CSN Chicago will have cameras covering the biggest high school football games across Chicagoland on the IHSA playoff opening round edition of High School Lites, Friday at 11:00 p.m. In Class 8A, can Notre Dame get payback against Marist in after losing to the Redhawks back in September? Can Bolingbrook shock the IHSA prep football world once again and beat Naperville Central on the road? In 7A, can Downers Grove North hang with Libertyville? In 6A could the Thornton Township-Hinsdale South matchup be the best opening round game of the entire state playoffs?
8A Playoffs (seeds in parentheses)
(25) O'Fallon at (8) Homewood-Flossmoor, 7:00pm
EDGY's Take: O'Fallon (5-4) makes the five-plus hour drive up north to face the Vikings. O'Fallon started off the season 0-4 and has won 5 straight games behind Illinois verbal commit RB Kentrail Moran who leads the O'Fallon offense. Can H-F (8-1) bounce back after a stunning 22-21 loss to rival Bolingbrook last week? Look for the Vikings to rely on its speed on both sides of the football and including WR/DB Kendric Pryor (Wisconsin) along with a strong group of offensive skills players.
EDGY's Pick: H-F 41 O'Fallon 20
(23) Marist at (10) Notre Dame, 7:00pm
EDGY's Take: This is an East Suburban Catholic Conference rematch from Week 4 when Marist (5-4) defeated Notre Dame (8-1) 49-42. The Dons will rely on senior QB Tyler Tsagalis (WIU) along with WR Tim Simon while Marist will counter with senior QB Brendan Skalitzky and the Redhawks also have big play potential on offense. Last possession wins? Be prepared for a ton of offense in this terrific rematch.
EDGY's Pick: Notre Dame 48 Marist 47
(29) Fremd at (4) Oak Park-River Forest, 7:00pm
EDGY's Take: Fremd (5-4) started off the season at 5-1 but has since dropped three straight games-- not exactly the way the Vikings wanted to enter the state playoffs. Keep an eye on senior RB Kenney Lyke (Michigan State) along with junior QB Tom Josten. Oak Park-River Forest (8-1) have survived various injuries this season including losing standout junior QB Jeremy Hunt for the season. The Huskies have gotten it done with its running game led by senior RB Antonio Cannon along with a stellar defensive effort all season. Can Fremd dent the OPRF defense this week? Can the Vikings defense shut down the Huskies running game?
EDGY's Pick: OPRF 24 Fremd 14
(27) Bolingbrook at (6) Naperville Central, 7:00pm
EDGY's Take: No one outside of Bolingbrook (5-4) saw the Raiders beating H-F last Friday, and thus getting into the state playoff. But the Raiders have indeed crashed the IHSA party. If Bolingbrook can avoid turnovers, look out. The Raiders defense is as solid as anyone in 8A and watch out for senior LB/TE Tuf Borland (Ohio State). Naperville Central (8-1) has seen its offense come alive late in the regular season behind senior QB Connor Joyce and a deep group of skills led by senior WR Emmanuel Rugamba (Iowa). Can the Raiders offense hold onto the football and finish drives with points? Can the Redhawks offense keep the Raiders defense on the field for extended drives?
EDGY's Pick: Naperville Central 21 Bolingbrook 14
(17) Conant at (16) Stevenson, 7:30pm
EDGY's Take: You would expect a very close game when 16-seed Stevenson (6-3) will host 17-seed Conant (6-3) and I have a feeling that's exactly what we will get. Conant and head coach Bill Modelski will look towards senior QB Kyle Bradley along with do-it-all WR/DB Palmer Graham. Stevenson (6-3) and head coach Bill McNamara will let standout senior QB Jack Sorenson (Miami OH) lead the Patriots offense. Senior RB Tyler Vincent has also emerged as a big time running threat. Can the Conant defense hang with the Patriots? Can the Stevenson defense rise up?
EDGY's Pick: Stevenson 28 Conant 27
(23) Bradley-Bourbonnais at (10) Glenbrook North, 7:00pm
EDGY's Take: If you needed an example that the new Class 7A 1-32 seeding system works, this game features two teams in Bradley (6-3) and Glenbrook North (8-1) who would have never dreamed of facing each other. Bradley and head coach Mike Kohl will rely on WR/DB Camron Harrwell and LB Mason Delong. Glenbrook North and head coach Bob Pieper will give the football to senior RB John Clark early and often while QB Kevin Burnside is more than capable of getting the Spartans play action passing game on track. Can the Boilermakers defense shut down the Spartans running game?
EDGY's Pick: Bradley 27 Glenbrook North 20
(30) Downers Grove North at (3) Libertyville, 7:00pm
EDGY's Take: Libertyville (9-0) has lived up to the preseason hype. The Wildcats are led by senior QB Riley Lees (Northwestern) and very strong line play on both sides of the football. Downers Grove North (5-4), coached by John Wander, play a very run-based conservative offense, who look to control time of possession and the football. Can the Trojans offense move the football against the Wildcats defense and keep Libertyville's offense (Lees in particular) on the sidelines? Can the DGN defense avoid giving up the big play? If North can avoid the early knockout punch from Libertyville, this could get interesting.
EDGY's Pick: Libertyville 27 Downers Grove North 14
(13) Hinsdale South at (4) Thornton, 7:30pm
EDGY's Take: This game has the potential of being one of the best overall opening round games in the state. Hinsdale South (6-3) has balance on offense with QB Sean McCormack and senior RB Marcus Curry while senior DE Josh King is the state's top ranked recruit in the Class of 2016. Thornton Township (8-1) has speed to burn with senior QB Sam Taylor III along with senior RB/DB Tionte McDaniel, both pivotal in the Wildcats offense. Can Hinsdale South's defense contain and slow down Thornton? Can the Wildcats defense shut down the Hornets offense?
EDGY's Pick: Thornton Township 28 Hinsdale South 27
(13) DuSable at (4) King, 4:00pm at Gately Stadium
EDGY's Take: This Class 5A opening round game features two Chicago Public League teams. King (7-2), with veteran head coach Lonnie Williams at the helm, has been battle tested this season coming out of the CPL Illini Land of Lincoln conference. DuSable (6-3) and head coach Robert Anderson will need to bounce back from a 22-21 loss to Washington last week. King senior WR Phillip Powell (WIU) is an impact player for the Jaguars.
EDGY's Pick: King 37 DuSable 12
(12) Rich Central at (5) St. Laurence, 7:00pm
EDGY's Take: St. Laurence (7-2) is having a terrific season behind QB Alex Martinez and RB Fayezon Smart—part of a Vikings offense that has been generating points in bunches all year. Rich Central (6-3) also has a potent offense. Keep an eye on RB Deshawn Jones and with QB Jyran Mitchell. Can the Vikings defense contain the Olympians offense? Can the Olympians defense find an answer for the Vikings passing attack?
EDGY's Pick: St. Laurence 35 Rich Central 21