Providence Catholic

High School Lites Week 8 football capsules and picks

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High School Lites Week 8 football capsules and picks

NBC Sports Chicago will have cameras covering the biggest high school football games across Chicagoland on the Week 8 edition of High School Lites, Friday at 11 p.m. Who wins the Southwest Prairie showdown when Minooka travels up Ridge Road to take on Oswego East? Can Jacobs pull off the upset at Prairie Ridge? Who wins the Mid-Suburban East battle when Hersey travels to Rolling Meadows? And can Loyola Academy go on the road and beat Providence Catholic on the Emerald Isle?

Minooka at Oswego East, 7 p.m.

EDGY's Take: Minooka (6-1, 6-1), coached by Terry McCombs, has gotten the Indians off to their best start in years. They’re paced by a steady running game featuting RB Owen Kappel and QB Zach Gessner. They also have a stingy, hard-hitting defense. Tyson LeBlanc’s Oswego East (6-1, 6-1) squad has some serious athletes to watch. Keep an eye on Illinois verbal commit senior WR/DB Antwain Walker, RB Ian Kroemer and junior QB/S Justin Clark. Note that Clark missed last week's win over Plainfield Central with an injury. So Oswego East is now on its third quarterback this fall — converted junior RB Jordan Williams. Can Oswego East get healthy by Friday? Can the Minooka defense continue to lock down the Wolves’ offense?

EDGY's Pick: Minooka 17, Oswego East 14

Maine West at Highland Park, 7 p.m.

EDGY's Take: Maine West (6-1, 3-0) qualified for the IHSA state playoff field last Friday for the first time since 2002. Coach Jason Kradman and company feature a strong offense with RB Jake Bellizzi and TE/QB Matt Kentgen. Highland Park (4-3, 3-0) struggled early in the season against a killer nonconference schedule; that said, they have now won four straight games. Highland Park will look to junior QB John Sakos and junior WR/S Giancarlo Volpentesta. Last possession wins? 

EDGY's Pick: Maine West 28, Highland Park 27

Jacobs at (2) Prairie Ridge, 7:15 p.m.

EDGY's Take:  Jacobs (5-2, 4-2) and veteran head coach Bill Mitz has the Golden Eagles playing well. Their leaders include QB Anthony Williams, FB Stephen Kavanaugh and a very strong offensive line anchored by senior Jimmy Wormsley (SIU commit). Prairie Ridge (7-0, 6-0) have been rolling along, but the main storyline is will Superman play this week? Prairie Ridge senior QB Samson Evans (Iowa) sat out with an injury in last Friday's win over Hampshire 55-14. Prairie Ridge will continue to focus on its running game with senior RB Zach Gulbransen and RB Jackson Willis. Can Jacobs beat Prairie Ridge if Superman doesn't dress again this week?

EDGY's Pick: Prairie Ridge 34, Jacobs 21

(24) St. Rita at Brother Rice, 7:30 p.m.

EDGY's Take: St. Rita (5-2, 1-2) will look to improve their overall IHSA playoff seeding with a win over the Crusaders on Friday night. Coach Todd Kuska has benefitted from a nice backfield combination of seniors Jake Zlyman and Chris Childers (Indiana State). Brother Rice (2-5/0-2) will look to finish out the regular season on a strong note. Keep an eye on senior OL Nick Marozas (Indiana) and with senior DB Arthur Veal. Can the Crusaders defense slow down the St. Rita running game? 

EDGY's Pick: St. Rita 37, Brother Rice 20

Hersey at Rolling Meadows, 7:30 p.m. **#SendEdgy**

EDGY's Take: Hersey (6-1, 3-0) has been a big turnaround story this fall after posting a 3-6 record a season ago. Head coach Joe Pardun will look to senior QB Owen Goldsberry and RB Luke Cecala to get points on the board. Rolling Meadows (6-1, 3-0) just keeps on winning. The Mustangs, coached by Matt Mishler, also feature a strong running game. They’re led by RB Tim Szylak and a strong offensive line. The defensive line has stepped up as well. Can Rolling Meadows slow down the Hersey run game? And can the Hersey defense contain Meadows’ speedster Szylak?

EDGY's Pick: Hersey 35, Rolling Meadows 32

(7) Loyola at (20) Providence, 7:30 p.m.

