Preps Talk

High School Lites Preview: Week 7


High School Lites Preview: Week 7

CSN Chicago will have cameras covering the biggest high school football games across Chicagoland on the Week 7 edition of High School Lites, Friday night at 11 p.m. So who gets a win in the rematch between Nazareth Academy and Joliet Catholic? Can No. 1 ranked Homewood-Flossmoor take care of business against Southwest Suburban Blue rival Lincoln-Way East? Can up and coming Warren Township upset Libertyville on the road? Can Oak Park-River Forest hold off highly ranked Glenbard West at home and take another step towards a West Suburban Silver title?

Whitney Young at Lincoln Park, 5 p.m. at Rockne Stadium

EDGY's Take: Whitney Young’s head coach Tim Franken has gotten a huge season so far from his defense. The Dolphins (6-0) have allowed just 20 points in six games so far this season. Lincoln Park's (5-1) only loss came to suburban power Lincoln-Way East back in Week 2. Can the Lions offense dent the Dolphins defense this week?

EDGY's Pick: Whitney Young 20, Lincoln Park 13

Richards at Eisenhower, 6 p.m.

EDGY's Take: Richards (4-2) has been getting a huge season from junior RB Pat Doyle and a strong and speedy defense. Travis Moore’s Eisenhower Cardinals (5-1) have also also been very solid this season and will rely on a strong group of two-way impact players which includes WR/DB Javan Boyd. Can the Bulldogs slow down the Ike offense? Can Eisenhower slow down the Richards running game?

EDGY's Pick: Richards 31, Eisenhower 28

Crete-Monee at Rich Central, 6:30 p.m.

EDGY's Take: This battle for the Southland conference features a very strong Crete-Monee (5-1) team and keep an eye on do-it-all senior Clint Ratkovich against Rich Central (5-1) who will rely on an explosive offense led by QB Jyran Mitchell and RB Khaleeq Hammond. Can the Warriors defense slow down the Olympians offense?

EDGY's Pick: Crete-Monee 36, Rich Central 21

Byron at Rockford Lutheran, 7 p.m.

EDGY's Take: Everyone will be watching to see if Rockford Lutheran (6-0) senior running back James Robinson can set a new IHSA career rushing record against Byron (5-1) in this Big Northern West showdown. Robinson is just 25 yards shy of the all-time career rushing record set by Caleb Pratt from Westville back in 2004-07 (8,477 yards). 

EDGY's Pick: Rockford Lutheran 50, Bryon 25

(13) Lincoln-Way East at (1) Homewood-Flossmoor, 7:30 p.m.

EDGY's Take: Lincoln-Way East (5-1) has gotten a huge year from senior QB Brandon Bauer and a very strong defense. H-F (6-0) has been averaging 53 points per game behind senior QB Bryce Gray and what seems to be an unlimited group of skill position players. Can East extend the Vikings for four quarters? Can the H-F defense limit the Griffins offense and get its offense back on the field as quickly as possible? Ball control and limited mistakes are key for East to pull off the upset here.

EDGY's Pick: H-F 34, Lincoln-Way East 21

Thornton at Lincoln-Way North, 7:30 p.m.

EDGY's Take: Thornton Township (6-0) and first year head coach Dontrell Jackson are built on speed. Wildcats senior QB Sam Taylor III leads a very good group on offense. Lincoln-Way North (6-0) and head coach George Czart will rely on a strong defense and senior ATH Jaylin Branch among others. Can the North defense slow down the Wildcats offense?

EDGY's Pick: Thornton Township 34, Lincoln Way North 27

(3) Glenbard West at (12) Oak Park-River Forest, 7:30 p.m.

EDGY's Take: A huge West Suburban Silver showdown here as Glenbard West (6-0) will look to get the football into the hands of Vanderbilt commit senior RB Sam Brodner early and often. Oak Park-River Forest (6-0) has a terrific mix on offense and a tough as nails defense this season. How healthy is OPRF and will junior QB Jeremy Hunt return from an injury suffered in last week's win over York? Can the West offense dent the Huskies defense?

EDGY's Pick: Glenbard West 24, OPRF 14

(15) Nazareth at (5) Joliet Catholic, 7:30 p.m.

