Preps Talk

Catholic League, DuPage Valley featured on Friday's High School Lites

Catholic League, DuPage Valley featured on Friday's High School Lites

High School Lites has games all over the Chicagoland area this week as we feature some quality matchups. A ranked matchup in the Catholic League and a clash of top teams in the DuPage Valley and Upstate Eight - River headline the games to watch for on the show this week. 

Catch a new edition of High School Lites at 11 p.m. Friday night on NBC Sports Chicago.

No. 13 DePaul Prep at No. 10 St. Rita, 6:00 p.m. -- A rematch of the Hinsdale Central Holiday Classic quarterfinals that saw St. Rita win big, this one is an important Catholic League Blue contest this time around. DePaul Prep (11-3, 1-0) finished fourth at Hinsdale Central as they look to bounce back on the road. Junior Perry Cowan has played well in stretches but she'll look to get back on track after a sluggish tournament. The Mustangs (9-7, 1-0) made a huge run to win the tournament at Hinsdale Central as they took down Westinghouse, Maine South, DePaul Prep and Bolingbrook. Jordan Matthews has played well this season and the big men for St. Rita are starting to get better. 

Lincoln-Way Central at Thornton, 6:00 p.m. -- An interesting battle in the South Suburban Red in this one. Lincoln-Way Central (8-6, 1-1) was the winner of the Maine East Holiday Tournament with an impressive four-win week. Thornton (6-6, 2-1) is coming off of a solid showing at the Big Dipper as they took third place with a win over previously-ranked Romeoville. 

Larkin at St. Charles North, 7:00 p.m. -- Two unbeatens in the Upstate Eight River clash in this one. Larkin (8-4, 4-0) has been ranked most of this season until some losses at the loaded Proviso West Holiday Tournament. Senior big man Jalen Shaw is a player to watch in this one. St. Charles North (9-5, 3-0) had a solid showing at Pontiac with wins over Bloom and Benet and losses to Simeon and Bloomington. 

St. Charles East at No. 25 Batavia, 6:00 p.m. --  Staying in the Upstate Eight River, Batavia hosts St. Charles East. The Bulldogs (11-3, 3-1) placed third at the Jack Tosh Holiday Classic, winning four games and making their debut in the Preps Power Rankings. St. Charles East (9-5, 2-2) is a tough opponent with a talented senior in forward Justin Hardy, an All-Area candidate. 
Plainfield North at Oswego East, 6:30 p.m. -- These two teams are trying to make a move in the Southwest Prairie. Plainfield North (7-6, 2-2) is coming off of the consolation title at Pontiac after knocking off Peoria Manuel, Bloom and Warren. Oswego East (8-5, 1-3) won the East Aurora Holiday Tournament as they've won five straight games. 

Wheaton Academy at Riverside-Brookfield, 7:00 p.m. -- Important game in the Metro Suburban Blue as the top two teams face off. Wheaton Academy (8-3, 4-1) has won two straight games as the team has played balanced ball lately. Riverside-Brookfield (7-7, 4-1) closed out the Jack Tosh Holiday Tournament with two straight wins after dropping their first two games. 

No. 14 Conant at Barrington, 7:00 p.m. -- Good game in the Mid-Suburban West as Conant travels to Barrington. The Cougars (11-4, 2-1) are coming off of a big win in the Jack Tosh Holiday Tournament as senior center Ryan Davis is a huge Player of the Year candidate. Barrington (10-3, 2-1) placed second at the Hinkle Holiday Classic at Jacobs as they picked up four wins in the process. This could wind up being a key game in a crowded Mid-Suburban West that includes Palatine and Fremd.

No. 23 Wheaton Warrenville South at Naperville Central, 7:30 p.m. -- The DuPage Valley features a few teams at the top with these two being among a group fighting for first place. The Tigers (10-2, 4-0) are currently in first place as they dropped some tough games at the State Farm Holiday Classic to Normal and a triple overtime loss to Joliet Central. Wheaton Warrenville South will grind out games as they look to keep opponents in the 30s. Naperville Central (10-2, 3-1) has already matched last season's win total after winning a holiday tournament at DeKalb. Senior center Ben Wolf is a player to watch as he's among the area's best big men. 

Viewers’ Choice Game of the Week

Shepard @ Oak Forest, 7 p.m. -- Our Viewers' Choice heads to the South Suburban as these two teams matchup in a crossover. Shepard (8-4, 3-1) is atop the Red division and went 2-1 at the Kankakee Holiday Tournament, closing out with a win over Reavis. Oak Forest (8-5, 2-2) is trying to stay in the mix in the Blue Division along with teams like Hillcrest, T.F. North and Lemont. 

33 Days to Kickoff: Benet

33 Days to Kickoff: Benet

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: Benet Academy

Head coach: Pat New

How they fared in 2017: 9-4 (5-2 East Suburban Catholic Conference). Benet Academy made the Class 7A state playoff field. They defeated Maine West, Hononegah and Lincoln-Way Central before losing to Batavia in the state semifinal round. 

2018 Regular Season Schedule:

Aug. 24 @ St. Laurence

Aug. 31 @ Moline

Sept. 7 @ St. Patrick

Sept. 14 vs Niles Notre Dame

Sept. 21 vs Nazareth Academy

Sept. 28 @ Joliet Catholic

Oct. 5 vs St. Viator

Oct. 13 @ Marian Catholic

Oct. 19 vs Marist

[MORE: 78 Days to Kickoff - St. Patrick]

Biggest storyline: After back-to-back state semifinal playoff runs, can the Redwings pick things up right where they left off and another make deep playoff run?

Names to watch this season: QB Collin Gillespie and RB/S Ben Hickey

Biggest holes to fill: While the Redwings will welcome back some key starters from a season ago, they will need to reload a bit up front on both the offensive and defensive line. 

EDGY's Early Take: Coach Pat New's Redwings had an early 14-0 lead over eventual 7A state champion Batavia before falling to the Bulldogs. Benet, who has 50 program wins since 2012 (all playoff seasons), is never short on talent. Look for their offensive skills department to carry the load early this season. The Redwings should challenge in the East Suburban Catholic Conference race and into playoff time come October. 

34 Days to Kickoff: Bartlett

34 Days to Kickoff: Bartlett

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: Bartlett

Head coach: Mark Erlenbaugh

How they fared in 2017: 2-7 (2-3 Upstate 8 Valley Conference), Bartlett failed to qualify for the 20127 IHSA state football playoff field.

2018 regular season schedule:

Aug. 24 @ East Aurora

Aug. 31 vs Glenbard East

Sept. 7 vs Glenbard South

Sept. 14 @ Elgin

Sept. 21 @ West Aurora

Sept. 28 vs West Chicago

Oct. 5 vs Larkin

Oct. 13 @ South Elgin 

Oct. 19 @ Streamwood

[MORE: 53 Days to Kickoff - Glenbard East]

Biggest storyline: Can the Hawks soar in the newly realigned Upstate 8 conference?

Names to watch this season: QB Dean Kotsovetis and WR Austin Gates

Biggest holes to fill: The Hawks will need to fill in several spots this summer especially upfront on the offensive and defensive lines due to graduation losses.

EDGY's Early Take: Bartlett head coach Matt Erlenbaugh comes in from Chicago's Solorio High School and takes over the Hawks football program. Look for Bartlett to have a chance to challenge in the newly-realigned Upstate Eight schedule. The Hawks schedule this season won't include the likes of several 2017 state playoff teams like Lemont, Prairie Ridge and St. Charles East.