Preps Talk

High School Lites Preview: Week 8


High School Lites Preview: Week 8

CSN Chicago will have cameras covering the biggest high school football games across Chicagoland on the Week 8 edition of High School Lites, Friday night at 11:00 p.m. So who comes away with a win in a huge Southwest Prairie showdown when Oswego travels to Plainfield North? Can Sandburg shock No. 1 ranked Homewood-Flossmoor in Orland Park? Who wins the Battle of District 86 as Hinsdale Central travels to Darien to take on Hinsdale South? And who comes away with a win when Batavia travels to Geneva in one of the state's oldest and (arguably) best rivalry games?


Oswego @ Plainfield North, 7:00pm

EDGY's Take: Plainfield North (5-2/4-1) will try to beat an Oswego team (6-1/5-0) that has won 33 straight Southwest Prairie conference games. Plainfield North will look to get its offense into high gear behind senior QB JD Ekowa and junior RB Ty Hoosman. Oswego will counter with senior QB Steven Frank. The Panthers are a very physical team on both sides of the ball. Can Plainfield North win the battle upfront? Can the Oswego defense corral the speed from the Tigers offense?

EDGY's Pick: Oswego 31, Plainfield North 28


Oak Forest at Lemont, 7:00pm.

EDGY's Take: A terrific annual battle in the South Suburban Blue as Oak Forest (7-0/4-0) will look to run the football with senior RB/DB Nick Czeszewski. The Bengals also have a very strong defense. Lemont (6-1/4-0) has been able to get its young offense on track with QB Spencer Nagel and standout WR/DB Jeremy Fejedelem (Air Force). Can the Lemont defense slow down the Bengals power running game? The Indians’ offense will also have its biggest test of the season.

EDGY's Pick: Lemont 28, Oak Forest 21


Providence at (9) Brother Rice, 7:30pm

EDGY's Take: Brother Rice (6-1/1-1) has already locked up a state playoff berth and will look to keep its offense clicking with senior QB Cam Miller and a host of quality backs and receivers led by junior WR Ricky Smalling. Providence Catholic (2-5/0-2) is out of the state playoffs for the first time since 2010 so look for the Celtics to start building towards next season behind junior QB Jared Drake.

EDGY's Pick: Brother Rice 37, Providence Catholic 21


(1) Homewood-Flossmoor at (25) Sandburg, 7:30pm. 

EDGY's Take: Sandburg (6-1/5-0) is having a terrific season behind the arm of senior QB Alec Fidan and a very strong running game as well. Homewood-Flossmoor (7-0/5-0) is the state's top ranked team for several good reasons. Start with the Vikings offense led by senior QB Bryce Gray, the Harley-Hampton twins (senior RB's Deante and Devonte) along with Wisconsin commit WR Kendric Pryor; however, the Vikings defense was the story in last week's 28-3 win over Lincoln-Way East. Can the Sandburg defense slow down the Vikings offense? Can the Eagles’ balanced offense keep the H-F defense on the field…and the Vikings’ offense off of it?

EDGY's Pick: H-F 35, Sandburg 24


(19) Batavia at (22) Geneva, 7:30pm.

EDGY's Take: This Battle for the Upstate 8 River conference title is annually one of the best and most intense rivalry games. Batavia (6-1/4-0) has a 30-game conference winning streak and is led by senior QB Kyle Niemiec along with a speedy and very physical defense. Geneva (7-0/4-0) will look towards standout QB Sean Chambers and an offense that is explosive, yet also very balanced. Keep an eye out for RB  Justin Taormina. Last possession wins here?

EDGY's Pick: Batavia 38, Geneva 37 OT


 (12) Hinsdale Central at Hinsdale South, 7:30pm.

EDGY's Take: Hinsdale Central (6-1/4-1) has been clicking this season with a big time offense led by QB Michael Sessa, senior RB Christian Bobak and a large offensive line led by Michigan State commit Matt Allen and senior OG Doug Kramer Jr. Could this be a big time trap game against Hinsdale South (5-2/4-1)? The Hornets have a very strong group here led by Michigan State commit DE Josh King plus senior RB Marcus Curry and senior QB Sean McCormack. Can the Hornets defense slow down the Red Devils offense? This one could end up closer than you may think.

EDGY's Pick: Hinsdale Central 28, Hinsdale South 24


Conant at Hoffman Estates, 7:30pm.

