Preps Talk

A look back at the history of CSN's Drive teams

A look back at the history of CSN's Drive teams

The Drive is back on Comcast SportsNet and has set up shop in Frankfort, Illinois.

The Lincoln-Way East Griffins enter the 2016 season in a unique position. Following the closing of nearby Lincoln-Way North, Rob Zvonar's group has inherited a number of players from a Phoenix team that went 11-1 a year ago. That's in addition to his group which went 8-3 and advanced to the second round of the IHSA playoffs last season.

CSN will follow their journey with weekly features, write-ups and episodes on our High School Lites show, airing Friday nights in the fall.

The Griffins are CSN's eighth team to appear on Drive. In the seven seasons prior, teams have gone 73-18 (an .802 win percentage), won three state titles (in 2010, 2011 and 2014) and won a combined 25 playoff games.

Here's a look back at how each Drive team fared and the legacy Lincoln-Way East will look to add to:

2009: Mount Carmel Caravan (8-4, lost in 8A quarterfinals)

A year after Jordan Lynch led Frank Lenti's team to the state semifinals, Milton Greer and Denzel Thompson formed one of the state's most lethal running attacks. The pair, combined with quarterback Chris Sujka, rushed for more than 2,500 yards and 37 touchdowns. Greer, a Miami (OH) recruit, was bottled up for just 76 yards and a score in the Caravan's 24-7 loss to the Loyola Ramblers in the quarterfinals.

2010: Maine South Red Hawks (12-2, won 8A state title)

The legend of Matt Alviti began as the Hawks started the season in an 0-2 hole before rattling off ten straight wins their way to a three-peat in Park Ridge. The sophomore developed his passing skills while teaming up in the backfield with 5-foot-4 running back Paul Preston, who scored twice and added 145 yards in the team's state title game victory over Mount Carmel. The eventual Northwestern-bound Alviti also scored twice, once through the air and another on the ground, and received usual great protection from the likes of captains Victor Nelson, Frank Colletti and Sean Sullivan on the offensive line. Dave Inserra's Red Hawks are the last team to win the state's largest class title three straight years.

2011: Montini Catholic Broncos (12-2, won 5A state title)

Where to begin with Jordan Westerkamp? The 6-foot-1 wide receiver finished his historic career with a 12-catch, 353-yard, five-touchdown performance in the Broncos' 70-45 state title victory over Joliet Catholic. It was the perfect ending to his illustrious season in which he broke numerous state records, including 235 career receptions, 4,618 yards and 68 touchdowns. The Nebraska-bound wide receiver accumulated 90 of those receptions, 1,695 of those yards and 29 of those touchdowns as a senior. It made things easy for quarterback John Rhode and brothers Anthony (WR) and Dimitri (RB) Taylor, both of whom also played collegiately. Jaleel Johnson played both ways on the line, earning himself a scholarship to Iowa. It was Chris Andriano's and the Broncos' third straight state title, and they'd complete a four-peat the following season.

2012: Joliet Catholic Hilltoppers (8-5, lost in 5A semifinals)

Southern California commitment Ty Issac rushed for more than 1,500 rushing yards and amassed 25 total touchdowns despite missing time with a shoulder injury. Dan Sharp's Hilltoppers earned their fifteenth consectuive IHSA playoff berth and advanced to the semifinals against Montini. In a rematch of the previous year's state title game, Isaac rushed for 277 yards and three touchdowns, including a go-ahead score late in the fourth quarter. But the Broncos came back and scored the game-winning touchdown with less than a minute remaining, ending the Hilltoppers' season and Isaac's incredible high school career.

2013: Stevenson Patriots (10-3, lost in 8A semifinals)

A relatively young but talented group had state-title aspirations under head coach Bill McNamara, but the Patriots hit some early bumps in the road. They quickly righted the ship after an 0-2 start, reeling off seven straight wins to earn a conference title, led by quarterback Willie Bourbon and wide receivers Cameron Green (Northwestern) and Matt Morrissey (Michigan State). The Patriots defense hit its stride in impressive playoff wins over Glenbard North and Barrington, setting up a matchup with top-ranked Loyola in the semifinals. A back-and-forth affair saw the Ramblers pull within a point late in the fourth quarter; Loyola opted to go for two and the win, which they did successfully. The Patriots brought back a host of talent the following season and earned the 8A title, their first in program history.

