CSN Chicago will have cameras covering the biggest high school football games across Chicagoland on the opening kickoff week edition of High School Lites, Friday at 11:00 p.m. Can Mount Carmel get off to a good start against Taft? Will St. Rita and St. Patrick go down to the wire at Soldier Field? Who wins the annual Fox Valley battle between Prairie Ridge and Cary Grove? And can Marist get payback this season against neighborhood rival Brother Rice after losing to the Crusaders a season ago? Viewers can watch the show on CSN or live stream at csnchicago.com/watchlive.
Taft vs. (14) Mount Carmel, 1:00 p.m. at Soldier Field
EDGY's Take: Mount Carmel will look to get off to a good start against Taft in the annual Preseason Prep Bowl Kickoff at Soldier Field, part of three games there on Friday. The Caravan will rely on senior QB Alek Thomas (Texas Tech) plus senior OL/DL Jeremy Cooper (Cincinnati) along with an experienced defense. Taft, coached by John Ysarouchas, welcomes back 14 returning starters (eight offense, six defense). Senior WR/LB Kevin Gniedziejko is a key for the Eagles on both sides of the football.
EDGY's Pick: Mount Carmel 27, Taft 12
St. Rita vs. St. Patrick, 4:00 p.m. at Soldier Field
EDGY's Take: This matchup will be the second of three Friday at the Preseason Prep Bowl at Soldier Field. St. Rita and head coach Todd Kuska welcomes back 12 returning starters (seven offense, five defense). Keep an eye out for senior RB Chris Childers (Indiana State), senior QB Jake Zlyman and three starting offensive linemen back this fall. New St. Pat's head coach Adam Guerra features nine starters back (five offense, four defense) from last season and keep an eye on senior WR/DB Joey Lombardi and senior RB/DB Joey Solak.
EDGY's Pick: St. Rita 27, St. Patrick 24
(23) Cary-Grove at (1) Prairie Ridge, 7:00 p.m.
EDGY's Take: Prairie Ridge enters the 2017 season with extremely high expectations. Senior QB Samson Evans (Iowa) leads the Wolves double-wing offense while senior OL Jeff Jenkins (Iowa) is one of three returning starters on the offensive line. Cary-Grove and head coach Brad Seaburg also bring back a ton of experience up front with five returning starters, including junior OT Addison West and senior OT Brett Groves (SIU). Also keep an eye on Cary-Grove senior RB/DB Max Skol. Can the Trojans defense slow down Samson Evans and the Wolves option game? Can the Wolves defense slow down the Cary-Grove power running game?
EDGY's Pick: Prairie Ridge 28, Cary-Grove 14
(12) Naperville Central @ (19) Glenbard North, 7:30 p.m.
EDGY's Take: Naperville Central and head coach Mike Stine received quite a boost when junior QB Payton Thorne and senior WR/DB Jayden Reed both transferred into Central from Metea Valley this past spring. Also, keep an eye on senior RB AJ Deinhart and junior OL Luke Hallstrom for the Redhawks this fall. Glenbard North and head coach Ryan Wilkens lost some key players form a season ago. That said, the Panthers always have talent. Senior DB Tyrik Henderson (Minnesota) is a name to watch. Plus, the Glenbard North offensive line is a strength—led by senior Jose Vazquez. Can the Panthers generate enough offense this fall? Can the Redhawks offense dent a very strong Glenbard North defense?
EDGY's Pick: Naperville Central 17, Glenbard North 14
(7) Lake Zurich @ Fremd, 7:30 p.m.
EDGY's Take: Lake Zurich and first year head coach Luke Mertens takes over a Bears program recovering from an offseason hazing scandal. On the field, the Bears are stacked with 14 returning starters (eight offense, six defense). Keep an eye on senior QB Evan Lewandowski, senior OL Ian Fitzgerald and senior LB Jack Sanborn (Wisconsin). Fremd and head coach Lou Sponsel will rely on the defense early this fall. The unit returns six starters including senior DL Will McCabe (Western Michigan). The Vikings offense has just two returning starters back in senior WR Ben Konopka and senior OL Jake Flemming. Can Lake Zurich run the ball against the Vikings defense?
EDGY's Pick: Lake Zurich 21, Fremd 14
Stevenson @ (10) Palatine, 7:30 p.m.
EDGY's Take: Stevenson first year head coach Josh Hjorth takes over the Patriots program after serving as a long time assistant coach. The Patriots will rely on an experienced offensive line including senior OL John Maskalunas. The defense is paced by three-year senior starting linebacker Sam Marks. Palatine also has a first year head coach in Corey Olson. The Pirates welcome back a ton of talent on both sides of the football. Keep an eye on senior LB Cortez Hogans (NIU) along with senior QB DJ Angelaccio plus senior WR Johnny O'Shea and senior WR Jack Orlando. Can the Patriots secondary defend the bigger Palatine receivers? Can the Palatine defense slow down the Stevenson running game?
EDGY's Pick: Palatine 27, Stevenson 21
Brother Rice @ (6) Marist, 7:30 p.m.
EDGY's Take: The South Side Super Bowl is this week at Marist. Brother Rice and head coach Brian Badke lost some key players to graduation but look for the Crusaders to rely on an experienced and big offensive line led by senior Nick Marozas (Indiana). Marist also saw its longtime head coach (Pat Dunne) step aside to take a job in the private sector. Stepping up is longtime assistant coach Ron Dawczak. Look for the Redhawks to rely on a talented senior class including tight end TJ Ivy (West Virginia), defensive end Gavin McCabe (Indiana), defensive tackle Elijah Teague (Minnesota) plus senior RB Delonte Harrell. Can the Redhawks defense slow down the Crusaders run game? Can Rice defend the entire field against the Redhawks spread?
EDGY's Pick: Marist 31, Brother Rice 30
Warren Township at (20) Barrington, 7:30 p.m.
EDGY's Take: Warren Township and head coach Bryan McNulty welcomes back 11 starters (six offense, five defense). The Blue Devils’ offensive skills are a strength with senior QB Ian Schilling, senior TE Ryan Short and senior WR Micah Jones (Notre Dame). Barrington and head coach Joe Sanchez welcomes back just six starters. But the Broncos always seem to reload. Keep an eye on senior QB Ray Niro. Can the less-experienced Broncos slow down the Blue Devils’ passing attack?
EDGY's Pick: Barrington 28, Warren Township 21
Lake Central (IN) @ Lincoln-Way Central, 7:00 p.m.
EDGY's Take: Last Friday, Lake Central defeated Munster 33-14. Will the Indians have an advantage with a game already under its belt? Expectations are high for Lincoln-Way Central and head coach Jeremy Cordell who will rely on a deep team with 15 returning starters back (nine offense, six defense). Senior RB Matt Pollack is a name to watch along with senior S Peyton Nigro. Can the Knights get out of the gates quickly in Week 1?
EDGY's Pick: Lincoln-Way Central 24, Lake Central 17