Preps Talk

Illinois AP preps preseason football rankings

NBC Sports Chicago

Illinois AP preps preseason football rankings

The preseason AP polls are out. Here are the latest rankings of Illinois high school football teams in each class, according to an Associated Press panel of sportswriters:

Class 8A

No. Team Pts
1. Loyola (10) 127
2. Lincoln-Way East (3) 119
3. Maine South 93
4. Naperville Central 85
5. Homewood-Flossmoor 73
6. Marist 44
7. Warren 42
8. Edwardsville 33
9. Minooka 27
10. Barrington 21

Others receiving votes:  Oswego 18, Stevenson 8, Bolingbrook 7, Hinsdale Central 6, Oak Park-River Forest 4, Neuqua Valley 3, Niles Notre Dame 3, Huntley 2.

Class 7A

No. Team Pts
1. Nazareth (11) 123
2. Batavia (1) 113
3. Mount Carmel 92
4. St. Charles North 89
5. Brother Rice (1) 80
6. Glenbard West 48
7. Wheaton Warrenville South 35
8. Willowbrook 34
9. Lake Zurich 31
10. Harlem 15

Others receiving votes: Moline 10, Rolling Meadows 9, DeKalb 8, Hersey 7, Glenbard East 5, Hononegah 4, Normal Community 4, Benet 3, Maine West 2, Plainfield North 2, Lincoln-Way West 1. 

Class 6A

No. Team Pts
1. Richards (3) 112
2. Cary-Grove (7) 107
3. Phillips 93
4. Simeon (3) 90
5. Crete-Monee 81
6. Prairie Ridge (1) 67
7. Antioch 52
8. Washington 45
9. Providence 36
10. Normal West 29

Others receiving votes: Glenwood 26, Lemont 9, Springfield 7, Peoria Central 6, Kaneland 4, Lake Forest 4, Rock Island 1, Yorkville 1. 

Class 5A

No. Team Pts
1. Joliet Catholic (3) 114
2. East St. Louis (11) 110
3. Montini 107
4.  Sacred Heart-Griffin 77
5.  Hillcrest 66
6. Sycamore 44
7. Sterling 43
8. Boylan Catholic 42
9. St. Rita 38
10. Metamora 26

Others receiving votes: Cahokia 25, Highland 23, Mascoutah 14, MacArthur 12, Payton 5, St. Laurence 4, Solorio 3, Marion 3, Evergreen Park 3, Morris 3, Kankakee 2, Champaign Central 1, Springfield Southeast 1.

Class 4A

No. Team Pts
1. IC Catholic (10) 122
2. Bishop McNamara (2) 111
3. Rochester (1) 110
4. Coal City (1) 102
5. Richmond-Burton 62
6. Marengo 40
7. Columbia 31
8. Taylorville 30
T-9. Effingham 23
T-9. Genoa-Kingston 23

Others receiving votes: Johnsburg 22, Murphysboro 22, Stillman Valley 20, Pontiac 13, Herscher 9, Geneseo 7, Marian Central Catholic 7, Dixon 4, Fairbury Prairie Central 3, St. Francis 3, Paris 2, Mt. Zion 2, Tolono Unity 1, Breese Central 1.

Class 3A

No. Team Pts
1. Byron (8) 125
2. Monticello (2) 104
3. Eureka (2) 81
4. Williamsville 76
5. Carlinville 54
6. Wilmington (1) 53
7. Princeton 47
8. Fairfield 33
9. Lisle 26
10. Beardstown 21

Others receiving votes: Farmington 20, Nashville 14, Pana 10, Monmouth-Roseville 10, Greenville 10, Peotone 8, Quincy Notre Dame 7, Alleman Catholic 7, Breese Mater Dei 4, Anna-Jonesboro 2, Pleasant Plains 2, Vandalia 1.

Class 2A

No. Team Pts
1. Gibson City-Melvin-Sibley (6) 108
2. Maroa-Forsyth (4) 96
3. Clifton Central (1) 82
4. Decatur St. Teresa 65
5. Newman Central Catholic 54
6. Eastland-Pearl City (1) 52
7. Bismarck-Henning 48
8. Orion 45
9. Downs Tri-Valley 40
10. Fieldcrest 26

Others receiving votes: Illini West 15, Rockridge 9, Althoff Catholic 8, Mercer County 4, Orr 3, West Hancock 2, Auburn 2, Eldorado 1.

Class 1A

No. Team Pts
1. Forreston (4) 98
T-2. Lena-Winslow (5) 84
T-2. Tuscola (1) 84
4. Moweaqua Central A&M (1) 51
5. Camp Point Central 49
6. Argenta-Oreana 44
7. Aurora Christian  40
8. Dakota 37
9. Athens 33
10. Annawan-Wethersfield 24

Others receiving votes: Hope Academy 23, Arcola 19, Ottawa Marquette 17, Carrollton 14, Triopia 12, Brown County 8, Fisher 7, Fulton 6, Princeville 5, Milledgeville 2, Madison 2, Morrison 1.