EDGY's Take: If this rematch between two of the top ESCC -- and 5A -- teams is anything close to last year's back-and-forth 24-21 Roadrunners win, this will be a dandy. Joliet Catholic (6-0) has received great line play and senior RB Michael Johnson has been an impact player for the Hilltoppers. Nazareth Academy counters with junior RB Ivory Kelly-Martin along with do-it-all Notre Dame commit Julian Love. Keep an eye on the line play for both teams since both have several two-way linemen. If one team’s line can wear down the other, it could determine the winner.

EDGY's Pick: Joliet Catholic 28, Nazareth Academy 21

Lakes at Vernon Hills, 7:30 p.m.

EDGY's Take: Lakes (4-2) and head coach Luke Mertens will rely on senior QB Jordan Mercure, who is the school's all time leading passer. Vernon Hills (5-1) also has a strong quarterback in senior Connor McNamara but can the Cougars offense bounce back after a tough 12-0 loss last week to Wauconda?

EDGY's Pick: Lakes 36, Vernon Hills 21

Warren at (4) Libertyville, 7:30 p.m.

EDGY's Take: Warren Township (4-2) has bounced back after an 0-2 start. Could this be a big time trap game for Libertyville (6-0)? Warren has been pretty balanced on offense with senior RB Darrius Crump, senior QB Kyle Debevec and sophomore WR Micah Jones. Libertyville will let standout QB Riley Lees (Northwestern) make reads and run the football out of the shotgun for the Wildcats. The Libertyville defense has been very strong all season as well. Can the Warren defense slow down Riley Lees?

EDGY's Pick: Libertyville 27, Warren Township 21

Herscher at Lisle, 7:00 p.m.

EDGY's Take: Herscher (4-2) has been known as a run-first team under head coach Dan Wetzel, yet the Tigers have discovered a passing game this season behind QB  Tyler Jones. Also, keep an eye on WR/DB Austin Berns. Lisle (4-2) has been putting up some big points over the past few weeks under head coach Paul Parpet (former Addison Trail longtime head coach). Can Lisle withstand its biggest test of the season?

EDGY's Pick: Herscher 27, Lisle 14

NBC Sports Chicago's 100 Days to Kickoff

USA Today

NBC Sports Chicago's 100 Days to Kickoff 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.

In case you missed any of our previews, here is our rundown:

100. De La Salle

99. Crystal Lake South

98. Eisenhower

97. Back of the Yards

96. Jacobs

95. Waubonsie Valley

94. Kaneland

93. West Aurora

93 Days to Kickoff: West Aurora

93 Days to Kickoff: West Aurora 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: West Aurora

Head coach: Nate Eimer

Assistant coaches: Tony Melchiori, DC Bob Fowler, DL Patrick Stremel, LB Charlie Graves, DB Mike Runge, OL Joe Howell, RB Ron Murphy and QB Alex Shaw

How they fared in 2017: 7-3 (4-1 Upstate Eight Valley Conference). West Aurora made the IHSA Class 8A playoff field last season. The Blackhawks lost to Naperville Central 35-14 in opening round action.

2018 Regular Season Schedule:

Aug. 24 @ Larkin

Aug. 31 @ West Chicago

Sept. 7 vs Streamwood

Sept. 14 @ Glenbard East

Sept. 21 vs Bartlett

Sept. 28 vs Glenbard South

Oct. 5 @ Elgin

Oct. 12 vs East Aurora

Oct. 19 vs South Elgin

[MORE: 94 Days to Kickoff - Kaneland]

Biggest storyline: Game 11. Can the Blackhawks get back to the IHSA state playoffs for the fourth straight season and then advance past the opening round?

Names to watch this season: QB Will Tammaru, RB/DB JaQuan Buchanan and DT Denver Warren

Biggest holes to fill: The Blackhawks welcome back an impressive 17 starters (nine offense, eight defense) to the mix. However, the group will be a bit inexperienced in some spots on both the offensive and defensive line.  

EDGY's Early Take: The Blackhawks' turnaround under head coach Nate Eimer and staff has been a terrific story to follow. That said, the bar for West Aurora football has also been raised. No longer are they satisfied by just "getting" to state. The Blackhawks welcome back a deep group on both sides of the football led by a potentially high powered, balanced offense. On paper, this team has the makings of being one of the better Blackhawks teams in their history. They will challenge for the Upstate Eight conference title and get another shot at the Class 8A playoff field.