EDGY's Take: Conant (6-1/2-1) is looking to finish the regular season strong and capture a high seed in Class 8A. The Cougars will look towards senior QB Matt Bradley along with standout senior WR/DB Palmer Graham. Hoffman Estates (3-4/1-2) is fighting for its playoff lives. They pulled off an impressive 25-24 OT win over Fremd last Friday behind a big performance from RB Chady Bitre. Can the Hawks stay alive and pull off another upset?

EDGY's Pick: Conant 31, Hoffman Estates 21


Palatine at Schaumburg, 7:30pm.

EDGY's Take: Once again, the Mid Suburban West is up for grabs. Both Palatine (5-2/2-2) and Schaumburg (4-3/1-2) are factors in the race and both have postseason hopes. Palatine has gotten a big season so far from junior QB Zach Oles while Schaumburg will counter with junior RB Emanuel Little. Can the Saxons defense bounce back from a tough loss last week to Conant and slow down the Pirates offense?

EDGY's Pick: Palatine 24, Schaumburg 14


Bishop McNamara at St. Ignatius, 7:30pm

EDGY's Take: Bishop McNamara (6-1/2-1) has been on a serious roll this fall and pulled off an impressive CCL crossover win last Friday over Providence Catholic. The Irish also have a big time name in Central Michigan commit senior RB Jonathon Ward, who is just 11 yards short of setting a new school rushing record. St. Ignatius and first year head coach John O'Connor (4-3/2-1) has the Wolves in line for a state playoff bid. They need a win this week against Bishop Mac or next week against DePaul Prep (5-2). 

EDGY's Pick: Bishop McNamara 37, St. Ignatius 14

62 Days to Kickoff: Lincoln Park

62 Days to Kickoff: Lincoln Park 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: Lincoln Park

Head coach: Vince DeFrancesco

Assistant coaches: Steve Karoff, Grant Magnuson, Tyler Clark, Brandon Randolph, Alex Green and Tom Dellota

How they fared in 2017: 8-2 (7-0 Chicago Public League Chicago Big Shoulders Conference). Lincoln Park made the Class 7A state football playoff field. The Lions lost to Alton in opening round action. 

2018 Regular Season Schedule:

Aug. 24 @ IWT Speer

Sept. 1 vs. Kenwood

Sept. 7 vs. Hubbard

Sept. 14 @ Phillips

Sept. 21 vs. Lane Tech

Sept. 28 vs. Taft

Oct. 5 vs. Westinghouse

Oct. 12 vs. Raby

Oct. 19 vs. Morgan Park

Biggest storyline: The Lions' new conference. Can Lincoln Park keep its winning ways when they start playing in the CPL/Illini Land of Lincoln this fall?

Names to watch this season: RB/LB Dane Romberger and DB Jalen Jenkins

Biggest holes to fill: The Lions will need to reload on the offensive side of the football this summer with just three starters back this fall.

EDGY's Early Take: Coach Vince DeFrancesco's Lions have been on a nice roll, getting to the IHSA state playoffs in each of his past three seasons (four straight for the school overall). However, the price for the Lions' success is extremely high. The CPL Illini Land of Lincoln is loaded. The schedule includes the likes of Kenwood, Hubbard, Phillips, Raby and Morgan Park...just to name a few. If the Lions can develop their less experienced offense this summer, all the better for them.

63 Days to Kickoff: Shepard

63 Days to Kickoff: Shepard 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: Shepard

Head coach: John Rone

Assistant coaches: Andrew Porter, Ron Rivera, Chris Lewis, Ryan McGuire and Clint Connelly

How they fared in 2017: 8-2 (5-1 South Suburban Red Conference). Shepard made the Class 6A state football playoff field. The Astros lost to Marmion Academy in opening round action. 

2018 Regular Season Schedule:

Aug. 24 @ Leyden

Sept. 1 @ Stagg

Sept 7 vs Hillcrest

Sept. 14 vs Eisenhower

Sept. 21 @ Richards

Sept. 28 @ Oak Lawn

Oct. 5 vs Reavis

Oct. 12 vs Evergreen Park

Oct. 19 @ Argo

Biggest storyline: First-year head coach John Rone. Can the Astros challenge once again for the South Suburban Red conference title under a new head coach?

Names to watch this season: RB/LB Chris Harrison and TE/DE Kevin Graham

Biggest holes to fill: The Astros bring back 10 returning starters (five offense, five defense). Overall depth could also be a concern.  

EDGY's Early Take: Shepard will be led by former Eisenhower assistant Rone, who was able to retain an experienced staff at Shepard. It will help ease the transition from former head coach Dominic Passolano this summer. If the Astros can get off to a good early start they have the overall talent to again make a state playoff appearance in 2018. Can they challenge conference power Richards in the South Suburban Red race?