Preps Talk

High School Lites preview: Week 9

1-28-collins-phillips.png

High School Lites preview: Week 9

Should be another fun week on High School Lites as we have some great games in store. Conference rivalries are heating up as we'll have battles from Red-West, Catholic North, Mid-Suburban West, South Suburban Blue, West Suburban Gold as well as the Interstate Eight Conference Tournament.

Our Viewers' Choice Game of the Week also had outstanding participation this week, with a photo finish going to Joliet West at Joliet Central. I'll be in the building to watch this SouthWest Suburban Blue rivalry and it should be a great matchup.

This week's Getting to Know feature is on talented Bogan senior James Jones while our team of the week is the Morgan Park girls basketball team.

High School Lites airs this Friday night at 11 p.m. on CSN and streaming live at CSNChicago.com. Be sure to follow us on @CSNPreps and send us scores and highlights on Twitter.

Thursday games

No. 4 Simeon at No. 1 Morgan Park, 4:30 p.m. - After all of the controversy surrounding where this game would be played, the Mustangs will finally host the Wolverines in a Red-South rematch this week. Morgan Park (16-1, 8-0) is unbeaten against Illinois competition and has been the class of the area behind Player of the Year frontrunner Charlie Moore. Simeon lost the first matchup in December but will try to tie for the conference lead behind Gonzaga commit Zach Norvell and a deep and talented team.

No. 9 St. Joseph at No. 3 Fenwick, 7:00 p.m. - Two unbeatens in the Catholic North collide as Fenwick hosts St. Joseph. The Friars (17-2, 6-0) are coming off of great wins over Simeon and Riverside-Brookfield and senior point guard Mike Smith has been outstanding lately. The Chargers (13-5, 6-0) have dropped a few since a hot start but they're in the conference title hunt as senior Nick Rakocevic has played at a high level. These two Class 3A powers could also meet in the Catholic League Tournament and the Westinghouse Sectional in the next few months.

Friday games

Plano vs. Peotone, 5:30 p.m. (at Coal City) - The third-place game at the Interstate Eight Tournament features Plano (10-8, 4-2) taking on Peotone (16-4, 5-1). In the first matchup of these two teams, Peotone took home the 61-42 victory on Dec. 8. 

Reed-Custer vs. Sandwich, 7:00 p.m. (at Coal City) - The title game of the Interstate Eight Tournament pits Reed-Custer (19-2, 7-0) against Sandwich (12-10, 3-2). While Reed-Custer has been a Class 2A contender for much of the year, Sandwich earned an impressive win over Peotone to reach the finals.

De La Salle at DePaul Prep, 7:00 p.m. - Two talented Catholic North teams take the floor when De La Salle visits DePaul Prep. The Meteors (14-5, 4-2) have spent a good chunk of time in the @CSNPreps Power Rankings this season while DePaul Prep (11-10,  has perhaps the area's most productive freshman in guard Perry Cowan.

No. 24 Hillcrest at Lemont, 7:00 p.m. - This could be an intriguing one in the South Suburban Blue as Hillcrest (14-4, 8-0) travels to Lemont (12-6, 5-2). The Hawks recently re-entered the @CSNPreps Power Rankings after a strong stretch of play after the Proviso West Holiday Tournament. Lemont is led by junior point guard P.J. Pipes, an underrated floor general who is averaging 20 points per game.

No. 20 Proviso East at Downers Grove South, 7:30 p.m. - A huge one in the West Suburban Gold as Proviso East tries to get revenge after falling to Downers Grove South earlier this season. The Pirates (10-5, 5-1) have looked like a different team since senior Antonio Williams entered the lineup at Proviso West and they've been playing good ball lately. Downers South counters by winning seven of their last eight games since the holidays as juniors T.J. Clifford and Denis Alibegovic are a talented duo.

