Preps Talk

High School Lites Week 7 football capsules and picks


High School Lites Week 7 football capsules and picks

NBC Sports Chicago will have cameras covering the biggest high school football games across Chicagoland on the Week 7 edition of High School Lites, Friday at 11:00 p.m. Who wins the annual Battle of Naperville when Central's Redhawks take on thier rivals from North? Can Raby find a way to upset Phillips? Who wins the ESCC showdown when Nazareth Academy plays at Marist? Antioch and Lakes also have a ton on the line in a fantastic Northern Lake County conference battle. Watch the show on NBC Sports Chicago or live stream at

Raby at (6) Phillips, 7 p.m.

EDGY's Take: Raby (6-0, 3-0), coached by Deangelo Dereef, has been locking down teams all season. The Raiders' defense has allowed a mere 18 points on the season. The key names on the roster include senior RB Danquis Smith and LB Donovan Baldwin. Phillips (6-0, 3-0) has just rolled along in the CPL Illini Land of Lincoln conference play behind a strong running game and a tough-as-nails defense. Senior QB J'Bore Gibbs (South Dakota State) and senior RB/LB Craig Elmore lead the Wildcats offense. Can Raby's defense slow down the Phillips offense? 

EDGY's Pick: Phillips 37, Raby 12

Woodstock at Johnsburg, 7 p.m.

EDGY's Take: Johnsburg (6-0, 3-0), under head coach Dan DeBoeuf,  has been able to reload this season after advancing to the 4A state title game in 2016. Senior QB Adam Jayko, who was one of the lone Skyhawk holdovers this fall, has been electric. He has thrown for nearly 1,500 yards passing and 21 touchdowns. Woodstock (4-2, 2-1) is coached by Tommy Thompson. He lost starting QB Tanner Heidtke to an injury in last week's 55-16 loss to Burlington Central. Can the Streaks slow down the Skyhawks' passing attack? 

EDGY's Pick: Johnsburg 42, Woodstock 14

Antioch at Lakes, 7:15 p.m.

EDGY's Take:  This is a huge rivalry game in the Northern Lake County conference. Antioch (6-0, 4-0) and head coach Brian Glashagel will feature senior QB Brandon Gallimore and RB Hunter Price. On defense, keep an eye on junior DL Xavier Sanchez. Lakes (6-0, 4-0) and first year head coach Jordan Elder will counter with QB Jake Johnson, RB Ethan Greenfield and senior LB Ryan Selig (Western Michigan). Last possession wins?

EDGY's Pick: Lakes 28, Antioch 27

(2) Prairie Ridge at Hampshire, 7:15 p.m.

EDGY's Take: Prairie Ridge (6-0, 5-0) has been rolling in Fox Valley Conference play behind Iowa verbal commit QB Samson Evans, senior RB Zach Gulbransen and a quick, stingy defense. Hampshire (1-5/1-4) will rely on the arm of QB Drew Dalby. The Whip-Purs will look to stun the Wolves on Friday.

EDGY's Pick: Prairie Ridge 46, Hampshire 12

(10) Naperville Central vs. Naperville North, 7:30 p.m. at North Central College

EDGY's Take: Naperville Central (5-1, 5-0) is looking to maintain its hold on the DuPage Valley conference as they take on rival Naperville North (4-2, 3-2) at North Central College. Naperville Central is led by junior QB Payton Thorne, senior WR Jayden Reed (Western Michigan), senior RB AJ Deinhart and a steady defense. Naperville North will look towards senior QB Drake Davis to lead the way. He has been pacing the resurgent Huskies' passing attack. Keep an eye on senior WR Nick Calcagno for North as well. Can Naperville North turn this game into a shootout? Can the Naperville Central defense slow down North's passing attack?

EDGY's Pick: Naperville Central 36, Naperville North 35

(15) Nazareth at (4) Marist, 7:30 p.m. **#SendEdgy**

EDGY's Take: Nazareth Academy (6-0, 4-0), coached by Tim Racki, has a very young and talented roster this fall. The Roadrunners feature junior RB/DB Devin Blakely and a deep group in the offensive skills department. The defense is led by senior DL Isaiah Lee (Iowa State). Marist has a first-year head coach in Ron Dawczak. The Redhawks always can score points with junior QB Mike Markett and senior RB Delonte Harrell. The Marist defense is no joke. Keep an eye on senior DE Gavin McCabe (Indiana) and DT Elijah Teague (Minnesota). What's the key match up to watch? The Roadrunners' offensive line against the Redhawks' defensive line. 

