Preps Talk

High School Lites Preview: Playoffs Round 1


High School Lites Preview: Playoffs Round 1

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 

6A Playoffs

(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 

5A Playoffs

(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 

96 Days to Kickoff: Jacobs

96 Days to Kickoff: Jacobs 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: Jacobs

Head coach: Bill Mitz

Assistant coaches: Bubba Smith, Mike Warren, Brian Zimmerman, JM Foote, Ryan Arndt and Bob Mackey

How they fared in 2017: 6-4 (5-3 Fox Valley Conference). Jacobs made the Class 7A playoff field. The Golden Eagles lost to Lincoln-Way West in opening round action. 

2018 Regular Season Schedule:

Aug. 24 Hampshire 

Aug. 31 @ Huntley 

Sept. 7 Dundee-Crown 

Sept. 14 @ McHenry 

Sept. 21 Neuqua Valley 

Sept. 28 Prairie Ridge 

Oct. 5 @ Cary-Grove 

Oct. 12 Crystal Lake South 

Oct. 19 @ Crystal Lake Central

Biggest storyline: Can the Golden Eagles move up in the Fox Valley Conference pecking order in 2018?

Names to watch this season: OT Joacheim Price and OL Nick Zonta

Biggest holes to fill: The Golden Eagles will need to replace its entire starting linebacker group from a season ago.

EDGY's Early Take: Year in and year out, Jacobs is always a factor in the rugged Fox Valley Conference (seven playoff appearances in the last eight years). The Golden Eagles return some starters in several key spots. If the underclassmen group can step up this summer, look for Jacobs to challenge for the FVC conference title and a higher seed in 7A come IHSA playoff time. 

97 Days to Kickoff: Back of the Yards

97 Days to Kickoff: Back of the Yards 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 @NBCSPreps Top 25 Power Rankings, leading up to kickoff on Friday, Aug. 24.

School: Back of the Yards

Head coach: Sheamus Murphy

Assistant Coaches: Will Johnson, Marty McNamara, Tim McNamara and Nick Teich

How they fared in 2017: 8-2 (6-0 CPL Great Lakes Conference). Back of the Yards made the Class 5A state playoff field. They lost to Solorio in opening round action. 

2018 Regular Season Schedule:

Week 1: @ Kelly

Week 2: vs. Goode

Week 3: @ Brooks

Week 4: vs. Schurz

Week 5: vs. Kenwood

Week 6: vs. North Lawndale

Week 7: @ Steinmetz

Week 8: vs. Payton Prep

Week 9: @ Clark

Biggest storyline: The Bobcats were a true feel-good story last season. Can the Bobcats build on its momentum and success going into the 2018 campaign?

Names to watch this season: OL/Dl Kevin Pacheco, WR/DB Carl McNickles, OL Armando Resendiz

Biggest holes to fill: The Bobcats bring back several returning starters from last season; however, can they find a new signal caller to replace the graduation loss of 2017 standout QB Jeremiah Harris (McKendree College)? 

EDGY's Early Take: One of the top stories from the 2017 season was the rise of this young program. The Bobcats made the IHSA state playoff field in just their third season of varsity football. As for 2018? The expectations have risen for this South Side school. A move to the CPL Illini Prairie State conference ramps up the overall competition level. If the Bobcats can find a steady signal caller, they have solid chance at competing for a potential IHSA state playoff spot come October.