Preps Talk

67 Days to Kickoff: Kaneland

67 Days to Kickoff: Kaneland

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: Kaneland

Head coach: Pat Ryan

Assistant coaches: Ryan Gierke, Mike Thorgesen, Drew Sterkel, John Pavlak, Matt Smith, Ryan Noel, Zach Martinelli, Isaiah Baerenklau, Alec Aurelio, Trevor McKeown and Mike Lotz

How they fared in 2018: 7-4 (3-1 Northern Illinois Big 12 East Conference). Kaneland made the Class 6A state playoff field, defeated Von Steuben then lost to Cary-Grove in second round action. 

2019 regular season schedule:

Aug. 30 vs Hinsdale South
Sept. 6 @ Geneva
Sept. 13 vs Sycamore
Sept. 20 @ Sandwich
Sept. 27 @ Rochelle
Oct. 4 @ Plano
Oct. 11 vs Ottawa
Oct. 18 @ Morris
Oct. 25 vs La Salle-Peru

[MORE: 96 Days to Kickoff - Morris]

Biggest storyline: A drive on Interstate Eight. Can the Knights keep rolling in their new conference?

Names to watch this season: QB Joe Smith (Sr.), WR/KR Max Gagne (Sr.), OL/DL Sam Pryor (Sr.)

Biggest holes to fill: The Knights welcome back several returning starters but the loss of RB Jonathon Alstott (graduation) will need to be accounted for this fall. 

EDGY's Early Take: The Knights will look to make the IHSA playoffs for the 22nd time in the past 25 seasons, but the big storyline this year is the Interstate Eight Conference. Kaneland had a very successful run in the now-defunct Northern Illinois Big 12 East. Will the momentum continue? The Knights will welcome back 13 returning starters (eight offense, four defense). The offense may need to help out a less-experienced defense, especially early on this season. Kaneland is about as battle-tested as anyone coming from the Northern Illinois Big 12 East. Look for the the Knights to challenge for a conference title in 2019. 

42 Days to Kickoff: Glenbard East

42 Days to Kickoff: Glenbard East

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: Glenbard East

Head coach: John Walters 

Assistant coaches: Bob Stone (OC), Tony Bartolotta (OL), Joe Cristina (WR), Brian Fetterolf (RB), Steve Kuchefski (OL), Tiff Hamilton (DL), Jim Walker (DL), Maurice Mason (OLB), Jeff Cherry (DC) and Dennis Lueck (DB)

How they fared in 2018: 10-1 (9-0 Upstate 8 Conference). Glenbard East made the Class 7A IHSA state football playoff field and defeated Prospect. In the second round, they lost to East St. Louis.

2019 regular season schedule:

Aug. 30 @ Elgin

Sept. 6 vs Bartlett

Sept. 13 @ West Chicago

Sept. 20 @ Fenton

Sept. 27 vs South Elgin

Oct. 4 vs East Aurora

Oct. 11 @ Streamwood

Oct. 18 vs Glenbard South

Oct. 25 vs Larkin

Biggest storyline: Last season was one of the most successful seasons in Glenbard East football history. Can the Rams keep the momentum going this fall?

Names to watch this season: S Jason Torrevillas (Sr.) and WR Deon Cook (Sr.)

Biggest holes to fill: The Rams will need to replace 16 graduated starters from last year's roster.

EDGY's Early Take: Glenbard East made the state playoffs in 2018 for just the second time in school history. The Rams will need to reload quite a bit on both sides of the football, yet Walters’ football program has never been in better shape— both from an overall excitement level and community involvement. The 2019 schedule also gives the Rams better than a fighting chance to make a potential state playoff bid this season. 

43 Days to Kickoff: Shepard

43 Days to Kickoff: Shepard

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: Shepard

Head coach: John Rone

Assistant coaches: Vincent Holmes, Andy Schindel, Chris Lewis, Justin Harris and Mark Thomas

How they fared in 2018: 8-3 (5-1 South Suburban Red Conference). Shepard made the Class 6A IHSA state football playoff field, defeated Springfield and then lost to Normal West in second round action.

2019 regular season schedule:

Aug. 30 vs Leyden
Sept. 6 vs St Francis
Sept. 13 @ Reavis
Sept. 20 @ Evergreen Park
Sept. 27 @ Eisenhower
Oct. 4 vs Oak Lawn
Oct. 11 @ Lemont
Oct. 18 vs Richards
Oct. 25 vs Argo

Biggest storyline: Coach Rone’s first season was a success. Can the Astros make another state playoff run in 2019?

Names to watch this season: LB Matthew Hightower (Sr.), WR/DB Jalen Smith (Sr.)

Biggest holes to fill: The Astros welcome back six returning starters back on defense, but they will feature nearly an entire starting offense with very limited experience.

EDGY's Early Take: Head coach John Rone was able to get the Astros into the  playoffs in his first season in charge of the Shepard program. It was also the fourth straight playoff appearance for the school. The Astros always have plenty on hand in the skills department. But the defense may need to carry a talented —but younger— offense. If the pieces can gel, they can challenge for another IHSA state playoff appearance.