Preps Talk

High School Lites Preview: Week Six

hsl.jpg
NBC Sports Chicago

High School Lites Preview: Week Six

NBC Sports Chicago will have cameras covering the biggest high school football games across Chicagoland on the Week Six edition of High School Lites, Friday at 11:00 p.m. Can H-F go on the road and stun top-ranked Lincoln-Way East? Can anyone (including Jacobs) slow down the Prairie Ridge run game? Can Waubonsie Valley beat rival Neuqua Valley twice in the same season? Can Geneva turn back the clock and upset Batavia in "The Biggest Game Of The Season? "And, will Evanston or New Trier take a step up, win the rivalry game and gain traction in the Central Suburban South conference?

(4) Homewood Flossmoor at (1) Lincoln-Way East, 7:00 p.m.

EDGY's Take: Homewood-Flossmoor (5-0, 3-0) features a strong running game led by RB Leon Tanna and a big offensive line which includes junior OL Marcus Harper. Cocah Craig Buzea's Viking defense has been equally as impressive. Keep an eye on senior DL Isaiah Coe, senior DE Charlie Brooks and senior DB Wynston Russell (Oregon State). Coach Rob Zvonar's Lincoln-Way East Griffins (5-0, 3-0) have as much talent and depth as any program in Illinois. They have received a big season from senior QB Jack Baltz and RB Devon Williams. Injured standout WR/RB AJ Henning has returned to the starting lineup while the Griffins defense has pitched three straight shutouts. Can the H-F offense get the running game going against the East defense? Have the Griffins been tested against a team as strong as the Vikings so far this season? 

EDGY's Pick: Lincoln-Way East 28 H-F 21

Prairie Ridge at Jacobs, 7:00 p.m.

EDGY's Take: Prairie Ridge (4-1, 4-1) has been flying a bit under the radar. But Coach Chris Schremp and the Wolves keep rolling behind a potent power running game. Watch for senior FB Jackson Willis, RB Ethan Kirchburg and QB Connor Lydon to carry the offense. Jacobs (3-2, 3-1) and head coach Bill Mitz are looking to bounce back after a 38-21 non-conference loss to Neuqua Valley last Friday. Golden Eagles starting QB Anthony Wilson was injured in that loss to the Wildcats and needed backup QB Cole Bhardwaj to finish the game. Jacobs will hope to keep the Prairie Ridge defense off-balanced with a running game led by senior RB Jake Michels. Can the Jacobs defense find the football and slow down the Prairie Ridge triple-option game?

EDGY's Pick: Prairie Ridge 35 Jacobs 21

Aurora Christian at St. Francis, 7:00 p.m.

EDGY's Take: Aurora Christian (4-1, 2-1) will look to bounce back this week after suffering a tough 44-0 loss last Friday against IC Catholic Prep. Eagles head coach David Beebe has always had a potent offense; this year, the 'O is led by sophomore QB Ethan Hampston. St. Francis (4-1, 1-1) and head coach Bob McMillen will look to bounce back after a tough loss last Friday to Bishop McNamara. The Spartans will rely on their running game, paced by RB Henry Plamondon. Can the St. Francois defense slow down the Aurora Christian spread offense?

EDGY's Pick: Aurora Christian 35 St. Francis 27

Conant at Schaumburg, 7:30 p.m.

EDGY's Take: Conant (3-2, 1-0) head coach Bryan Stortz has the Cougars playing well this season. They're coming of a huge 21-12 upset win last Friday over Barrington. Conant will look towards a balanced offensive attack led by QB Kevin Polack and RB Bradley Spates. Conant's defense has been consistently strong all season. Schaumburg (3-2, 0-1) is looking to rebound from a 14-0 loss last Friday to Hoffman Estates. The Saxons, under coach Mark Stilling, will look to mix it up on offense behind QB Marcus Ross and RB Mike DiGioio. Can Schaumburg get the offense back on track this week? Can Conant win time of possession against the Saxons and also avoid allowing the big play?

EDGY's Pick: Conant 24, Schaumburg 21

(25) Waubnonsie Valley at Neuqua Valley, 7:30 p.m.