EDGY's Take: Loyola Academy (6-1, 2-0) and head coach John Holocek feature QB Quinn Boyle and an always-tough defense. Can they win on the road this week at Providence? The Celtics (5-2, 2-0) lost their first two games of the season but have recovered nicely. They’ve posted five straight wins behind senior RB De'Shon Gavin (WIU commit) and a very strong defense led by senior LB Mariano Sori-Marin (Minnesota). Can the Loyola defense slow down the Providence running game this week? Can the Providence defense find an answer for Boyle? 

EDGY's Pick: Loyola 27, Providence Catholic 21

(17) Lyons Township at (14) Hinsdale Central, 7:30 p.m.

EDGY's Take: Lyons Township (6-1, 3-1) features one of Chicagoland's top quarterbacks in senior Ben Bryant (Cincinnati). The Lions also feature a big, experienced offensive and defensive line. Hinsdale Central (5-2, 4-1) and head coach Dan Hartman also have a ton of weapons on offense with senior TE Matt Bjorson (Indiana), RB Luke Skokna and senior athlete Garrett Oakey. The Red Devils played last week without junior QB Matt Rush. Can Central’s offense get back into high gear this week? Can the Lyons’ offense consistently finish drives with points? This one could be a potential thriller. 

EDGY's Pick: Hinsdale Central 34, Lyons Township 31

VIEWERS' CHOICE: (3) Maine South at New Trier, 7:30 p.m.

EDGY's Take: Defending 8A state champion Maine South (6-1, 3-0) is near the top of the polls once again behind the always-explosive offense and stingy defense. Keep an eye on senior RB Fotis Kokosioulis (NIU), senior QB John O'Sullivan and a strong core of receivers. Coach Brian Doll’s New Trier Trevians (5-2, 3-0) have survived various key injuries this fall. They will look to their balanced offensive game plan with QB Carson Ochsenhirt and RB Brian Sitzer. Junior TE/LB Luke Olges is a force on both sides of the ball for the Trevians. Can lightning strike twice for New Trier? Will they shock Maine South for the second straight season? 

EDGY's Pick: Maine South 35, New Trier 28

No coasting allowed: why some football programs schedule to play "up"

No coasting allowed: why some football programs schedule to play "up"

While many IHSA football programs across the state continue to face various scheduling issues, some of the top programs are still finding ways to play the best possible opponents. It's a matter of scheduling "up" and not "down." Here are some Illinois high school programs who are loading up on their respective non-conference schedule:

East St. Louis: The Flyers (1-1) took its first loss of the year on Saturday night to nationally-ranked Evangel Christian 14-6. But don't be fooled by the final result. East St. Louis was able to compete for four quarters against an Eagles team that featured three LSU commits and an overall roster stocked with top underclassmen talent. This matchup was part of the annual Gateway Scholars Football Classic which featured three local teams (Cahokia, Belleville West and East St. Louis) against three of the top out of state programs in the country (New Jersey's Camden and Timber Creek, along with Louisiana's Evangel Christian). The day-long event was packed with fans and featured several local restaurants, a children's play area and a great overall festival atmosphere. 

Unlike so many other Illinois teams who are forced to seek out of state opponents to fill scheduling issues, the Flyers actively seek out nationally-ranked programs to take part in the Classic, a process that begins a year or two in advance. If any school could make a case for actually moving up in the in-state polls after a hard-fought game and loss to a national power, it could very well be the Flyers. I seriously doubt that the Flyers will see another team the rest of the season with as much raw talent and speed on the field than what Evangel Christian brought to Clyde C. Jordan Stadium on Saturday night.

Crete-Monee: You'll be hard-pressed to find another program that stacks its non-conference schedule better than Crete-Monee (1-1) does under head coach John Konecki. The Warriors lost in the opening week to the state's top ranked team in Lincoln-Way East; however, they pulled off (arguably) the program's biggest non-conference regular season win in defeating Brother Rice 33-25 last Friday. The Warriors will get a taste of out-of-state competition this Friday night when they travel to Purdue's Ross Ade Stadium against West Lafayette High School. 

Phillips: The Wildcats (2-0) under head coach Troy McAllister also "play up" when it comes to the non-conference schedule, including this season with wins over 8A power Loyola Academy (1-1) and last Friday in Oak Lawn over 6A power Richards (1-1). Phillips, who has been a low 4A-sized program until petitioning up to play in Class 5A for the next two seasons, has also defeated the likes of Fenwick, Carmel and Naperville North in recent years. Phillips will also get its annual Chicago Public League battle with Simeon this Saturday night at Gately Stadium-- a game that has become a must-see in the CPL.

