Preps Talk

Evanston vs. Niles North headlines busy night on High School Lites

Evanston vs. Niles North headlines busy night on High School Lites

 

High School Lites has a loaded show on Friday night as we have games from all over the Chicagoland area. Besides for the highlights, we have some great features in store as Simeon's Messiah Jones is this week's Wintrust Athlete of the Week. 

Geneva at Batavia (girls & boys), 5:30 & 7:00 p.m. -- This rivalry doubleheader should be a fun one in the Upstate Eight River. 

For the girls, Batavia (6-4) fell to Bolingbrook but was riding a four-game winning streak before that. They get another tough test in Geneva (8-0) as the Vikings have been dominating competition so far this season.

With the boys, the Vikings (6-2, 1-1) are off to a solid start as junior guard Jack McDonald has been a big presence for Geneva. The Bulldogs (6-1, 2-0) only have a loss against unbeaten Wheaton-Warrenville South as all of their wins have come by double-digits this season. 

No. 11 West Aurora at Glenbard East, 7:00 p.m. -- Two of the top teams in the Upstate Eight Valley collide. The No. 11 Blackhawks (5-1, 1-0) are coming off of a strong comeback win over York. Senior Camron Donatlan is one of the area's top players as he's a four-year varsity player. Glenbard East (5-2, 1-0) had a comeback win of its own against South Elgin with an overtime win last week.

Carmel at Notre Dame, 7:00 p.m. -- After opening losses in conference play, these two teams will try to get back on track in the ESCC. The Corsairs (6-2, 0-1) have won three games this season by three points or less, including a quality win over Waukegan. Notre Dame (3-4, 0-1) has lost three straight games and four of five overall as they look to get back on track. 

No. 24 Hinsdale South at Willowbrook, 7:30 p.m. -- An intriguing battle in the West Suburban Gold in this one. Hinsdale South (7-1, 1-0) has won seven consecutive games after dropping its opener as senior Zion Griffin is having some big games to start the season. Willowbrook (5-1, 1-1) dropped an overtime thriller to Proviso East as they try to stay with the top of the conference. The Warriors cruised past Addison Trail last week. 

No. 19 Evanston at No. 6 Niles North, 7:30 p.m. -- A battle of top 25 teams that could be the best game of the week. The Central Suburban South is a tough league this season and this could be a key game in the standings. The Wildkits (6-1, 2-0) are coming off of strong wins over Maine South and Uplift as junior guard Lance Jones is playing well. The Vikings (7-0, 2-0) have been one of the area's best teams so far as they feature talented players like Damaria Franklin, Dravon Clayborn and Jamal Stephenson. 

Prospect at Buffalo Grove, 7:30 p.m. -- An important matchup in the Mid-Suburban East as two unbeaten teams in the conference face each other. The Bison (5-3, 2-0) feature some talented veterans on a balanced roster as they're coming off of a win over Wheeling. The Knights (5-2, 2-0) lost two games to ranked teams to start the season and then rattled off five straight wins as senior guard David Swedura is off to a good start. 

No. 18 Benet at No. 20 St. Viator, 7:30 p.m. -- The ESCC has another big game on Friday as Benet tries to prove themselves on the road. The Redwings (7-1, 1-0) have been one of the best teams in the area to start the season as they try to pick up a big conference road win. St. Viator (7-1, 1-0) is off to a solid start after a road win at Marian Catholic last week. Another win over a ranked team would be huge for the Lions in this one.

Westmont at Coal City, 6:45 p.m. -- Westmont tries to stay unbeaten in the Interstate Eight for this one. The Sentinels (8-0, 3-0) went undefeated at the Lisle Thanksgiving event before their strong start in conference play. Coal City (5-3, 1-2) has dropped three of its last four games.

Viewers' Choice Game of the Week 

North Lawndale at Prosser, 5 p.m. -- This week's game takes is to the Red North/West as the Phoenix take on Prosser. North Lawndale (6-1, 1-1) had an early slip-up in conference play against Marshall while Prosser (3-2, 1-1) has lost to Orr. 

 

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.