Preps Talk

EDGY: 'Playoffs' begin for several 3-4 teams

EDGY: 'Playoffs' begin for several 3-4 teams

While the IHSA football playoffs won't begin for a few weeks, several teams with 3-4 records will be playing for their postseason lives come this weekend. Here are several 3-4 teams who are still fighting to keep their playoff chances intact:

Chicago Public League

Lindblom: The Eagles (3-4/3-1) play in the Illini Heartland conference and trail both Payton (6-1/4-0) and Uplift (5-2/3-1), but still have a shot if they can beat Robeson (2-5) this week. They would have to also win next week in round one of the Prep Bowl playoffs.

Chicago Catholic League

Providence (3-4): The Celtics will need to beat the state's top ranked team, Loyola Academy (7-0), on Saturday in Wilmette-- and then defeat Mount Carmel (4-3). It's a daunting task but the Celtics have been in this spot more than a few times over the years. 

Central Suburban North

Deerfield (3-4): The Warriors host Maine West (4-3) this week and then play at Maine East (1-6) in the regular season finale. If Deerfield can win out the next two weeks they will be 5-4, but they could still be a bit nervous on pairings night given their playoff points status. 

DuPage Valley 

Naperville Central (3-4) plays at Wheaton North on Friday, then host Lake Park (2-5) in Week 9. North (also 3-4) must win this week hosting Naperville Central then also beat Waubonsie Valley (4-3) in Aurora. Who has the best chance of getting to 5-4? I'll say Napervillle Central but it's a very close call here. 

East Suburban Catholic Conference

Marian Central Catholic (3-4) plays at Niles Notre Dame (5-2) then at St. Patrick (4-3). Defending 5A state champion Nazareth battles St. Viator (5-2) at Viator on Friday then host Marian Catholic (1-6) in Week 9. Best chance to get five wins? Nazareth Academy.

Fox Valley Conference

Hampshire (3-4) has its work cut out for them. The Whip-Purs host both McHenry (5-2) and Jacobs (4-3) over the next two weeks. 

Interstate 8 Small

Reed-Custer (3-4): The Comets also have a lot of work to do in hosting Plano (5-2) on Friday, then playing Week 9 in Manteno (4-3).

Kishwaukee River

Woodstock (3-4): The Blue Streaks are on a three game losing streak and now take on rival Woodstock North (5-2) --at North-- on Friday. They will then play at Richmond-Burton (5-2) in Week 9.

[MORE PREPS: High School Lites Football Roundup - Week 7]

Metro Suburban Blue

Fenton (3-4): The Bison play at Wheaton Academy (4-3) then host undefeated 3A state-ranked IC Catholic Prep in Week 9. Ouch.

Mid-Suburban East

The Wheeling Wildcats (3-4) will play Friday at Prospect (3-4), then host Hersey (3-4). Hersey will host Rolling Meadows (7-0) this week. They need to beat the Mustangs before even thinking about Week 9 at Wheeling. Prospect (3-4), besides hosting Wheeling on Friday, will then play at Elk Grove (0-7) in the finale. My best guess on which school has the best chance of winning out and getting to 5-4? Wheeling.

North Suburban

The Zion-Benton Zee-Bees (3-4) have battled all comers this season and play Friday night at Warren Township (3-4). They will then host Libertyville (4-3) in Week 9. Warren Township (3-4) needs a win on Friday hosting Z-B before hosting Stevenson (6-1). Best chance to win out? Zion-Benton.

Northern Illinois Big 12 East

Kaneland (3-4): The Knights travel to Geneseo (5-2) on Friday night, then host Ottawa (1-6) in Week 9. Kaneland has a huge task beating Geneseo on the road, but don't count out them out.

Northern Lake County

Wauconda (3-4) hosts Grant (2-5), then hosts Grayslake Central (1-6) in Week 9. Wauconda has a terrific chance of winning both games. North Chicago (3-4) has a much rougher road as they host Antioch (7-0) on Friday before taking on Lakes (4-3) in Lake Villa in the finale. Best bet to win two straight games? Wauconda.

South Suburban Blue

Tinley Park (3-4): The Titans also have a rough road to five wins. They start off this Friday hosting Lemont (7-0), then play at Richards (5-2) in Week 9.

South Suburban Red

Evergreen Park (3-4) and Oak Lawn (3-4) are both fighting to stay alive. Evergreen Park will take on Hillcrest (5-2) on Friday, then travel to Eisenhower (2-5) in Week 9. Oak Lawn will play Friday at Shepard (4-3) then face Reavis (6-1) in Burbank. Best chance to win out here? Evergreen Park; however, the Mustangs could be sweating it out on pairings night because of lower playoff points. 