Palatine at Conant, 7:30 p.m. - Conant is looking for the season sweep as they take on Palatine in this Mid-Suburban West contest. The Cougars (12-4, 6-0) won the first matchup on the road, 58-52, on Jan. 8 as junior guard Jimmy Sotos has played well this season. Palatine (15-8, 4-2) has been balanced all season as they try to form a winning streak after 

Joliet West at Joliet Central, 6:30 p.m. - A great SouthWest Suburban Blue rivalry is our Viewers' Choice Game of the Week. Joliet West (12-6, 3-3) has spent time in our top 25 this season and will look to win the first of two against Joliet Central (10-7, 5-1) as these two teams battle Homewood-Flossmoor atop the conference standings.

65 Days to Kickoff: Elmwood Park

65 Days to Kickoff: Elmwood Park

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: Elmwood Park

Head coach: Dylan Mack

Assistant coaches: Gabe Ostrander, Tim Eberhard, Mario Fiorito, Chad Nardi, Joe Kraft and Dwayne French

How they fared in 2017: 6-4 (4-1 Metro Suburban Red Conference), Elmwood Park made the Class 4A state football playoff field. The Tigers lost to Genoa-Kingston in opening round action. 

2018 Regular Season Schedule:

Aug. 24 vs St. Joseph

Sept. 1 vs Foreman

Sept. 7 vs Ridgewood

Sept. 14 @ St. Edward

Sept. 21 @ Fenton

Sept. 28 vs Leo

Oct. 5 @ Guerin Prep

Oct. 12 vs Chicago Christian

Oct. 19 vs Bishop McNamara

[MORE: 82 Days to Kickoff - Ridgewood]

Biggest storyline: An encore performance. Can the Tigers make back-to-back playoff appearances this season?

Names to watch this season: FB/DE Luciano Martino and WR/DB Kris Diallo

Biggest holes to fill: The Tigers will need to replace eight graduated starters on defense this fall.

EDGY's Early Take: Elmwood Park head coach Dylan Mack is looking to keep the winning momentum found last season going into 2018. The Tigers will rely on an experienced offense with eight returning starters back in the fold and if the defense can gel sooner rather than later, look for Elmwood Park to once again challenge for another state playoff bid this fall. 

66 Days to Kickoff: Rich Central

66 Days to Kickoff: Rich Central

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: Rich Central

Head coach: Terrell Alexander

Assistant Coaches: Quincy Woods (OC), Vince Brown (OL), Art Schuldt (ST), Les Hampton (DB), Jerrell Bibbs (DB), Steve Henley (DC), Jeff Spikner (WR), Derrick Goard (LB) William Pass (DL) Chuch Robinson (Skills), Guy Smith (RB) and Shawn Mitchell (Skills)

How they fared in 2017: 8-3 (4-1 Southland Conference). Rich Central made the Class 5A state football playoff field. The Olympians defeated Marion then lost to Dunlap in second round.

2018 Regular Season Schedule:

Aug. 24 @ Hillcrest

Sept. 1 vs Lemont

Sept. 7 @ Kaneland

Sept. 14 vs Rich South

Sept. 21 @ Crete-Monee

Sept. 28 vs Rich East

Oct. 5 vs Kankakee

Oct. 12 vs Bloom Township

Oct. 19 vs Christ the King

[MORE: 67 Days to Kickoff: Hillcrest]

Biggest storyline: The Olympians have reached the IHSA playoffs three consecutive seasons-- the first such streak in Rich Central history. Can they stay on a winning track and make a deeper playoff run this fall?

Names to watch this season: WR/S Mehki Miller (Miami of Ohio) and RB Sean Tyler (Western Michigan)

Biggest holes to fill: The Olympians will need to replace their entire starting offensive line from a season ago.

EDGY's Early Take: Rich Central and head coach Terrell Alexander has brought winning and stability to the Olympians football program.  The 2018 team has some firepower back in the aforementioned Miller and Tyler; however, the development of their underclassmen group this summer will determine just how far this team will go. The ingredients look to be there for another IHSA state playoff caliber team.