Preps Talk

A look back at the history of CSN's Drive teams

A look back at the history of CSN's Drive teams

The Drive is back on Comcast SportsNet and has set up shop in Frankfort, Illinois.

The Lincoln-Way East Griffins enter the 2016 season in a unique position. Following the closing of nearby Lincoln-Way North, Rob Zvonar's group has inherited a number of players from a Phoenix team that went 11-1 a year ago. That's in addition to his group which went 8-3 and advanced to the second round of the IHSA playoffs last season.

CSN will follow their journey with weekly features, write-ups and episodes on our High School Lites show, airing Friday nights in the fall.

The Griffins are CSN's eighth team to appear on Drive. In the seven seasons prior, teams have gone 73-18 (an .802 win percentage), won three state titles (in 2010, 2011 and 2014) and won a combined 25 playoff games.

Here's a look back at how each Drive team fared and the legacy Lincoln-Way East will look to add to:

2009: Mount Carmel Caravan (8-4, lost in 8A quarterfinals)

A year after Jordan Lynch led Frank Lenti's team to the state semifinals, Milton Greer and Denzel Thompson formed one of the state's most lethal running attacks. The pair, combined with quarterback Chris Sujka, rushed for more than 2,500 yards and 37 touchdowns. Greer, a Miami (OH) recruit, was bottled up for just 76 yards and a score in the Caravan's 24-7 loss to the Loyola Ramblers in the quarterfinals.

2010: Maine South Red Hawks (12-2, won 8A state title)

The legend of Matt Alviti began as the Hawks started the season in an 0-2 hole before rattling off ten straight wins their way to a three-peat in Park Ridge. The sophomore developed his passing skills while teaming up in the backfield with 5-foot-4 running back Paul Preston, who scored twice and added 145 yards in the team's state title game victory over Mount Carmel. The eventual Northwestern-bound Alviti also scored twice, once through the air and another on the ground, and received usual great protection from the likes of captains Victor Nelson, Frank Colletti and Sean Sullivan on the offensive line. Dave Inserra's Red Hawks are the last team to win the state's largest class title three straight years.

2011: Montini Catholic Broncos (12-2, won 5A state title)

Where to begin with Jordan Westerkamp? The 6-foot-1 wide receiver finished his historic career with a 12-catch, 353-yard, five-touchdown performance in the Broncos' 70-45 state title victory over Joliet Catholic. It was the perfect ending to his illustrious season in which he broke numerous state records, including 235 career receptions, 4,618 yards and 68 touchdowns. The Nebraska-bound wide receiver accumulated 90 of those receptions, 1,695 of those yards and 29 of those touchdowns as a senior. It made things easy for quarterback John Rhode and brothers Anthony (WR) and Dimitri (RB) Taylor, both of whom also played collegiately. Jaleel Johnson played both ways on the line, earning himself a scholarship to Iowa. It was Chris Andriano's and the Broncos' third straight state title, and they'd complete a four-peat the following season.

2012: Joliet Catholic Hilltoppers (8-5, lost in 5A semifinals)

Southern California commitment Ty Issac rushed for more than 1,500 rushing yards and amassed 25 total touchdowns despite missing time with a shoulder injury. Dan Sharp's Hilltoppers earned their fifteenth consectuive IHSA playoff berth and advanced to the semifinals against Montini. In a rematch of the previous year's state title game, Isaac rushed for 277 yards and three touchdowns, including a go-ahead score late in the fourth quarter. But the Broncos came back and scored the game-winning touchdown with less than a minute remaining, ending the Hilltoppers' season and Isaac's incredible high school career.

2013: Stevenson Patriots (10-3, lost in 8A semifinals)

A relatively young but talented group had state-title aspirations under head coach Bill McNamara, but the Patriots hit some early bumps in the road. They quickly righted the ship after an 0-2 start, reeling off seven straight wins to earn a conference title, led by quarterback Willie Bourbon and wide receivers Cameron Green (Northwestern) and Matt Morrissey (Michigan State). The Patriots defense hit its stride in impressive playoff wins over Glenbard North and Barrington, setting up a matchup with top-ranked Loyola in the semifinals. A back-and-forth affair saw the Ramblers pull within a point late in the fourth quarter; Loyola opted to go for two and the win, which they did successfully. The Patriots brought back a host of talent the following season and earned the 8A title, their first in program history.

