips and Raby both making it to the IHSA state finals next weekend in DeKalb?

All games Saturday. Rankings shown reflect class seeds.

Class 8A

#5 Maine South (11-1) at #1 Lincoln-Way East (12-0), 6:00 p.m.

EDGY's Take: Lincoln-Way East defeated Maine South 28-26 back in Week 5 as the Griffins defense held Maine South running back Fotis Kokosioulis to just 17 yards rushing. Look for South to make some adjustments on offense this time around. The Hawks' offense remains one of the state's most dangerous attacks.  Can the East defense keep the Maine South offense in check? Can the Lincoln-Way East offense, led by senior QB Brendan Morrissey, run the football consistently again against the Maine South defense? Revenge factor for both teams here since East beat the Hawks back in Week 2 while Maine South ended the Griffins season at East last season. Will weather/wind be a factor?

EDGY's Pick: Lincoln-Way East 24 Maine South 21

Loyola Academy (11-1) at Edwardsville (9-3), 2:00 p.m.

EDGY's Take: Loyola will take the 289-mile drive to Edwardsville to take on a Tigers team that has been on fire ever since starting the season 0-3. Edwardsville, under head coach Matt Martin, features a young, but speedy offensive skills group led by junior QB Kendall Abdur-Rahman and freshman RB Justin Johnson. Loyola has received a big season from QB Quinn Boyle and several key backups in an injury-plagued season. Last week at Marist, the Ramblers received a breakout performance from RB Trevor Cabanban. Can Loyola continue to win in the postseason as the injuries keep mounting? Can Edwardsville run the football consistently against one of the state's top defenses? Also, can the Ramblers defense avoid giving up the big play against an Edwardsville team that's lived by the big play allseason?

EDGY's Pick: Loyola 28 Edwardsville 21

Class 7A

Benet Academy (9-3) vs. Batavia (11-1) at Benedictine University, 1:00 p.m.

EDGY's Take: Benet Academy got another big game from their defense unit in last week's 14-10 win over Lincoln-Way Central. Batavia trailed 10-0 at the half to Lincoln-Way West, but took full advantage of eight West turnovers for the 20-10 come-from-behind win. Both Batavia and Benet Academy play great defense, while their offenses want to establish the run. That said, both are capable of a play-action passing game. Can the Benet Academy defense lock down QB Riley Cooper and the Batavia offense? Can the Batavia defense, led by senior safety Michael Niemiec and a strong front seven, derail Redwings' RB Ben Hickey and QB Colin Gillespie? Last possession wins?

EDGY's Pick: Batavia 14 Benet Academy 13

Mt. Carmel (9-3) at Lake Zurich (12-0), 1:00 p.m.

EDGY's Take: Mount Carmel came out on fire in last week's 21-18 win over East St. Louis. QB Rad Premovic was sharp running the Caravan's veer option game while the defense, paced by senior OL/DL Jeremy Cooper, had a strong performance as well. Lake Zurich walloped St. Rita last week 49-17. The Bears offense was rolling behind senior QB Evan Lewandowski and senior RB/LB Joey Stutzman. Can the Lake Zurich defense contain the Caravan's veer option game? Can the Mount Carmel defense tame a Lake Zurich offense that's capable of both the run and the pass? How healthy is Mt. Carmel heading into this game? 

EDGY's Pick: Lake Zurich 31 Mount Carmel 21

Class 6A

Prairie Ridge (12-0) at Hoffman Estates (10-2), 4:00 p.m.

EDGY's Take: Prairie Ridge will hit the road this week and will rely on its option game led by senior QB Samson Evans (Iowa). They have a big, physical offensive line led by OL/DL Jeff Jenkins (Iowa) and a speedy defense led by senior LB Joe Perhats. Hoffman Estates has a ton of skills and speed. QB Austin Coalson will look to WR/LB Jaylan Alexander (Purdue), WR/DB Jayvon Blissert and WR/DB Trevon Hall to carry the load. Can the Hoffman Estates defense slow down the Wolves' option game? Can the Prairie Ridge defense contain the speedy Hawks offensive skills?

EDGY's Pick: Prairie Ridge 31 Hoffman Estates 27

Nazareth Academy (11-1) at Providence Catholic (8-4), 2:00 p.m.

EDGY's Take: Nazareth Academy pulled off a big 20-17 win on the road last Saturday on Sacred Heart-Griffin's field. The Roadrunners' defense put the brakes on a very strong Cyclones running game. Nazareth's offense has been a strength all season, led by QB Bobby Grimes, RB/DB Devin Blakely and a deep core of receivers. Last week, Providence Catholic was able to wear down St. Laurence 49-24 as the Celtics again got a big game from its read option offense, led by RB De'Shon Gavin (WIU) and QB Cade Kalinowski. Can Providence run the football against the Nazareth defense? Can the Celtics' defense defend and contain the multiple weapons in the Nazareth offense?

EDGY's Pick: Providence Catholic 29 Nazareth Academy 28

Class 5A

Phillips (12-0) at Sterling (12-0), 2:00 p.m.

