Preps Talk

Three new teams in the mix in the latest Preps Power Rankings

Three new teams in the mix in the latest Preps Power Rankings

The newest edition of the Preps Power Rankings has a few new teams after numerous top-25 teams lost last week.  While Conference races are starting to come more into focus and the postseason will be here in a month, there is still plenty of time left to make moves in the Power Rankings before the regular season ends.  

1. Simeon (20-3, 9-0) (1) -- Simeon finally gets some time off after another busy week that saw wins over No. 3 Curie, Dunbar and Polytechnic (MD) out in Baltimore. The Wolverines continue to look like the unanimous No. 1 team in the state.

2. Orr (18-3, 8-0) (2) -- The Spartans took down Marshall in conference play before getting a quality out-of-state win against St. Louis Vashon -- the same team that beat Whitney Young in the Chicago Elite Classic earlier this season. Orr has created a bit of separation as they look like the clear No. 2 team in the area right now. 

3. Curie (19-3, 8-1) (3) -- For the second time this season, Curie fell to No. 1 Simeon as the Condors dropped one in conference play. Still a major contender in the city and state title race, the Condors have a good out-of-state test against Chaminade (MO) next week. 

4. Whitney Young (18-5, 7-1) (4) -- The Dolphins dropped one to a tough out-of-state team in Chaminade (MO) as Whitney Young knocked off Westinghouse during the week. Another out-of-state test looms for Whitney Young this week when they travel to California to face St. Augustine (CA). 

5. Morgan Park (16-8, 7-2) (6) -- Still trying to get fully healthy for the stretch run, the Mustangs won a conference clash over Harlan before losing out in Maryland to St. Frances (MD). Morgan Park will get some time off before preparing for the city playoffs. 

6. Niles North (20-2, 5-2) (7) -- Niles North is the second team in the area to reach the 20-win mark after two wins this week over Glenbrook South and Thornton. Major conference game in the CSL South this week as the Vikings are hoping to pick up the season sweep over Evanston with a win on the road. 

7. Fenwick (15-6, 6-0) (8) -- The class of the Catholic League, Fenwick earned a really good road win at DePaul Prep to stay unbeaten in conference play. Fenwick will battle St. Ignatius in league play before facing Riverside-Brookfield on the road. 

8. Marist (19-2, 4-1) (9) -- Easy win for Marist over Joliet Catholic in the ESCC as they prepare for three games this week. The RedHawks face St. Rita and St. Ignatius on the road while also facing Notre Dame in a conference game.  

9. Loyola (19-3, 5-1) (12) -- Two more wins for Loyola as they picked off De La Salle before earning a solid out-of-state win over Detroit (Jesuit). The Ramblers have two road games at St. Patrick and Bishop McNamara during the week. 

10. Bolingbrook (16-3, 4-1) (5) -- After a close win over Joliet West, the Raiders dropped a home game to Lincoln-Way East as the SouthWest Suburban Blue race just got a lot more interesting. Bolingbrook will try to recover from the loss this week when they play Lockport and Springfield Lanphier. 

11. Evanston (16-4, 6-1) (13) -- Insane week for the Wildkits as they needed a full-court, buzzer-beater to knock off Maine South before needing a rally to get past Geneva. It doesn't get any easier for Evanston this week as they host No. 6 Niles North and No. 12 Oak Park-River Forest on back-to-back nights. 

12. Oak Park-River Forest (16-4, 7-0) (14) -- Oak Park-River Forest had two wins during the week as they beat Proviso West and Lyons. The Huskies head on the road this week as they face Glenbard West and Evanston.

13. DePaul Prep (18-5, 3-2) (11) -- The Rams dropped a tough Catholic League Blue game against Fenwick as DePaul Prep had a tough time with the Friars' 1-3-1. DePaul Prep will play De La Salle at DePaul's Wintrust Arena next week as they try to stay in the conference race. 

14. New Trier (17-3, 5-1) (17) -- Two wins for New Trier during the week, including a quality win over St. Viator on a neutral court. The Trevians host Manley and Glenbrook South for two winnable games this week. 

15. Benet (16-4, 4-1) (18) -- The Redwings earned a double-digit ESCC win over Nazareth last week as they prepare for games against Montini and Marian Central this week. With a seven-game winning streak, Benet has been playing really well since 2018 started. 

16. West Aurora (16-4, 6-0) (19) -- Riding an eight-game winning streak, West Aurora is one of the hottest teams in the area. The Blackhawks had another impressive week, including a double-digit win over Willowbrook. West Aurora has two road games against West Chicago and Oswego. 

17. Wheaton Warrenville South (18-4, 9-1) (21) -- Tight conference win for the Tigers over crosstown rival Wheaton North to stay on top of the DuPage Valley Conference. Wheaton Warrenville South gets two more DVC games as they play Glenbard North and Neuqua Valley.

18. Marian Catholic (14-4, 2-3) (10) -- Tough loss for Marian Catholic in ESCC play as they fell to St. Patrick in a two-point road loss. The Spartans have struggled a bit in conference play as they try to pick up a road game at Carmel this week.

19. Naperville North (16-2, 8-1) (23) -- The Huskies picked up a win over Metea Valley in DuPage Valley Conference play to keep pace. Three games for Naperville North during the week as they face Wheaton North, Lake Park and East Aurora on the road.

20. Lincoln-Way East (16-3, 4-1) (NR) -- With a six-game winning streak and wins over ranked teams like Bolingbrook and Joliet Central on back-to-back nights, the Griffins return to the Power Rankings. Senior Sam Shafer is playing like an All-Area candidate while he has plenty of help around him. 

21. Joliet Central (16-4, 9-0) (20) -- Interesting week for Joliet Central as they knocked off Romeoville in two overtimes for a gigantic Southwest Prairie win before falling to Lincoln-Way East the next night. The Steelmen get two road games this week when they play Lockport and Oswego.  

22. Hillcrest (17-5, 9-0) (15) -- The Hawks won a tight one against T.F. South before falling to Homewood-Flossmoor in overtime. Hillcrest is still unbeaten in South Suburban play as they head to Lemont for a road game this week.

23. Aurora Christian (19-0, 8-0) (25) -- Aurora Christian is still unbeaten after three more wins during the week. The Eagles will get a solid test in non-conference play this week when they play Oswego East.

24. Leo (15-5, 5-0) (NR) -- Another strong week from Leo as they enter the Power Rankings for the first time. The Lions are the top team in the Catholic League White so far as they're looking like a major factor in Class 2A. 

25. Willowbrook (18-4, 5-2) (NR) -- The Warriors had an eight-game winning streak before falling to No. 16 West Aurora on Saturday. With great wins over Larkin and Proviso East during the week, Willowbrook is playing really good ball. Another important week for Willowbrook as they have conference road games against Addison Trail and Hinsdale South. 

De La Salle's Joe Bonds ready and excited for the next chapter of his football career


De La Salle's Joe Bonds ready and excited for the next chapter of his football career

Chicago De La Salle senior linebacker Joe Bonds (6-foot-3, 210 pounds) and soon-to-be NIU Huskie will have zero problems fitting into the "The Hard Way" mantra once he reports to DeKalb this summer.

I had a chance to catch up with Bonds and his teammates 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.

Bonds, a three-star inside linebacker is one of several Chicagoland headline names who comprised of a very strong NIU recruiting 2018 class.

Bonds, who signed with the Huskies over offers from multiple FBS level schools, looks ahead and discusses his soon to be transition from De La Salle to college football and more.

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.