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High School Lites: Week 3 preview

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High School Lites: Week 3 preview

Thursday, Sept. 8, 2011Posted: 9:05 p.m.

By Joe Collins
CSNChicago.com

Week three of High School Lites is upon us! Comcast SportsNet is your home for prep football coverage in Chicagoland. We will bring you highlights of as many as 15 games across the area, including a duel in the northwest suburbs as Cary-Grove takes on Crystal Lake South. Also, Lyons Township has played one of the toughest schedules in the state, winning vs. Stevenson and falling against Downers Grove South. Will they have enough in the tank with No. 2 Glenbard West coming into town? Well also have highlights of top-ranked Maine South battling Deerfield. Here is a sneak-peak of each game we will cover during Friday nights show:

Thursday games

Steinmetz 20, Clemente 16

The Silver Streaks pick up their second win of the year as they held on to defeat Clemente in the opening game of the Big Shoulders conference. Steinmetz has already topped their win total from last season. They look to improve to 3-1 next Friday against Taft. Clemente (0-3) will look for their first win as they take on Mather.

Manley 14, South Shore 6

The Wildcats improve to 2-1 on the season and get their first conference win in Chicagos Windy City conference. Terrance Bass found the end zone twice. Manley will take on Hyde Park next Thursday at Gately Stadium while South Shore (0-3) battles Gage Park.
Friday games

Foreman (1-1) vs. Taft (1-1), 3:30 p.m. at Lane Tech

The conference opener in the Big Shoulders conference features two teams that could be neck-and-neck in the conference race. Foreman has proven they can score. They put 67 points on Farragut in the opener. One of their strengths is their offensive line, which is built around 6-5, 250 tackle Johnny Daniels. Taft, 42-0 winners last week over Gage Park, is led by Paul Masnica on defense. Hell try to key in on one of the better quarterbacks in the conference, Foremans Sergio Serrano.

De La Salle (2-0) at No. 3 Mount Carmel (2-0), 7:00 p.m. at Gately Stadium

Caravan head coach Frank Lenti is inching closer to becoming the all-time winningest high school football coach in Illinois. He currently has 305 wins, one shy of legendary Richards head coach Gary Korhonens total. If his running back Brandon Greer is on, No. 306 could be lurking. Greer scored on runs of 24 and 54 yards in last weeks 31-0 win over Morgan Park. Standing in their way is a Meteors team that has a fine running back of their own in Mikale Wilbon. He tallied 30 carries for 247 yards and 3 TDs to carry De La Salle over Gordon Tech.

T.F. South (1-1) @ Oak Forest (2-0), 7:00 p.m.

Speaking of long-time respected high school football coaches, T.F. South has one of their own in Tom Padjen. The 35-year Rebels head coach has 202 career victories, including last weeks 37-6 win over Collins Academy. Padjen has a fine running back in Giovanni Canty, who scored a trio of touchdowns on Friday. Oak Forest features deep threat Tevin Coleman, who has received offers to multiple Big Ten schools. The Bengals will be looking for revenge after T.F. Souths 53-21 mauling in Lansing last year.

Richards (1-1) @ Lemont (2-0), 7:00 p.m.

The 2-0 Indians are one of only eight teams in the state of Illinois that has not given up a point yet on the season. They have yet to be tested, in blowout wins over Little Village (54-0) and Riverside-Brookfield (49-0). Running back Eric Kirkman has three touchdowns so far on the season. Richards should give them more of a battle. The Bulldogs were on the short end of a 28-16 decision to Morris last week, but they feature wide receiver Davonta Corner who could, at the very least, threaten Lemonts shutout streak.

Glenbrook South (1-1) @ Glenbrook North (1-1), 7:00 p.m.

Central Suburban crossover pits North versus South (both by school and conference names) and it will also feature a pair of solid offensive lines. 6-foot-4, 248-pound Matt Demos is the anchor up front for the visiting Titans while 6-foot-4, 275-pound lineman Mike Ermel does the same for the Spartans. South QB Mac Zibriskie has passed for five TDs on the year, while the aptly-named Grant Rushing threatens in the backfield for North. The last time these two teams hooked up was in 2008, with Glenbrook South taking a 35-7 decision.

Crystal Lake South (2-0) @ No. 15 Cary-Grove (2-0), 7:15 p.m.

