CSN Chicago (CSN), the television home of the Illinois High School Association (IHSA) State Championships, will be airing live coverage of the 2016 IHSA Football State Championships on Friday, November 25 and Saturday, November 26 from Memorial Stadium in Champaign. In addition, every IHSA Football State Championship telecast on CSN, including surrounding pre/postgame coverage, will be streamed LIVE on CSNChicago.com and will be made available via the NBC Sports app on tablets and smart phones. Highlights and postgame reaction from all eight games will be presented in a special state championship edition of High School Lites, Saturday at 10 p.m., immediately following the 8A title game.
EDGY's Take: Vernon Hills and head coach Bill Bellecomo has the Cougars in their first-ever state football title game. Vernon Hills has gotten to Champaign led by their defense and a balanced offensive attack. The offense is led by senior QB Kyle Hull (1,512 yards 15 touchdowns) and versatile senior RB/DB Drew Winegardner. The Cougars defense is spearheaded by senior ILB Andrew "Chick" Smith (152 tackles). Peoria and head coach Tim Thornton is also seeking the Lions first-ever state football title on Saturday. The Lions shotgun read option offense is led by junior QB Coran Taylor (2,864 yards of total offense 34 touchdowns), junior RB Geno Hess (2,597 yards 42 touchdowns) and a talented and deep group in the offensive skills department. The Lions offensive and defensive line play has been impressive all season long. They’re led by three star-ranked OL/DL Kendrick Green (6-foot-4, 279 yards) plus junior D-1 recruit Marques Cox (6-foot-5, 292 pounds). Can the Vernon Hills defense continue to work its magic against one state's most potent offenses? Can the Peoria defense slow down the Cougars’ balanced offense?
EDGY's Pick: Peoria 35 Vernon Hills 20
EDGY's Take: Prairie Ridge and head coach Chris Schremp is in search of the school's second state football title. The Wolves will look to run the football and play smash-mouth football behind junior QB Samson Evans (1,870 yards rushing 38 TDs) and senior FB Manny Ebirim (134 carries for 971 yards 10 TDs). Prairie Ridge can also play strong defense. Keep an eye on junior OL/DL Jeff Jenkins, ILB Jacob Ommen and senior DB Peter Berg. Sacred Heart Griffin, under Hall of Fame head coach Ken Leonard, has been rolling up huge points all season long. The Cyclones offense is led by junior TB Tremayne Lee-- one of a very deep group of backs. Senior QB Tim Brenneisen (120 of 185 passes for 2,436 yards and 23 TDs) has also been solid all season. The Cyclones also rely heavily on its big, senior-laden offensive line (they average 6-foot-4, 279 pounds). Can the Prairie Ridge defense slow down the Cyclones offense/running game? Can anyone slow down and contain PR's QB Samson Evans?
EDGY's Pick: Prairie Ridge 38 SHG 31
EDGY's Take: Plainfield North was able to beat Fenwick 18-17 in overtime last Saturday to advance to Memorial Stadium. North hadn't even won a state playoff game until this year. The Tigers feature a balanced attack on offense along with an overall speedy team on both sides of the football. The offense is led by junior QB Brady Miller (139 of 235 passes for 1,868 yards 20 TDs) along with senior RB Ty Hoosman (1,675 yards rushing 26 TDs) and senior WR Connor Peplow (50 catches for4 783 yards 7 TDs). Plainfield North's defense has been strong all season long. Keep an eye out on senior LBs JJ Frey and Will Stoll. OL/DL Ari Ekowa is a force as well. East St. Louis and head coach Darren Sunkett are looking to capture the school's eighth overall state football title. The Flyers have speed on both sides of the football, led by senior QB Rey Estes (Missouri) along with four star-ranked senior WR Jeff Thomas and junior RB Jarrell Anderson (1,306 yards rushing 21 TDs). The East St. Louis defense has also been a strength all season and is led by senior LB James Knight, senior OL/DL Lemontre Harvey plus junior DL Terrion Williams. Can the East St. Louis offense run past the Plainfield North defense? Can the Tigers’ offense dent the Flyers’ defense?
EDGY's Pick: East St. Louis 22 Plainfield North 14
EDGY's Take: The state's top-ranked team all season long, Loyola Academy, will be looking to bring a second straight Class 8A state football title --and third overall—to Wilmette. The Ramblers offense was on point in last week's 42-13 win over Glenbard West. Senior QB Tommy Herion (165 of 267 passes for 2,115 yards and 18 TDs) will look to his main targets: senior WR David Terrell Jr. (55 catches for 886 yards 7 TD's) and senior WR/ATH Jake Marwede (Duke). Loyola can --and will-- run the football. They’ll do it with RB Kyle Rock (1,128 yards 18 TD's) and a big, strong and veteran offensive line. Maine South can also light up the scoreboard with senior QB Nick Leongas (155 of 257 passes for 2,787 yards 27 TDs/1,040 yards rushing 11 TDs) along with junior RB Fotis Kokosioulis (1,358 yards rushing 21 TDs) plus a deep group of receivers. The Hawks defense has been of the bend-but-not-break variety. Keep an eye on senior DL/OL Kevin Jarvis (Michigan State). Can the Maine South defense slow down the Loyola offense? Can the Loyola defense slow down the Maine South offense?
EDGY's Pick: Loyola 41 Maine South 35
Friday's slate of games: