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 Aug. 5, we’ll unveil the @NBCSPrepsTop 25 Power Rankings, leading up to kickoff on Friday, Aug. 30.
School: Lincoln-Way East
Head coach: Rob Zvonar
How they fared in 2018: 12-1 (7-0 Southwest Suburban Conference). LWE made the Class 8A state playoff field and defeated St. Charles East, Glenbard West and Edwardsville. They advanced to the semifinal round where they lost to Loyola Academy.
2019 regular season schedule:
Aug. 30 vs Stevenson
Sept. 6 @ Naperville Central
Sept. 13 vs Bradley
Sept. 20 @ Bolingbrook
Sept. 27 vs Homewood-Flossmoor
Oct. 5 @ Lincoln-Way Central
Oct. 11 vs Lockport
Oct. 18 @ Sandburg
Oct. 25 vs Lincoln-Way West
[MORE: 27 Days to Kickoff - Stevenson]
Biggest storyline: Lincoln-Way East has made the playoffs every year of the program's existence-- 18 years and counting. Can the Griffins, once again, reload and make a deep run toward a state title game this November?
Names to watch this season: ATH A.J. Henning (Sr., Michigan) and DE Sean McLaughlin (Sr., Northwestern)
Biggest holes to fill: The Griffins will need to replace 18 graduated starters from a season ago.
EDGY's Early Take: Lincoln-Way East and head coach Rob Zvonar looked unstoppable for almost all of the 2018 season. But in the semifinal round, Loyola Academy stunned the Griffins in a 24-16 loss in Wilmette to end the season. East will feature a senior group long on talent including four star-ranked senior WR A.J. Henning (Michigan). They also bring back senior DE Adrian Wilson (Bowling Green) and senior DE Sean McLaughlin (Northwestern). The new faces are talented as well. Keep an eye on senior QB Kyle Quinn, junior RB Jamal Johnson and junior WR Mason Pierre Antoine. The schedule will test the Griffins right away as they host Stevenson and then travel to Naperville Central in Week 2. If the new faces can settle in quickly, look for the Griffins to challenge for a state title. Lincoln-Way East still possesses one of the biggest and deepest rosters in Illinois-- a huge advantage in this era of lower overall participation numbers in high school football.