Preps Talk

High School Lites Preview: Week 8

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NBC Sports Chicago

High School Lites Preview: Week 8

NBC Sports Chicago will have cameras covering the biggest high school football games across Chicagoland on the Week Eight edition of High School Lites, Friday at 11:00 p.m. So who wins the annual Super Bowl in the Fox Valley as Cary-Grove takes on Prairie Ridge? Can New Trier beat Maine South  on the road and capture a potential conference title? Can Lakes make a statement and beat Antioch? Can the Sequoits live up to their state-wide AP ranking? Which Mid-Suburban East power takes another step towards an undefeated season when Hersey travels to Rolling Meadows? So who do you like....Stevenson or Warren Township?

(7) Cary-Grove at (25) Prairie Ridge, 7:00 p.m.

EDGY's Take: Otherwise known as the Fox Valley Super Bowl, both Cary-Grove (7-0, 7-0) and Prairie Ridge (6-1, 5-1) run nearly identical offenses and very similar defensive philosophies. Coach Brad Seaburg's Cary-Grove squad has been able to add a passing element to the already-strong Trojans power option game with senior QB Ben McDonald and converted WR Quinn Priester. C-G has also been very strong on defense all season. Keep an eye on senior OL/DL Addison West (Western Michigan) who anchors the Trojans' interior defensive line. Prairie Ridge head coach Chris Schremp has -somehow- pulled off a miracle this season. The Wolves are actually an underdog after winning two straight 6A state titles. The Wolves also want to get their running game going early with senior FB Jackson Willis. He is having an All-State caliber season. Can Prairie Ridge defend the Cary-Grove power option and their newly-found play-action passing game? Can the Cary-Grove defense limit the big play and contain Jackson Willis?

EDGY's Pick: Cary-Grove 28 Prairie Ridge 27 

Byron at Genoa-Kingston, 7:00 p.m.

EDGY's Take: Byron (7-0, 7-0) and Genoa-Kingston (6-1, 6-1) will square off in a huge Big Northern conference showdown. Byron, coached by Jeff Boyer, have a couple of solid options in the running game with RB Drake Snodgrass and RB Isaac Stickler. Genoa-Kingston is looking to bounce back this week after a tough 21-20 loss last Friday to Dixon. The Cogs will rely on the running game, led by QB Justin Peters and RB Kollin Fugate. Could this be a "last possession wins" sort of game?

EDGY's Pick: Byron 31 Genoa-Kingston 28

(20) New Trier at (10) Maine South, 7:00 p.m.

EDGY's Take: New Trier (6-1, 3-0) and Maine South (6-1, 3-0) are once again battling for the Central Suburban South conference title. New Trier head coach Brian Doll has playmakers in senior QB Carson Ochsenhirt and standout RB/DB Brian Sitzer. Senior TE/DE Dukes Olges (Northwestern) is a force on both sides of the football. Coach Dave Inserra's Maine South Hawks have been playing well. They have a high-powered offense as senior QB Cole Dow has filled in well for injured starter Bobby Inserra. The Hawks also have several key two-way impact types led by junior OL/DL Peter Skoronski and senior RB/LB Jimmy Bartell. Can the Trevians defense derail the Hawks' offense? 

EDGY's Pick: Maine South 35 New Trier 27

Lakes at Antioch, 7:15 p.m.

EDGY's Take: Lakes (6-1, 5-0) and head coach Jordan Elder are soaring this season. The Eagles are looking to capture the Northern Lake County conference title on Friday behind junior QB Chris Selig. Senior RB D'Lo Hardy is an impact player to watch as well. Antioch, under head coach Brian Glashagel, has one of the state's top quarterbacks in sophomore Athan Kaliakmanis. He has plenty of weapons including WR Dino Kaliakmanis and RB Noah Wiley. Can the Lakes defense slow down a Sequoits offense that has rolled every opponent so far in 2018? Can the Antioch defense get the football back from the Lakes offense this week?

EDGY's Pick: Antioch 36 Lakes 31

Hersey at Rolling Meadows, 7:30 p.m.

EDGY's Take: With the Mid-Suburban East conference title on the line, both Hersey (7-0, 3-0) and Rolling Meadows (7-0, 3-0) are looking, not only to secure the league's top spot, but also a higher seed in the upcoming IHSA state playoffs. Hersey and head coach Joe Pardun will look towards QB Ryan Justice, WR Kasper Rutkiewicz and RB Thomas Quirk to set the pace on offense. Rolling Meadows has some star power in RB Tim Szylak and QB Arek Kleniuk/ OL/DL Nate Predanzo is another name to watch this season for Matt Mishler's Mustangs. Can Hersey continue to get big plays when needed? Can Meadows get some payback on Friday after losing twice to Hersey last season?