EDGY's Take: Waubonsie Valley (5-0, 1-0) is off to strong start this season, compliments of a strong running game led by junior RB Bryce Logan and a big, physical offensive line. The Warriors are more than capable with the play-action passing game. Neuqua Valley (3-2, 0-0) and head coach Bill Ellinghaus also want to establish the running game with senior RB Will Chevalier. They also mix in the pass behind QB John Gronowski and a deep group of receivers and backs. Waubonise Valley beat Neuqua Valley 17-10 back in Week Three as the Warriors defense held the Neuqua's offense in check. Can Neuqua Valley dial up more offense this time around? Can Waubonsie Valley get their running game going against the Neuqua defense?

EDGY's Pick: Neuqua Valley 14 Waubonsie Valley 13

Geneva at (3) Batavia, 7:30 p.m.

EDGY's Take: This will be the 100th meeting between these two longtime rivals. The game draws a packed house every time the Bulldogs and Vikings meet. Geneva (0-5, 0-3) and head coach Rob Wicinski will be looking for their first win of the season. The Vikings will look to get their offense in gear behind junior QB Alex Williams and senior RB Brendan Krohe. Batavia (5-0, 3-0) and head coach Dennis Piron went to the power running game in last week's win over Wheaton South/ Junior RB/LB Quinn Urwiler is one of several running backs to watch. The Bulldogs defense is also a strength this fall behind senior LB Luke Weerts (North Dakota State) and senior LB MIchae Jansey (Northwestern). Can Geneva's offense get on track? 

EDGY's Pick: Batavia 37 Geneva 17

St. Charles East at St. Charles North, 7:30 p.m. #SendEDGY

EDGY's Take: The Battle of St. Charles is easily, year in and year out, one of the biggest and best IHSA football games all season. Coach Bryce Farquhar's St. Charles East (4-1, 2-1) squad will look to establish the power running game with senior FB/LB Justin Jett. The Saints also broke out the passing game last Friday behind QB BJ Crossen in beating Geneva 56-20 as Crossen threw for 256 yards and five touchdowns. St. Charles North (4-1, 3-0), with head coach Rob Pomazak, will also looksto get the running game on track. RB Sam DeMarco will get some looks; WR/S Tyler Nubin (Minnesota) is always involved --and always around the football-- for the North Stars. Can the North defense solve the St. Charles East power-option game this week? Can the East offense keep North's defense off-balanced with both the run and the pass? Expect a very close, last possession type of finish here. 

EDGY's Pick: St. Charles North 30 St. Charles East 29 

(15) Willowbrook at York, 7:30 p.m.

EDGY's Take: Willowbrook (5-0, 3-0) will look to keep their perfect season alive this week against York (2-3, 1-2) in a terrific West Suburban Conference crossover game. Warriors head coach Nick Hildreth has received a big season so far from QB Sam Tumilty. He is surrounded by plenty of weapons including RB D'onte Gholston and WR Scott Tumilty. York, under first-year head coach Mike Fitzgerald, also has plenty of names to watch this fall including LB/TE Zane Heemsoth, QB Daniel Dunn and RB Ke'von Robinson. Can York's offense dent the Willowbrook defense? Is this a must-win for York?

EDGY's Pick: Willowbrook 28 York 17

(22) Evanston at (23) New Trier, 7:30 p.m.

EDGY's Take: Evanston (4-1, 0-1) is looking for a bounce-back win after losing to Maine South last Friday. The Wildkits and head coach Mike Burzawa have balance on offense with QB Ben Tarpey along with RB Quadre Nicholson and senior WR Michael Axelrood. Their defense that has been a strength all season. New Trier (4-1, 1-0) has been solid since their Week Two loss to Loyola. The Trevians will rely on senior QB Carson Ochsenhirt and senior RB/LB Brian Sitzer. Senior TE/DL Duke Olges (Northwestern) is a key on both sides of the football. Can the Trevians defense slow down the Kits offensive weapons? Can Evanston pull off a big rivalry game win on the road this week?

EDGY's Pick: Evanston 35 New Trier 34 OT

Viewers' Choice Game 

St. Edward at Chicago Christian, 7:15 p.m.

EDGY's Take: This Metro Suburban Red conference showdown will feature St. Edward (2-3, 2-0) on the road against Chicago Christian (4-1, 1-0). St. Edward head coach Mike Rolando and the Green Wave have won two straight games after starting the season at 0-3 against some top level competition. Chicago Christian and head coach Nick Cook fired off four straight wins to open the season but lost last week to Ridgewood. Last possession wins?