2014: Providence Catholic Celtics (13-1, won 7A state title)

Mark Coglianese's Celtics were facing one of the toughest schedules in the country in 2014. Good thing they had Notre Dame-bound wide receiver Miles Boykin around. The eventual Player of the Year was every bit as good as advertised, finishing with 65 receptions, 1,035 yards and 19 touchdown receptions. And he did all that while also missing three games due to injury. Behind the superb play of quarterback Justin Hunniford, the Celtics went 8-1, earned a share of the CCL Blue for the first time in program history, and breezed through the competition on their way to the state title game, where undefeated Cary-Grove awaited. But sophomore running back Richie Warfield made sure to send home his seniors with some hardware, scoring four touchdowns on the ground in the Celtics' 31-28 victory. 

2015: Homewood-Flossmoor Vikings (10-2, lost in 8A quarterfinals)

Team captain and quarterback Bryce Gray led one of the state's most lethal offenses in recent memory. The Vikings averaged 43 points per game, twin running backs Deante and Devonte Harley-Hampton combined for more than 3,000 yards and 49 touchdowns. Wisconsin-bound wide receiver Kendric Pryor averaged 26.2 yards per reception. The defense, led by seniors Percy Walters and Tyler Newkirk, allowed just 73 points all regular season. But when the state's top two teams - H-F and Loyola - met in the quarterfinals, the Vikings came up just short against a daunting Ramblers defense in a 27-21 loss.

Public League champion Simeon remains clear No. 1 in latest Preps Power Rankings

Public League champion Simeon remains clear No. 1 in latest Preps Power Rankings

The Class 1A and 2A regionals begin this week and the regular season is finishing up for every other team in the state. We're getting that much closer to state titles being decided in Peoria. Simeon remains the clear No. 1 in the latest Power Rankings after beating No. 4 Whitney Young and No. 2 Orr by double digits on the way to earning a third straight Public League Playoff title, while a couple of familiar faces are back in the tail end of the rankings.

1. Simeon (25-3, 9-0) (1) -- Simeon stays at No. 1 after winning the Public League Playoffs for the third consecutive year. The Wolverines have now defeated teams No. 2 through No. 6 in the Preps Power Rankings for a 6-0 record on the season in which the average margin of victory has been 14.5 points per game. The clear No. 1 in the state of Illinois, Simeon has the week off before the Class 4A playoffs.

2. Orr (22-4, 9-0) (2) -- Orr put up a good fight but they ultimately fell short to No. 1 Simeon in the Public League Playoff title game. The Spartans did gain revenge on No. 3 Curie, however, with a big semifinal win on Friday. Orr has to forget the title loss ahead of the Class 2A Playoffs that begin this week as the Spartans try to repeat as champions.

3. Curie (23-4, 8-1) (3) -- The Condors have only lost to No. 1 and No. 2 when it comes to in-state losses as they remain one of the most complete and balanced teams in the state. Curie has the week off before the IHSA Playoffs.

4. Whitney Young (22-7, 7-2) (4) -- Whitney Young earned a huge quarterfinal win over Morgan Park before falling to Simeon in the Public League Playoff semifinals. The Dolphins also have the week off before they attempt to repeat as Class 4A champions. 

5. Morgan Park (18-9, 7-2) (5) Disappointing result for the Mustangs as they lost on a buzzer-beater in the Public League Playoffs to Whitney Young. Defending champions in Class 3A, the Mustangs will rest this week before the playoffs begin.

6. Fenwick (18-7, 8-0) (8) -- The Friars earned two wins during the week as they beat Marmion while also getting a huge conference road win at Loyola. Fenwick will battle Taft during the week.

7. New Trier (22-3, 8-1) (9) -- New Trier had one of the best weeks of any team in the area as they picked up wins over Maine South and Evanston. Now the leaders in the rugged CSL South, the Trevians have some more tough games against Niles North and Glenbrook North this week. 

8. Evanston (20-5, 8-2) (6) -- Evanston's red-hot recent play was finally slowed down as they fell to rival New Trier. The Wildkits will try to bounce back when they play Vernon Hills in a Central Suburban crossover this week.

9. Oak Park-River Forest (21-5, 12-0) (11) -- The Huskies finished the West Suburban Silver season unbeaten following wins over York and Proviso West. OPRF gets a great test right before the playoffs when they face Hinsdale South in the West Suburban championship game.

10. Benet (21-4) (6-1) (12) -- Two wins for the Redwings this week when they beat Joliet Catholic and Stevenson. Things aren't easy for Benet this week as they head to Marian Catholic before hosting Carmel in two tough ESCC games. 

