Preps Talk

High School Lites Week 10 capsules and picks

High School Lites Week 10 capsules and picks

CSN Chicago will have cameras covering the biggest high school football games across Chicagoland on the Week 10 edition of High School Lites, coming your way Saturday night at 11 p.m. after Cubs Postseason Live. Can Maine South beat West Aurora in this terrific Class 8A opening game? Can Lyons Township upset Naperville North on CSN Friday night in Naperville? Who wins the unofficial Tyson LeBlanc Bowl when Curie takes on Oswego East? And can the T.F. South Rebels extend the coaching career of retiring head coach Tom Padjen with a win over Rock Island?

Class 8A

No. 19 Lyons Township (7-2) at No. 14 Naperville North (8-1) Friday 7 p.m.

Live broadcast on CSN, plus a live stream available on CSNChicago.com and the NBC Sports app.

EDGY's Take: Lyons Township features one of the top junior quarterbacks in the state in Ben Bryant and the Lions also have plenty of skills. Naperville North and head coach Sean Drendell will unleash its Thunder and Lightning backfield in senior RB Cross Robinson and senior RB Eric Wright and the Huskies also have a very good senior led offensive line. Biggest matchup to watch here? The Naperville North offensive line versus a very good Lyons Township defensive line.

EDGY's Pick: Naperville North 28, Lyons Township 21

No. 23 Leyden (7-2) at No. 10 Barrington (8-1) Friday 7 p.m.

EDGY's Take: Leyden and head coach Tom Cerasani are back in the state playoff field for the first time since 2012. The Eagles will look toward standout athlete Jalen Moore (SIU) and a strong running game to center their attack. Barrington will also run the football. They’re led by a big, strong and physical offensive line and a speedy backfield with senior RB Logan Moews and senior QB Ray Niro. Can Leyden's defense contain the Broncos’ speedy backs? Can Barrington get a handle on Moore?

EDGY's Pick: Barrington 29, Leyden 13

No. 26 Maine South (6-3) at No. 7 West Aurora (9-0) Friday 7 p.m.

EDGY's Take: Maine South is never shy when it comes to having its spread offense scoring points in bunches. Keep an eye out for senior QB Nick Leongas along with junior RB Fotis Kokosioulis. It also features a solid offensive line led by senior four star-ranked OL Kevin Jarvis (Michigan State). Coach Nate Eimer’s West Aurora Blackhawks feature speed on both sides of the ball. You'll be impressed with the Cross twins: senior RB/DB DaQuan Cross and senior RB/DB DaVion Cross. Can the Blackhawks defense slow down Maine South? Can the Maine South defense avoid allowing the Warriors from breaking open big plays? 

EDGY's Pick: Maine South 36, West Aurora 34

No. 17 Curie (8-1) at No. 16 Oswego East (8-1) Saturday 1 p.m.

EDGY's Take: Oswego East head coach Tyson LeBlanc coached at Curie from 2007-11 and guided the Condors to the state playoffs in all five seasons. This season, Curie is led by head coach Jay McDonagh. Keep an eye out for senior RB/LB Anthony Watson. Oswego East can score points in a hurry with senior RB Ivory Kelly-Martin (Iowa). They also boast a solid defense, featuring senior DE Elijah James (Central Michigan). Can Curie win away from the city of Chicago? Can Oswego East handle the physicality from the Condors?

EDGY's Pick: Oswego East 24, Curie 19

No. 18 Lincoln-Way East (7-2) vs. No. 15 Taft (8-1) at Lane Stadium Saturday 11 a.m.

EDGY's Take: Lincoln-Way East will hit the road in the opening round, heading to the North Side to take on Taft, which won the Chicago Public League’s Big Shoulders conference. East is led by senior QB Jake Arthur, senior RB Nigel Muhammed and a roster of well over 100 players. Taft is led by QB Abdullah Ahmad. Also, keep an eye on senior OL/DL Adam Gago for the Eagles. Can Taft go toe to toe with Lincoln-Way East for four quarters?   

EDGY's Pick: Lincoln-Way East 37, Taft 13

Class 7A

No. 24 Carmel (5-4) at No. 9 St. Charles North (8-1) Saturday 1 p.m.

EDGY's Take: Carmel and veteran head coach Andy Bitto has had an up-and-down season. But when the Corsairs’ option attack is clicking — led by senior QB Jeremy Strutzel and junior WB/S Zaire Barnes — look out. St. Charles North's only loss came back in Week 4 to rival St. Charles East. Can the North’s defense find the football against Carmel’s option game? Can the Corsairs defense slow down a North Stars offense led by senior QB Zach Mettetal and senior WR Griffin Hammer (Colorado State)? 

EDGY's Pick: St. Charles North 28, Carmel 24

No. 21 McHenry (6-3) at No. 12 Batavia (7-2) Saturday 1:30 p.m.

EDGY's Take: McHenry is back in the state playoff field for the first time since 2007. The Warriors and first year head coach Nat Zunkle feature a passing attack led by QB Colton Klein. The defense is led by senior LB Colton Folliard. As for coach Dennis Piroon’s Batavia Bulldogs, it’s all about getting the running game in gear. Junior RB Reggie Phillips will run behind a big and physical offensive line led by senior OT Evan Day (Illinois State). Can McHenry slow down the Batavia running game? Can the Batavia defense rebound from a rough Week 9 performance and raise its game another level against McHenry?