2014: Providence Catholic Celtics (13-1, won 7A state title)

Mark Coglianese's Celtics were facing one of the toughest schedules in the country in 2014. Good thing they had Notre Dame-bound wide receiver Miles Boykin around. The eventual Player of the Year was every bit as good as advertised, finishing with 65 receptions, 1,035 yards and 19 touchdown receptions. And he did all that while also missing three games due to injury. Behind the superb play of quarterback Justin Hunniford, the Celtics went 8-1, earned a share of the CCL Blue for the first time in program history, and breezed through the competition on their way to the state title game, where undefeated Cary-Grove awaited. But sophomore running back Richie Warfield made sure to send home his seniors with some hardware, scoring four touchdowns on the ground in the Celtics' 31-28 victory. 

2015: Homewood-Flossmoor Vikings (10-2, lost in 8A quarterfinals)

Team captain and quarterback Bryce Gray led one of the state's most lethal offenses in recent memory. The Vikings averaged 43 points per game, twin running backs Deante and Devonte Harley-Hampton combined for more than 3,000 yards and 49 touchdowns. Wisconsin-bound wide receiver Kendric Pryor averaged 26.2 yards per reception. The defense, led by seniors Percy Walters and Tyler Newkirk, allowed just 73 points all regular season. But when the state's top two teams - H-F and Loyola - met in the quarterfinals, the Vikings came up just short against a daunting Ramblers defense in a 27-21 loss.

High School Lites Football Roundup Week 9

High School Lites Football Roundup Week 9

High School Lites is back with an exciting Week 9 full of thrilling matchups. NBC Sports Chicago has the highlights of some of the top matchups from Friday's games.

Be sure to follow us on Twitter @NBCSPREPS for all of the latest IHSA football scores and highlights.


DRIVE: Batavia (episode 9)

TEAM OF THE WEEK: Oak Forest football

VIEWERS' CHOICE GAMES OF THE WEEK: Fremd runs past Schaumburg

WINTRUST ATHLETE OF THE WEEK: Notre Dame running back Ty Gavin

FRIDAY'S TOP 25 SCORES

(1) Lincoln-Way East 31, (16) Bolingbrook 0

(2) Batavia 24, Wheaton North 13

(3) Brother Rice 31, (17) Montini 0

(4) Marist 24, Benet 7

(6) Homewood-Flossmoor 56, Sandburg 0

(7) Cary-Grove 55, (15) Naperville Central 41

(9) Nazareth Academy 42, Marian Catholic 6

(10) Maine South 48, Niles West 6

(11) Oswego 22, Plainfield South 15

(12) Richards 41, Eisenhower 6

(13) Phillips 41, Raby 0

(14) Willowbrook 42, Downers South 20

(18) Oak Park-River Forest 48, Lyons 0

(19) Warren 43, Mundelein 7

(20) Glenbard West 35, Proviso West 6

(21) Hillcrest 43, Bremen 6

Joliet Catholic 33, (22) Notre Dame 17

(23) Hinsdale Central 21, Hinsdale South 12

(24) Rolling Meadows 34, Buffalo Grove 7

Wheaton Warrenville South 13, (25) St. Charles North 11

OTHER HIGHLIGHTS

Payton 43, Kenwood 42

Coal City 43, Lisle 14

Huntley 55, Dundee-Crown 12

Perspectives 32, Solorio 16

SATURDAY'S TOP 25 GAMES

Fenwick vs. (5) Mount Carmel 

(8) Simeon vs. Curie

High School Lites Preview: Week 9

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NBC Sports Chicago

High School Lites Preview: Week 9

NBC Sports Chicago will have cameras covering the biggest high school football games across Chicagoland on the Week 9 edition of High School Lites, Friday at 11:00 p.m. Can Perspectives beat Solorio and get a shot at the state playoff field? Can Bolingbrook upset the Big Cobalt Blue Machine at Lincoln-Way East? Can Marist post a perfect ESCC season and beat Benet Academy in Lisle? Can Wheaton North upset Batavia and sneak into the state playoffs with a win? And who wins the CCL Blue championship game? Brother Rice? Montini?