Preps Basketball Power Rankings No. 13 Lincoln Park

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Preps Basketball Power Rankings No. 13 Lincoln Park

School: Lincoln Park

2018-19 record: 23-8 (7-2 Public League Red-North/West)

Postseason results: Lost to Riverside-Brookfield in Class 4A regional finals.

Players to watch: The backcourt of junior guards Ismail Habib and Julio Montes were outstanding last season as they showed poise and scoring ability. Both Habib and Montes are creative off the dribble and capable of knocking down jumpers. Senior big man Romelle Howard has a chance to be a force after some strong showings during the summer.

Why they're in the power rankings: Last season was a successful one for the Lions. They established themselves as a consistent top-25 program with a great returning talent base for the future. With a top returning backcourt, Lincoln Park should remain one of the city's best teams this season.    

Did you know? Playing one of the toughest schedules in the area last season, Lincoln Park managed its first 20-win season in a decade.   

Preps Basketball Player of the Year Preseason Power Rankings

Preps Basketball Player of the Year Preseason Power Rankings

The 2019-20 high school basketball season has plenty of star power to keep track of this season. One of the strongest groups of Player of the Year contenders the area has seen in years, this year's group features multiple nationally-ranked players and intriguing candidates.

We'll continue to monitor Player of the Year candidates as the season goes on but here's a look at the top five contenders entering this season. 

1. Adam Miller, Morgan Park -- The favorite entering the 2019-20 season has to be Miller after he was arguably the state's best player last season.

Averaging 28.4 points, 7.8 rebounds and 5.7 assists per game, nobody in the area is capable of going for scoring runs quite like Miller. He can go on insane three-point bursts off the dribble while also creating offense for his Morgan Park teammates. The senior broke the Big Dipper Holiday Tournament scoring record while having games of 48 and 45 points there last season.

The Mustangs also could be the best team in the state this season as Miller will have plenty of help around him. That could mean some huge offensive nights for Miller since defenses shouldn't be about to key in on him with junk defenses like he saw so often last season. 

2. D.J. Steward, Whitney Young -- Steward had perhaps the best summer of any in-state player as he rose up national rankings and committed to Duke. But he's still slightly behind Miller in the Player of the Year preseason race because his numbers haven't been as massive.

Still averaging a stellar 24.3 points and 3.2 assists per game for the Dolphins last season, Steward is ultra efficient as an offensive threat. On a team that will play a national schedule with tons of opportunities against nationally-ranked teams, Steward will also get a ton of chances to make his case during the season.

While this season looks like a Miller vs. Steward race for Player of the Year going into it, both players are also trying to capture state titles after falling short last season. Earning state hardware could wind up being the difference in what should be a tight race.

3. Max Christie, Rolling Meadows -- If anyone is to push Miller and Steward's two-senior battle for Player of the Year it will likely be Christie. The state's top college prospect, the 6-foot-7 junior is a top-ten national recruit in the Class of 2021 who won a gold medal with USA Basketball over the summer.

Putting up 25.2 points, nine rebounds and 3.2 assists per game as a sophomore, Christie has already won MSL East Player of the Year honors and scored over 1,000 points during his two-year varsity career.

Capable of putting up 50 points during a game or throwing up a triple-double, Christie is one of the most electric players the area has seen in years. Watching his junior season should be a ton of fun as he has the potential to win Player of the Year if he can stay healthy and put up huge numbers.

4. Bryce Hopkins, Fenwick -- Also coming off of a big summer is this 6-foot-7 junior forward. Hopkins was already consistently putting up 30-point games by the end of his sophomore season. Now, the junior could emerge as a a sleeper Player of the Year threat after becoming a nationally-ranked Class of 2021 prospect this summer.

Committed recently to Louisville, Hopkins averaged 23 points per game last season. After seeing his complete scoring package grow and his strength continue to develop, Hopkins could be an unstoppable scorer for the Friars this season.

Hopkins will also be counted on to be a leader of a young team as Fenwick plays a tough schedule with tons of showcase opportunities this season. 

5. Ahron Ulis, Marian Catholic -- There are a number of candidates who could go in this final spot but Ulis gets a slight nod over the others. A winning player who has already made a trip to Peoria as a sophomore, Ulis has helped the Spartans to some very successful seasons while running point.

Averaging 18.3 points, 4.4 assists, 3.0 rebounds and 1.7 steals per game as a junior, the Iowa commit will consistently have the ball in his hands for a likely top-ten team as Marian Catholic has big expectations this season. If Ulis consistently shows an ability to knock down perimeter jumpers then he could have a huge season to close out a memorable high school career.