Raby

EDGY: Which under-the-radar coaches are worthy of honors?

EDGY: Which under-the-radar coaches are worthy of honors?

Don't look now, but we're just over three weeks away from crowning eight teams as football state champions in Illinois. And as we approach the end of the season, it's a good time to take stock of other individual awards. Prairie Ridge's Chris Schremp already claimed a title. The IHSA named him "2016-2017 Football Coach of the Year" this week. The award recognizes success on the field and positive work with athletes.

What other Chicagoland IHSA football coaches are worthy of awards this season? Obviously, every team in the IHSA state playoff field can make a strong case for their coach. While we still have a few more weeks of IHSA football left to play, here are some more under-the-radar head coaches for award consideration:

Minooka's Terry McCombs: There were few people (if any) around the Minooka Indians football that had any idea that McCombs, an IHSFCA Hall of Fame coach, would become the program's leader going into this season. McCombs, in his 49th season coaching IHSA football, is a district resident who decided to throw his hat into the ring when the Minooka job opened up. McCombs landed the job and immediately went to work winning over the kids left from a 4-5 team in 2016. Community support quickly followed. Minooka (8-2) travels to take on Barrington this Friday. 
 
Hope Academy's Matt Kelly: His Eagles (8-2) have been a consistent winner and are back in the Class 2A playoffs. Yet Kelly needs to be mentioned here for having to deal with several issues away from the field including having two opponents (St. Francis and Bishop McNamara) decide to forfeit games against Hope. Both schools cited "safety concerns" after an early season shooting incident in the neighborhood surrounding Altgeld Park, the Eagles home field. Kelly, along with the Hope Academy administration, have handled the situation about as well as they could handle it. The Eagles have remained focused at the task at hand. 
 
Raby's D'Angelo Dereef: The Raiders are back in the IHSA state playoffs and have a chance to keep making noise in the 2A field. Raby took some lumps in 2016, posting a 2-7 record. This season, the Raiders have played several underclassmen who are major contributors. The Raiders will hit the road this Saturday and take on Richmond-Burton (7-3). 

[MORE: Edgy Tim's Week 11 Power Rankings]
 
Buffalo Grove's Jeff Vik: The Bison (9-1) have also been able to turn their fortunes around. They went 3-6 in 2016 and the program only cobbled together two winning seasons from 2002 until this fall. Buffalo Grove, who just played in its first IHSA state playoff game in 13 years (a win over Belleville West), will travel this Saturday to take on East St. Louis (8-2). Best part of all for Bison football? They have a nice core of underclassmen starters and could potentially make a return playoff visit in 2018. 
 
Wheaton North's Joe Wardynski: The Falcons (8-2) under Wardynski play old-school football, meaning they will run the football early and often. Then, they suffocate teams with a quick and physical defense. Wardynski, who took the Falcons to the IHSA playoffs in his first six seasons, missed out on the playoffs from 2014-2016. That all changed this year. Any school that survives the 2017 DuPage Valley Conference schedule is a dangerous team to watch from here on out. Wheaton North travels to Batavia (9-1) on Saturday in Class 7A.
 
Other worthy candidates to consider:
 
Bryant McNulty - Warren Township
Joe Pardun - Hersey
Nick Nildreth - Willowbrook
Tim Heyse - Hoffman Estates
Morgan Weaver - Hillcrest
Terrell Alexander - Rich Central
Apostolos Tsiamas - Peotone
Mike Barry - Hinsdale South
 

High School Lites Week 7 football capsules and picks

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High School Lites Week 7 football capsules and picks

NBC Sports Chicago will have cameras covering the biggest high school football games across Chicagoland on the Week 7 edition of High School Lites, Friday at 11:00 p.m. Who wins the annual Battle of Naperville when Central's Redhawks take on thier rivals from North? Can Raby find a way to upset Phillips? Who wins the ESCC showdown when Nazareth Academy plays at Marist? Antioch and Lakes also have a ton on the line in a fantastic Northern Lake County conference battle. Watch the show on NBC Sports Chicago or live stream at nbcsportschicago.com/watchlive

Raby at (6) Phillips, 7 p.m.

EDGY's Take: Raby (6-0, 3-0), coached by Deangelo Dereef, has been locking down teams all season. The Raiders' defense has allowed a mere 18 points on the season. The key names on the roster include senior RB Danquis Smith and LB Donovan Baldwin. Phillips (6-0, 3-0) has just rolled along in the CPL Illini Land of Lincoln conference play behind a strong running game and a tough-as-nails defense. Senior QB J'Bore Gibbs (South Dakota State) and senior RB/LB Craig Elmore lead the Wildcats offense. Can Raby's defense slow down the Phillips offense? 

EDGY's Pick: Phillips 37, Raby 12

Woodstock at Johnsburg, 7 p.m.

EDGY's Take: Johnsburg (6-0, 3-0), under head coach Dan DeBoeuf,  has been able to reload this season after advancing to the 4A state title game in 2016. Senior QB Adam Jayko, who was one of the lone Skyhawk holdovers this fall, has been electric. He has thrown for nearly 1,500 yards passing and 21 touchdowns. Woodstock (4-2, 2-1) is coached by Tommy Thompson. He lost starting QB Tanner Heidtke to an injury in last week's 55-16 loss to Burlington Central. Can the Streaks slow down the Skyhawks' passing attack? 

