Huntley

Dream on? Some fantasy-like HS matchups could become a reality

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Dream on? Some fantasy-like HS matchups could become a reality

With two more weeks left until the IHSA state playoffs, here are some fun dream matchups to consider.  I would love to see some of these happen-- and in some cases, a few of these actually have a chance to occur.

Homewood-Flossmoor vs East St. Louis: The 8A Vikings, coached by Craig Buzea, have a ton of playmakers. They feature a speedster in NIU-bond senior RB Justin Hall; plus, their speed and athleticism on both sides of the football is eye-catching. As for East St Louis, the Flyers (Class 7A) also have a ton of talent and speed including senior dual-threat QB Christian Perez and a big, very physical offensive line. This would be an excellent back-and-forth game-- a possible 'last possession wins' type of finish.

Marist vs Lincoln-Way East: Both 8A schools could very well see each other on the IHSA playoff road. Coach Rob Zvonar's Griffins feature one of the state's top defensive lines, built around senior Northwestern commit Devin O'Rourke. They also have a strong running game and good overall depth. Marist, under first-year head coach Ron Dawczak, also boasts a fantastic defensive line led by Indiana commit DE Gavin McCabe and Minnesota pledge Elijah Teague. The Redhawks' offense can beat you with the run and the pass. QB Mike Markett, RB Delonte Harrell and a ton of quality receivers are helping Marist rack up nearly 45 points per game. I'd pay to see these two teams compete in any postseason playoff round.

Barrington vs Huntley: It's another matchup that could potentially happen in 8A this postseason. How much fun would it be to see both do-it-all quarterbacks (Barrington's Ray Niro and Huntley's Eric Mooney) battle each other for four quarters?

[MORE: Edgy Tim's Week 8 Power Rankings]

Maine South vs a Rochester/Sacred Heart-Griffin CO-OP team: Since 4A perennial power Rochester and 5A-sized Sacred Heart-Griffin are both smaller than Maine South (from an enrollment standpoint) I'd allow a CO-OP for both schools here. How wild would a combined Leonard Family-led team be? Maine South has great balance on offense with QB John O'Sullivan, NIU commit RB Fotis Kokosioulis and a ton of quality receivers. Team Leonard's offense would undoubtedly be equal to the task. 

Glenbard West vs Loyola: Sort of like Godzilla meets Godzilla? Both Loyola (8A) and Glenbard West (8A/7A bubble team) pride themselves on defense first, but both are pretty diverse on offense as well. How cool would this be: two of the top overall programs in Illinois over the past decade going head to head? We can only hope. 

Lake Zurich vs Prairie Ridge: It's the unstoppable force (6A's Prairie Ridge offense with QB Samson Evans) against the immovable object (The 7A Lake Zurich defense). The matchup between the Bears' offense, which has opened up considerably under first year head coach Luke Mertens, against the Wolves' speedy and hard-hitting defense could potentially be just as impressive. 

Phillips vs Peoria: Peoria (4-3), the defending 5A state champs, seem headed to 6A. Of course, they would have to qualify for the state playoff field first. Phillips, the 3A/4A-sized school voluntarily moved up to 5A for the next two seasons. How would the Wildcats defense contain Peoria's offense, led by Illinois commit QB Coran Taylor and company? 

CSN Preps Preseason Power Rankings: No. 21 Nazareth Academy

CSN Preps Preseason Power Rankings: No. 21 Nazareth Academy

CSNChicago.com preps reporter "Edgy" Tim O’Halloran spotlights 100 high school football teams in 100 days. The first 75 team profiles will focus on teams making strides across Chicagoland and elsewhere in the state. Leading up to kickoff on Friday, Aug. 25., we unveil the @CSNPreps Top 25 Power Rankings.

School: Nazareth Academy

Head coach: Tim Racki

Assistant coaches: Casey Moran, Joe Reynolds, Rudy luna, Brody Budmayr, Jeff Tumpane, Joe Battaglia, Steve Gray, Tom Minogue, Larry White, Jonathon Bittle, Joe Felice

How they fared in 2016: 6-5 (3-4 East Suburban Catholic Conference), made the Class 5A state playoff field, defeated Goode STEM Academy then lost to Vernon Hills in second-round action.

[MORE: CSN Preps Preseason Power Rankings - No. 22 Huntley]

2017 regular season schedule:

Aug. 25 vs. Dunbar

Sept. 1 vs. De La Salle

Sept. 8 vs. Notre Dame

Sept. 15 @ Carmel

Sept. 22 vs. Benet Academy

Sept. 29 vs. Joliet Catholic

Oct. 6 @ Marist

Oct. 13 vs. St. Viator

Oct. 20 @ Marian Catholic

Biggest storyline: Can the young but talented Roadrunners win a state title in 2017?

Names to watch this season: senior OL/DL Isaiah Lee, senior LB Wesley Lones

Biggest holes to fill: The Roadrunners bring back a ton of experience on both sides of the football but they need to develop some depth on both sides of the ball.

EDGY's Early Take: Under Racki, Nazareth Academy will be one of Chicagoland's most talented and loaded teams this fall. If the talent level can come together and play on the same page, the Roadrunners have a great chance at making a deep IHSA state playoff run in 2017.

CSN Preps Preseason Power Rankings: No. 22 Huntley

CSN Preps Preseason Power Rankings: No. 22 Huntley

CSNChicago.com preps reporter "Edgy" Tim O’Halloran spotlights 100 high school football teams in 100 days. The first 75 team profiles will focus on teams making strides across Chicagoland and elsewhere in the state. Leading up to kickoff on Friday, Aug. 25., we unveil the @CSNPreps Top 25 Power Rankings.

School: Huntley

Head coach: Mark Zimolzak

Assistant coaches: Mike Slattery - OC/Quarterbacks, Mike Naymola - Receivers, Joel Bosman - Assist. Receivers, Craig Kastning - Running Backs, Chris Babyar - Offensive Line, Zack Borring - Assist. Receivers, Cliff Pawlak - Defensive Backs, Paul Reinke - Linebackers, Ben Salomon - Defensive Line, Keith Mooney - Assist. Defensive Line, Gary Swanson - Strength Coach, Will Benson - Scout Teams Coordinator, Mike Doty - Assist. Offensive Line, Doug Millsaps - Assist. Quarterbacks.

How they fared in 2016: 8-4 (8-2 Fox Valley Conference), made the Class 8A state playoff field, defeated Stevenson and Fremd before losing to Loyola in the quarterfinal round.

[MORE: CSN Preps Preseason Power Rankings - No. 23 Cary-Grove]

2017 regular season schedule:

Aug. 25 @ Jacobs

Sept. 1 vs. Prairie Ridge

Sept. 9 @ Dundee-Crown

Sept. 15 vs. Hampshire

Sept. 23 vs. Cary-Grove

Sept. 28 @ West Aurora

Oct. 5 vs. Crystal Lake Central

Oct. 14 @ Crystal Lake South

Oct. 20 @ McHenry

Biggest storyline: Can the Red Raiders make a deeper run in Class 8A?

Names to watch this season: senior QB Eric Mooney, senior LB Charlie Zornow

Biggest holes to fill: The Red Raiders will need to reload on the offensive line this summer with just one returning starter back in senior Joey Wilson.

EDGY's early take: Huntley made a nice run under Zimolzak in Class 8A last postseason and several key starters return this fall, including All-State quarterback Mooney. The Red Raiders program has continued to make impressive, steady progress on the field. One of these days, sooner rather than later, Huntley will challenge for a Class 8A state title.