EDGY's Pick: St. Edward 27 Chicago Christian 24

Boys Basketball Preseason All-Area Team

markesejacobs.jpg
NBC Sports Chicago

Boys Basketball Preseason All-Area Team

Since the IHSA boys basketball season tips today, it is time to take a look at this season's Preseason All-Area team. Similar to how college basketball has Preseason All-Americans, NBC Sports Chicago gives you the three teams with 15 players who have a chance to have huge seasons.

Limited to players from the Chicagoland coverage area of NBC Sports Chicago, this list won't include downstate players like Belleville West's E.J. Liddell. But it's a good representation of some of the names to keep an eye on for the local Player of the Year race that will occur this season.

Be sure to watch many of these players on High School Lites this season as we switch to basketball beginning on Friday, Nov. 30. And follow our Preps Twitter account @NBCSPreps for the latest news and notes on area teams and players.

FIRST TEAM

Markese Jacobs, Uplift -- Explosive and capable of constant highlight-reel plays, the 5-foot-11 Jacobs is a serious Player of the Year candidate. Formerly committed to Kansas, but now signed to play at DePaul, Jacobs is considered a consensus top-150 prospect in the senior class. As a junior, Jacobs helped Uplift to a Class 2A regional title as he put up 18.4 points, 3.1 assists and 2.4 steals per contest. 

DaJuan Gordon, Curie -- Breaking out on the scene as a junior, the 6-foot-4 Gordon parlayed that success into an eye-opening summer. Now considered a consensus top-150 prospect in the national senior class, Gordon signed with Kansas State. Last season for the Condors, Gordon averaged 16 points per game as he's one of the premier scorers in the state. 

Marquise Kennedy, Brother Rice -- Coming off of a big summer playing with the Illinois Wolves, the 6-foot-1 Kennedy had high-major scholarship offers before eventually deciding on Loyola. An athletic floor general who is tough to keep out of the paint, Kennedy averaged 17.2 points, 6.1 rebounds and 3.4 assists as a junior. Kennedy has the potential to put up huge stats this season with Brother Rice not returning very much experience. 

D.J. Steward, Whitney Young -- After transferring from Fenwick to Whitney Young the 6-foot-4 junior will have even more of a spotlight on him after a tremendous sophomore season. A consensus top-75 prospect in his class, Steward averaged 18.4 points, five rebounds, three assists and two steals per game for the Friars last season. Now that he's teaming with another high-major prospect in junior guard Tyler Beard, Steward and the Dolphins are hoping for another trip to Peoria. 

Perry Cowan, DePaul Prep -- A major varsity presence at DePaul Prep the past few seasons, the 6-foot-4 Cowan is a gifted three-level scorer. The shooting guard had some big games against strong competition last season as he averaged 18.7 points, 6.2 rebounds, 3.0 assists and 2.0 steals per game as a junior. Committed to Brown, Cowan has the skill level to make plays in a number of unique ways.  

SECOND TEAM

Tom Welch, Naperville North -- After helping Naperville North's soccer team capture a third straight state title as one of the nation's top goalies, the 6-foot-7 Welch switches his focus to the hardwood. Committed to Loyola for basketball, Welch is one of the most skilled and competitive frontcourt players in the state. The only returning Naperville North starter, Welch averaged 13.4 points, 6.7 rebounds and 3.3 assists per game as a junior.

RayJ Dennis, Oswego East -- Smooth with the ball in his hands, this point guard is headed to Boise State next season. A premier pull-up shooter, Dennis averaged 17.2 points, 4.9 assists and 4.3 rebounds per game as a junior. Oswego East has top-25 expectations this season as Dennis is surrounded by plenty of talent. 

Adam Miller, Morgan Park -- Only one of two juniors to make this list, the 6-foot-3 Miller is also nationally-ranked in his class. Capable of taking over a game with his scoring outbursts, Miller is one of the only players in the area capable of consistent monster scoring outings. A three-point threat, the lefty averaged 15 points per game during his first season in the area as a sophomore.

Tyler Cochran, Bolingbrook -- One of the state's most experienced senior guards, Cochran has already been to Peoria as a sophomore while stepping up in plenty of big games last season. The Northern Illinois pledge is part of an all-Division I backcourt with fellow senior Joseph Yesufu as they should be tough to stop this season. The 6-foot-2 Cochran averaged 15 points per game as a junior.

Bryant Brown, Waukegan -- Although Waukegan had a disappointing season in 2017-18, the 6-foot-5 Brown still put up eye-opening numbers. Uncommitted for college, this senior averaged 23.6 points, 8.1 rebounds, 2.1 assists and 1.6 blocks per game last season. Brown can battle inside as a nightly double-double threat while also being skilled enough to step away and hit perimeter shots. 

