Preps Talk

High School Lites Week 8 football capsules and picks

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High School Lites Week 8 football capsules and picks

NBC Sports Chicago will have cameras covering the biggest high school football games across Chicagoland on the Week 8 edition of High School Lites, Friday at 11 p.m. Who wins the Southwest Prairie showdown when Minooka travels up Ridge Road to take on Oswego East? Can Jacobs pull off the upset at Prairie Ridge? Who wins the Mid-Suburban East battle when Hersey travels to Rolling Meadows? And can Loyola Academy go on the road and beat Providence Catholic on the Emerald Isle?

Minooka at Oswego East, 7 p.m.

EDGY's Take: Minooka (6-1, 6-1), coached by Terry McCombs, has gotten the Indians off to their best start in years. They’re paced by a steady running game featuting RB Owen Kappel and QB Zach Gessner. They also have a stingy, hard-hitting defense. Tyson LeBlanc’s Oswego East (6-1, 6-1) squad has some serious athletes to watch. Keep an eye on Illinois verbal commit senior WR/DB Antwain Walker, RB Ian Kroemer and junior QB/S Justin Clark. Note that Clark missed last week's win over Plainfield Central with an injury. So Oswego East is now on its third quarterback this fall — converted junior RB Jordan Williams. Can Oswego East get healthy by Friday? Can the Minooka defense continue to lock down the Wolves’ offense?

EDGY's Pick: Minooka 17, Oswego East 14

Maine West at Highland Park, 7 p.m.

EDGY's Take: Maine West (6-1, 3-0) qualified for the IHSA state playoff field last Friday for the first time since 2002. Coach Jason Kradman and company feature a strong offense with RB Jake Bellizzi and TE/QB Matt Kentgen. Highland Park (4-3, 3-0) struggled early in the season against a killer nonconference schedule; that said, they have now won four straight games. Highland Park will look to junior QB John Sakos and junior WR/S Giancarlo Volpentesta. Last possession wins? 

EDGY's Pick: Maine West 28, Highland Park 27

Jacobs at (2) Prairie Ridge, 7:15 p.m.

EDGY's Take:  Jacobs (5-2, 4-2) and veteran head coach Bill Mitz has the Golden Eagles playing well. Their leaders include QB Anthony Williams, FB Stephen Kavanaugh and a very strong offensive line anchored by senior Jimmy Wormsley (SIU commit). Prairie Ridge (7-0, 6-0) have been rolling along, but the main storyline is will Superman play this week? Prairie Ridge senior QB Samson Evans (Iowa) sat out with an injury in last Friday's win over Hampshire 55-14. Prairie Ridge will continue to focus on its running game with senior RB Zach Gulbransen and RB Jackson Willis. Can Jacobs beat Prairie Ridge if Superman doesn't dress again this week?

EDGY's Pick: Prairie Ridge 34, Jacobs 21

(24) St. Rita at Brother Rice, 7:30 p.m.

EDGY's Take: St. Rita (5-2, 1-2) will look to improve their overall IHSA playoff seeding with a win over the Crusaders on Friday night. Coach Todd Kuska has benefitted from a nice backfield combination of seniors Jake Zlyman and Chris Childers (Indiana State). Brother Rice (2-5/0-2) will look to finish out the regular season on a strong note. Keep an eye on senior OL Nick Marozas (Indiana) and with senior DB Arthur Veal. Can the Crusaders defense slow down the St. Rita running game? 

EDGY's Pick: St. Rita 37, Brother Rice 20

Hersey at Rolling Meadows, 7:30 p.m. **#SendEdgy**

EDGY's Take: Hersey (6-1, 3-0) has been a big turnaround story this fall after posting a 3-6 record a season ago. Head coach Joe Pardun will look to senior QB Owen Goldsberry and RB Luke Cecala to get points on the board. Rolling Meadows (6-1, 3-0) just keeps on winning. The Mustangs, coached by Matt Mishler, also feature a strong running game. They’re led by RB Tim Szylak and a strong offensive line. The defensive line has stepped up as well. Can Rolling Meadows slow down the Hersey run game? And can the Hersey defense contain Meadows’ speedster Szylak?

