Preps Talk

Preps Power Rankings adds two new teams this week

Preps Power Rankings adds two new teams this week

The Preps Power Rankings don't have a lot of changes this week since the high school season was slow after the holiday tournaments. Some teams had off while others only played one game. Many teams traveled out of state to play opponents from all over the country.

Although most of the rankings remain the same, a few teams fell to unranked opponents, so we see two new teams enter the mix this week.

1. Simeon (12-2, 3-0) (1) -- The Wolverines earned an impressive national victory against Memphis East, a team Simeon lost to in December. Conference games and national opponents have Simeon with a busy week ahead as they play Kenwood, Hyde Park and No. 1 national Montverde Academy. 

2. Orr (12-2, 4-0) (2) -- Another quality win for the Spartans as they beat St. Joseph by double-digits. Orr has a crazy week as they host Uplift and Whitney Young before playing Detroit English Village in Michigan. 

3. Curie (12-2, 3-0) (3) -- The Condors picked up two out-of-state wins over Missouri and Michigan opponents as Curie is starting off 2018 in a positive manner. Bogan and Kenwood loom on the conference schedule for the Condors this week. 

4. Niles North (13-0, 3-0) (4) -- Niles North had the week off as they try to stay undefeated. The Vikings take on a tough conference opponent in Maine South before hosting Deerfield. 

5. Whitney Young (13-4, 3-1) (5) -- Tough loss against Hamilton (TN) for the Dolphins as they traveled to Memphis. Whitney Young will get some Public League Red North-West games this week as they face Von Steuben and Orr. 

6. Morgan Park (10-6, 2-2) (6) -- The Mustangs lost to Chaminade (MO) over the weekend at an out-of-state shootout. Morgan Park has two conference battles this week against Hyde Park and Vocational.  

7. Oak Park-River Forest (10-2, 3-0) (7) -- Overtime win against York for OPRF this week as they start the year with a win. The Huskies have a conference matchup with Downers North before playing in the Wheaton Warrenville South tournament over the weekend.

8. Fenwick (12-4, 3-0) (8) -- The Friars won against De La Salle in conference play as they remain unbeaten in the Catholic League. Fenwick gets another strong opponent in conference play this week when they face St. Joseph. 

9. Bolingbrook (11-2, 2-0) (9) -- Needing overtime to take down Sandburg, Bolingbrook outlasted the Eagles for a conference win. The Raiders go on the road to face Stagg for another league game this week. 

10. Lincoln Park (11-4, 3-1) (11) -- The Lions had the week off as the jump back into Public League play during the week. North Lawndale will be a major test while Westinghouse is another tough game. 

11. Marian Catholic (11-2, 1-1) (12) -- Marian Catholic barely got past Rock Island for a solid win as the Spartans have won some tight games recently. This is a big week for Marian Catholic as they face Richards and Marist before heading to Iowa for a game at Dubuque (IA).

12. DePaul Prep (13-3, 2-0) (13) -- Huge win for DePaul Prep as they got revenge on St. Rita while also beating St. Francis. DePaul Prep faces Lindblom, Loyola Academy and Riverside-Brookfield during a busy week. 

13. Marist (15-1, 2-0) (15) -- Easy win over Harlan as Marist is already up to 15 wins on the season. Marist gets two games this week, including an ESCC battle with Marian Catholic that should be a good one. 

14. Evanston (12-3, 3-1) (16) -- The Wildkits picked up a double-figure win over Niles West in conference play this week. Evanston has one of its biggest games of the season against New Trier during the week. 

15. North Lawndale (11-2, 2-1) (17) -- North Lawndale had the week off as they get ready to restart Public League play this week. The Phoenix play Lincoln Park and Von Steuben this week. 

16. Uplift (9-5, 3-1) (18) -- The Titans had the week off as they prepare for a big conference games against Orr and Farragut. Uplift is still searching for a marquee Public League win this season. 

17. Loyola (13-2, 2-1) (19) -- After winning in Florida, the Ramblers earned wins over Mount Carmel and Lakes. Loyola has some tough games this week, including St. Viator, DePaul Prep and Mather.

18. Hillcrest (13-4, 5-0) (20) -- Solid week for Hillcrest as they picked up double-digit wins against Argo and John Glenn (MI). The Hawks will try to remain unbeaten in the South Suburban with games against Shepard and Oak Lawn this week.

