Preps Talk

A look at all the conference races heating up in high school football


A look at all the conference races heating up in high school football

Several conference races are starting to heat up. Here are some that you should keep an eye on as we get closer to IHSA state playoffs.

Central Suburban North

Maine West (5-1, 2-0) has been a great story so far, but the Central Suburban North is far from decided. Both Deerfield (3-3, 2-0) and Highland Park (3-3, 2-0) all have a very strong shots, and the winner this Friday between those two will get a leg up. Maine West finishes the regular season at Highland Park and playing host to Deerfield. Maine West also is in need of a sixth win with a pretty low playoff point total (21 playoff points) heading into games this weekend.

Central Suburban South

Maine South (5-1, 2-0) plays host to Glenbrook South (5-1, 2-0) this Friday in Park Ridge, and the winner will take a nice lead for the conference title. Defending conference champ New Trier (4-2, 2-0) is still very much in the picture. The Trevians finish the regular season in Week 8 playing host to Maine South then travel to Glenbrook South in Week 9.

Chicago Catholic League Blue

Loyola (5-1, 2-0) and Providence Catholic (4-2, 2-0) have a lead and square off in Week 9 in New Lenox.

Chicago Catholic League Green

Marmion Academy (5-1, 2-1) just lost in Week 6 to Fenwick (4-2, 1-1). Montini Catholic (4-2, 2-1) lost to Marmion back in Week 5. DeLaSalle (5-1, 1-1) just lost to Montini last Friday. So what does it all mean? It means the Green is still way up for grabs.

Chicago Catholic League White

Both Aurora Christian (4-2, 1-0) and St. Laurence (4-2, 1-0) are in the lead and square off in Week 8 in Aurora.

DuPage Valley

Naperville Central (5-1, 5-0) leads, but keep an eye on Wheaton North (5-1, 4-1) and Neuqua Valley (5-1, 4-1). Several teams, including Naperville North (4-2, 3-2) and Lake Park (3-3, 3-2), could also be factors.

East Suburban Catholic Conference

Marist (6-0, 4-0) plays host to Nazareth Academy (6-0, 4-0) Friday, and the winner will take a big step toward a conference crown. Notre Dame (5-1, 3-1), Benet Academy (4-2, 3-1) and St. Viator (4-2, 3-1) still have a shot at the conference title, as well.

Metro Suburban Blue

Immaculate Conception (5-1, 2-0) and Glenbard South (4-2, 2-0) square off in Week 8 in Elmhurst. Riverside-Brookfield (5-1, 1-1) still has a shot but lost to IC last Friday.

Mid Suburban East

Buffalo Grove (6-0, 2-0), Hersey (5-1, 2-0) and Rolling Meadows (5-1, 2-0) all enter this week on a roll, and the next two weeks will provide answers, including this Friday with Buffalo Grove playing at Hersey.

Mid Suburban West

Barrington (6-0, 2-0) plays host to Hoffman Estates (6-0, 2-0) on Saturday in Barrington, and the winner will have a very good shot at the conference crown. Palatine (3-3, 1-1) still has an outside shot, but the Pirates' loss to Barrington last Thursday didn't help.

North Suburban

Lake Zurich (6-0, 2-0) plays Stevenson (5-1, 2-0) on Friday in Lincolnshire. Warren Township (4-2, 1-1) still has a shot but will need some help, meaning rooting for Stevenson to beat Lake Zurich this Friday.

Northern Lake County

Antioch (6-0, 4-0) travels to Lakes (6-0, 4-0) in a huge conference showdown. North Chicago (5-1, 3-1) is still very much in the picture, and the Warhawks close out the 2017 season Week 8 at Antioch then Week 9 playing host to Lakes.

South Suburban Blue

Lemont (5-1, 3-0) has a lead thanks to its Week 3 win over Hillcrest (5-1, 3-1).

South Suburban Red

Richards (4-2, 3-0) has the lead and already has wins over Shepard (5-1, 3-1) and Eisenhower (5-1, 2-1). Eisenhower plays host to Shepard in Week 8.