THIRD TEAM

Lance Jones, Evanston -- One of the area's premier big-game players, the 6-foot-1 Jones always seems to step up with huge plays in critical games. The Southern Illinois commit was a huge part of the Wildkits finishing third in Class 4A last season as Evanston will have sizable expectations once again this season. Jones averaged 15.5 points per game as a junior as his bully-ball brand of perimeter play can be tough to stop at the high school level.

Jeremiah Hernandez, St. Viator -- Part of a dynamic backcourt duo with fellow senior guard Trey Calvin, the 6-foot-4 Hernandez can be very tough to stop once he gets rolling. Headed to Kent State after his high school career comes to a close, Hernandez is hoping to lead the Lions to a deep run in Class 3A after an unbeaten conference title in the ESCC last season. Hernandez put up 15 points, four rebounds and three assists per game last season.

Nate Ferguson, Lemont -- Perhaps the most underrated player on this list, the 6-foot-7 Ferguson is one of the state's most versatile offensive threats. The Drake commit is coming off of a strong summer in which he showcased the athleticism to play above the rim with the skill level to play behind the line. As a junior, Ferguson averaged 15.5 points, 6.2 rebounds and 1.9 assists while shooting 40 percent from three-point range.

Max Christie, Rolling Meadows -- The only sophomore to make this list, the nationally-ranked Christie might be the best long-term basketball prospect to make this Preseason All-Area team. Pushing 6-foot-6, Christie acclimated quickly to the varsity level as a freshman last season as he averaged 18 points, eight rebounds and 2.9 assists per game. Christie is capable of playing nearly any spot on the floor at the high school level but he's a matchup nightmare thanks to his size at guard.

Fred Cleveland Jr., Leo -- Although the senior is undersized at 5-foot-8, Cleveland makes up for it by being one of the most complete point guards in the state. Committed to North Carolina A&T, Cleveland helped revitalize the Lions last season as he averaged 20.3 points, 7 assists, 3.5 steals and 2.7 rebounds per game. Leo has high hopes to make a major run in Class 2A this season as Cleveland could leave high school with more hardware. 

NBC Sports Chicago to carry live coverage of the 2018 IHSA Football Championships

illinois_hs_football.jpg
NBC Sports Chicago

NBC Sports Chicago to carry live coverage of the 2018 IHSA Football Championships

Chicago, IL (November 19, 2018) -- For the eighth-straight year, NBC Sports Chicago – THE Home of the #Authentic Fan – will be airing LIVE high-definition coverage of the 2018 Illinois High School Association (IHSA) Football State Championships on Friday, November 23 & Saturday, November 24 from the University of Illinois’ Memorial Stadium in Champaign, IL.  Illinois preps football fans can look forward to seeing every action-packed championship battle starting with the Class 1A contest on Friday morning at 10:00 AM CT, leading up to Saturday night’s highly-anticipated Class 8A match-up between state powerhouses Brother Rice vs. Loyola Academy at 7:00 PM CT.  The 2018 IHSA Football State Championships will be produced by the IHSA & PlayOn! Sports.

In addition -- EVERY IHSA Football State Championship telecast on NBC Sports Chicago, including surrounding pre/postgame coverage, will be streamed LIVE on NBCSportsChicago.com/IHSA.  Authenticated NBC Sports Chicago subscribers can watch live IHSA Football State Championships action from anywhere in the United States.  The live streaming service is currently available to customers of Comcast/Xfinity, DIRECTV, DISH Network, AT&T U-verse, Mediacom, RCN, WOW!, Time Warner Cable and Charter among numerous other carriers.  In addition, NBC Sports Chicago is also available on numerous streaming services including DIRECTV NOW, Hulu, fuboTV, Sling TV, PlayStation Vue, and YouTube TV.  For a full list of carriers and more information about NBC Sports Chicago’s live streaming service, viewers are urged to visit nbcsportschicago.com/live-faq

IMPORTANT NOTES: 
•    Friday’s Class 3A & 4A championships, along with Saturday’s 7A/8A championships, will all air live on NBC Sports Chicago+… NBC Sports Chicago+ is located on Comcast/Xfinity ch. 201 in the Chicago area and in South Bend, IN, and on ch. 285 in Comcast/Xfinity’s Peoria, Springfield, Rockford and Champaign markets…viewers are urged to visit NBCSportsChicago.com’s special “Channel Finder” section (http://www.nbcsports.com/chicago/channel-finder ) or IHSA.org for complete channel location details throughout the state.  
•    Fans are also strongly urged to interact via Twitter throughout the entire weekend by utilizing the hashtag #IHSA to share their comments and showcase their school spirit for their favorite teams.  