11. West Aurora (19-4, 8-0) (13) -- The winning streak is now 11 for the Blackhawks after beating South Elgin. West Aurora will play Bartlett and crosstown rival East Aurora this week as they try to keep the momentum going into the playoffs. 

12. Marist (23-4, 6-2) (15) -- Marist picked up a double-digit win over St. Patrick during the week as they prepare for the Class 4A draw. The RedHawks will have an ESCC game against Marian Central this week. 

13. Niles North (22-4, 5-4) (8) -- The Vikings fell to CSL South rival Maine South and followed that up with an overtime win over a tough Wisconsin team in St. Catherine's. The Vikings get a crack at conference leader New Trier this week before playing Maine West in a tough Central Suburban crossover. 

14. Marian Catholic (20-4, 5-3) (16) -- Three wins for the Spartans during the week as they knocked off Nazareth, Rich Central and Marian Central. Marian Catholic gets a tough test this week when they host Benet in its final ESCC game.

15. Naperville North (23-2, 14-1) (17) -- The Huskies have won eight straight games as they clinched at least a share of the DuPage Valley Conference with a win over Waubonsie Valley this week. Naperville North hosts Wheaton-Warrenville South this week to decide the DVC title.

16. DePaul Prep (20-6, 5-3) (19) -- Picking up a convincing double-digit win over Mount Carmel, the Rams got back on track after the loss to Brother Rice. DePaul Prep will host Montini during the week as they prepare for Class 3A. 

17. Loyola (21-6, 5-3) (10) -- Tough recent stretch for the Ramblers as they fell to St. Joseph and Fenwick to fall out of the Catholic League Blue race. Loyola hosts Steinmetz for a tune-up this week. 

18. Hillcrest (21-5, 13-0) (21) -- Hillcrest survived a tight win over T.F. North before winning convincingly against Oak Forest. The Hawks have the week off as they prep for Class 3A. 

19. Leo (19-5, 8-0) (22) -- Finishing the regular season with a big win over Marmion, the Lions will be one of the area teams to watch in the Class 2A playoffs as they are in the Marshall Regional. 

20. Homewood-Flossmoor (16-6, 7-1) (23) -- Another huge win for Homewood-Flossmoor as the Vikings took down Bolingbrook to keep a lead in the SouthWest Suburban Blue. Homewood-Flossmoor goes on the road this week to battle Sandburg and Lockport. 

21. Hinsdale South (20-5, 10-2) (24) -- The Hornets stayed hot with wins over Addison Trail and Proviso East as they clinched the West Suburban Gold. Hinsdale South has a tough battle against Oak Park-River Forest in the West Suburban championship game this week. 

22. St. Viator (22-5, 8-0) (25) -- The Lions picked up some wins against Carmel and Bartlett. St. Viator will try to close out the ESCC with an undefeated record when they play Nazareth this week. 

23. Bolingbrook (17-6, 5-3) (18) -- Bolingbrook fell out of the SouthWest Suburban Blue conference race when they lost to Homewood-Flossmoor. The Raiders still have some tough games to close out the regular season when they play Lincoln-Way East and Stagg.

24. Maine South (20-7, 6-4) (NR) -- Huge win for Maine South as they knocked off Niles North after losing to New Trier in overtime earlier in the week. The Hawks close out the regular season with a Central Suburban Crossover against Highland Park.

25. Willowbrook (22-5, 9-3) (NR) -- Willowbrook is back in the rankings by earning three double-digit wins over Morton, Leyden and Downers South. The Warriors have only lost to ranked teams like West Aurora and Hinsdale South lately as they've been playing well. 

Five top-25 matchups highlight loaded episode of High School Lites

Five top-25 matchups highlight loaded episode of High School Lites

High School Lites had five matchups between top-25 teams on Friday night as the Public League Playoff semifinals and big matchups in the CSL South, Catholic League Blue and SouthWest Suburban Blue took shape.

Be sure to follow us on Twitter @NBCSPreps for the latest news and scores for IHSA basketball.

Wintrust Athlete of the Week: Palatine's Eduardo Orozco

Saint Xavier Team of the Week: Maine West girls basketball


No. 1 Simeon holds off No. 4 Whitney Young

No. 2 Orr gets revenge on No. 3 Curie

No. 9 New Trier takes down No. 6 Evanston

No. 8 Fenwick handles No. 10 Loyola Academy

No. 23 Homewood-Flossmoor rallies past No. 18 Bolingbrook

Oswego East upsets No. 20 Joliet Central

Andrew shuts down Thornridge

Sandburg tops Lockport in OT

Richards runs by Shepard

Maine West captures second straight girls basketball regional title