EDGY's Pick: Marist 32, Nazareth 17

(5) Lake Zurich at (12) Stevenson, 7:30 p.m.

EDGY's Take: First-year head coach Luke Mertens has kept his Lake Zurich Bears at the top of the North Suburban conference behind a strong defense, a powerful running game and a steady dose of effective play-action passing game. Keep an eye on senior RB/LB Joey Stutzman, senior LB Jack Sanborn (Wisconsin) and senior QB Evan Lewansdowski. Stevenson (5-1, 4-0) and first year head coach Josh Hjorth also haven't skipped a beat in 2017. Their offense is led by QB Grayson Kubow and RB Jean-Marc Etienne. Their defense has allowed just 31 total points against teams from Illinois so far this season. Can both teams stop the opponents running game? Will the passing game be forced to take center stage?

EDGY's Pick: Lake Zurich 28, Stevenson 21

VIEWERS' CHOICE: Hyde Park vs Washington, Thursday 4:15 p.m. at Gately

EDGY's Take:  Hyde Park (3-3, 3-1) is still very much in the CPL Chicago Windy City conference title picture but the Thunderbirds need a win on Thursday against Washington (3-3, 1-3). Washington has lost three of its last four games.

EDGY's Pick: Hyde Park 28, Washington 16

Belleville West's Class 4A title serves as historic passing of the torch between Chicagoland and downstate

Belleville West's Class 4A title serves as historic passing of the torch between Chicagoland and downstate

PEORIA -- Belleville West finished an undefeated IHSA boys basketball campaign on Saturday night by capturing the Class 4A state title with a memorable 60-56 overtime win over defending champion Whitney Young.

An intense back-and-forth contest that delighted fans at Carver Arena, the Maroons held off the Dolphins as junior forward and Mr. Basketball candidate E.J. Liddell finished with 17 points and 10 rebounds.

The state title matchup between the St. Louis metro powerhouse and the Chicago Public League superpower somehow lived up to the immense hype. But perhaps more important than the game itself was the significance of the outcome. Saturday's win for Belleville West also served as an important passing of the torch.

For the first time since Shaun Livingston and Peoria High went back-to-back in 2003 and 2004, the largest IHSA boys basketball state title won't be going home to a team from the Chicagoland area.

Class 4A has been dominated by Chicago-area teams every year since four-class basketball came into existence during the 2007-08 season. And after Livingston and Peoria's two-year run, Jon Scheyer (Glenbrook North) and Derrick Rose (Simeon) swept through Peoria and won three straight titles to close out the two-class basketball era in Illinois.

For the last 13 years, the biggest, and most important, state title in basketball-crazy Illinois has gone to a team from the Chicagoland area. A legendary run of talents from the area saw players like Jabari Parker, Jahlil Okafor and Jalen Brunson win state championships.

Liddell and Belleville West knocking off a Public League powerhouse, and defending state champion, for a state title is a significant moment in IHSA basketball history. It's the first time the Class 4A boys basketball state title is going somewhere besides the Chicagoland area.

While Class 3A has seen some memorable state title runs from teams outside of Chicago like Belleville Althoff and Rock Island, the more-depleted Class 3A field is generally considered an afterthought for many Illinois high school basketball fans.

By going undefeated against IHSA competition this season and beating a team like Whitney Young for a state title, Belleville West established legitimate credibility that should be respected all over the state. Chicago area high school fans can be fickle about downstate teams and their stars. None of those doubts should be apparent for Belleville West after the way they dominated the 2017-18 season.

Since Liddell is only a junior, and many of the Maroons' top players are also returning, it also sets up the possibility that Belleville West is the favorite for the Class 4A state title entering the 2018-19 season. Things have dramatically changed in the world of high school basketball. Transfers can change anything overnight. But given the return of Liddell, and the loss of only three seniors, the Maroons could have staying power next year as well.

It sets up for a fascinating offseason and an intriguing subplot for Class 4A next season as everyone will be chasing Liddell and Belleville West. And if Liddell pulls off the win and beats Simeon's Talen Horton-Tucker and Morgan Park's Ayo Dosunmu for Mr. Basketball in Illinois then the pressure will be that much greater.