19. St. Rita (9-8, 1-1) (10) -- The Mustangs fell at home to DePaul Prep as the Rams got revenge from the Hinsdale Central Holiday Classic game. St. Rita travels to Pennsylvania next week for multiple games over the weekend.

20. Libertyville (8-5, 3-1) (21) -- Libertyville had the week off as they prepare to face Carmel and Mundelein during the week. Senior Drew Peterson remains in the thick of the Player of the Year race. 

21. Joliet Central (12-2, 5-0) (22) -- Blowout win for the Steelmen as they ran past Plainfield South. Joliet Central has two more Southwest Prairie games this week against Plainfield North and Oswego.

22. Brother Rice (11-6, 1-2) (24) -- Picking up a Catholic League win this week, Brother Rice held off St. Ignatius. This week, the Crusaders hit the road to face Mount Carmel in another conference clash. 

23. Batavia (13-3, 4-1) (25) -- Two wins for Batavia during the week, including a thrilling buzzer-beater to knock off St. Charles East. The Bulldogs get three games this week, including two games Saturday against South Elgin and host Rockford Jefferson.

24. Naperville Central (11-2, 4-1) (NR) -- With only 10 wins all of last season, the Redhawks are now up to 11 this season as this balanced group is playing with a lot of confidence. Winning the DeKalb Holiday Tournament and knocking off previously-ranked Wheaton Warrenville South has been an impressive stretch. 

25. Jacobs (12-2, 4-0) (NR) -- The Golden Eagles enter the top 25 after a great stretch that includes winning their own Hinkle Holiday Classic. Not only is Jacobs running through the Fox Valley but they have double-digit wins over solid Mid-Suburban teams like Palatine and Barrington.

1-on-1 with East St. Louis safety Antonio Johnson

1-on-1 with East St. Louis safety Antonio Johnson

While many top Chicagoland underclassmen took part in the third annual EDGYTIM MLK Underclassmen Showcase powered by EFT Football Academy last week, several others from outside the area participated and made waves of their own. Athletes from Central and Southern Illinois made statements, while others from a dozen states and Canada turned heads as well. 

East St. Louis sophomore safety Antonio Johnson (6-foot-2, 185 pounds) was one of several Flyers who made a very positive impression and made the most of his experience. 

Johnson, who started at wide receiver and safety for the Flyers (10-2 in 2017), is already appearing on several college radar screens. Johnson remains one of several underclassmen to watch for head coach Darren Sunkett over the next few years. 

I caught up with East St. Louis sophomore safety prospect Antonio AJ Johnson at the showcase and discussed his winter plans, his recruiting and why he made the nearly-300 mile trek in the dead of winter to compete at this event.

Three new teams enter latest Preps Power Rankings

Three new teams enter latest Preps Power Rankings

Three new teams enter the picture in the Preps Power Rankings this week as some shakeups occured due to a lot of ranked matchups. While many of the top teams remain the same, a lot of changes went down towards the back end of the rankings this week.

1. Simeon (17-3, 7-0) (1) -- The Wolverines made quick work out of Vocational and Brooks to maintain its conference lead. Big week ahead for Simeon as they play Dunbar, No. 3 Curie and head to Baltimore to face Polytechnic (MD). 

2. Orr (16-3, 7-0) (2) -- Orr took down North Lawndale and Westinghouse during the week to remain unbeaten in conference play. The Spartans face Marshall before hosting Vashon (MO) at their own shootout on Saturday. 

3. Curie (17-2, 7-0) (3) -- The Condors had another strong week, beating Hyde Park, Vocational and North Lawndale. Curie has another busy week as they play Brooks, Simeon and North Chicago. 

4. Whitney Young (17-4, 6-1) (4) -- Whitney Young handled a very tough week, taking down Uplift, North Lawndale and Bloomington. The Dolphins get another week of quality opponents as they play Westinghouse and Chaminade (MO). 

5. Bolingbrook (15-2, 4-0) (5) -- Huge week for Bolingbrook as they followed up a win over Morgan Park with wins over Joliet Central and Homewood-Flossmoor. The Raiders play Joliet West and Lincoln-Way East this week. 

6. Morgan Park (15-7, 6-2) (6) -- Adam Miller looked like a potential star as the sophomore made nine three-pointers in a Morgan Park win over Fenwick. The Mustangs have been without Ayo Dosunmu and Tamell Pearson but still look like a top team. The Mustangs face Harlan and St. Frances (MD) this week. 

7. Niles North (18-2, 4-2) (10) -- Blowout win for the Vikings over crosstown rival Niles West as they get another conference game against Glenbrook South during the week.