EDGY's Take: Last week, Phillips relied on their defense to set the tone. Then, the offense went to the air behind QB J'Bore Gibbs and company. It resulted in a 15-3 win over Lemont. The Wildcats feature college-level talent all over the field. Keep an eye on RB/LB Craig Elmore, WR/DB Fabian McCray, TE Jaleel Billingsly, DE Terrance Taylor (Toledo) and DT Queneil Morrissey (NIU). Sterling has a potent ground game, led by RB Nyrell Sullivan and a good-sized, athletic line. It's led by senior OL/DL Tyler Willman. QB Trey Morse is also a very capable passer and has several top targets. Can Sterling's line play match up well against the Phillips' fronts? If the Phillips defense takes away the run, can Sterling throw their way to DeKalb? And, if the Sterling defense takes away the Phillips running game can they throw their way to DeKalb? 

EDGY's Pick: Phillips 30 Sterling 21

Class 4A

Morris (10-2) vs. Raby (11-1) at Chicago's Hanson Stadium, 4:00 p.m.

EDGY's Take: Morris and head coach Alan Thorson will rely on the power running game with RB Kam Dransfeldt and an offensive line that averages nearly 260 pounds per man. Raby and head coach D'Angelo DeReef might have one of the most fun teams to watch in the postseason. The Raiders offenses thrives off the big play. They're led by QB Tyshun Turnipseed, RB DQ Smith and a stable of receivers and backs with speed. Can the Raby defense take away the Redskins' power run game? Can the Morris defense cover the Raiders receivers and prevent giving up the big play?

EDGY's Pick: Morris 28 Raby 27

Class 3A

IC Catholic (11-1) at Byron (12-0), 2:00 p.m.

EDGY's Take: Immaculate Conception and head coach Bill Krefft are back, knocking on the state final door once again. The Knights have rolled behind a balanced offensive attack that features RB Lazerick Eatman, WR Khali Saunders and QB CJ West. The defense has been strong with LB Khalil Saunders and LB Kevin Cooke. Byron offense can run the football. Look for a lot of those plays from head coach Jeff Boyer. RBs Nolan Bielskis and Ricky Messling lead the Tigers Wing-T offense. Can Byron keep the football away from the IC offense? Can IC control tempo and force Byron into a higher scoring affair?

EDGY's Pick: Immaculate Conception 28 Byron 14

Boys Basketball Playoffs begin on busy week of High School Lites

Boys Basketball Playoffs begin on busy week of High School Lites

High School Lites is down to the final week of the regular season in local high school hoops as the Class 3A and 4A schools finish up conference play. The boys basketball playoffs have also started as the Class 1A and Class 2A regional championships will be played on Friday night.

The girls basketball Class 1A and 2A state semifinals will also be featured. You can catch all of those games on NBC Sports Chicago on Friday beginning at 11 a.m. with the 1A semifinals. High School Lites will air Friday night at 11 p.m. on NBC Sports Chicago

East Aurora at No. 11 West Aurora, 7:00 p.m. -- These two rivals meet for the 225th time. The Blackhawks (20-4, 9-0) won the first matchup by 22 points as they try to finish the season on a 12-game winning streak. 

Jacobs at Dundee-Crown, 7:00 p.m. -- Fox Valley rivals match up as Jacobs tries to go unbeaten in the conference. The Eagles (23-3, 15-0) has been playing very well as they've won 20 of 21 games heading into this one -- including an earlier win against Dundee-Crown. The Chargers (14-11, 10-4) has won seven consecutive games since dropping to the Golden Eagles as they're second in the Fox Valley heading into this one. 

Yorkville at DeKalb, 7:00 p.m. -- The top two teams in the Northern Illinois Big 12 East play in this one. DeKalb (16-11, 11-1) has already clinched a share of the conference title as the team's only league loss has come against Yorkville. The Foxes (17-8, 10-2) knocked off DeKalb at their place on Feb. 3 as they try to win again to get a piece of the division title. 

T.F. North at Lemont, 7:00 p.m. -- Two of the better teams in the South Suburban Blue battle on the eve of the playoffs. Lemont (17-8, 9-3) has picked up three straight wins entering this one. T.F. North (11-9, 9-3) is trying to build some momentum after recent close losses to Hillcrest and T.F. South.

Carmel at No. 10 Benet, 7:30 p.m. -- The ESCC closes out its season with this one. Benet (22-4, 7-1) is coming off a nice road win at Marian Catholic earlier this week. Carmel (17-10, 4-4) knocked off Joliet Catholic during the week as they've been a dangerous team in the ESCC. 

Class 2A Boys Basketball Regional Championships

Leo vs. Marshall, 6 p.m. -- The Lions are the favorites but the Commandos are the host of this regional title game. Leo (20-5, 8-0) has a 13-game winning streak as they won the Catholic League White. Marshall (8-17, 4-5) struggled in the win column but they were a competitive 4-5 in a very deep Public League Red-South. 