EDGY's Pick: Hersey 35, Rolling Meadows 32

(7) Loyola at (20) Providence, 7:30 p.m.

EDGY's Take: Loyola Academy (6-1, 2-0) and head coach John Holocek feature QB Quinn Boyle and an always-tough defense. Can they win on the road this week at Providence? The Celtics (5-2, 2-0) lost their first two games of the season but have recovered nicely. They’ve posted five straight wins behind senior RB De'Shon Gavin (WIU commit) and a very strong defense led by senior LB Mariano Sori-Marin (Minnesota). Can the Loyola defense slow down the Providence running game this week? Can the Providence defense find an answer for Boyle? 

EDGY's Pick: Loyola 27, Providence Catholic 21

(17) Lyons Township at (14) Hinsdale Central, 7:30 p.m.

EDGY's Take: Lyons Township (6-1, 3-1) features one of Chicagoland's top quarterbacks in senior Ben Bryant (Cincinnati). The Lions also feature a big, experienced offensive and defensive line. Hinsdale Central (5-2, 4-1) and head coach Dan Hartman also have a ton of weapons on offense with senior TE Matt Bjorson (Indiana), RB Luke Skokna and senior athlete Garrett Oakey. The Red Devils played last week without junior QB Matt Rush. Can Central’s offense get back into high gear this week? Can the Lyons’ offense consistently finish drives with points? This one could be a potential thriller. 

EDGY's Pick: Hinsdale Central 34, Lyons Township 31

VIEWERS' CHOICE: (3) Maine South at New Trier, 7:30 p.m.

EDGY's Take: Defending 8A state champion Maine South (6-1, 3-0) is near the top of the polls once again behind the always-explosive offense and stingy defense. Keep an eye on senior RB Fotis Kokosioulis (NIU), senior QB John O'Sullivan and a strong core of receivers. Coach Brian Doll’s New Trier Trevians (5-2, 3-0) have survived various key injuries this fall. They will look to their balanced offensive game plan with QB Carson Ochsenhirt and RB Brian Sitzer. Junior TE/LB Luke Olges is a force on both sides of the ball for the Trevians. Can lightning strike twice for New Trier? Will they shock Maine South for the second straight season? 

EDGY's Pick: Maine South 35, New Trier 28

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.

67 Days to Kickoff: Hillcrest

67 Days to Kickoff: Hillcrest

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: Hillcrest

Head coach: Morgan Weaver

Assistant coaches:  Mike Young, Kyran Weaver, Rob Hancock, Ryan Keen, Nicholas Schultz, Tramaine Weaver, Phillip Burkett and Langdon Mattox

How they fared in 2017: 9-3 (5-1 South Suburban Blue Conference). Hillcrest made the Class 5A state football playoff field. The Hawks defeated Peoria and Glenwood then lost to Dunlap in the quarterfinal round.

2018 Regular Season Schedule:

Aug. 24 vs Rich Central

Sept. 1 @ Rich South

Sept 7 @ Shepard

Sept. 14 vs Oak Forest

Sept. 21 vs Lemont

Sept. 28 @ Tinley Park

Oct. 5 @ T.F. South

Oct. 12 @ T.F. North

Oct. 19 vs Bremen

[MORE: 79 Days to Kickoff - Crete-Monee]

Biggest storyline: Consistency. After two straight postseason berths, can the Hawks reload and get back into the IHSA playoff field once again this fall?

Names to watch this season: WR Corey Crooms (Western Michigan) and DE Cam Mattox (NIU)

Biggest holes to fill: The Hawks welcome back 11 returning starters (six offense, five defense); hoewever, they will need to reload on the offensive line and at linebacker. 

EDGY's Early Take: Head coach Morgan Weaver was able to get the Hawks into the state playoffs in his first season. What can they do as an encore? Hillcrest has the potential to be a real threat in 5A. Keep an eye on a strong and experienced group of receivers and backs led by senior Corey Crooms (Western Michigan). They also boast a defense that features an experienced secondary and a ton of speed.