Preps Talk

39 Days to Kickoff: Hersey

herseyhighschoolprepsslide.png

39 Days to Kickoff: Hersey

CSNChicago.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 Jul. 31, we’ll unveil the @CSNPreps Top 25 Power Rankings, leading up to kickoff on Friday, Aug. 25.

School: Hersey

Head coach: Joe Pardun

Assistant Coaches: Mike Donatucci, Pat Schmiederer, Dave Dunbar, Mark Pearson, Chris Riley, Tom Nelson, Jason Adcock, Steve Kuehn, Mark Vukadinovik

How they fared in 2016: 3-6 (2-3 Mid Suburban East Conference), failed to qualify for the 2016 IHSA state playoff field

2017 Regular Season Schedule:

Aug. 25 – vs Zion-Benton

Sept. 1 – @ Hoffman Estates

Sept. 8 – @ Highland Park

Sept. 15- vs Niles West

Sept. 22 - @ Elk Grove

Sept. 29 – vs Wheeling

Oct. 6 - vs Buffalo Grove

Oct. 14 - @ Rolling Meadows

Oct. 20- vs Prospect

Biggest storyline: Can the Huskies bounce back, contend for the MSL East title and get into the IHSA state playoff field?

Names to watch this season: Senior QB Owen Goldsberry, Junior RB/LB Nick Wiley

Biggest holes to fill: Who will play on the defensive line for Hersey in 2017? The Huskies will feature all brand new faces there this fall. 

EDGY's Early Take: Hersey is looking to bounce back from its 3-6 season last fall. The Huskies have one of the top all-around players to watch in the Mid Suburban Conference in senior QB/ATH Owen Goldsberry. If the Huskies can get a solid contribution from a strong underclassmen group, this team could be a nice sleeper pick this fall. 

Morgan Park's Adam Miller another program-changing recruit for Illinois

adam_miller_illinois_from_his_twitter.jpg
ADAM MILLER

Morgan Park's Adam Miller another program-changing recruit for Illinois

Illinois and head coach Brad Underwood landed their most important recruiting target for the second time in three seasons on Thursday night.

Morgan Park senior guard Adam Miller became the latest Mustang guard to commit to the Illini and Underwood when the preseason co-favorite for Player of the Year announced his decision during a public press conference at the Jordan Brand store on State Street.

A consensus top-40 national prospect in the Class of 2020, Miller's commitment to Illinois gives the program another highly-regarded in-state prospect. Just two years earlier, at the very same Jordan store and under very similar circumstances, Morgan Park guard Ayo Dosunmu announced his college decision to go to Illinois -- a commitment that changed local recruiting momentum at Illinois during Underwood's first full season.  

Although Miller's commitment shares similarities to Dosunmu's, Miller's pledge is also slightly different from his former high school teammate. Any program can win one major recruiting war over the big boys. By doing it twice in three years, it's a major signal that Underwood and Illinois are a force to be reckoned with when it comes to local recruiting. Landing Miller's commitment in a hotly-contested race over his other finalists of Arizona and Louisville, Miller's announcement on Thursday signifies that Illinois and Underwood are ready annually to compete with national powerhouse programs when it comes to keeping local talent at home.

While former Illinois coaches like Bruce Weber and John Groce failed to consistently keep, and develop, top in-state talents late in their tenures, Miller's commitment is a significant indication that Underwood and his staff are making positive recruiting inroads at home that could continue to last.

The term "pipeline" has become cliche in the recruiting world. But it certainly can't hurt Illinois to be continually involved with Morgan Park's best players. The Mustangs continue to churn out Division I prospects every single season. And Morgan Park has another high-major junior -- guard Brandon Weston -- waiting in the wings that Illinois is already recruiting. 

Illinois will certainly need to spread its recruiting efforts more throughout the Chicagoland area to maintain recruiting stability of top in-state talents. Grabbing a top-50 player in two out of three classes -- particularly in a basketball-crazy hotbed like Chicago -- is significant.

During his junior season, Miller took the city by storm as he was the state's most dominant scorer. The lefty averaged 28.4 points, 7.8 rebounds and 5.7 assists per game -- putting up multiple 40-point games and looking virtually unstoppable during certain stretches of play. Even as opposing defenses threw exotic zones and double-teams his way, it didn't do much to slow Miller down. 