EDGY's Pick: Rolling Meadows 35 Hersey 29

(19) Stevenson at Warren Township, 7:30 p.m.

EDGY's Take: A win this week would go a long ways for both Stevenson (6-1, 4-1) and Warren Township (6-1, 5-0) as they battle for the North Suburban conference title. Coach Josh Hjorth's Stevenson Patriots have terrific balance on offense. They're led by QB Cole Okmin and RB JT Etienne. They also have a very solid defense, led by LB Maema Njongmeta. As for Coach Bryan Wells' Blue Devils, the program is rolling. RB Martin Walker Jr. is a key along with a big and physical defensive line, anchored by senior Zack Pelland along with junior Willis Singleton Jr. Can Stevenson's offense keep the Warren Township defense off-balanced? Can the Blue Devils establish the running game then let their defense do the rest?

EDGY's Pick: Warren Township 28 Stevenson 21

(21) St. Charles North at (2) Batavia, 7:30 p.m.

EDGY's Take: Both St. Charles North (6-1, 5-0) and Batavia (7-0, 5-0) are putting strong years together. The gateway to a potential conference title and high playoff seed is on the line here. Coach Rob Pomazak's St. Charles North crew will features sophomore QB Kyler Brown, RB Sam Demarco along with the exploits of do-it-all Tyler Nubin (Minnesota). who's an impact player on both sides of the ball. Do you remember what Batavia's only loss was last season en route to their 7A state title? It was to St. Charles North. Look for the Bulldogs to rely on a balanced offensive attack led by RB Art Taylor, RB/LB Quinn Urwiler and a strong defense which includes LB Michael Jansey (Northwestern) and LB Luke Weerts (North Dakota State). Can Batavia slow down St. Charles North's balanced offense? Can the North Stars defense get the football back from Batavia?

EDGY's Pick: Batavia 37 St. Charles North 27

(5) Mount Carmel at St. Laurence, 7:30 p.m.

EDGY's Take: This date was immediately circled on the calendars of Catholic League/Chicagoland high school football fans when former Mount Carmel Hall of Fame head coach Frank Lenti took an assistant coach position with St. Laurence. While St. Laurence has struggled a bit this season, I still expect this to be a fun game. Mount Carmel (6-1, 2-0) and first year head coach Jordan Lynch has the Caravan playing well. Keep an eye on senior QB Red Premovic and a defense that has been very strong all season. St. Laurence (2-5, 1-1), under head coach Harold Blackmon, has a very young team. But one of the names to keep an eye on for the Vikings will be sophomore QB Darius Wilson. Can the St. Laurence defense slow down the Mount Carmel shotgun read-pass option game?

EDGY's Pick: Mount Carmel 41 St. Laurence 20

Viewers' Choice Game 

Downers Grove South at Downers Grove North, 7:30 p.m.

EDGY's Take: This annual West Suburban conference crossover, The Battle of Downers Grove," has potential playoff implications for both teams. Downers Grove North (3-4, 2-3) has a first-year head coach Joe Horeni. He will rely on junior QB Drew Cassens. Senior TE/DE Joe Passarelli is another name to watch for the Trojans this week. Downers Grove South (4-3, 4-1) and head coach Mark Molinari will look towards a strong running game to keep the pace. Sophomore RB/DB Devean Washington and do-it-all junior ATH Jayden Lambert figure to make plenty of plays. Can the North defense limit South's big play potential? Can the North offense get another big game from Drew Cassens? 

EDGY's Pick: Downers Grove North 21 Downers Grove South 20

NBC Sports Chicago Preps Basketball Power Rankings: Week 9

NBC Sports Chicago Preps Basketball Power Rankings: Week 9

The Power Rankings have more interesting changes in store this week. The top 10 is looking more-and-more like a defined group of teams that might be hard to displace without a significant loss. 

Meanwhile, in the middle of the rankings, more chaos went down as many ranked teams lost during a busy three-day weekend. It means an influx of some new teams, and some old faces, as the rankings saw plenty of changes in the back this week.

1. Curie (21-1) (1) -- Three double-digit wins for the Condors as they continue to blowout the competition.

2. Bloom (18-1) (2) -- Light week for the Blazing Trojans as they prepare for a busy week that includes games against St. Viator, Thornwood and Kankakee.

3. Bogan (19-2) (3) -- The Bengals have ripped off five straight wins since the loss to Curie as they're looking strong once again.

4. Morgan Park (19-3) (4) -- Another great week for the Mustangs with wins in Baltimore and a win over Bolingbrook on Monday. 

