Mount Carmel

Five teams you can't overlook come IHSA playoff time

taft_0_mt._carmel_53_640x360_1032952387505.jpg

Five teams you can't overlook come IHSA playoff time

With the IHSA Football Playoff Pairing Show just days away, here are five teams that you need to keep in mind when the brackets are announced. They could cause big matchup problems once the postseason begins. You can catch show live this Saturday night starting at 8 p.m. on NBC Sports Chicago+ with live streaming at nbcsportschicago.com/IHSAPairingShow and via the NBC Sports app.

Class 8A

Edwardsville: The Tigers (5-3) got off to a rough start and lost their first three games, including an opening week stunner, 53-49, to Naperville North. It was a game that the Tigers led 42-0 in the second quarter. However, coach Matt Martin and company are riding high with a five-game winning streak. They feature an explosive offense led by junior QB Kendall Abdur-Rahman and a deep group of backs. Keep an eye on freshman RB Justin Johnson. 

Naperville North: The afforementioned Huskies (5-3) have lost two of their last three games but don't be fooled. Naperville North can trade offensive punches with everyone in the 8A field behind QB Drake Davis, WR Nick Calcagno and a deep group of receivers. Senior LB Ryan Marrano leads the Huskie defense. The team has marquee wins over Edwardsville, Wheaton North, Lake Park and Naperville Central.

Class 7A

Mount Carmel: The Caravan (5-3) will wind up starting the state playoffs on the road.  And trust me: every opponent will not be excited to see this tradition-heavy program come to town. Mount Carmel will look towards its running game with QB Alek Thomas (a TCU baseball and football commit) along with a big offensive line led by senior Jeremy Cooper (Cincinnati). 

[MORE: Edgy Tim's Week 9 Power Rankings]

Class 6A

Providence Catholic: The Celtics (5-3) are coming off a tough Week 8 loss to Loyola. Don't let the three losses fool you. The combined record of the three teams Providence lost to is 22-3. Keep an eye on senior RB Deshon Gavin (WIU commit), a big and physical offensive line and a strong group on defense. Providence has won five of its last six games.

Class 5A

Rochelle: It is the last season for Hubs' veteran head coach Kevin Crandall. Rochelle (5-3) will look to run the football early and often. They also have a fast, physical defensive unit. Rochelle's three losses this season come to the likes of Sterling (8-0), Morris (7-1) and Johnsburg (8-0) and this team will be a tough out for every opponent in 5A. Rochelle is 157-95 under Crandall, including three 12-win seasons.

CSN Preps Preseason Power Rankings: No. 13 Phillips

CSN Preps Preseason Power Rankings: No. 13 Phillips

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. Starting Jul. 31, we'll unveil the @CSNPreps Top 25 Power Rankings, leading up to kickoff on Friday, Aug. 25.

School: Phillips

Head coach: Troy McAllister

How they fared in 2016: 11-2 (5-0 CPL Illini Land of Lincoln Conference), made the Class 4A state playoff field, beat Kewanee, Aurora Central Catholic and Herscher before losing to Johnsburg in the semifinal round.

[MORE: CSN Preps Preseason Power Rankings - No. 14 Mount Carmel]

2017 regular season schedule:

Aug. 26 vs. Loyola Academy

Sept. 1 @ Richards

Sept. 9 vs. Simeon *Gately*

Sept. 17 @ Westinghouse

Sept. 22 vs. Vocational *Mandrake*

Sept. 29 vs. South Shore *Mandrake*

Oct. 6 vs. Raby *Mandrake*

Oct. 13 @ Solorio

Oct. 20 CPL Playoffs

Biggest storyline: How well can Phillips fare in the regular season and then potentially in Class 3A this year?

Names to watch this season: senior QB J'Bore Gibbs (South Dakota State), senior RB/LB Craig Elmore

Biggest holes to fill: Phillips has experience back all over the field, but the Wildcats will need to replace three graduated starters on the offensive line.

EDGY's early take: The Wildcats just seem to find a way to reload year in and year out and will once again be one of the top teams in the Chicago Public League this season. Class 3A? According to the preseason projections (final classes aren't determined until Playoff Pairings Night), the Wildcats appear to be headed towards Class 3A after being a power in Class 4A over the past four seasons. Keep an eye on the early schedule for the Wildcats which is loaded and includes 8A power Loyola, 6A power Richards and a Week 3 showdown with Simeon. 

CSN Preps Preseason Power Rankings: No. 14 Mount Carmel

CSN Preps Preseason Power Rankings: No. 14 Mount Carmel

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. Starting Jul. 31, we'll unveil the @CSNPreps Top 25 Power Rankings, leading up to kickoff on Friday, Aug. 25.

School: Mount Carmel

Head coach: Frank Lenti

Assistant coaches: Mike Minogue, Bill Nolan, Dave Lenti, Mark Antonietti, Jerry Blew, Rick Good, Tom Sulo, Mark Carmen

How they fared in 2016: 4-5 (0-4 Chicago Catholic League Blue Conference), failed to qualify for the 2016 IHSA state playoff field.

[MORE: CSN Preps Preseason Power Rankings - No. 15 New Trier]

2017 regular season schedule:

Aug. 25 vs. Taft *Soldier Field*

Sept. 1 @ Lane Tech

Sept. 9 @ Loyola Academy

Sept. 16 vs. DePaul Prep

Sept. 22 @ St. Rita

Sept. 29 vs. Brother Rice

Oct. 6 @ De La Salle *St. Rita*

Oct. 13 vs. Montini Catholic

Oct. 20 vs. Providence Catholic

Biggest storyline: Can the Caravan bounce back from a 4-5 season in 2016?

Names to watch this season: senior QB Alek Thomas (TCU), senior OL/DL Jeremy Cooper (Cincinnati)

Biggest holes to fill: Mount Carmel will need to reload on the offensive line with just one returning starter in senior Marcelo Mendiola. 

EDGY's early take: It's pretty rare to see Mount Carmel sitting at home come state playoff time, and its 4-5 record in 2016 was the first time since 1985 that the Caravan missed the IHSA playoffs. The 2017 Caravan? The defense welcomes back eight starters this fall and senior two-sport standout Thomas will takes the reins under center, running the Caravan's option attack. A key will be how quickly an inexperienced Mount Carmel offensive line can come together, yet this is also a very proud football program looking to put last season behind them in 2017.