The Chicago Public League will still be the epicenter of high school boys basketball in Illinois next season. Orr and Morgan Park are coming off of back-to-back state titles. Whitney Young just missed joining them. Simeon was nationally ranked nearly all season. Curie remains an imposing threat only two years removed from its own Class 4A state title. There's a depth and quality of teams in the Public League that is unmatched anywhere else in the state.

But, for right now, that Public League's depth doesn't mean a thing. It's an afterthought. Because the Class 4A state title in Illinois high school basketball is heading south to Belleville. And it might not be leaving there for another year or two.

Morgan Park claims back-to-back Class 3A state titles with win over Southeast

Morgan Park claims back-to-back Class 3A state titles with win over Southeast

PEORIA -- Morgan Park head coach Nick Irvin brought his entire team with him to the press conference podium after claiming a second consecutive IHSA Class 3A state championship.

Irvin and the Mustangs have claimed four boys basketball state titles over the past six years. The quotable Irvin is usually only flanked by his starting five.

Even though Morgan Park had a clear star and leader in senior guard and Player of the Year candidate Ayo Dosunmu, the Mustangs needed every member of their roster to make it back to Peoria during an injury-ravaged season.

Morgan Park needed its reinforcements to make it back to the state finals. Dosunmu took care of the rest. The Illinois commit led Morgan Park's back-to-back quest with a Class 3A state title game record 28 points as the Mustangs earned a 71-56 win over Springfield Southeast on Saturday afternoon.

Although Morgan Park won a Class 3A title with Dosunmu on the roster last season, the Illinois commit wasn't able to play much during the final weekend in the state tournament after suffering a injury to his right foot that forced him to be on crutches for most of the weekend.

This time in Peoria, a healthy Dosunmu carried Morgan Park with an impressive game in front of his future head coach, Brad Underwood. Dosunmu's eight-point flurry to end the third quarter -- including a half-court buzzer-beater -- lifted the Mustangs to a 54-45 advantage entering the fourth quarter. From there, Morgan Park maintained a comfortable advantage as Dosunmu and his teammates held off the feisty Spartans.

"I told myself, once I got hurt, that it felt good for my team to win it. But I wanted to come back and be apart of it and actually be on the court," Dosunmu said.

"I just wanted to come back and redeem myself after getting hurt last year. I knew what I could do. I think I stopped the haters from saying that I couldn't win the big game."

Dosunmu did the heavy lifting for Morgan Park in the state title game. But the Mustangs needed all hands on deck during a tumultuous regular season. Morgan Park was viewed in the preseason as one of the major forces in the Chicago Public League. Injuries to seniors like Dosunmu and big man Tamell Pearson, a UAB commit, meant that the Mustangs had to change all of their plans.

Dosunmu missed 10 games with injury this season. Pearson only played in four games the entire season after multiple surgeries on his eye. That meant others like senior Cam Burrell and sophomores Adam Miller and Marcus Watson had to step up their play.

Morgan Park didn't make a lot of noise during conference play in the Public League Red South/Central. They were eliminated during the quarterfinals of the Public League Playoffs by Whitney Young. Morgan Park hadn't lost this much since Irvin's first season on the job 10 years ago.

But there was still the hope that a healthy Morgan Park could figure things out and make another run at a Class 3A state title. Once Dosunmu got rolling, the Mustangs gained a new confidence to claim another trophy.

"Absolutely, the toughest one," Irvin said of the title run. "At the end of the day I knew these guys were loyal to me. I knew they'd run through a brick wall for me. And I just had to get myself level-headed. I'm used to winning and beating everybody -- or close to it. Taking tough losses was a bit of an adjustment."

Morgan Park winning another title this season is a testament to how talented, and deep, the Mustangs have been the last two seasons. Even with teams not at full strength during the state playoffs the past two years, Morgan Park still managed to win back-to-back titles.

With five trips to Peoria in six seasons, and a roster still filled with young talent, Morgan Park should remain a major contender for years to come -- even with Burrell, Dosunmu, Pearson and the senior class moving on to the next level.

Miller has the look of a potential Player of the Year candidate. Watson played with a ton of confidence down the stretch. More promising young players are also in the pipeline in the rest of the program.

“Three-peat. Three-peat; that’s the goal,” Irvin said. “We’re going to come back home to Peoria next season — hopefully. I’m gonna be on Marcus, and Adam and Kyel (Grover) and just see what we can.”