Uplift vs. Northridge, 7 p.m. -- This should be an interesting battle as Uplift is playing on the road at Northridge. Uplift (17-9, 6-3) has played an extremely competitive schedule that includes a recent close loss to No. 1 Simeon as Kansas commit Markese Jacobs and senior forward Toraze Dobbs are one of the best combinations in the Class 2A field. Northridge (22-5, 12-0) went unbeaten in the Independent School League this season as they're riding a 13-game winning streak.

Class 1A Boys Basketball Regional Championships 

Aurora Christian vs. Harvest Christian, 7 p.m. -- These two teams play for the third time this season in what should be an interesting regional title game. Aurora Christian (23-1, 10-0) is the host as they only lost to Winnebago this season. The Eagles beat Harvest Christian twice in a six-day span in December. Harvest Christian (18-8, 8-2) finished third in the Northeastern Athletic as they played the second game within two points. 

Class 1A Girls Basketball State Semifinals

Okaw Valley vs. Stockton, 11 a.m., NBC Sports Chicago -- Okaw Valley (29-5) is making its first state appearance after winning its first regional title in school history. Stockton (31-2) finished under .500 last season (13-15) and had an amazing turnaround that includes a current 15-game winning streak. 

Lebanon vs. Schlarman, 12:45 p.m., NBC Sports Chicago -- These two teams have combined for two losses this season as this should be a good one. Lebanon (31-1) just won its first sectional title in school history as they've now moved on to state. Schlarman (31-1) is led by junior Anaya Peoples, a Notre Dame commit and five-star prospect in the Class of 2019. 

Class 2A Girls Basketball State Semifinals

Harlan vs. Eureka, 5:30 p.m., NBC Sports Chicago -- Two red-hot teams play in the first semifinal in Class 2A. Harlan (25-6) is riding a 12-game winning streak as this is its first appearance at state for girls basketball. Eureka (28-3) has a 19-game winning streak as they make their first state appearance since 1988.

Marshall vs. Teutopolis, 7:15 p.m., NBC Sports Chicago -- Two storied programs in the state match up in this one. Marshall (20-7) will be making its 21st state appearance as head coach Dorothy Gaters is one of the most storied coaches in Illinois. Teutopolis is making its 17th appearance at state as the Lady Shoes (28-6) seek their first title since 1995. 

Check out the AP boys basketball polls as regular season winds down


Check out the AP boys basketball polls as regular season winds down

Here is the latest AP boys basketball polls. The girls basketball polls are done with the playoffs underway in all four classes.

Class 4A

School                                 W-L       Pts   Prv

1. Simeon (9)                      25-3      90    1

2. Belleville West                23-2      75    3

3. Curie                                22-3      74     2

4. Danville                           23-2      67      4

5. Whitney Young               22-7     52     T5

6. Normal West                   21-6     28     T5

7. Quincy                              19-4      21     T10

8. Bloomington                   18-7      15     8

9. Evanston                          20-5      14     7

10. New Trier                       22-3       12     NR

Others receiving votes: Moline 11, Niles North 10, Lisle (Benet Academy) 10, St. Viator 5, Naperville North 4, Maine South 2, Rockford Jefferson 1.

Class 3A

School                                            W-L          Pts    Prv

1. Morgan Park (7)                       18-9         88     2

2. Springfield Southeast (2)        22-3         82     1

3. Marian Catholic                        20-4         67     4

4. Hillcrest                                      21-5         57     5

(tie) Springfield Lanphier             22-3         57     3

6. Alton Marquette                       28-0         44      6

7. Centralia                                    21-4          32      7

8. DePaul College Prep                20-6          31      8

9. Champaign Central                  17-7          13      10

10. Decatur MacArthur                 18-8         9        NR

Others receiving votes: Lincoln 6, Burlington Central 6, Bogan 3.

Class 2A

School                                       W-L          Pts     Prv

1. Orr (11)                                 23-4         110     1

2. Warsaw West Hancock      22-2         83       3

3. Pinckneyville                       25-3         76       T4

4. Winnebago                          24-2         75       2

5. Monticello                            22-1         69       6

6. Leo                                        19-5         65       T4

7. Bloomington Central Catholic       21-6         42   8

8. Effingham St. Anthony                    25-3         23   7

9. Gibson City-Melvin-Sibley               24-3         12   NR

10. Trenton Wesclin                             24-4         9     NR

Others receiving votes: Eldorado 7, Corliss 6, St. Joseph-Ogden 6, Bureau Valley 5, Uplift 5 Teutopolis 4, Williamsville 3, Quincy Notre Dame 2, Farmington  2, Casey-Westfield 1

Class 1A

School                                      W-L          Pts      Prv

1. Aurora Christian (9)            22-1        108      1

2. DePue (1)                              24-2        85        2

3. East Dubuque (1)                26-3        80        4

4. Annawan                              25-3        75        5

5. Payson Seymour                 26-2        68        3

6. Sterling Newman                 23-4       57        6

7. Colfax Ridgeview                  24-4       48        7

8. New Berlin                             25-3       33        8

9. Cairo                                       21-5       22        9

10. Nokomis                              21-7         9        NR

Others receiving votes: Newark 8, Quest Academy 5, Milford 4, Cissna Park 2. Okawville 1.