Miller already faced a tough set of local expectations entering the 2019-20 season. Morgan Park returns a loaded, nationally-ranked team. There's a baseline expectation for Miller to replicate his stellar junior season. Those local expectations now become enormous since Miller is staying home and going to Illinois. 

Now that Miller's commitment is under his belt, he can focus on pushing Morgan Park to a potential city and state title as the preseason's No. 1 team in the area. Illinois can focus its recruiting efforts on getting additional reinforcements for Miller and his fellow 2020 recruits. And by the time Miller reaches Champaign next season, Illinois is optimistic that they'll be a consistent NCAA tournament presence once again.

Edgy Tim's semifinal round analysis and picks

high_school_lites_games_were_covering_tw_11-20-19.jpg
NBC Sports Chicago

Edgy Tim's semifinal round analysis and picks

NBC Sports Chicago will have cameras covering the biggest high school football playoff games across Chicagoland on the IHSA semifinal edition of High School Lites, this Saturday night at 11:00. Can Coal City win their fourth straight home playoff game? Can St. Rita beat Boylan on the South Side of Chicago? Can Rolling Meadows find a way and beat Nazareth Academy? Will it finally strike Midnight for Cinderella story Marist? Or will the Redhawks beat Lincoln-Way East and take their show to DeKalb? Who wins the Defense Bowl between Brother Rice and Warren Township? 

Class 4A

Richmond-Burton at Coal City, 2:00 p.m.

EDGY's Take: Something has to give in this rematch from last year's 4A quarterfinal showdown, where Richmond Burton (12-0) beat Coal City 17-14. Both teams play great defense and love to run the football; that said, both teams are more than capable of throwing the football when required. Coal City (12-0) is coached by Dan Hutchings. They feature senior RB Dan Jezik (2,196 yards rushing 25 touchdowns) and big, physical line play on both sides of the football. Richmond-Burton and veteran head coach Mike Noll will get the football into the hands of his one-two punch in the backfield: FB Dalton Wood and RB Nick Legnaioli. Can the Coalers slow down the Rockets' power running game? Can Coal City take advantage of hosting a fourth straight home playoff game and play well in the mud?

EDGY's Pick: Coal City 21 Richmond Burton 20

Class 5A

Boylan Catholic at St. Rita, 2:30 p.m. #SendEDGY

EDGY's Take: Boylan (12-0) was able to take full advantage of a handful of Sycamore turnovers for last Saturday's 19-16 win to advance. The Titans, coached by John Cacciatore, have balance on offense. Keep an eye on QB John Starck, RB Xavier Bryant and RB Dayvion Foreman. On defense, the Titans have allowed just 96 points on the season. St. Rita (9-3) has been getting an All-State caliber season from RB Kaleb Brown as the Mustangs running game has been a key in the playoffs. The young and talented defense, led by junior LB Michael Gaughan and senior DE Michael Milton, continue to make statements. Can Boylan slow down the St. Rita power running game and standout RB Kaleb Brown? Can Rita's defense slow down and contain the multiple Boylan weapons? 

EDGY's Pick: St. Rita 27 Boylan 14

Class 6A

Prairie Ridge at Deerfield, 1:00 p.m.

EDGY's Take: Deerfield (10-2) head coach Steve Winiecki has guided the Warriors into the IHSA state semifinal round for the first time since 1990. The Warriors have received a big season from QB Ryan Nagelbach and a core of two-way playmakers including sophomore RB/LB Luke Woodson and senior WR/DB Alex Cohan. The Deerfield defense has speed and has been a strength all season long. As for Prairie Ridge (11-1), they hung on last Saturday for a 14-13 win in the mud over rival Cary-Grove. The Wolves will look to establish its power running game, led by QB Connor Lydon, RB Brandon Brown and RB Taidhgin Trost. On defense, the Wolves are speedy. They can really fly to the football. Can the Deerfield defense find the football and slow down the Prairie Ridge power option game? Can the Prairie Ridge defense take away the multiple weapons from the Deerfield offense?

