Preps Talk

Class 8A-5A: Four lower seeds who could break through

marist-redhawks.png

Class 8A-5A: Four lower seeds who could break through

Here are four lower seeds, one each in Class 8A through Class 5A who have a very good chance in this weekend's quarterfinal round.

Class 8A

No. 23 Marist (7-4) — The Redhawks and head coach Pat Dunne has never been shy when it comes to it's spread offense and putting up points, as evident by Marist 59-56 last second win over Barrington last Saturday night to advance. The offense is led by senior QB Brendan Skalitzky who is a threat with the pass and the run and Skalitzky has a very strong group of backs and receivers including senior RB Darshon McCullough (South Dakota State). If the Marist defense can get the ball back to the offense this Saturday against Oswego in Oswego a handful of times, the Redhawks have a great chance to advance.

Class 7A

No. 23 Bradley (8-3) — The Boilermaker and head coach Mike Kohl wasn't expected to go very far in the postseason, yet like the rest of the Southwest Suburban Red conference (LW North/LW West and Bradley are still alive) Bradley have just played well at the right time of the season. Bradley has gotten a huge postseason from QB Owen Starr, RB Donnie Ringo and junior WR Camron Harrell. Harrell has exceptional speed and can and will be used all over the field. If the Boilermakers defense can contain Niles North and Iowa commit RB/LB Barrington Wade Bradley has a great chance to advance.

[Saturday on CSN: No. 4 Homewood-Flossmoor at No. 1 Loyola Academy]

Class 6A

No. 13 Hinsdale South — While the Hornets might be a lowly No. 13 no one who saw this team in the regular season is taking them for granted. The Hornets have a balanced offense with senior QB Sean McCormack leading the attack. Senior RB Marcus Curry is a great mix of speed and power and the Hornets also have multiple targets on offense. The South defense? Start with head coach Mike Barry having one of the nation's top defensive end recruits in four star ranked senior Josh King (6-foot-6, 260 pounds) and the Hornets defense can match-up with all comers in 6A.

Class 5A

No. 7 Lincoln-Way West — The Warriors have yet to win a state quarterfinal game, yet Lincoln-Way West head coach Dave Ernst also might have his best team in his school's short history this fall. The offense for Lincoln-Way West starts on then offensive line, which features senior OT Justin Witt (NC State) and senior OG Bryan Brokop (Nebraska). The Warriors also have a hard nosed running back in senior Gabe Montalvo and senior QB Connor Lowman returned last week from injury. The Warriors defense is also very solid and has speed.  Junior LB Trey Telez is a name to watch here for Lincoln-Way West, who will host No. 3 Peoria on Saturday.

Rolling Meadows' Max Christie on the verge of national breakout

max.jpg
USA TODAY

Rolling Meadows' Max Christie on the verge of national breakout

EMERSON, Ga. -- Rolling Meadows rising sophomore guard Max Christie is having a strong spring and summer on the grassroots circuit as he's emerged as one of the area's newest breakout stars.
 
At 6-foot-5 with an ability to play both on and off the ball, Christie is a versatile perimeter player who can be either a big point guard or a smooth wing. Even though he's only finished one year of high school, Christie already has earned some major college scholarship offers as Florida, Illinois, Iowa, Loyola, Northwestern, Purdue and Wisconsin have all been involved. Playing up an age group with the Illinois Wolves U16 team, Christie is starting to generate a lot of buzz among college coaches and national scouts.
 
"I think I've played well. I've been growing. I have a huge target on my back. So I'm just confident and humble and playing my game," Christie said. "College coaches are coming in everywhere, but I'm just playing my game and not worrying about them. I'm just having fun."
 
Christie is coming off of a positive freshman season at Rolling Meadows in which he had some big games as a freshman while playing on varsity. Although Christie is still very skinny and trying to add strength, he has started to adjust to opponents trying to play physical against him. As he starts to get older, Christie is adjusting to how certain opponents will handle him.
 
"On the court, it's physical. So I have to get used to that. I have encouraging teammates so that's good for me. But everybody is double-teaming me and face-guarding me, so I just have to use screens and everything," Christie said.
 
"I've been in the weight room working. The strength is there. I'm always using it against other teams. I just have to get used to it. I feel like [the physicality] is not as much of a factor as I get stronger."
 
Christie will be one of the marked men in the area this season as he'll draw a lot of attention at Rolling Meadows. He has the potential to be an all-area player. With multiple high-major scholarship offers and national recruiting profiles, Christie is just trying to maintain his focus on staying a versatile player. Playing both on and off the ball, Christie is trying to improve the consistency on his perimeter jumper while also trying to grow his basketball IQ.
 
"Both of them are fine. Off the ball, I like to set screens and get teammates open. I like to get open. On the ball, I like to create, passes, all that stuff," Christie said. "So I'm just trying to make plays, get my teammates open, set better screens."
 
"Leadership is something I need to work on, so it's something I need to accept for this season. So, since I've built this reputation, I'm trying to be more of a leader and encourage. Just being a better teammate."
 
Christie averaged 18 points, eight rebounds and 2.9 assists per game as a freshman at Rolling Meadows, as he has the ability to put up monster numbers as a sophomore. Underclass players don't typically compete for awards in the Chicagoland area, but Christie is a potentially special talent at the high school level as he attempts to ascend into a national-level recruit. 

37 Days to Kickoff: Schaumburg

37 Days to Kickoff: Schaumburg

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: Schaumburg

Head coach: Mark Stilling

Assistant coaches: Anthony Belmont, Fran Cassidy, Adam Strauch, Nick Torresso, Nick Anselmo, Juwaan Richard, Leo Clark, Joe Kowalski, Chris Rafah, Jake Hughes, Justin Teschner and John Fidler

How they fared in 2017: 5-5 (2-3 Mid-Suburban West Conference). Schaumburg made the Class 8A state playoff field and lost to Lake Zurich in opening round action. 

2018 Regular Season Schedule:

Aug. 24 @ St. Charles North
Sept. 1 @ Wheeling
Sept. 7 @ Niles North
Sept. 14 vs Highland Park
Sept. 21 vs Hoffman Estates
Sept. 28 vs Conant
Oct. 5 @ Palatine
Oct. 12 vs Barrington
Oct. 19 @ Fremd

Biggest storyline: After three seasons of hovering around the .500 mark, are the Saxons ready to make a strong run to win the Mid-Suburban West in 2018?

Names to watch this season: WR/DB Heze Trotter and RB Mike Digiola

Biggest holes to fill: The Saxons will need to replace four starting offensive linemen lost to graduation from last season.

EDGY's Early Take: The Saxons will welcome back several returning starters (especially in the offensive skills department) from last year's state playoff team (five offense, seven defense) and could very well be the conference's most experienced team this fall. If the Saxons can find some answers up front on the offensive line they have a very good shot at getting back to the 8A state playoffs along with challenging for a conference title this season.