Preps Talk

83 Days To Kickoff: Sycamore


83 Days To Kickoff: Sycamore 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: Sycamore

Head coach: Joe Ryan

Assistant coaches: Randy Zeitler (DC/DL), Jake Countryman (DB), Curt Countryman (LB), Brian Koehne (OL), Brian Hutsler (WR), Ryan Lyle (ST)

How they fared in 2016: 8-5 (2-2 Northern Illinois Big 12 East Conference), lost to Vernon Hills in the the Class 5A semifinals.

[MORE: 84 Days To Kickoff - Carmel]

2017 regular season schedule:

Aug. 25 – Sterling

Sept. 1 – @ Grayslake North

Sept. 9 – vs Robeson *Gately Stadium*

Sept. 15 - vs DeKalb *NIU*

Sept. 22 - vs LaSalle-Peru

Sept. 28 – @ Kaneland

Oct. 6 - vs Yorkville

Oct. 13 - vs Morris

Oct. 20 - @ Rochelle

Biggest storyline: Can the Spartans make another deep run in Class 5A in 2017?

Names to watch this season: Senior RB/LB Peyton Weigmann, Senior OL Joey Beaudoin, Senior LB Austin Perry

Biggest holes to fill: The Spartans are in search of a quarterback this summer. 

EDGY's early take: The Spartans have remained one of the top overall programs in Class 5A/6A over the past decade-plus under Ryan. Sycamore welcomes back 10 starters (five offense, five defense) this fall, and will again challenge for a conference title and beyond.

High School Lites Preview: Week 8


High School Lites Preview: Week 8

High School Lites has plenty of action this week as the show will feature some interesting leagues. The Public League's White Divison will be specially focused in this one, with three big games from the city. The show also features Public League Red, SouthWest Suburban and the first ever girls basketball Viewers' Choice Game of the Week. High School Lites airs on NBC Sports Chicago at 11 p.m. on Friday night!

Thursday's Games

DuSable at Dunbar, 5:00 p.m. -- We head to the Public League White Central for this game. DuSable (7-9, 4-3) is coming off of a close loss to Solorio earlier in the week. Dunbar (14-4, 6-1) is trying to hang with unbeaten Lindblom at the top of the conference as they got off to an 11-0 start this season.

Brooks at Fenger, 6:45 p.m. -- Sticking in the Public League's White Division in the South, this one is also among two conference leaders. Brooks (8-8, 7-0) is the unbeaten leader as they're riding a three-game winning streak. Fenger (11-6, 6-1) lost to Ag. Science in conference play as they try to keep pace with both of those teams with a win here at home.

No. 16 Geneva at Naperville North, 7:00 p.m. -- Non-conference play gets interesting in this one. The Vikings (16-1, 5-1) are coming off of a loss to Lake Park that ended their unbeaten season as they try to bounce back. Naperville North (11-6, 3-1) counters with Loyola commit Tom Welch as he's a big All-Area candidate.

Friday's Games

Clark at Westinghouse, 5:00 p.m. -- The top two teams in the Public League White-South play here. Clark (12-7, 6-1) and head coach Terry Head have a lot of young talent as they try to stay in the conference mix after an early loss to Collins in league play. Westinghouse (12-7, 7-0) has also played a tough schedule like Clark as they're hoping to put a two-game cushion on their conference lead late in the season.

Barrington at Fremd, 6:00 p.m. -- An intriguing clash in the Mid-Suburban West for this game. Barrington (13-6, 2-3) lost the first matchup between these two teams on Nov. 30 as they look for revenge. Fremd (13-4, 4-1) lost to Schaumburg to drop out of the Preps Power Rankings, but they've started to make up for it with a win over Maine East earlier this week. 

No. 5 Whitney Young at North Lawndale, 6:30 p.m. -- The Public League Red North/West is arguably the toughest conference from top-to-bottom as we head there for this one. The Dolphins (15-6, 5-1) are coming off of a thrilling overtime win over Uplift as they remain in the mix at the top of the conference. North Lawndale (10-7, 3-4) lost a close game to ranked Orr earlier in the week as they get a shot at another top-25 team in this one.

No. 21 St. Laurence at No. 10 DePaul Prep, 7:00 p.m. -- The best two teams in the Catholic League Blue play here. St. Laurence (18-3, 6-2) earned their way back into the Preps Power Rankings after an impressive win over Leo in conference play last week. DePaul (13-4, 7-0) is unbeaten in Catholic League play behind All-Area candidate Perry Cowan and his talented and veteran teammates.

No. 7 Bolingbrook at No. No. 9 Homewood-Flossmoor, 7:00 p.m. -- The night's best game is in the SouthWest Suburban Blue. Bolingbrook (12-3, 2-0) hasn't lost to an Illinois opponent all season as they feature a top-notch backcourt in Tyler Cochran and Joseph Yesufu. Homewood-Flossmoor (12-4, 3-0) counters with great length and athleticism as senior Isaac Stanbeck and junior R.J. Ogom lead the charge. These teams play again on Feb. 15. 

