Preps Talk

Edgy Thoughts: No hatin' here

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Edgy Thoughts: No hatin' here

OK. So I missed on a few teams. 

Outside of, say, the fans of Marist, Waubonsie Valley, Bradley, Crete-Monee and a handful of other lower-seeded teams, I'm pretty certain I wasn't the only one to miss on these sleepers. I'm pretty confident in that fact. It happens.

Am I disappointed in myself? Hardly.

It's semifinal time: The last and - I feel - best round of the entire IHSA state playoffs and the last games of the season played on a home field.

I love upsets at this time of the year. Seeing a team like Waubonsie Valley, who dropped its last two regular season contests and came into the 8A playoff field with a lowly No. 30 seed get on a postseason roll, is great. It's likely that no one outside of Waubonsie Valley saw this coming. The same can be said about Marist, who also happened to drop its last two regular season games. People near 115th and Pulaski might have had confidence in the Redhawks. Did anyone else?

How about Palatine? The Pirates had a strong regular season, but lost a 49-19 game in Week 6 to Fremd, a team who lost four of its last five regular season games. It drew more than a few confused looks. That wacky Mid-Suburban West.

And then there's Bradley. The Boilermakers first win against a team with a winning record in 2015 didn't come until the opening round of the 7A playoffs, in a 60-59 overtime triumph at Glenbrook North.

So will I flip my picks and start taking the underdogs now? Will I hop on board the various bandwagons? In some cases yes, but in most cases no.

But don't get me wrong: I have no issue with those underdogs winning. 

Seeing those lower seeds get deep and, even in a few cases, win a state title? It makes it the best time for the IHSA state playoffs.

7 Days to Kickoff: Homewood-Flossmoor

7 Days to Kickoff: Homewood-Flossmoor

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 Aug. 5, we’ll unveil the @NBCSPrepsTop 25 Power Rankings, leading up to kickoff on Friday, Aug. 30.

School: Homewood-Flossmoor

Head coach: Craig Buzea

Assistant coaches: Tom Cicero, Zac Wells, Alexander Pratt, Terrance Terry, Josh Ling, Matt Ramos, Josh Forney, David James, Eric Schreiber Sr., Eric Schreiber Jr. and Bart Czachor

How they fared in 2018: 10-2 (6-1 Southwest Suburban Conference). H-F made the Class 8A state playoff field and defeated Fremd and Barrington. They advanced to the quarterfinal round where they lost to Marist.

2019 regular season schedule:

Aug. 30 vs T.F. North

Sept. 6 @ Penn (IN)

Sept. 13 vs Andrew

Sept. 20 @ Lockport

Sept. 27 @ Lincoln-Way East

Oct. 4 vs Sandburg

Oct. 11 @ Lincoln-Way West

Oct. 18 vs Bolingbrook

Oct. 25 vs Lincoln-Way Central

Biggest storyline: The Vikings, who have won a minimum of 10 games in four of the past five seasons, are looking to make another deep run in Class 8A playoffs this fall.

Names to watch this season: OL Marcus Harper II (Sr., Oregon) OL/DL Michael Ford (Sr.) 

Biggest holes to fill: The Vikings welcome back 13 returning starters (seven offense, five defense). Program numbers and overall depth are seldom an issue at H-F, so addressing some of the open spots on the defensive shouldn’t be that big of a concern. 

EDGY's Early Take: H-F, under head coach Craig Buzea, has built the football program into one of the most consistent winners in Chicago’s south suburbs. Don't look for a downturn anytime soon. The Vikings will rely on senior three-year starting QB Dominick Jones. The offensive line has size and talent and includes Marcus Harper II (Oregon), senior OL/DL Michael Ford and senior OC Denzel Bryant. The defense has speed and the back seven on defense are a big strength. Everything is pointing upwards heading into the season for the Vikings. 

 

8 Days to Kickoff: Warren

8 Days to Kickoff: Warren

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 Aug. 5, we’ll unveil the @NBCSPrepsTop 25 Power Rankings, leading up to kickoff on Friday, Aug. 30.

School: Warren Township

Head coach: Bryan McNulty

Assistant coaches: Jim Voutiritsas, Justin VanSchaick, Brandon Schild, Josh Williams, Tayler Erbach, Kurt Weinberg and Chris Caballero

How they fared in 2018: 10-2 (7-0 North Suburban Conference). Warren made the Class 8A state playoff field and defeated Neuqua Valley and Hinsdale Central. They advanced to the quarterfinal round where they lost to Brother Rice.

2019 segular season schedule:

Aug. 30 vs Barrington

Sept. 6 vs Glenbard North

Sept. 13 @ Waukegan

Sept. 20 @ Libertyville

Sept. 27 vs Lake Forest

Oct. 5 vs Zion-Benton

Oct. 11 @ Lake Zurich

Oct. 18 @ Stevenson

Oct. 25 vs Mundelein

[MORE: 19 Days to Kickoff: Barrington

Biggest storyline: The Blue Devils featured one of the state’s best defenses in 2018. It resulted in their best season since 1991. Can they maintain some of that momentum and advance deeper in the Class 8A playoffs come November?

Names to watch this season: DT Willis Singleton Jr. (Sr., Iowa State) and LB Juan Delacruz (Sr.) 

Biggest holes to fill: The Blue Devils welcome back 10 returning starters (five offense, five defense). And while several of those 10 returnees are key playmakers, Coach McNulty and company will have to reload in the offensive skills department and in the defensive backfield.

EDGY's Early Take: Warren had a terrific season in 2018. Several big names are back for 2019. The Blue Devils defense was a strength last season—they shut out five opponents and kept three more to a touchdown or less. This year’s unit is led by senior DT Willis Singleton Jr. The offense will look to improve on last season’s numbers with junior QB Phil Hirt. He and senior ATH Christian Phillips will bring experience. If the Blue Devils can come close to the high-level of defense they played with last season –and if the offense can generate more points-- this team could be a big time factor in the Class 8A playoffs.