Fox Valleys Valley conference could have two, perhaps three teams go fairly deep into the playoffs come October. Two of them butt heads in Cary Friday night. The 15th-ranked Trojans turned some heads last week, going to Lake Zurich and walking away with a 10-7 victory. They are loaded on defense under their new coach, Brad Seaburg. Crystal Lake South, who has only given up one touchdown on the year, is getting results from the likes of linebacker Joe Coriaci. He had two sacks against Crystal Lake Central in week two.

No. 12 Prairie Ridge (2-0) @ Huntley (0-2), 7:15 p.m.

Prairie Ridge is the third of the three-headed monster in the Fox Valley. Theyve earned their No. 12 ranking by sprinting past Glenbard South and Mundelein by a combined score of 97-12. Their offense, led by quarterback Nick Nissen, fullback Connor Greenwald, running back Jordan Getzelman and wide receiver Sean Valentine, is one of the best in the area. Huntley is still looking for their first win on the season after falling to Crystal Lake Central and Kaneland.

No. 2 Glenbard West (2-0) @ Lyons (1-1), 7:30 p.m.

Has anybody in Illinois played a tougher schedule than Lyons? They split their first two games, defeating Stevenson (24-19) while falling to Downers Grove South (28-0). Both of LTs opponents were ranked at the time, and they now have the No. 2 Hilltoppers staring them in the face. Glenbard West shut down Wheaton Warrenville South in the opener and then took it to Willowbrook last week, 49-0. Future Penn State tackle Tommy Schutt leads the GBW attack. RB Jaime Jones leads the Lions. LT upset Glenbard West 31-13 last season in Glen Ellyn.

No. 1 Maine South (2-0) @ Deerfield (0-2), 7:30 p.m.

The Warriors have produced winning seasons every year since 2005. But with an 0-2 start and top-ranked Maine South knocking on the door, that streak could be in jeopardy. The Hawks come to Deerfield riding high from a 13-9 victory over Wheaton Warrenville South. They contained Northwestern-bound RB Dan Vitale and had just enough from QB Matt Alviti to get the win. Deerfield counters with running back Jeremy Kritt leading the attack.

Fenwick (1-1) @ No. 11 St. Rita (1-1), 7:30 p.m

Week three is usually when high school teams start focusing on conference opponents. For the 11th-ranked Mustangs, theyre just happy to play a team from their own state. St. Rita beat Portage (IN) in week one and lost to Whitehaven (TN) last week. Linebacker Will McNamara and DB Charles Elmore look to set the tone. They might have their hands full with Friars quarterback Pat Hart, who is listed at 6-foot-2, 220 pounds.

No. 6 Homewood-Flossmoor (2-0) @ Lincoln-Way Central (1-1), 7:30 p.m.

The 6th-ranked Vikings havent been tested at all in wins over Senn (76-6) and Deerfield (47-0). Maybe a road conference game can keep them honest? H-F has a potent offense, run by QB Tim Williams, RB Sheldon Jones and WR Gerald Butler. Their defense has been solid too. They held Deerfield to less than 100 yards of total offense. The Knights have a marquee running back in Brett Ditchman. He carried the ball 41 times for 271 and three touchdowns last week against Thornridge.

Lockport (2-0) @ No. 4 Lincoln-Way East (2-0), 7:30 p.m

Like the Fox Valley, the Southwest Suburban Blue might be closing ground on the DuPage Valley and Catholic Blue for the "toughest Chicagoland conference" title for high school football. The SWSB boasts five 2-0 teams, three of them ranked. The No. 4 Griffins feature QB Blake Winkler, who has already torched Edwardsvilles and Dunbars defenses to the tune of 414 yards and seven touchdowns. Lockports defense, guided by LB Brad Johnson, will hope to slow the LWE attack. Could the x-factor be Lockport QB Billy Reed, who hopes to come back from a knee injury?

Marmion (1-1) @ No. 19 Montini (1-1), 7:30 p.m.

Not only is it a nice rivalry game, but its also quite a matchup of two teams with plenty of playoff experience. The 19th-ranked Broncos are two-time defending 5A state champions. The Cadets were the state runner-ups in 6A last season. Montini is paced by their real-deal wide receiver, Nebraska recruit Jordan Westerkamp. Marmion bounced back nicely after an opening week loss to Batavia with a 6-0 win over Fenwick. They held the Friars to 59 total yards. NOTE: Game highlights shown exclusively on CSNChicago.com.

