Preps Talk

High School Lites Week 8 football capsules and picks

brand_new_lites.jpg

High School Lites Week 8 football capsules and picks

NBC Sports Chicago will have cameras covering the biggest high school football games across Chicagoland on the Week 8 edition of High School Lites, Friday at 11 p.m. Who wins the Southwest Prairie showdown when Minooka travels up Ridge Road to take on Oswego East? Can Jacobs pull off the upset at Prairie Ridge? Who wins the Mid-Suburban East battle when Hersey travels to Rolling Meadows? And can Loyola Academy go on the road and beat Providence Catholic on the Emerald Isle?

Minooka at Oswego East, 7 p.m.

EDGY's Take: Minooka (6-1, 6-1), coached by Terry McCombs, has gotten the Indians off to their best start in years. They’re paced by a steady running game featuting RB Owen Kappel and QB Zach Gessner. They also have a stingy, hard-hitting defense. Tyson LeBlanc’s Oswego East (6-1, 6-1) squad has some serious athletes to watch. Keep an eye on Illinois verbal commit senior WR/DB Antwain Walker, RB Ian Kroemer and junior QB/S Justin Clark. Note that Clark missed last week's win over Plainfield Central with an injury. So Oswego East is now on its third quarterback this fall — converted junior RB Jordan Williams. Can Oswego East get healthy by Friday? Can the Minooka defense continue to lock down the Wolves’ offense?

EDGY's Pick: Minooka 17, Oswego East 14

Maine West at Highland Park, 7 p.m.

EDGY's Take: Maine West (6-1, 3-0) qualified for the IHSA state playoff field last Friday for the first time since 2002. Coach Jason Kradman and company feature a strong offense with RB Jake Bellizzi and TE/QB Matt Kentgen. Highland Park (4-3, 3-0) struggled early in the season against a killer nonconference schedule; that said, they have now won four straight games. Highland Park will look to junior QB John Sakos and junior WR/S Giancarlo Volpentesta. Last possession wins? 

EDGY's Pick: Maine West 28, Highland Park 27

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

EDGY's Take:  Jacobs (5-2, 4-2) and veteran head coach Bill Mitz has the Golden Eagles playing well. Their leaders include QB Anthony Williams, FB Stephen Kavanaugh and a very strong offensive line anchored by senior Jimmy Wormsley (SIU commit). Prairie Ridge (7-0, 6-0) have been rolling along, but the main storyline is will Superman play this week? Prairie Ridge senior QB Samson Evans (Iowa) sat out with an injury in last Friday's win over Hampshire 55-14. Prairie Ridge will continue to focus on its running game with senior RB Zach Gulbransen and RB Jackson Willis. Can Jacobs beat Prairie Ridge if Superman doesn't dress again this week?

EDGY's Pick: Prairie Ridge 34, Jacobs 21

(24) St. Rita at Brother Rice, 7:30 p.m.

EDGY's Take: St. Rita (5-2, 1-2) will look to improve their overall IHSA playoff seeding with a win over the Crusaders on Friday night. Coach Todd Kuska has benefitted from a nice backfield combination of seniors Jake Zlyman and Chris Childers (Indiana State). Brother Rice (2-5/0-2) will look to finish out the regular season on a strong note. Keep an eye on senior OL Nick Marozas (Indiana) and with senior DB Arthur Veal. Can the Crusaders defense slow down the St. Rita running game? 

EDGY's Pick: St. Rita 37, Brother Rice 20

Hersey at Rolling Meadows, 7:30 p.m. **#SendEdgy**

EDGY's Take: Hersey (6-1, 3-0) has been a big turnaround story this fall after posting a 3-6 record a season ago. Head coach Joe Pardun will look to senior QB Owen Goldsberry and RB Luke Cecala to get points on the board. Rolling Meadows (6-1, 3-0) just keeps on winning. The Mustangs, coached by Matt Mishler, also feature a strong running game. They’re led by RB Tim Szylak and a strong offensive line. The defensive line has stepped up as well. Can Rolling Meadows slow down the Hersey run game? And can the Hersey defense contain Meadows’ speedster Szylak?

EDGY's Pick: Hersey 35, Rolling Meadows 32

(7) Loyola at (20) Providence, 7:30 p.m.

EDGY's Take: Loyola Academy (6-1, 2-0) and head coach John Holocek feature QB Quinn Boyle and an always-tough defense. Can they win on the road this week at Providence? The Celtics (5-2, 2-0) lost their first two games of the season but have recovered nicely. They’ve posted five straight wins behind senior RB De'Shon Gavin (WIU commit) and a very strong defense led by senior LB Mariano Sori-Marin (Minnesota). Can the Loyola defense slow down the Providence running game this week? Can the Providence defense find an answer for Boyle? 

EDGY's Pick: Loyola 27, Providence Catholic 21

(17) Lyons Township at (14) Hinsdale Central, 7:30 p.m.

EDGY's Take: Lyons Township (6-1, 3-1) features one of Chicagoland's top quarterbacks in senior Ben Bryant (Cincinnati). The Lions also feature a big, experienced offensive and defensive line. Hinsdale Central (5-2, 4-1) and head coach Dan Hartman also have a ton of weapons on offense with senior TE Matt Bjorson (Indiana), RB Luke Skokna and senior athlete Garrett Oakey. The Red Devils played last week without junior QB Matt Rush. Can Central’s offense get back into high gear this week? Can the Lyons’ offense consistently finish drives with points? This one could be a potential thriller. 

EDGY's Pick: Hinsdale Central 34, Lyons Township 31

VIEWERS' CHOICE: (3) Maine South at New Trier, 7:30 p.m.