EDGY's Pick: Prairie Ridge 28 Deerfield 17

Class 7A

Nazareth at Rolling Meadows, 1:00 p.m.

EDGY's Take: Nazareth Academy (12-0) is back in the 7A semifinal round for the second straight season behind one of the state's top offenses, spearheaded by junior QB JJ McCarthy (MIchigan). Head coach Tim Racki's roster features several big names to watch including sophomore WR Tyler Morris, WR Tanner Koziol, DE/OT Ryan Keeler, LB Riley Theobald and LB Marcus Griffin. Rolling Meadows (12-0) and head coach Matt Mishler have relied on a balanced offense led by QB Carson Schiller and RB/LB Chris Divito. The offensive and defensive lines have been a strength all season long. Keep an eye out for Ball State commit senior Nate Pedraza. Can the Meadows defense contain Nazareth's spread offense and get a pass rush on J.J. McCarthy? Can the Nazareth defense limit the Mustangs' balanced offense?

EDGY's Pick: Nazareth Academy 30 Rolling Meadows 20

Mt. Carmel at Willowbrook, 1:00 p.m.

EDGY's Take: Mt. Carmel (12-0) head coach Jordan Lynch will look to his younger brother --junior QB Justin Lynch-- to lead the Caravan's run-pass option attack. Junior RB/LB Kenenna Odeluga and senior WR Tony Livermore are key playmakers to watch as well. Willowbrook (11-1) head coach Nick Hildreth has the Warriors in the state semifinals for the first time since 1975. Senior QB Sam Tumilty is, once again, leading the way for the Warriors offense with his ability to both run and throw the football exceptionally well. Watch for WR Deandre Holliday and WR Everett Stubblefield to have their names called often. The offensive and defensive lines are a very hard-nosed and physical group. Is this Willowbrook's year? Can each defensive unit get the football back from the opposition? It will be a challenge. Expect a very quick, very tight game on Saturday in Villa Park.

EDGY's Pick: Mount Carmel 21 Willowbrook 14

Class 8A

Lincoln-Way East at  Marist, 1:00 p.m.

EDGY's Take: Marist (8-4) head coach Ron Dawczak has the Redhawks on a serious roll in the postseason after needing to beat Loyola in Week 9 just to make the playoff field. Senior QB Hayden Mikesell has been a big key late this season with his arm and his legs. Also, keep an eye on senor WR A.J. Markett. Their athletic and speedy defense, led by senior LB Colin Bohanek (EIU), has made big plays all season. Lincoln-Way East (12-0) and head coach Rob Zvonar locked down rival H-F 26-7 win to advance. The Griffins look to run the football and behind a big and experienced offensive line and a deep backfield along with having plenty of big play potential. Senior ATH A.J. Griffin (Michigan), junior RB Jamal Johnson and senior K Dominic Dzioban (Miami Ohio) are serious weapons. Can Marist keep stunning higher seeded teams? Can the Redhawks offense dent a very strong LWE defense? Can the Griffins control tempo against the Redhawks?

EDGY's Pick: Lincoln-Way East 28 Marist 20

Brother Rice at Warren Township, 4:00 p.m.

EDGY's Take: Both Brother Rice (8-4) and Warren Township (12-0) might be separated by 58 miles but both teams are extremely close in several other ways. Warren head coach Bryan McNulty features one of the state's top defenses, led by DT Willis Singleton Jr. (Iowa State), LB Juan Delacruz and junior LB Malachi McNeal. The Blue Devils just fly to the football. On offense, they look to establish the running game behind senior RB Derrick McLaughlin. He runs behind a big, experienced and big offensive line while senior K/P Adam Saul (Illinois State) is another key name to watch. Brother Rice head coach Brian Badke and staff have made some impressive late-season adjustments, including the addition of sophomore QB Jack Lausch. The Crusaders will also get the football into the hands of standout junior RB Willie Shaw. He been a key game breaker for Brother Rice this season. Rice's defense has speed and, like Warren Township, it's a real strength. Watch for senior DT Denver Warren, senior DE/OLB Justin Jefferson and senior S Giacomo Iraci. Last possession wins? 

EDGY's Pick: Warren Township 14 Brother Rice 10