Preps Talk

High School Lites preview: Week 6

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High School Lites preview: Week 6

The week's edition of High School Lites has highlights from all across the Chicagoland area as we get a look at some interesting games with conference ramifications. Two of the Public League's top teams get conference road tests, while two talented Red-North teams clash.

We'll also have action from all over the suburbs as No. 9 Glenbard West tries to improve to 14-0 and No. 14 Joliet West travels to No. 24 Homewood-Flossmoor. Our Viewer's Choice Game of the Week features Rolling Meadows heading to Buffalo Grove.

There will also be a new "Getting to Know" feature on Curie junior guard Elijah Joiner, and our Team of the Week is York. As a reminder, High School Lites will air at 11:30 p.m. this Friday with the show also playing at 7:30 a.m. and 8:30 a.m. on Saturday morning.

Thursday's games

No. 1 Morgan Park at Vocational, 5 p.m. — Morgan Park has shown it's the best team in the area to this point, and it travels to face a tough Red-South opponent in Vocational. Formerly ranked in the @CSNPreps Power Rankings, the Cavaliers (11-3, 2-2) are coming off of a second-place finish at Kankakee over the holidays, while the Mustangs (11-1, 4-0) were champions at Proviso West with Charlie Moore winning MVP.

No. 4 Kenwood at Dunbar, 5 p.m. — Leaders of the Red-Central, Kenwood (10-1, 5-0) will try to win again on the road against Dunbar (5-8, 2-3). The Broncos are coming off of a 15-point fourth-quarter comeback in a win over Curie earlier this week and are one of the state's best teams to this point. Dunbar will try to get some momentum going after a 1-2 showing at Proviso West.

[MORE PREPS: Illinois has 18 nominees for McDonald's All-American Games]

Friday's games

Uplift at Lincoln Park, 5 p.m. — A solid Red-North battle goes down as Uplift (8-5, 2-2) travels to Lincoln Park (7-7, 1-2). Uplift is led by brothers Demarius and Davarion Jacobs. Demarius is a junior, and Davarion is a freshman. Both averaged around 13 points per game at Proviso West during the holidays, and Toraze Dobbs also played well. Lincoln Park went 2-2 at Hinsdale Central as Ibrahim Dosunmu and Jalen Louie both averaged double figures.

Richards at T.F. North, 6 p.m. — This South Suburban crossover features two teams both atop the standings in their respective divisions. Richards (7-8, 3-1) is on top of the Red, while T.F. North (8-1, 4-0) is the leader of the Blue. T.F. North went 3-1 in Kentucky during the holiday season, while Richards is trying to stop a four-game losing streak.

Glenbard South at No. 16 Riverside-Brookfield, 7 p.m. — The top two teams in the Metro Suburban West collide in this one. Glenbard South (10-4, 4-0) made the championship of the Romeoville Holiday Tournament before losing to Joliet Catholic, while a talented Riverside-Brookfield (11-2, 4-0) was bounced in the quarterfinals of the Jack Tosh Holiday Classic. Glenbard South needs to prove it can hang with elite teams by putting up a tough fight on the road here.

No. 14 Joliet West at No. 24 Homewood-Flossmoor, 7 p.m. — Both of these Southwest Suburban Blue teams are coming off of strong holiday showings as Joliet West (10-3, 2-1)  beat Benet and took Peoria Manual to the brink while Homewood-Flossmoor (8-3, 2-1). The Tigers are young but feature some talented juniors and sophomores who are ahead of schedule. The Vikings are getting strong play from football standout Kendric Pryor, a Wisconsin commit on the gridiron.

Deerfield at Niles North, 7 p.m. — Two of the best teams in the Central Suburban North do battle when Deerfield (11-2, 3-0) goes to Niles North (10-4, 2-1). Deerfield won this matchup at the Wheeling Hardwood Classic on Dec. 26 and is the leader in the league right now. Senior Jordan Baum has been playing well for Deerfield, while Crishawn Clark is the go-to guy for Niles North.