Bradley-Bourbonnais at Thornwood, 7:00 p.m. -- The SouthWest Suburban Red also has a contest to watch on Friday night. Bradley-Bourbonnais (9-9, 3-1) has dropped two straight, as they try to hang with the conference's elite with a win. Thornwood (10-6, 4-0) leads the division over Thornton and the Boilermakers as they try to maintain a lead. These two teams also play again on Feb. 19.

Viewers’ Choice Game of the Week

Marengo at Burlington Central, -- For the first time, we had a girls Viewers' Choice Game as this one had a close victory with over 2,051 total votes. Marengo (17-5) lost to Burlington Central the first time these two teams played on Dec. 7. Marengo is riding a five-game winning streak heading into this one. Burlington Central (15-5) has won three of their last four as they try to win this important Kiswaukee River contest. 

Edgy Tim's early outlook on the 2019 season

Edgy Tim's early outlook on the 2019 season

Some years, it's pretty easy to select one or two of the top returning teams to watch as potential favorites in the following season.

2019 isn't exactly following the norm. You can make a case for multiple teams to track this winter.

Low hanging fruit/Traditional powers

These are schools that are consistently near the top of the polls and have a track record of success:

Loyola: Why the Ramblers? Because it's Loyola and head coach John Holocek. They will simply reload once again. Later this fall, the Ramblers will bring back three returning starters on the offensive line plus RB Trevor Cabanban.

Lincoln Way East: Head coach Rob Zvonar's Griffins will always need to "reload" since they have such great overall numbers and depth. Seldom will you see a ton of underclassmen starting for Lincoln-Way East; that said, the talent level will remain as strong as ever come August. Junior four-star ranked ATH AJ Henning is a highlight name to watch in Frankfort come opening weekend.

Phillips: The Wildcats and head coach Troy McAllister will graduate a strong senior class this spring, but Phillips also has a deep and talented underclassmen group. Junior OL/DL Demerick Morris and junior DB Ronald Pledger are just to name a few names to watch this coming fall. 

Homewood-Flossmoor: Head coach Craiz Buzea and the Vikings will also be in a similar situation as rival Lincoln-Way East. They both have great overall numbers and need to replace several graduated seniors. The Vikings always seem to find talent. Keep an eye on junior OL Marcus Harper II, junior QB Dominic Jones and junior S/OLB LaVoise McCoy.

Maine South: Another team that consistently fields a good product can be found in Park Ridge. Coach Dave Inserra's Hawks seem to reload just as well as any public school football program year in and year out. Of course, it also helps that one of the Midwest's top offensive linemen is back: four-star ranked Peter Skoronski for the 2019 season.

Batavia: There will be quite a few graduation losses for Batavia this spring. But the Bulldogs also welcome back the Urwiler brothers: junior RB/LB Quinn and sophomore RB/DB Trey. Batavia is a deep program with great numbers and talent. 

Glenbard West: The Hilltoppers and head coach Chad Hetlet are always in state title contention mode. This program always finds a way. Keep an eye on junior OLB/S Greyson Metz for the Hitters come August. 

Marist: The Redhawks will graduate several key seniors from the 2018 season, but junior four-star ranked WR Jadon Thompson along with up-and-coming freshman QB Dontrell Jackson Jr. are key names to watch in 2019.

Montini: It must be nice for Montini Catholic head coach Mike Bukovsky to welcome back two starting quarterbacks. Junior Deontae Bell and sophomore Robert Brazzile are back in the fold for the 2019 season. Keep an eye on junior WR Nate Muersch and OL Michael Banks-Wall as well. The defense brings back five starters from their 2018 Class 5A runner up squad.

Others Teams to Watch in 2019?

Barrington: The Broncos, under head coach Joe Sanchez, always reload. Keep an eye on junior DE Lukas Van Ness, junior QB Tommy Fitzpatrick and junior WR Eric Darlington Jr. this coming season. 

Oak Park-River Forest: The Huskies are stacked with underclassmen talent, including sophomore .QB Jaden McGill.

Minooka: The Indians had 18 underclassmen starters in 2018 and will welcome back a ton of talent, speed and experience this fall.

Prairie Ridge: The Wolves saw their state title run end last season. But Chris Schremp's featured a ton of underclassmen starters last year and they will be stacked this year once again.

St. Rita: Could the Mustangs put together a Brother Rice-type of turnaround? It's very possible. Head coach Todd Kuska played a ton of underclassmen in 2018.

St. Charles North: The North Stars welcome back nine starters from the 2018 season and also have a nice core of current sophomores. North's lower levels are also stacked with big linemen and a plethora of talent on the rise.

Nazareth: The Class 7A state champions will need to reload-- especially on the offensive line. But the skills department (JJ McCarthy/Tyler Morris) is strong. And they also have six starters back on defense.

West Aurora: Lots of multi-year experience coming back; the 2019 Blackhawks feels a lot like the 2016 Blackhawks playoff team.

IC Catholic Prep: The Class 3A state champion Knights welcome back eight starters (two offense, six defense) including RB Kyle Franklin, who's just a sophomore.

Bishop McNamara: The Fighting Irish also bring back 10 starters (four offense, six defense) including QB Tyler Hiller and OL Isaac Ruder.

Willowbrook: The Warriors just keep winning and finding a way to get deep in Class 7A. They will be led this upcoming fall by All State QB/DB Sam Tumilty.