Southwest Prairie

When all the dust settles, Oswego (5-1) looks to be in the driver's seat once again with wins already over Minooka (5-1) and Oswego East (5-1).

Southwest Suburban Blue

Lincoln-Way East (6-0, 4-0) will be hard to beat, already with wins over Andrew (5-1, 4-1), Lincoln-Way Central (5-1, 4-1) and Homewood-Flossmoor (5-1, 4-1). The Griffins' biggest test will come in Week 9, when they take on Bolingbrook (5-1, 3-1) in Bolingbrook.

Upstate 8 River

Batavia (6-0, 4-0) has the lead, but a Week 9 showdown with St. Charles North (5-1, 3-0) could wind up being a dandy.

West Suburban Gold

Willowbrook (5-1, 3-0) has a leg up on Hinsdale South (4-2, 3-1), who the Warriors beat back in Week 5. Downers Grove South (3-3, 3-1) could potentially play spoiler, however, with a Week 9 win over Willowbrook.

West Suburban Silver

Hinsdale Central (5-1, 4-0) faces Glenbard West (5-1, 3-0) on Saturday at Duchon Field in Glen Ellyn in a huge conference game. Lyons Township (5-1, 2-1) also has an outside shot for a conference title but needs some help.

What to watch for in this weekend's state-title hockey game between Loyola Academy and Stevenson

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What to watch for in this weekend's state-title hockey game between Loyola Academy and Stevenson

A state champion will be crowned Saturday at the United Center, when Loyola Academy Gold plays Stevenson for the Boys Red Division State Championship.

Here are some of the storylines we’re watching ahead of the game.

1. Coaching connection: These two coaches have known each other for more than 20 years. Loyola head coach D.J. LaVarre coached against Stevenson head coach Tom Wood when Wood played youth hockey. LaVarre also knows Tom’s dad, Jim, who is the former head coach at Stevenson. Currently the coach Stevenson’s JV 2 team, Jim won the AHAI high school coach of the year in 2007.

2. Fun rewards for players of the game: At Stevenson, the player of the game is awarded a hard hat. At Loyola, it’s a championship belt.

3. International influence: Stevenson’s goalie, Elias Sandholm, is a transfer student from Sweden and has the highest save percentage in school history, .951. He made the all-state team and the Chicago Showcase team.

4. Next man up: In net for Loyola will most likely be Hugh Brady, a senior who stepped up when Thomas Moran went down with a hip injury. Brady has played 47 games and has a .945 save percentage.

5. A drought will be snapped: Stevenson has never won a state championship. Loyola is looking for its first since 1996.

Puck drop is at 3 p.m., with the girls’ state championship game, Glenbrook vs. New Trier, starting at 11:30 a.m.

One more fun note: Team USA gold medalist and Palos Heights native Kendall Coyne will drop the ceremonial puck prior to both games.

St. Charles North's Peyton Brown, Tyler Nubin ready for their time in the spotlight

St. Charles North's Peyton Brown, Tyler Nubin ready for their time in the spotlight

St. Charles North has been one of the more impressive on the rise IHSA football programs over the past four seasons, and the North Stars feature some big time names along with names to watch for the 2018 season. 

North Stars junior QB Peyton Brown (6-foot-3, 180 pounds) needed to sit and wait his turn last season, but Brown is already drawing serious recruiting attention and traction this early spring from several FBS and FCS schools. Brown is expected to draw plenty of college coaches at his upcoming spring workouts once the spring recruiting evaluation begins in mid April. 

While Peyton Brown is trying to gain more recruiting attention this spring, St. Charles North junior defensive back Tyler Nubin (6-foot-2, 188 pounds) is approaching 20 scholarship offers this early spring with his latest offer coming from Michigan. Nubin has also started to draw national recruiting attention and Nubin will also see his share of Power 5 college coaches in school this spring.

I had a chance to catch up with Peyton Brown and Tyler Nubin at the sixth annual Franklin Middle School Dodgeball Tournament in Wheaton. Proceeds from the event benefited the Northern Illinois Food Bank, Cammy Can, Jack’s Army and Franklin Middle School.