Providence Catholic: The Celtics (0-2) have played two straight defending state champions to start this season in East St. Louis and St. John Vianney (Missouri), both losses. Providence Catholic has always challenged itself when it comes to the non-conference schedule. In recent years, those early test have paid off while at other times the tough schedule has played a factor in keeping the Celtics out of the state playoff field. Providence Catholic will need to turn up the heat this week hosting CCL Blue rival St. Rita (2-0) in what could be a must-win scenario. 

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

Maine South: The defending 8A state champs opened the season at Glenbard West then hosted Lincoln-Way East. And the Hawks (1-1) didn't exactly pump the brakes on the rigid non-conference slate after scheduling those two opponents. Mid-Suburban conference foes are lurking over the next two weeks: Fremd (0-2) and then Palatine (1-1).

Lake Zurich: The Bears (2-0) are another program that doesn't shy away from from competition in non-conference play. They posted good wins over solid football programs in Fremd (0-2) and last Friday over Montini Catholic (1-1).

Lincoln-Way East: The Griffins (2-0) were able to get strong wins over 6A power Crete-Monee and the previous top-ranked team, Maine South. They open up conference play this Friday night in Tinley Park against Andrew (1-1).
 

Recruiting News and Notes: Tremayne Lee commits to SIU

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RIVALS

Recruiting News and Notes: Tremayne Lee commits to SIU

DeShon Gavin (DB), Providence Catholic

Providence Catholic senior defensive back DeShon Gavin (5-foot-11, 185 pounds) made an unofficial visit to Western Illinois University on Sunday and gave the Leathernecks his verbal commitment.

"WIU had a recruit visit day on Sunday," Gavin said. "I had a great visit and I just felt very comfortable and at home at WIU so I committed to them on Sunday. I was able to take a tour of the campus and also see the facilities at WIU and the visit on Sunday was just a very fun experience. I liked WIU before the visit and after the visit it really did feel like home. I just felt really comfortable with the coaches and the other recruits."

Tremayne Lee (RB), Sacred Heart-Griffin

Sacred Heart-Griffin senior All-State running back Tremayne Lee (5-foot-9, 160 pounds) made an unofficial visit to Southern Illinois University on Sunday and gave Salukis head coach Nick Hill his verbal commitment.

"It just feels great to be committed to SIU," Lee said. "I went down to SIU on Sunday for a visit with my family and I just fell in love with the school and so did my parents."

Lee, who ran for 2,168 yards and 33 touchdowns in 2016, discussed why he decided to pledge to SIU.

"It was really everything about SIU," Lee said. "They have a great looking campus and I was able to see a lot and learn a lot more about SIU on my visit today. SIU has a great coaching staff and I was able to talk to all of the coaches including head coach Nick Hill.

"SIU also offers a great education and they also offer a lot of academic support for the players and all the athletes at SIU. SIU also has amazing facilities. I was also able to sit and talk to some of the players at SIU and they filled me in on the school and the team."

[MORE: Recruiting News and Notes - Christian Perez commits to Navy]

Mario Wright II (LB), Homewood-Flossmoor

Homewood-Flossmoor senior linebacker Mario Wright II (6-foot-2, 215 pounds) made an unofficial visit to Northern Illinois University on Saturday. Wright II, who holds multiple FBS scholarship offers, made the NIU visit with a few Vikings teammates including senior defensive tackle and NIU pledge Jeff Griffin and senior athlete Justin Hall (5-foot-10, 180 pounds), who holds an offer from the Huskies.

"I went out to NIU on Saturday along with a few guys on the team," Wright II said. "I was at NIU for the one day camp earlier but I wanted to get a chance to see more of the campus and just learn more about NIU."

Wright II, who is planning to make one more unofficial visit this weekend to Western Kentucky, will make his college choice after his upcoming trip.

Could NIU potentially add both Wright II and Hall to its already impressive Class of 2018? 

"It's something that we've talked a lot about," Wright II said. "I just want to look at Western Kentucky then sit back and look at all of my options. We'd love to play on the same team in college but each of us also have to make the best decision each and decide what's best for us individually."

Verdis Brown (OG), IMG Academy

Former Mount Carmel and current IMG Academy four-star ranked offensive guard Verdis Brown (6-foot-4, 290 pounds) decided to end his recruiting process and gave Florida State his verbal commitment. 

"It's a family there and I have a great relationship with the entire staff," Brown recently told Warchant.com's Michael Langston. "So my interest was pretty high (in Florida State)."