Preps Talk

2017 AP preps football rankings: Preseason

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AP

2017 AP preps football rankings: Preseason

The high school football season kicks off this weekend, meaning the Associated Press has revealed its preseason poll for all eight classes.

Here are the latest rankings of Illinois high school football teams in each class, according to an Associated Press panel of sportswriters:

Class 8A

Others receiving votes: Huntley 17, Brother Rice 13, Hinsdale Central 10, St. Charles East 10, New Trier 9, Oswego 6, Naperville North 2, Barrington 2, Aurora West 1, Naperville Neuqua Valley 1.

Class 7A

Others receiving votes: Bradley-Bourbonnais 16, Plainfield North 13, Batavia 12, Simeon 11, Rolling Meadows 10, St. Charles North 6, Pekin 5, Rockford Auburn 5, Libertyville 4, Glenbrook North 3, Hoffman Estates 3, Wheaton Warrenville South 3, Belleville West 1, Geneva 1, Prospect 1.

Class 6A

Others receiving votes: Providence 13, Lake Forest 12, St. Laurence 11, Crete-Monee 10, Normal West 7, Rockford Boylan 7, Oak Lawn Richards 6, Grayslake North 5, Vernon Hills 5, Crystal Lake South 1, Riverside-Brookfield 1.

Class 5A

Others receiving votes: Mahomet-Seymour 19, Peoria Notre Dame 15, Antioch 14, Joliet Catholic 8, Chicago (Solorio Academy)  8, Marion 5, Rich Central 3, Normal University 2, Hillcrest 2, Cahokia 2, Woodstock North 2, Glenbard South 1, Decatur MacArthur 1.

Class 4A

Others receiving votes: Genoa-Kingston 24, Breese Mater Dei 22, Geneseo 16, Richmond-Burton 13, Rockford Lutheran 9, Mt. Zion 9, Manteno 4, Coal City 3, Herrin 2, Quincy Notre Dame 1.

Class 3A

Others receiving votes: Decatur St. Teresa 21, Elmwood-Brimfield 15, Mt. Carmel 13, Paxton-Buckley-Loda 11, Newton 9, Bishop McNamara 4, Champaign St. Thomas More 4, St. Joseph-Ogden 4, Breese Central 4, Marshall 4, Greenville 3, St. Bede 3, Beardstown 2.

Class 2A

Others receiving votes: Mercer County 20, Momence 17, Rockridge 11, Chicago (Hope) Academy 9, Aurora Christian 5, Eldorado 4, Pana 4, Illini West (Carthage) 3, Red Bud 2, Orion 2, Auburn 2.

Class 1A

Others receiving votes: Camp Point Central 23, Aquin 21, LeRoy 14, Shelbyville 13, Hardin (Calhoun) 13, Dakota 9, Warrensburg-Latham 7, Carrollton 7, Kirkland Hiawatha 7, Stockton 2, Greenfield-Northwestern 2, Sidell (Jamaica)-Salt Fork 2, Fithian Oakwood 1.

Power Rankings: #7 - Glenbard West

Power Rankings: #7 - Glenbard West

NBCSportsChicago.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 July 30, we’ll unveil the @NBCSPrepsTop 25 Power Rankings, leading up to kickoff on Friday, Aug. 24.

School: Glenbard West

Head coach: Chad Hetlet

Assistant coaches: John Sigmund, Jon Schweighardt, Joe Kish, Chris Van Dyke, Rick Heckman, Mike Hofland and Tad Keely

How they fared in 2017: 9-2 (6-0 West Suburban Silver Conference). Glenbard West made the 8A state playoff field, defeated Bloom Township and then lost to Oswego in second round action. 

2018 Regular Season Schedule:

Aug. 24 @ Maine South

Aug. 31 @ Proviso East

Sept. 8 vs Addison Trail

Sept. 14 @ York

Sept. 22 vs Downers Grove North

Sept. 29 vs Lyons Township

Oct. 5 @ Hinsdale Central

Oct. 13 vs Oak Park-River Forest

Oct. 19 @ Proviso West

Biggest storyline: Can the Hilltoppers get their swagger back in 2018?

Names to watch this season: RB Tyquan Cox and DE Mark Winters

Biggest holes to fill: The Hilltoppers will be a bit green on the offensive side of the football. Only three starters return from a season ago. 

EDGY's Early Take: Whenever Glenbard West head coach Chad Hetlet welcomes back experience on defense, expect the Hilltoppers to be strong. As mentioned, West’s offense will be a bit inexperienced. But senior RB Tyquan Cox is back from a strong junior season. He is a big play threat with every carry. The defense brings back seven returning starters from a season ago; they were a unit that improved greatly as the season wore on last season. Senior DE Mark Winters is a name to watch along with four returning starting linebackers in the fold from a season ago. If the offense can develop sooner rather than later, expect Glenbard West to again challenge for a state title in 2018. 

Power Rankings: #8 - Naperville Central

Power Rankings: #8 - Naperville Central

NBCSportsChicago.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 July 30, we’ll unveil the @NBCSPrepsTop 25 Power Rankings, leading up to kickoff on Friday, Aug. 24.

School: Naperville Central

Head coach: Mike Stein

Assistant Coaches: Mike Ulreich: (DC/Inside LB), Tim Boecker (DB) Marc Anderson (DB), Adam Pucylowski (Outside LB), Eric Novak (DL), Pat Watson (OC/OL), Phil Allen (OL), Ryan Clifford (TE/H-backs), Adam Freed (RB), Chad Bradley (QB), Josh McLeod (WR) and Kofi Hughes (WR)

How they fared in 2017: 9-3 (7-1 DuPage Valley Conference). Naperville Central made the 8A state playoff field and defeated West Aurora and Homewood-Flossmoor. In the quarterfinal round, they lost to Maine South. 

2018 Regular Season Schedule:

Aug. 24 vs Hinsdale Central

Aug. 31 @ Lincoln-Way East

Sept. 7 vs Naperville North

Sept. 14 @ St. Matthews (Trinity) Kentucky

Sept. 21 @ Metea Valley

Sept. 28 vs Naperville North at NCC

Oct. 5 vs Neuqua Valley

Oct. 12 vs Waubonsie Valley

Oct. 19 @ Cary-Grove

[MORE: 12 Days to Kickoff - Hinsdale Central]

Biggest storyline: The schedule. Can the Redhawks survive a grueling regular season slate and go deep in the Class 8A playoffs?

Names to watch this season: QB Payton Thorne (Western Michigan) and OG Luke Hallstrom (Air Force)

Biggest holes to fill: The Redhawks will need to reload upfront on both the offensive and defensive line this fall. 

EDGY's Early Take: Welcome to the new-look DuPage Valley, Naperville Central fans. The Redhawks will face a stiff test for all nine weeks of the regular season. It includes back-to-back games against fellow Class 8A state title contenders right out of the gate: Hinsdale Central and Lincoln-Way East. But Naperville Central features one of the state's top quarterbacks in senior Payton Thorne. He has capable targets in senior WR Cade McDonald and senior TE Jared Suchevits. As for the defense, they'll feature senior DB Jack Jopes along with senior LB Matt Oliver. A major plus to help Central's cause: they always have a deep roster and strong overall program numbers year in and year out.