In addition, NBCSportsChicago.com’s IHSA Preps section (NBCSportsChicago.com/preps-talk) will feature highlight packages from all games throughout the weekend, along with week-long coverage & scouting reports from veteran Illinois preps sports writer “Edgy Tim” O’Halloran (@EDGYTIM).  Plus – NBC Sports Chicago viewers can look forward to a special “IHSA Football Championships” wrap-up edition of High School Lites on Saturday, Nov. 24 live at 11:00 PM (hosted by Leila Rahimi) for a complete rundown of every championship game, including expanded highlights and player/coaches interviews.  From an additional social media standpoint, fans are urged to follow @NBCSPreps on Twitter throughout the weekend for up-to-the-minute 2018 IHSA Football State Championship news & game updates.

IHSA TV veterans Dave Bernhard (Class 3A, 4A, 7A & 8A) and Lee Hall (Class 1A & 2A) return in 2018 to bring viewers every thrill-packed play-by-play call, which will also include the second-year pxp call from Peoria Chiefs/college/preps broadcaster Nathan Baliva (Class 5A & 6A). Color analysis will be provided by renowned Chicago Bears/NFL expert Hub Arkush (Class 7A & 8A), along with Northern Illinois University football radio color analyst Mark Lindo (Class 3A, 4A, 5A & 6A) and longtime IHSA TV contributor/Illinois High School Coaches Association Hall of Famer Jack McInerney (Class 1A & 2A).

Handling sideline reporting duties for every IHSA Football Championship game throughout the weekend will be provided by Marquette University Director of Digital Media & Internet Services/seasoned national-regional sports broadcaster Patrick Reed. “Edgy Tim” O’Halloran will also provide “between-game” analysis throughout the weekend recapping and previewing every championship match-up.

The following schedule details NBC Sports Chicago’s coverage (also streaming live to authenticated NBC Sports Chicago subscribers on NBCSportsChicago.com/IHSA) of the 2018 IHSA Football State Championships airing this Thanksgiving weekend (team records & play-by-play/color analyst teams are in parentheses):

FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 23 

10:00 AM – Class 1A: FORRESTON [11-2] vs. CENTRAL (Camp Point) [12-1] (Lee Hall/Jack McInerney) 
1:00 PM – Class 2A: GIBSON CITY-MELVIN-SIBLEY (Gibson City) [13-0] vs. MAROA-FORSYTH (Maroa) [13-0] (Lee Hall/Jack McInerney) 
4:00 PM – Class 3A: BYRON [13-0] vs. MONTICELLO [13-0] (Dave Bernhard/Mark Lindo)
(NOTE: This game will air on NBC Sports Chicago+; channel locations here: NBCSportsChicago.com/channel-finder)
7:00 PM – Class 4A: IC CATHOLIC (Elmhurst) [13-0] vs. MCNAMARA (Kankakee) [12-1] (Dave Bernhard/Mark Lindo)
(NOTE: This game will air on NBC Sports Chicago+; channel locations here: NBCSportsChicago.com/channel-finder)

SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 24 

10:00 AM – Class 5A: MONTINI (Lombard) [12-1] vs. JOLIET CATHOLIC (Joliet) [9-4] (Nathan Baliva/Mark Lindo)
1:00 PM – Class 6A: CARY-GROVE (Cary) [13-0] vs. CRETE-MONEE (Crete) [10-3] (Nathan Baliva/Mark Lindo)
4:00 PM – Class 7A: NAZARETH ACADEMY (LaGrange Park) [12-1] vs. ST. CHARLES NORTH (St. Charles) [10-3] (Dave Bernhard/Hub Arkush)
(NOTE: This game will air on NBC Sports Chicago+; channel locations here: NBCSportsChicago.com/channel-finder)
7:00 PM – Class 8A: BROTHER RICE (Chicago) [13-0] vs. LOYOLA ACADEMY (Wilmette) [10-3] (Dave Bernhard/Hub Arkush)
(NOTE: This game will air on NBC Sports Chicago+; channel locations here: NBCSportsChicago.com/channel-finder)

####