8. Fenwick (14-6, 5-0) (8) --  Fenwick lost to Public League powers Simeon and Morgan Park but they remained unbeaten in the Catholic League with an overtime win over St. Rita. The Friars get a huge conference game this week when they take on DePaul Prep.

9. Marist (18-2, 3-1) (9) -- The RedHawks beat Brother Rice for a quality win before falling to Benet in overtime. Still looking like a major contender, Marist face Joliet Catholic this week.

10. Marian Catholic (14-3, 2-2) (12) -- The Spartans took down Notre Dame in ESCC play as they prepare to play St. Patrick during the upcoming week. 

11. DePaul (18-4, 3-1) (13) -- DePaul Prep continues to pick up quality wins as they beat St. Joseph and Evanston during the weekend. The Rams have a huge Catholic League game against Fenwick during the week.

12. Loyola (17-3, 4-1) (14) -- Loyola held off St. Ignatius for a close win as they played in the first high school game at Wintrust Arena. The Ramblers play De La Salle and Detroit (Jesuit) this week. 

13. Evanston (14-4, 5-1) (11) -- The Wildkits needed overtime to outlast Glenbrook South before falling to DePaul Prep. Evanston has another busy week ahead as they play Maine South and Geneva. 

14. Oak Park-River Forest (14-4, 5-0) (15) -- The Huskies bounced back with a conference win over Hinsdale Central as they've easily looked like the best team in the West Suburban this season. OPRF plays Proviso West and Lyons this week. 

15. Hillcrest (16-4, 8-0) (16) -- Making quick work of Tinley Park in South Suburban play, the Hawks remain undefeated in the league. Hillcrest gets T.F. South and Homewood-Flossmoor next week. 

16. Lincoln Park (14-5, 6-2) (8) -- Lincoln Park dropped a conference game to Farragut and won a close game against Marshall as they prepare to face La Lumiere (IN), one of the premier high school teams in the country. 

17. New Trier (14-3, 4-1) (21) -- The Trevians had the week off after Monday as they try to regroup to face Niles West and St. Viator during the week. New Trier is still right in the mix in the CSL South race.

18. Benet (15-4, 3-1) (24) -- Fresh off of winning a Martin Luther King event at Wheaton Warrenville South, the Redwings took down Marist in overtime in ESCC play. Benet has Nazareth coming up in ESCC play this week.

19. West Aurora (14-4, 5-0) (25) -- Another solid week for West Aurora as they took down Bartlett in conference play before rolling past a talented Romeoville team. The Blackhawks have Glenbard East this week before facing Willowbrook at the Batavia Night of Hoops. 

20. Joliet Central (15-3, 8-0) (18) -- Tough loss for Joliet Central as they fell to a red-hot Bolingbrook team. The Steelmen came back with a double-digit win over crosstown rival Joliet West. Joliet Central hosts Romeoville in a huge Southwest Prairie clash of unbeatens this week while also playing Lincoln-Way East this weekend. 

21. Wheaton Warrenville South (16-4, 7-1) (NR) -- Impressive DuPage Valley Conference win for the Tigers over Naperville North as they are tied for first in the league. Wheaton Warrenville South has a road game at Wheaton North before taking on Lake Park in conference play this week.

22. North Lawndale (13-7, 3-4) (17) -- Tough week for the Phoenix as they dropped three games to top-5 teams. North Lawndale played Orr to the limit in a four-point loss before losing to Whitney Young in overtime. Curie also got the best of the Phoenix with a weekend clash. North Lawndale gets another tough game against Uplift this week.

23. Naperville North (15-2, 7-1) -- The Huskies dropped a DuPage Valley Conference clash against Wheaton Warrenville South as the league continues to be one of the toughest to win in the suburbs. Naperville North has winnable game coming up this week against Metea Valley as they try to stay with the Tigers. 

24. St. Viator (16-4, 4-0) (NR) -- With four consecutive double-digit wins and the only unbeaten conference record in the loaded ESCC, the Lions re-enter the Power Rankings. St. Viator has plenty of quality wins this season, including Marian Catholic, Benet, Prospect, Conant and Libertyville. 

25. Aurora Christian (16-0, 6-0) (NR) -- The area's only remaining unbeaten team, Aurora Christian joins the Power Rankings after a solid win over Mooseheart during the week. Our Team of the Week last week, senior Jake Wolfe leads Aurora Christian as the Lipscomb commit is an All-Area candidate.