Also, tune in to check out our debut of our Muscle Milk Team of the Week! We head to the south suburbs and check in with Calvin Lindsey and T.F. North. The Meteors' quarterback accounted for eight touchdowns last week against North Lawndale. Well also catch up with Faith Ekakitie, Lake Forest Academys imposing defensive lineman. Our Flashback segment has a South Bend twist, and well also preview Saturdays games. And we invite you to share your story ideas as well. Check us out at csnchicagowebsite@comcastsportsnet.com

Blackhawks can't match Oilers' intensity as Connor McDavid leads way in Game 2

Blackhawks can't match Oilers' intensity as Connor McDavid leads way in Game 2

Let's be honest: The Blackhawks dominated the Edmonton Oilers in Game 1. The final score was 6-4, but there was never a doubt as to which team was in the driver’s seat from start to finish.

So going into Game 2, the Blackhawks knew the Oilers would come out desperate.

"We’d be naïve," head coach Jeremy Colliton said before the game, "if we don’t think they’re going to throw everything they have at us."

And that's what the Oilers did. To be more exact: That's what Connor McDavid did.

After scoring 2:34 into Game 1, the two-time Art Ross Trophy winner scored 19 seconds into Game 2 and then again 3:46 later to give the Oilers a 2-0 lead before the Blackhawks even knew what hit them. He completed the hat trick in the second period, giving him four goals through two games so far.

It was clear from the first shift Game 2 would have a different feeling than Game 1. The Oilers, this time, were in control and they followed No. 97's lead.

"They were much better as a team than they were in Game 1, so give them credit there," Jonathan Toews said following a 6-3 loss on Monday. "And to add to the fact, I don't think we made things as hard on them as we did in the first game. So everything we did in that first game, we've got to step all that team game up a notch.

"McDavid's obviously a focus for me, and when we're not making things hard enough for them offensively, then we get ourselves in spots where we end up taking penalties, and you know what happens on the power play, a guy like McDavid's going to make you play. A couple times early in the game, we give him grade A chances and he's not making any mistakes. You know what we're going to get out of him every game, so we've got to be better on him."

You just knew McDavid wouldn’t let his team fall behind 2-0 in a series that easily, especially as the No. 5 seed in their own building. He certainly looked extra motivated to be a factor at even strength after being shut down in Game 1 — all three of his points came on the power play.

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This was a virtual must-win for the Oilers. Only one team in NHL history has overcome a 2-0 deficit in a best-of-five series: New York Islanders in 1985 after losing Games 1 and 2 in overtime to the Washington Capitals then rallying to win the next three.

"Connor led the way," Oilers forward Tyler Ennis said. "He set the tone for us and gave us a spark. That's exactly what we needed, and everybody followed."

Credit the Blackhawks for clawing back and showing the kind of resiliency that helped them win Game 1. They fell behind 2-0 and tied it up at 3-3 before McDavid's hat trick put the Oilers back in front 4-3.

The game got away from the Blackhawks in the third period, where they were out-chanced 10-1. But that what was bound to happen for a team that was playing catch-up all game.

In the end, the Blackhawks won't sugarcoat their overall performance. It was no secret the Oilers would come out hungry, and the Blackhawks simply didn't match their intensity.

"Ultimately, we didn’t play to the level we need to to beat this team," Colliton said. "We knew going into this series it would be a challenge. ... It’s a 1-1 series, I’m sure no one picked us to sweep them. They won a game, now we have to find a way to be better on Wednesday, and we will."

What José Abreu knew was coming: White Sox wins and playoff-style baseball

What José Abreu knew was coming: White Sox wins and playoff-style baseball

This is what José Abreu has been waiting for.

This is what Abreu knew was coming.

This is what Abreu was talking about when he spent the entirety of last year saying how badly he wanted to be part of the franchise’s bright future.

“Something very big,” he said last summer, forecasting what the White Sox were building, “and I don’t want to leave here.”

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He later admitted he never even considered playing for another team during his brief time as a free agent last offseason. Heck, he didn’t even really make it to the winter, signing his new three-year contract to stay on the South Side before Thanksgiving.

He believed in the future. And now he’s seeing it.

