Preps Talk

Class 8A-4A Under the radar games to watch

Class 8A-4A Under the radar games to watch

The opening round of the IHSA football playoffs is loaded with great opening week games. Here are some Chicagoland matchups, from 8A through 4A, that have the potential to be very good “under-the-radar” type of games to watch this weekend. 

Class 8A

No. 26 seed Maine South (6-3) at No. 7 seed West Aurora (9-0), Friday 7:00 p.m.

Many will look at this matchup and assume that perennial 8A power Maine South will just overpower West Aurora. But not so fast, my friends. The Blackhawks and head coach Nate Eimers feature a team loaded with talent and speed, including the Cross twins: senior RB/DB DaQuan Cross and senior RB/DB DaVion Cross. This game has the potential to be a high-scoring affair.

Class 7A

No. 25 St. Rita (5-4) at No. 8 Rockford Auburn (8-1) Friday 7:30 p.m.

This is easily one of the most intriguing matchups in the opening round of 7A. Why? Auburn and head coach Dan Appino’s Knights feature a huge offensive line and a strong running game. Also, the Knights never play outside of the NIC-10 conference until state playoff time. St. Rita had an up-and-down season, yet no one will ever accuse the Mustangs of not being battle-tested. They have Chicago Catholic Blue credentials and have non-conference wins over Rich Central and Marmion — two playoff teams.

[MORE PREPS: IHSA Football Playoffs First-Round Matchups]

Class 6A

No. 11 Lakes (6-3) at No. 6 Grayslake North (7-2) Friday 7:00 p.m.

Both hail from the Northern Lake County conference and despite Lakes’ 31-14 win over Grayslake North on Sept. 9, the Eagles are the lower seed/road team this week. Look for another terrific game here. It's always very difficult to beat the same team twice in the same season. 

Class 5A

No. 9 Rich Central (6-3) at No. 8 Woodstock North (6-3), Friday 7:00 p.m.

Rich Central might have one of the state's biggest offensive lines, which includes senior OL/DL Caylon May (6-foot-3, 290 pounds). Woodstock North looks to run the football behind senior RB Casey Dycus. Everybody in the Thunder program continues to be excited, stemming from last week's 23-22 win over Rock Falls. Woodstock North blocked a potential game-winning field goal attempt in overtime to secure the win and a state playoff bid.

Class 4A

No. 12 Wheaton Academy (6-3) at No. 5 Aurora Central Catholic (8-1), Friday 7:00 p.m.

Wheaton Academy hit a rough patch in its Metro Suburban Blue slate and lost three straight games to playoff teams (IC Catholic Prep, Riverside-Brookfield and Glenbard South). The Warriors are undoubtedly battle tested. However, Aurora Central Catholic's only loss came to Ridgewood (7-2) who won the Metro Suburban Red. Expect a packed house in Aurora on Friday night for, likely, a back-and-forth game. 

VOTE: Wintrust Viewers' Choice Game of the Week

viewers_choice_game_of_the_week_basketball_002.jpg
NBC Sports Chicago

VOTE: Wintrust Viewers' Choice Game of the Week

Who wants it more?              

NBC Sports Chicago and Wintrust present our “Viewers’ Choice Game of the Week.” We are putting High School Lites, Chicagoland’s top prep sports show, in the hands of passionate high school basketball followers. Fans will get the chance to pick one game that the @NBCSPreps crew will cover on Friday night. We will send our cameras to the game that gets the most votes; highlights and postgame reaction of that game will appear on that night’s “High School Lites” broadcast at 11:00 p.m. The show also live streams at www.nbcsportschicago.com/watchlive and appears in the MyTeams app.  High School Lites will also have broadcast replays at 7:30 a.m. and 8:30 a.m. the following Saturday on NBC Sports Chicago. 

This week, we're going to get a taste of the Chicago Public League/White division. Which game should we attend for High School Lites?

Mather at Foreman, 5:00 p.m.

Jones at Wells, 5:00 p.m.

Perspectives-MSA at Raby, 6:30 p.m.

To participate, our fans are encouraged to do the following:

**Follow our NBC Sports Chicago preps Twitter page: @NBCSPreps.

**Note the pinned tweet that is atop the feed.

**Vote for the game you want NBC Sports Chicago to cover Friday night.

**Spread the word!

The poll will start promptly at 12:00 p.m. Monday. We will make an announcement with the official results on @NBCSPreps just after 4 p.m. Thursday. And as a reminder, be sure to follow @NBCSPreps for updates on the “Viewers’ Choice Game of the Week,” along with other high school sports news, scores and highlights, all season long.

Bloom is new No. 1 in latest boys basketball Preps Power Rankings

Bloom is new No. 1 in latest boys basketball Preps Power Rankings

The latest Preps Power Rankings see some shakeups thanks to the previous No. 1 team losing and some top-25 matchups.

The new No. 1 is Bloom as they continue to look like the best team in the state early this season. The rest of the Power Rankings saw minimal shakeup, with only three new teams -- two of which were in the preseason rankings.

1. Bloom (7-0, 2-0) (2) -- The Blazing Trojans continue a strong start with a blowout win at the Chicago Elite Classic over Pace and two Southland wins over Kankakee and Thornridge. Balanced efforts and multiple guys taking over is a huge early storyline with Bloom.

