Preps Talk

Class 6A state final preview: Montini vs. Crete-Monee

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Class 6A state final preview: Montini vs. Crete-Monee

What: Class 6A state championship game

Who: Montini (13-0) vs. Crete-Monee (11-2)

When: 1 p.m., Saturday on CSN, Live streaming on CSNChicago.com and NBC Live Extra app

Edgy's Take: Montini was able to play through blizzard-like conditions last Saturday for its come-from-behind, 35-27 win over Prairie Ridge. Crete-Monee was able to hold on in a wild, 40-37 win over Hinsdale South. Montini features dual-threat senior quarterback Justin Blake (2,474 total yards of offense, 30 combined touchdowns) and a host of weapons including junior running back Prince Walker (1,230 yards, 19 touchdowns) and senior wide receiver Tyler Millikan (41 catches, 612 yards, five touchdowns). Crete-Monee will at times rotate its quarterbacks with sophomore quarterback Isiah Rucker (1,446 yards passing, 15 touchdowns) and senior running back Clint Ratkovich (1,724 yards, 31 touchdowns). Can the Montini offense continue to roll this week? And can its defense slow down Ratkovich while also covering several speedy Crete-Monee receivers?

Key matchup: The Crete-Monee defense against the Montini shotgun read-option offense

EDGY's pick: Montini Catholic 27, Crete-Monee 24

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CSN Chicago is the home for IHSA state championship football this weekend. Every title game from DeKalb can be seen live on CSN or CSN+, csnchicago.com/ihsa and the NBC Live Extra App. Please visit our Channel Finder for the exact channel location in your area. Coverage kicks off Friday morning at 10 a.m. with the 1A championship between Arcola and Stark County, and wraps up Saturday night with the 8A tilt between Loyola and Marist. A complete recap of the weekend’s championship action, including the Chicago Prep Bowl, can be seen at 11 p.m. Saturday night on High School Lites, hosted by Luke Stuckmeyer. Our schedule of live coverage is as follows:

FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 27

10 a.m. — 1A: Toulon (Stark County) vs. Arcola, CSN

1 p.m. — 2A: Downs (Tri-Valley) vs. Auburn, CSN 

4 p.m. — 3A: Bishop McNamara vs. Tolono, CSN & CSN+

7 p.m. — 4A: Phillips vs. Belleville (Althoff), CSN+

SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 28

10 a.m.  5A: Nazareth Academy vs. Lincoln-Way West, CSN

1 p.m.  6A: Montini vs. Crete-Montee, CSN

4 p.m.  7A: Glenbard West vs. Libertyville, CSN 

7 p.m.  8A: Loyola vs. Marist, CSN 

Power Rankings: #6 - Nazareth

Power Rankings: #6 - Nazareth

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: Nazareth Academy

Head coach: Tim Racki

Assistant coaches: Casey Moran, Joe Reynolds, Rudy Luna, Brody Budmayr, Jeff Tumpane, Joe Battaglia, Steve Gray, Tom Minogue, Matt Letcher, Larry White, Jonathon Bittle, Joe Felice

How they fared in 2017: 12-2 (6-1 East Suburban Catholic Conference), Nazareth Academy made the 2017 Class 6A state playoff field, defeated Springfield, Danville, Sacred Heart Griffin and Providence Catholic before losing to Prairie Ridge in the 6A state title game.

2018 Regular Season Schedule:

Aug. 24 vs. Lutheran North (Mo.)

Aug. 31 @ Lake Zurich

Sept. 7 @ Marian Central Catholic

Sept. 14 vs. St. Patrick

Sept. 21 @ Benet Academy

Sept. 28 @ Carmel

Oct. 5 vs. Marist

Oct. 12 vs. Joliet Catholic

Oct. 19 @ Marian Catholic

Biggest storyline: Can the Road Runners move up a class to 7A and win a state title in 2018?

Names to watch this season: RB/DB Devin Blakley (Miami of Ohio), WR/DB Michael Love (Bowling Green)

Biggest holes to fill: The Roadrunners welcome back 16 returning starters (7 offense, 9 defense) from last year's Class 6A state title runner-up team, yet more depth will be needed playing "up" in 7A this playoff season.

EDGY's Early Take: The Roadrunners and head coach Tim Racki (who will be playing up in Class 7A this year due to the IHSA Success Factor rule) came up just short in winning the Class 6A state title in 2017 and the 2018 Roadrunners bring back nearly every key player from that squad this fall. The offense will need to settle on a starting quarterback (including D1 recruit sophomore QB JJ McCarthy) while the offensive skills group is a major strength this fall. The Nazareth Academy defense is also loaded and senior DB/WR Diamond Evans along with senior DT Cameron Leach are just names among several others who are expected to make a major impact this season. If the Roadrunners offense can settle in under a new quarterback this team has the potential to win a state title in Class 7A. 

Power Rankings: #7 - Glenbard West

Power Rankings: #7 - Glenbard West

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: Glenbard West

Head coach: Chad Hetlet

Assistant coaches: John Sigmund, Jon Schweighardt, Joe Kish, Chris Van Dyke, Rick Heckman, Mike Hofland and Tad Keely

How they fared in 2017: 9-2 (6-0 West Suburban Silver Conference). Glenbard West made the 8A state playoff field, defeated Bloom Township and then lost to Oswego in second round action. 

2018 Regular Season Schedule:

Aug. 24 @ Maine South

Aug. 31 @ Proviso East

Sept. 8 vs Addison Trail

Sept. 14 @ York

Sept. 22 vs Downers Grove North

Sept. 29 vs Lyons Township

Oct. 5 @ Hinsdale Central

Oct. 13 vs Oak Park-River Forest

Oct. 19 @ Proviso West

Biggest storyline: Can the Hilltoppers get their swagger back in 2018?

Names to watch this season: RB Tyquan Cox and DE Mark Winters

Biggest holes to fill: The Hilltoppers will be a bit green on the offensive side of the football. Only three starters return from a season ago. 

EDGY's Early Take: Whenever Glenbard West head coach Chad Hetlet welcomes back experience on defense, expect the Hilltoppers to be strong. As mentioned, West’s offense will be a bit inexperienced. But senior RB Tyquan Cox is back from a strong junior season. He is a big play threat with every carry. The defense brings back seven returning starters from a season ago; they were a unit that improved greatly as the season wore on last season. Senior DE Mark Winters is a name to watch along with four returning starting linebackers in the fold from a season ago. If the offense can develop sooner rather than later, expect Glenbard West to again challenge for a state title in 2018.