EDGY's Take: Defending 8A state champion Maine South (6-1, 3-0) is near the top of the polls once again behind the always-explosive offense and stingy defense. Keep an eye on senior RB Fotis Kokosioulis (NIU), senior QB John O'Sullivan and a strong core of receivers. Coach Brian Doll’s New Trier Trevians (5-2, 3-0) have survived various key injuries this fall. They will look to their balanced offensive game plan with QB Carson Ochsenhirt and RB Brian Sitzer. Junior TE/LB Luke Olges is a force on both sides of the ball for the Trevians. Can lightning strike twice for New Trier? Will they shock Maine South for the second straight season? 

EDGY's Pick: Maine South 35, New Trier 28

Recruiting news and notes: Glenbard West WR commits to Cincinnati

alec-pierce.jpg

Recruiting news and notes: Glenbard West WR commits to Cincinnati

Glenbard West senior three-star ranked wide receiver Alec Pierce (6-foot-3, 191 pounds) made a weekend official visit to the University of Cincinnati and on Monday night gave the Bearcats his verbal commitment. Pierce is also planning to sign a Letter of Intent on December 20th, the first day of the new early signing period.

"I had a great official visit to Cincinnati and I decided that I was ready to commit," Pierce said. "The visit really sold me on Cincinnati in several ways. I liked the school and the city, plus I also got along great with the coaches and the players. I really liked it all."

Pierce, who had scholarship offers from 16 different FBS and FCS level schools is part of a strong Chicagoland recruit haul for the Bearcats Class of 2018. Pierce joins Lyons Township three-star QB Ben Bryant, Chicago Mount Carmel two-star OL Jeremy Cooper and Simeon three-star wide receiver Jayshon Johnson. Pierce is also the 21st overall known verbal commitment for Cincinnati in the Class of 2018.

Oswego (IL) East senior two-star defensive back recruit Antwain Walker (6-foot-1, 170 pounds) made a weekend official visit to Northern Illinois University. Walker, who reopened his recruiting process after mutually agreeing to decommit from Illinois last week came away highly impressed with the NIU Huskies after his weekend visit.

"I just enjoyed hanging out with the players and the coaches along with the other recruits," Walker said. "I was really impressed with all of the people I met at NIU. The players and the coaches are just really good people with great personalities and it's impressive how tight the coaches are with the players. NIU also has a really good recruiting class and I already know a lot of those guys like Leon (Payne), Charles (Robinson), and Justin (Hall). They are all trying to get me to commit and they are also a really good bunch of guys."

Walker, who is on track to graduate from Oswego East later this month is also still hoping to make a college choice very soon.

"Western Michigan is still interested and so is Purdue. I don't have any other official visits set just yet. I'm just going to see how things go this week but I definitely have a lot more to think about after my NIU visit. I really had a great time."

Former Mount Carmel and current IMG Academy senior four-star offensive center recruit Verdis Brown (6-foot-4, 290 pounds) is planning to announce his college decision on Dec. 22 at Robert A. Black elementary school in Chicago. Brown, who has offers from multiple Power 5 schools made fall official visits to Florida State, Illinois, Minnesota and Missouri.

Lake Park junior offensive linemen Patrick Panasiuk (6-foot-3, 290 pounds) should be a very familiar name to those who follow football recruiting. Panasiuk, who is the younger brother of former Lake Park standouts and current Michigan State defensive linemen Mike Panasiuk and Jacub Panasiuk is also starting to draw increased recruiting interest this winter.

"I've stayed in touch with Michigan State along with Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana, Ball State and Northern Illinois. Indiana," Patrick Panasiuk said. "Ball State and NIU made in school visits over the past few weeks. The feedback from the college coaches so far has been pretty positive. The coaches said they liked my junior tape and that they like how I play with a lot of aggressiveness."

So could Panasiuk, who played offensive tackle for the Lancers and head coach Chris Roll last season wind up playing on the defensive line along with his two older brothers?

"I played on the offensive line because my team needed me to play there. I'm totally open to play anywhere the coaches ask me to play and that includes the defensive line."

Viewers' Choice: Vote for High School Lites game coverage

hs_lites_nbcs_basketball_social_media.jpg

Viewers' Choice: Vote for High School Lites game coverage

Who wants it more?

We are putting High School Lites, Chicagoland's top prep sports show, in the hands of area basketball fans in our "Viewers' Choice Game of the Week." Fans will get the chance to pick one game that the NBC Sports Chicago (@NBCSPreps) crew will cover on Friday night. We will send our cameras to the game that gets the most votes; highlights and postgame reaction of that game will appear on that night's "High School Lites" broadcast at 11 p.m. The show also live streams at NBCSportsChicago.com/watchlive. High School Lites will also have broadcast replays at 6:30 a.m. and 7:30 a.m. the following Saturday. This week, we will see "Red" -- as in the Chicago Public League Red North/West conference. Which game is most worthy for our cameras? 

Westinghouse at Farragut, 5:00 p.m.

Marshall at Uplift, 6:30 p.m.

North Lawndale at Prosser, 6:30 p.m.

Poll opens Monday at 12 p.m. and closes Thursday at 4 p.m. Here is what fans need to do to vote:

— Follow @NBCSPreps on Twitter.
— Note the "pinned Tweet" atop the @NBCSPreps feed. Vote for the game you want us to cover.
— Spread the word! 

We will make an announcement on @NBCSPreps just after 4 p.m. Thursday with the official results of which game will be covered. And as a reminder, be sure to follow @NBCSPreps for updates on the "Viewers' Choice Game of the week," along with other high school sports news, scores and highlights this season.