Solorio vs. Perspectives, 3:45 p.m. at Stagg Stadium

EDGY's Take: Both Solorio (5-3, 2-2) and Perspectives (4-4, 0-4) are in must-win mode. They are both seeking a Week 9 win. Solorio is in with a win. Should Perspectives win, both teams will then await their state playoff fate on Saturday night when the IHSA pairings are released. Solorio head coach Bill Ziemba has playmakers in NIU commit WR/DB Messian Travis and with QB Tyrell Williams. Will the Sun Warriors be ready for an equally-hungry Perspectives team? The Warriors, with head coach Terry Jones at the helm, also have talent this season. It includes senior OL/DL Dominic Moore (6-foot-7, 290 pounds). He is one of the state's top uncommitted names. Can the Perspectives defense slow down and contain Solorio's skills department and overall big play ability?

EDGY's Pick: Solorio 28 Perspectives 16 

Dundee-Crown at Huntley, 7:00 p.m.

EDGY's Take: Dundee-Crown (4-4, 3-4) is looking for their first playoff berth since 2013. A win by the Chargers would get them, at least, in the postseason conversation. Head coach Michael Steinhaus has a strong passing attack this fall led by under-the-radar QB Joshua Raby. TE/DE Justin Prusko is a name to watch as well. Huntley (5-3, 5-2) head coach Matt Zimolzak has also gotten a big season from his quarterback. Chris Raffin and the Red Raiders have several weapons on offense including WR Connor Fitzgerald. Can the Huntley defense get a consistent pass rush against the Dundee-Crown line? Can Dundee-Crown keep their offense on the field and win in a shootout?

EDGY's Pick: Huntley 34 Dundee-Crown 24

Lisle at Coal City, 7:00 p.m.

EDGY's Take: Lisle (8-0, 4-0) is having a terrific season under Hall of Fame head coach Paul Parpet. They are conference champs for the first time since 1981. Coach Parpet will rely on a very productive offense led by QB Jay McGrath and top receiver Jake Kowal. This is an Interstate Eight crossover against Coal City (7-1, 4-0), who will be going to the postseason for the eighth year in a row. Head coach Dan Hutchings has a balanced offensive attack led by junior QB Payton Hutchings, RB Connor Skubc and RB Dan Jezic. On defense, the Coalers defense have allowed just 42 points on the season. Can the Lisle offense consistently move the chains against the Coal City defense?

EDGY's Pick: Coal City 31 Lisle 27

Payton vs Kenwood, 7:15 p.m. at Gately Stadium

EDGY's Take: Payton (8-0, 4-0) and Kenwood (8-0, 4-0) are playing for the Chicago Public League Illini Prairie State conference title. Head coach George Klupchak has his Grizzles rolling behind QB Sage Shindler and RB Damien Goodman. The Payton defense has also been strong all season. Kenwood and head coach Sinque Turner has also an All-State caliber playmaker in senior WR/DB Mark Aitken (NIU). He is joined by a ton of speed on both sides of the football. Last possession wins?
 
EDGY's Pick: Kenwood 35 Payton 21

(16) Bolingbrook at (1) Lincoln-Way East, 7:30 p.m.