5. Whitney Young (17-6) (5) -- Credit the Dolphins for a monster week that included close conference wins over Uplift and North Lawndale as well as a win at Hoophall in Massachusetts.

6. Bolingbrook (14-4) (7) -- Proving themselves as a major contender, the Raiders knocked off Evanston and Homewood-Flossmoor before losing a close one to Morgan Park.

7. Evanston (18-4) (6) -- The Wildkits avenged an earlier loss to Glenbrook South while losing a close nonconference game to Bolingbrook. 

8. Marian Catholic (19-3) (8) -- Losing to a strong out-of-state team in Culver (IN), Marian Catholic also knocked off Naperville North and a team from Ohio.

9. Homewood-Flossmoor (13-5) (9) -- Dropping a game to Bolingbrook, the Vikings are still a major contender who has played a tough schedule. 

10. New Trier (18-3) (15) -- Three wins for the Trevians during the week, including a statement win over DePaul Prep.

11. St. Laurence (19-3) (21) -- Vaulting back up the Power Rankings thanks to recent Catholic League wins over Leo and DePaul, St. Laurence is red hot. 

12. DePaul Prep (13-6, 7-1) (10) -- Dropping a few close games to ranked teams in St. Laurence and New Trier, the Rams will try to bounce back.

13. Geneva (19-1) (16) -- Geneva picked up wins over Naperville North, St. Charles North and East Aurora during an impressive week.

14. St. Rita (15-6) (17) -- Continuing to win and stay atop their division in the Catholic League, St. Rita knocked off Montini. 

15. Lincoln Park (15-6) (18) -- The Lions quietly had two great wins this week after holding off Farragut and then blowing out Bloomington.

16. York (19-3) (20) -- Impressive showing from the Dukes at Wheaton South, as they earned a win over the hosts before a close loss to Rockford East in the title game.

17. Leo (15-5) (22) -- Leo seemed to figure things out after some recent losses with two blowout wins over St. Francis de Sales and Crete-Monee.

18. Orr (15-8) (23) -- The Spartans earned a good conference road win at Lane before falling to a tough out-of-state opponent in Blackhawk Christian (IN). 

19. Providence-St. Mel (16-5) (11) -- Providence-St. Mel remains in the thick of the Catholic League race following a close loss to Mount Carmel. 

20. Benet (16-5) (12) -- Tough stretch for the Red Wings at the Wheaton South event with losses to the hosts and Rockford East on Monday.

21. Stevenson (15-3) (23) -- The winning streak has reached six games for the Patriots following wins over Warren and St. Charles North. 

22. Waukegan (17-4) (NR) -- Quality week from the Bulldogs to get back in the Power Rankings with victories over Zion-Benton and Notre Dame.

23. West Aurora (18-3) (NR) -- Riding an eight-game winning streak, the Blackhawks have gone unbeaten in the Upstate Eight to this point. 

24. St. Viator (16-4) (NR) -- After dropping out of the rankings with some losses following Treyvon Calvin's injury, the Lions are back in as they've looked like a threat once again.

25. Oak Park-River Forest (12-7) (19) -- A triple-overtime win over Downers North was impressive but the Huskies fell the next day to Hillcrest. 

VOTE: Viewers' Choice Game Of The Week

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NBC Sports Chicago

VOTE: Viewers' Choice Game Of The Week

Who wants it more? 

We are putting High School Lites, Chicagoland's top prep sports show, in the hands of area basketball fans in our "Viewers' Choice Game of the Week." Fans will get the chance to pick one game that the @NBCSPreps crew will cover on Friday. We will send our cameras to the game that gets the most votes; highlights and postgame reaction of that game will appear on that night's "High School Lites" broadcast at 11 p.m on NBC Sports Chicago. The show also live streams at www.nbcsportschicago.com/watchlive. High School Lites will also have broadcast replays at 7:30 a.m. and 8:30 a.m. the following Saturday on NBC Sports Chicago. We’re going all out for the Northern Lake County Conference this week. 

Which one of the four games below are the most worthy of our coverage?

Grayslake Central at Grant, 7:00 p.m.

Lakes at Grayslake North, 7:00 p.m.

Round Lake at North Chicago, 7:00 p.m.

Wauconda at Antioch, 7:00 p.m.

To participate in the poll, our fans are encouraged to do the following:

— Follow @NBCSPreps on Twitter.
— Note the "pinned Tweet" atop the @NBCSPreps feed. Vote for the game you want us to cover.
— Spread the word!
 
We will make an announcement on @NBCSPreps just after 4 p.m. Thursday with the official results of which game will be covered. And as a reminder, be sure to follow @NBCSPreps for updates on the "Viewers' Choice Game of the week," along with other high school sports news, scores and highlights this season.