2. Bogan (7-0, 2-0) (6) -- Placing themselves firmly in the No. 1 discussion with a home win over Morgan Park, this is another tough Bogan team that can win in multiple ways. The Bengals get tested with league games against Corliss and No. 8 Simeon. 

3. Morgan Park (3-1, 1-1) (1) -- The Mustangs fell to No. 2 Bogan in league play before bouncing back with an overtime win over Christian Brothers in the Chicago Elite Classic. Junior Brandon Weston continues a strong start while senior Adam Miller remains the area's biggest game changer offensively.

4. Whitney Young (2-2, 2-0) (3) -- The Dolphins fell to Duncanville with a late-game collapse in the Chicago Elite Classic but they knocked off Farragut and Marshall in the Public League. Whitney Young traveling to No. 11 Lincoln Park will be one of the marquee games to watch this week. 

5. Curie (4-0, 2-0) (4) -- Going 2-0 in Public League play and winning at the prestigious Marshall County Hoop Fest, the Condors continue a strong start. Curie gets two major local tests this week with No. 3 Morgan Park and No. 22 Hillcrest. 

6. Stevenson (5-0) (5) -- Solid win on the road for the Patriots over Westinghouse. Stevenson will get tested three times this week as they face Libertyville, Zion-Benton and OPRF. 

7. Evanston (6-0, 1-0) (13) -- Firmly placing themselves in the top ten with a win over Notre Dame, Wildkits were very impressive. Juniors Blake Peters and Jaylin Gibson are the headliners but Evanston has plenty of other dangerous options.

8. Simeon (1-1, 1-0) (7) -- The Wolverines started the season with a balanced effort to knock off Lindblom before falling to St. Frances in the Chicago Elite Classic. Simeon will battle No. 2 Bogan in a huge Public League clash this week.

9. Marian Catholic (5-1, 1-0) (9) -- The Spartans won by double digits in both games, taking down Marist and Normal West. The ESCC's top spot is on the line when Marian Catholic plays Notre Dame on Tuesday. 

10. Loyola (6-0, 2-0) (10) -- Loyola went unscathed in the Catholic League with wins over Leo and Montini. The Ramblers get a major battle with No. 13 Notre Dame this week in non-conference play. 

11. Lincoln Park (6-1, 2-0) (11) -- The Lions battled to three wins as they held off Westinghouse and Kenwood on back-to-back days. Lincoln Park gets major tests during the week with league games against No. 17 Orr and No. 4 Whitney Young.

12. Lake Park (6-0, 1-0) (12) -- Nice week for the Lancers with a conference win over Batavia and an additional victory over Rockford Lutheran. Lake Park faces Larkin and Wheaton North this week.

13. Notre Dame (6-1) (8) -- A setback for Notre Dame with a loss to Evanston in the Chicago Elite Classic. A very talented team that is still figuring out how to play together, the Dons have a very high ceiling.

14. Thornton (5-0, 2-0) (14) -- Nice week for the Wildcats with wins over Rich South and Crete-Monee. Junior Brandon Hall continues to look like a potential standout player. Huge matchup with No. 1 Bloom with the Southland's top spot on the line this week.

15. DePaul Prep (5-1, 2-0) (16) -- Defense was the major story for the Rams this week in two blowout wins in Catholic League play. DePaul Prep plays Mount Carmel and Providence in league play this week.

16.  Homewood-Flossmoor (5-1) (17) -- Two double-digit wins for Homewood-Flossmoor this week as the Vikings are playing well. They play Lincoln-Way Central this week before a big clash with Simeon looms.  

17. Orr (2-1) (18) -- Opening the season this week, the Spartans claimed a solid road win at Danville, a win over Farragut and a loss to Texas powerhouse Duncanville. The Spartans are getting solid early production from senior Demarius Splunge.

18. Bolingbrook (3-1) (19) -- Kai Evans continues a strong start as the Raiders ran past Lincoln-Way West. Bolingbrook has a busy week with four games on the schedule -- including a trip to Iowa for two games.  

19. Glenbrook South (6-0, 1-0) (20) -- After two more challenges, the Titans remain unbeaten. Nice wins during the week against Hersey and in overtime against New Trier has Glenbrook South flying high. 

20. Mundelein (6-0) (21) -- The Mustangs weren't challenged much this week with two double-digit wins. Mundelein gets two North Suburban home games this week against Lake Forest and Waukegan.

21. Fenwick (5-1, 2-0) (23) -- The evolution of sophomore guard Trey Pettigrew continues for the Friars. Opposing teams now have to worry about slowing down Bryce Hopkins first and stopping Pettigrew as well. Nice win over OPRF in the Chicago Elite Classic.

22. Hillcrest (3-2, 1-0) (24) -- Quality win for the Hawks taking down a talented Oak Lawn team on the road. The return of junior guard Mar'Kiese Irving is a big addition that gives the Hawks additional perimeter scoring. 

23. Niles North (6-1, 1-0) (NR) -- An impressive week for the Vikings with wins over Deerfield and Joliet West. They're back in the Power Rankings after dropping out only a week as senior Aquan Smart continues to be an All-Area candidate.

24. St. Charles North (6-1, 1-0) (NR) -- Three wins during the week has the North Stars back in the top 25. St. Charles North had solid wins over DeKalb and Wheaton North.

25. Hinsdale South (6-0, 1-0) (NR) -- The Hornets haven't been tested much to this point but Aaron Tims and Billy Durkin are off to solid starts. Big matchup against Willowbrook during the week.