With Week Six of the IHSA football season on the horizon, here are several teams having eye-opening performances thus far in 2017:
Marmion Academy (5-0): The Cadets and head coach Dan Thorpe are on a roll this fall, topped off by last week's big 28-27 win over Montini Catholic. Senior QB Brandon McPherson is a two sport standout (football/baseball) and the unquestioned team leader. Marmion Academy will have its hands full for the remainder of the regular season, with the likes of Fenwick, St. Laurence, De La Salle and St. Rita looming on the schedule. That said, the Cadets have a very good chance at earning a higher seed in the 6A state playoff field.
Oswego East (5-0): The Wolves graduated several key players from last year's playoff team, which included RB Ivory Kelly-Martin (Iowa) and QB Jaylon Banks (EIU). But head coach Tyson LeBlanc and staff have reloaded quite well this season. Junior QB/S Justin Clark just added his first offer recently from NIU. Illinois commit senior WR/DB Antwain Walker is another key contributor for the Wolves, who travel to rival Oswego (4-1) Friday night.
Buffalo Grove (5-0): The Bison, coached by Jeff Vik, had cautiously-high hopes entering 2017 with 11 starters back from last season's team. Buffalo Grove has received big seasons so far from junior RB/LB Tom Trieb and junior QB Connor Adams. Buffalo Grove will have a few big tests remaining in Hersey (4-1) and Rolling Meadows (4-1). This is another team that is on pace for a higher seed in Class 7A.
Eisenhower (5-0): The Cardinals have been able to post a few solid wins so far, but last Friday's 23-16 win at Oak Forest was undoubtedly the eye-opening victory. Coach Travis Moore and company still have South Suburban Red foes to deal with down the stretch. They will face Richards (3-2) on Friday and Shepard (4-1) in Week 8. Could the Cardinals be thinking conference title?
Johnsburg (5-0): The Skyhawks, who made it to the 2016 4A state title game, also needed to reload the roster going into this season. They graduated 15 starters, 10 of which on offense. Senior Adam Jayko, who played defensive back and kicked last season, is having an All-State season at quarterback so far for head coach Dan DeBouef.
[MORE: Preps Power Rankings, Week 6]
IHSA state playoff qualifiers from last season who have already been eliminated (0-5 teams) or are on the verge of being eliminated (1-4 teams) from the 2017 IHSA state playoff field:
Vernon Hills (1-4)
Brother Rice (1-4)