EDGY's Take: Lincoln-Way East (8-0, 6-0) hasn't lost a regular season game since September 9, 2016. The 2018 Griffins are --once again-- stacked on both sides of the football. Keep an eye on QB Jack Baltz (Illinois State), RB Devon Williams, WR Jackson Ritter and WR Matt Judd. Bolingbrook (7-1, 5-1) have won four straight after a Week 4 loss to H-F. The Raiders, under head coach John Ivlow, have talent in the backfield with senior RB Anthony Williams Jr. (Michigan State) along with senior RB Quentin Pringle (Eastern Kentucky). The Bolingbrook defense has allowed just 80 points in 2018. Can Bolingbrook run the football consistently against the Lincoln-Way East defense?

EDGY's Pick: Lincoln-Way East 28 Bolingbrook 20

(4) Marist at Benet, 7:30 p.m.

EDGY's Take: Marist (7-1, 6-0) has won the East Suburban Catholic Conference. They are looking to finish with a win and earn a high seed in Class 8A. Marist head coach Ron Dawczak has received a huge season from senior QB Mike Markett. He has several weapons including WR Billy Skalitzky and WR Jadon Thompson. The Redhawks defense has been a strength as well. Keep an eye on senior S Kendric Nowling (Easter Michigan). Benet Academy (6-2, 4-2) and head coach Pat New will look towards QB Collin Gillespie and RB Ben Hickey as the keys on offense. The Redwings defense is also a strength. Watch for DL Jacob Snell and DE Jack Benish to make plays. Can the Benet defense limit the amount of Marist offensive touches? 

EDGY's Pick: Marist 34 Benet Academy 21

(2) Batavia at Wheaton North, 7:30 p.m.

EDGY's Take: Batavia (8-0, 6-0) has locked up the DuKane Conference title, but they still have plenty to play for here including a high seed in the 7A playoff field. That, and a perfect 9-0 regular season, of course. Batavia last earned such a mark in 2015. The Bulldogs and head coach Dennis Piron will rely on a balanced offense with QB Jack Meyers and RB Art Taylor. The defense is anchored by LB Michael Jansey (Northwestern) and LB Luke Weerts (North Dakota State). Wheaton North (4-4, 3-3) and head coach Joe Wardynski are in must-win mode. The Falcons will look to the offense to be a catalyst. The unit is led by RB Antowon Tolbert and QB Nathan Love. On defense, the Falcons will need to slow down a very balanced Batavia offense. Can Wheaton North's defense force Batavia into turnovers? 

EDGY's Pick: Batavia 41 Wheaton North 20

(3) Brother Rice at (17) Montini, 7:30 p.m.

EDGY's Take: The Chicago Catholic Blue conference championship game features Brother Rice (8-0, 3-0) taking on Montini Catholic (8-0, 3-0). Crusaders head coach Brian Badke features an offense led by QB John Bean, RB Jessi Plunkett and WR Dylan Summers. They have big and physical offensive line as well. On the other side of the ball, Rice's defense has allowed just 52 points all season. Montini Catholic and second year head coach Mike Bukovsky feature a two quarterback system. Deontay Brown and Robert Brazziel have shared the position quite well. RB Nick Fedanzo (Illinois) and WR Nate Muersch are names to watch. The Montini defense has also been strong this season, allowing just 46 points in eight games. Can the Montini defense slow down the Crusaders running game? Can the Rice defense limit the Broncos' multiple offensive weapons?

EDGY's Pick: Brother Rice 21 Montini Catholic 14

Viewers' Choice Game 

Schaumburg at Fremd, 7:30 p.m.

EDGY's Take: Both Schaumburg (4-4, 1-3) and Fremd (4-4, 3-1) are playing for their IHSA playoff lives. Head coach Lou Sponsel and the Vikings got out of the gates slow (0-3 record) but the Vikings found a spark behind RB-converted-to-QB Nick Rattin. That, along with a big and physical offensive and defensive lines could help reverse a 1-8 season quite nicely should Fremd win. Schaumburg, under head coach Mark Stilling, will be trying to get the Saxons on track. They have dropped three of their last four games. The Saxons have lots of speed and big play potential with senior WR/DB Heze Trotter along with sophomore RB Michael DiGioia. Can the Fremd defense limit the big play ability of Schaumburg?

EDGY's Pick: Fremd 24 Schaumburg 17