EDGY's Pick: Batavia 27, McHenry 21

Class 6A

No. 11 Rock Island (7-2) at No. 6 Thornton Fractional South (7-2) Friday 7 p.m.

EDGY's Take: T.F. South veteran head coach Tom Padjen announced earlier this week that this will be his last season leading the Rebels football program, wrapping up his 40-year coaching career. The Rebels will look to extend Padjen’s final season — and they’re led by the coach’s nephew, senior QB Reis Padjen, along with senior WR Bron Hill and a very quick defense. Rock Island is led by former Lake Zurich head coach Bryan Stortz and the Rocks rely on senior QB Alek Jacobs. He has thrown for nearly 4,000 career passing yards and his main target is WR Jacob Ellis (6-foot-7, 215 pounds). So which defense can slow down the other team's passing game? 

EDGY's Pick: TF South 31, Rock Island 28

Class 5A

No. 10 Metamora (6-3) at No. 7 Kankakee (6-3) Saturday 2 p.m.

EDGY's Take: Both Metamora and Kankakee want to run the football and both can play strong defense. Hall of Fame head coach Pat Ryan has led the visiting Redbirds to 23 state playoff appearances. Their playmakers include RBs Jon Brunton and Ethan Hodel, while sophomore QB Thomas Hall is more than capable in the play-action passing game. Kankakee is back in the state playoff for the first time since 2009. The Kays and head coach Omar Grant will give the football to RB DeAndre Caldwell early and often. Can Metamora win on the road and avoid the turnover monster that's followed them quite a bit this season? Can the Kays win time of possession and also break open a big special teams score or two?

EDGY's Pick: Kankakee 28, Metamora 21

38 Days to Kickoff: Niles West

38 Days to Kickoff: Niles West

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 Aug. 5, we’ll unveil the @NBCSPrepsTop 25 Power Rankings, leading up to kickoff on Friday, Aug. 30.

School: Niles West

Head coach: Matt Hohs

How they fared in 2018: 0-9 (0-5 Central Suburban South). Niles West failed to reach the IHSA playoffs.
 
2019 regular season schedule:

Aug. 30 @ De La Salle
Sept. 6 @ Niles North
Sept. 13 @ Prospect
Sept. 20 vs Rolling Meadows
Sept. 27 vs Maine South
Oct. 4 @ New Trier
Oct. 11 @ Glenbrook South
Oct. 18 vs Evanston
Oct. 25 @ Glenbrook North

[MORE: 40 Days to Kickoff - De La Salle] 

Biggest storyline: Longtime assistant coach --and Niles West alum-- Matt Hohs takes the reins of the Wolves program. Can he lead the team to a winning season?

Names to watch this season: TE/DE Zachary "Alex" Kubit (Sr.) and OL/DL Hayden Ferrigno (Sr.)

Biggest holes to fill: The Wolves welcome back 11 returning starters (five offense, six defense) but will need to replace some players at key spots (QB/OL/DB) this summer.

EDGY's Early Take: The Wolves tabbed Hohs as their head coach in late June after Jesse Pierce stepped down. Hohs is a 2005 Niles West alum who also shared the field in Skokie with famed running back Rashard Mendenhall. He faces three road games to start the season (including the Skokie Skirmish on Sept. 6) and a loaded middle portion of the schedule. That said, if the Wolves can get off to a good start, they could be a nice surprise story to watch as the season unfolds.  

39 Days to Kickoff: Providence

39 Days to Kickoff: Providence

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 Aug. 5, we’ll unveil the @NBCSPrepsTop 25 Power Rankings, leading up to kickoff on Friday, Aug. 30.

School: Providence Catholic

Head coach: Mark Coglianese

Assistant coaches: Mike Hryn (D-Coordinator), Matt Hunniford O-Coordinator)

How they fared in 2018: 5-5 (1-3 CCL Blue Conference). Providence made the Class 6A state playoff field and lost to Washington in first round action.
 
2019 regular season schedule:

Aug. 30 @ Willowbrook
Sept. 6 vs Morgan Park
Sept. 13 @ Brother Rice
Sept. 20 vs Niles Notre Dame
Sept. 27 vs Carmel
Oct. 4 vs St. Rita
Oct. 11 @ DePaul Prep
Oct. 18 vs St Laurence
Oct. 25 @ Montini Catholic

[MORE: 68 Days to Kickoff - St. Laurence] 

Biggest storyline: Feeling green. How will the Celtics fare in the new CCL/ESCC Green conference in 2019?

Names to watch this season: OL Jake Renfro (Senior, Cincinnati) and TE Jameson Geers (Junior)

Biggest holes to fill: The Celtics played several underclassmen in 2018 and welcome back 16 starters (nine offense, seven defense); that said, overall numbers and depth can always be better.
 
EDGY's Early Take: The Celtics suffered through various injuries last season and found themselves playing several underclassmen. Coule that pay off come August? Look for the Celtics to challenge for the CCL/ESCC Green title. Keep an eye on the Providence offense, which features four starters on the offensive line. The overall group is stacked in the skills department and they boast an experienced backfield. The opener against Willowbrook should be one of the more-interesting games in the state, as Willowbrook is coming off a 7A quarterfinal appearance.