[MORE PREPS: CSN Preps Boys Basketball Power Rankings: Week 5]

Lyons at Hinsdale Central, 7:30 p.m. — One of the great local rivalries in the West Suburban Silver as Lyons (5-7, 1-2) goes to Hinsdale Central (8-5, 3-0). Lyons hasn't been consistent this season, but Connor Niego was on the All-Tournament team at York. Peter Blust has been very good lately for the Red Devils as he's averaged nearly a double-double (17.8 points, 9.5 rebounds) per game at the Hinsdale Central Holiday Classic.

No. 9 Glenbard West at Oak Park-River Forest, 7:30 p.m. — Undefeated Glenbard West (13-0, 1-0) gets a conference road test in the West Suburban Silver by traveling to Oak Park-River Forest (6-6, 2-1). Senior Justin Pierce, a William & Mary commit, is a Player of the Year candidate, while Oak Park-River Forest is athletic and balanced as their defense is able to defend the length of the floor.

Rolling Meadows at Buffalo Grove, 7:30 p.m. — Our @CSNPreps Viewers' Choice Game of the Week is a Mid-Suburban East battle between some teams that could use a win. Rolling Meadows (3-10, 1-2) started 0-8 but has won three of its last five, while Buffalo Grove (5-8, 1-2) went 2-2 at the Wheeling Holiday Tournament. These two teams play again on Jan. 29.

GIRLS: Glenbrook South at Evanston, 7 p.m. — We also have a girls matchup in the Central Suburban South as Evanston faces Glenbrook South. These two teams will play again on Feb. 12.

35 Days to Kickoff: Oak Forest

35 Days to Kickoff: Oak Forest

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: Oak Forest

Head coach: Brian McDonough

How they fared in 2017: 4-5 (3-3 South Suburban Conference). Oak Forest failed to qualify for the IHSA state football playoff field.

2018 Regular Season Schedule:

Aug. 24 vs Pekin
Aug. 31 @ Niles Notre Dame
Sept. 7 @ T.F. South
Sept. 14 @ Hillcrest
Sept. 21 @ Eisenhower
Sept. 28 vs T.F. North
Oct. 5 vs Tinley Park
Oct. 12 @ Bremen
Oct. 19 vs Lemont

Biggest storyline: Can the Bengals get back into the IHSA state playoffs this season?

Names to watch this season: LB Anthony Kluk and OL/DL Julian Ramirez

Biggest holes to fill: The Bengals will need to reload on both sides of the football especially on offense with the graduation losses of several starters including QB Tyler Morrison and RB Waitari Wilson.

EDGY's Early Take: It was a rare season for the Bengals in 2017, having missed the IHSA state playoff field for the first time since 1999. Look for Oak Forest to rely on its defense while a newer group on offense develops. The Bengals and veteran head coach Brian McDonough will need to get out to a good early start with a front-loaded regular season schedule. 

36 Days to Kickoff: Glenbard North

36 Days to Kickoff: Glenbard North

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 North

Head coach: Ryan Wilkens

Assistant coaches: Rich Smelko, John Cassidy, Bruce Donash, John Pullia, Tom Gudella, Kudret Kamabari and Matt Ng

How they fared in 2017: 5-5 (4-4 DuPage Valley Conference). Glenbard North made the Class 7A state playoff field and lost to Batavia in opening round action.

2018 Regular Season Schedule:

Aug. 24 @ Neuqua Valley

Aug. 31 vs Warren Township

Sept. 7 @ St. Charles East

Sept. 14 vs Batavia

Sept. 21 @ Wheaton North

Sept. 28 @ Lake Park

Oct. 5 vs St. Charles North

Oct. 12 vs Wheaton Warrenville South

Oct. 19 @ Geneva

[MORE: 50 Days to Kickoff - Neuqua Valley]

Biggest storyline: The Panthers have a new conference home. Can the Panthers reload and fare well in the DuKane Conference?

Names to watch this season: LB Michael Wellman and FB Jake Wilson

Biggest holes to fill: The Panthers will need several players to step up on offense with just one returning starter back from a season ago-- senior FB Jake Wilson.

EDGY's Early Take: Glenbard North says farewell to the DuPage Valley conference and says hello to all things DuKane. The Panthers will undoubtedly be a younger team in 2018. While some of the star power has graduated, head coach Ryan Wilkins will once again focus on establishing a strong, fast and physical running game. Getting off to a good start against a loaded schedule will be a big key for Glenbard North this season.