The White Sox won their fifth straight game Monday night, a 6-4 victory over the Milwaukee Brewers that was dripping with playoff feeling, the kind of vibe that’s been absent from South Side baseball during the majority of Abreu’s time here. He’s yet to play for a team that’s finished the season north of .500.

But Monday, he delivered the game’s clutchest hit: a two-run homer that sent a 4-2 deficit to a 4-all tie in the seventh inning. A wild pitch brought the go-ahead run home the following inning, and the White Sox were winners.

Abreu’s personal heroics alone aren’t what’s made this year different. Those we've seen before. It’s what’s going on around him.

On the same night Abreu blasted that ball to center field at Miller Park, the young players who enticed him to stick around showed what they can do, too. Luis Robert had a single, a pair of walks and two stolen bases. Yoán Moncada had three hits, including a ninth-inning home run. Nomar Mazara picked up a single in his first game in a White Sox uniform. And Nick Madrigal took a four-pitch walk that ended with that game-winning wild pitch.

Expand the scope to the last five games, all White Sox wins, and there’s a heaping helping of the kind of stuff Abreu knew was coming: Lucas Giolito turning in an ace-like performance last week in Cleveland, Robert and Eloy Jiménez both coming a triple away from the cycle Saturday in Kansas City and Madrigal knocking out four hits Sunday.

“It’s always good to be around this team we have right now, this group,” Abreu said through team interpreter Billy Russo on Monday night. “A lot of energy and passion, that motivates you more every day. … I was looking to make good contact in that at-bat (that resulted in the home run). It was very special. I want to keep doing those things for this team.”

RELATED: Streaking White Sox turn slow start around: 'All these games are must-win'

Of course, what made Abreu’s multi-year contract feel like an inevitability — apart from Abreu saying on multiple occasions that he’d sign himself if the White Sox didn’t put the papers in front of him — was that the relationship was a two-way street. Abreu voiced his love for the White Sox, and they returned the favor, talking about everything he’s brought to the team as a team leader and a role model for the young players.

A lineup that’s been so productive this season is well stocked with members of the José Abreu Mentorship Program. That lineup is capable of doing things no other White Sox lineup Abreu’s been a part of could do. And, whether this year or down the road, that could include the biggest of things.

“Frankly, my happiness for a guy like José will come once we're able to present him with a ring,” general manager Rick Hahn said before Opening Day, “because that's what he deserves based on what he's meant for this organization and his performance on the field. Certainly look forward to, hopefully, the opportunity to do that in the coming years with him.”

Abreu didn’t have to wait long to get a taste of a different kind of baseball, with Monday night’s game — just the 10th of this season — featuring a parade of edge-of-your-seat moments.

One of those intense moments? Abreu’s at-bat in the fifth inning. With Robert on base ahead of him, Abreu fought off one pitch after another in an 11-pitch at-bat. It ended in a strikeout, but it allowed Abreu to see just about everything Corbin Burnes had to offer. Two innings later, Abreu homered off Burnes to tie the game.

"Those at-bats put you in a good position for next time you face the pitcher," Abreu said. "That at-bat was the key for me to get a homer in the next at-bat. I saw those pitches and was prepared for what he wanted to do. Even though I struck out, that was a really key moment and at-bat for me."

That’s the kind of player Abreu’s been all along. Now, he’s doing it in the middle of a potent lineup on a team with realistic postseason expectations.

RELATED: Nick Madrigal's four-hit day shows what White Sox newest core member can do

Intensity was hard to come by for viewers over three rebuilding seasons that featured a combined 284 losses. One five-game winning streak won’t wash all those rebuilding-era losses away by itself, but the White Sox are over .500 and in second place in the AL Central. That’s playoff position in this bizarre season with an eight-team American League playoff field. Fans are starting to get a little giddy, and the players are certainly recognizing a different feel in the clubhouse after they turned around a 1-4 start.

But this is Abreu we’re talking about.

Moncada might be stylish, Robert might be fast, and Jiménez might be fun-loving. But they all have one thing in common learned from their time in the José Abreu Mentorship Program: They work hard.

And so with the White Sox streaking, leave it to Abreu to deliver the most Abreu of messages.

“We can’t get too comfortable. We need to do our job and keep working because we need to get more results,” he said. “This is no time, by any means, to get comfortable and think we are a finished product. We need to keep working.”


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