Southwest Prairie

Minooka (3-4): The Indians will host Oswego East (6-1) and Plainfield South (4-3) over the next two weeks. They will also likely be missing starting QB Johnny Carnagio. 

Southwest Suburban 

Bolingbrook (3-4) will host Thornwood (4-3) and then travel to Homewood-Flossmoor (7-0). Thornton Township (3-4) might have the toughest two back-to-back games in the state as they host Homewood-Flossmoor (7-0) and then Bradley (7-0). Which team has the best chance to win out? Bolingbrook.

Upstate Eight River

Geneva (3-4): The Vikings are in a rare position, needing to win its final two games just to make the state playoff field. Geneva will host St. Charles North (7-0) this Friday and then travel to West Aurora (7-0). The odds might be stacked against Geneva here...but don't count them out just yet. 

Upstate Eight Valley

The South Elgin Storm (3-4) will face state-ranked Cary-Grove (6-1) on the road Friday night then play East Aurora (1-6) in Week 9. Bartlett (3-4) will play at West Aurora (7-0) on Friday then host Glenbard East (1-6) in Week 9. Best chance to win two straight games? Bartlett. 

West Suburban Gold

Hinsdale South (3-4) will play at district rival Hinsdale Central (7-0) then take on Morton (1-6) on the road in the finale. Addison Trail (3-4) hosts Proviso East (0-7) on Friday then travel to Glenbard West (5-2) in Week 9. Best chance to get to five wins? Hinsdale South.

67 Days to Kickoff: Hillcrest

67 Days to Kickoff: Hillcrest

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: Hillcrest

Head coach: Morgan Weaver

Assistant coaches:  Mike Young, Kyran Weaver, Rob Hancock, Ryan Keen, Nicholas Schultz, Tramaine Weaver, Phillip Burkett and Langdon Mattox

How they fared in 2017: 9-3 (5-1 South Suburban Blue Conference). Hillcrest made the Class 5A state football playoff field. The Hawks defeated Peoria and Glenwood then lost to Dunlap in the quarterfinal round.

2018 Regular Season Schedule:

Aug. 24 vs Rich Central

Sept. 1 @ Rich South

Sept 7 @ Shepard

Sept. 14 vs Oak Forest

Sept. 21 vs Lemont

Sept. 28 @ Tinley Park

Oct. 5 @ T.F. South

Oct. 12 @ T.F. North

Oct. 19 vs Bremen

[MORE: 79 Days to Kickoff - Crete-Monee]

Biggest storyline: Consistency. After two straight postseason berths, can the Hawks reload and get back into the IHSA playoff field once again this fall?

Names to watch this season: WR Corey Crooms (Western Michigan) and DE Cam Mattox (NIU)

Biggest holes to fill: The Hawks welcome back 11 returning starters (six offense, five defense); hoewever, they will need to reload on the offensive line and at linebacker. 

EDGY's Early Take: Head coach Morgan Weaver was able to get the Hawks into the state playoffs in his first season. What can they do as an encore? Hillcrest has the potential to be a real threat in 5A. Keep an eye on a strong and experienced group of receivers and backs led by senior Corey Crooms (Western Michigan). They also boast a defense that features an experienced secondary and a ton of speed. 

68 Days to Kickoff: Oswego East

68 Days to Kickoff: Oswego East

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: Oswego East

Head coach: Tyson LeBlanc

Assistant coaches: Dan Dunbar, Andy Brogan, Jeremy Main, Erik Aister, Dru Filkins, Connor Downs, Zac Sadek, Reggie Cribbs and Mike Harden

How they fared in 2017: 7-3 (7-2 Southwest Prairie Conference). Oswego East made the Class 8A state football playoff field. The Wolves lost to St. Charles East in opening round action.

2018 Regular Season Schedule:

Aug. 24 vs Plainfield East

Aug. 31 @ Joliet West

Sept. 7 vs Romeoville

Sept. 14 vs Joliet Central

Sept. 21 @ Plainfield South

Sept. 28 @ Plainfield North

Oct. 5 vs Oswego

Oct. 12 vs Plainfield Central

Oct. 19 vs Minooka

[MORE: 73 Days to Kickoff - Joliet Central]

Biggest storyline: Can the Wolves get out of the rugged Southwest Prairie conference and make a run in the IHSA state playoffs?

Names to watch this season: ATH Justin Clark and WR Kieon Battle

Biggest holes to fill: The Wolves will need to replace their entire starting defensive line from a season ago.

EDGY's Early Take: Oswego East head coach Tyson LeBlanc is shooting to make the IHSA playoff field and the fourth straight year in 2018. He has a 36-24 record since coming over from Curie High School back in 2012. Oswego East will rely on a strong group of returning offensive skills led by D-1 recruit Justin Clark, who can --and will-- play multiple positions this season for the Wolves.