EDGY's Pick: Johnsburg 42, Woodstock 14

Antioch at Lakes, 7:15 p.m.

EDGY's Take:  This is a huge rivalry game in the Northern Lake County conference. Antioch (6-0, 4-0) and head coach Brian Glashagel will feature senior QB Brandon Gallimore and RB Hunter Price. On defense, keep an eye on junior DL Xavier Sanchez. Lakes (6-0, 4-0) and first year head coach Jordan Elder will counter with QB Jake Johnson, RB Ethan Greenfield and senior LB Ryan Selig (Western Michigan). Last possession wins?

EDGY's Pick: Lakes 28, Antioch 27

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

EDGY's Take: Prairie Ridge (6-0, 5-0) has been rolling in Fox Valley Conference play behind Iowa verbal commit QB Samson Evans, senior RB Zach Gulbransen and a quick, stingy defense. Hampshire (1-5/1-4) will rely on the arm of QB Drew Dalby. The Whip-Purs will look to stun the Wolves on Friday.

EDGY's Pick: Prairie Ridge 46, Hampshire 12

(10) Naperville Central vs. Naperville North, 7:30 p.m. at North Central College

EDGY's Take: Naperville Central (5-1, 5-0) is looking to maintain its hold on the DuPage Valley conference as they take on rival Naperville North (4-2, 3-2) at North Central College. Naperville Central is led by junior QB Payton Thorne, senior WR Jayden Reed (Western Michigan), senior RB AJ Deinhart and a steady defense. Naperville North will look towards senior QB Drake Davis to lead the way. He has been pacing the resurgent Huskies' passing attack. Keep an eye on senior WR Nick Calcagno for North as well. Can Naperville North turn this game into a shootout? Can the Naperville Central defense slow down North's passing attack?

EDGY's Pick: Naperville Central 36, Naperville North 35

(15) Nazareth at (4) Marist, 7:30 p.m. **#SendEdgy**

EDGY's Take: Nazareth Academy (6-0, 4-0), coached by Tim Racki, has a very young and talented roster this fall. The Roadrunners feature junior RB/DB Devin Blakely and a deep group in the offensive skills department. The defense is led by senior DL Isaiah Lee (Iowa State). Marist has a first-year head coach in Ron Dawczak. The Redhawks always can score points with junior QB Mike Markett and senior RB Delonte Harrell. The Marist defense is no joke. Keep an eye on senior DE Gavin McCabe (Indiana) and DT Elijah Teague (Minnesota). What's the key match up to watch? The Roadrunners' offensive line against the Redhawks' defensive line. 

EDGY's Pick: Marist 32, Nazareth 17

(5) Lake Zurich at (12) Stevenson, 7:30 p.m.

EDGY's Take: First-year head coach Luke Mertens has kept his Lake Zurich Bears at the top of the North Suburban conference behind a strong defense, a powerful running game and a steady dose of effective play-action passing game. Keep an eye on senior RB/LB Joey Stutzman, senior LB Jack Sanborn (Wisconsin) and senior QB Evan Lewansdowski. Stevenson (5-1, 4-0) and first year head coach Josh Hjorth also haven't skipped a beat in 2017. Their offense is led by QB Grayson Kubow and RB Jean-Marc Etienne. Their defense has allowed just 31 total points against teams from Illinois so far this season. Can both teams stop the opponents running game? Will the passing game be forced to take center stage?

EDGY's Pick: Lake Zurich 28, Stevenson 21

VIEWERS' CHOICE: Hyde Park vs Washington, Thursday 4:15 p.m. at Gately

EDGY's Take:  Hyde Park (3-3, 3-1) is still very much in the CPL Chicago Windy City conference title picture but the Thunderbirds need a win on Thursday against Washington (3-3, 1-3). Washington has lost three of its last four games.

EDGY's Pick: Hyde Park 28, Washington 16
 

Viewers' Choice: Vote for High School Lites game coverage

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Viewers' Choice: Vote for High School Lites game coverage

Who wants it more?

We are putting High School Lites, Chicagoland's top prep sports show, in the hands of area football fans in our "Viewers' Choice Game of the Week." Fans will get the chance to pick one game that the @CSNPreps crew will cover on Friday night. We will send our cameras to the game that gets the most votes; highlights and postgame reaction of that game will appear on that night's "High School Lites" broadcast at 11 p.m. — just after Chicago White Sox baseball. The show also live streams at csnchicago.com/watchlive. High School Lites will also have broadcast replays at 6:30 a.m. and 7:30 a.m. the following Saturday. This week we spotlight the Chicago Public League:

Solorio vs. Brooks, 4:15 p.m. (Gately)

Hubbard vs. Raby, 7:15 p.m. (Hanson)

Kenwood vs. Payton, 7:15 p.m. (Lane Tech)

[MORE: High School Lites Week Two Roundup]

Poll opens Tuesday at 12 p.m. and closes Thursday at 4 p.m. Here is what fans need to do to vote:

— Follow @CSNPreps on Twitter.
— Note the "pinned Tweet" atop the @CSNPreps feed. Vote for the game you want us to cover.
— Spread the word! 

We will make an announcement on @CSNPreps just after 4 p.m. Thursday with the official results of which game will be covered. And as a reminder, be sure to follow @CSNPreps for updates on the "Viewers' Choice Game of the week," along with other high school sports news, scores and highlights this season.