Preps Talk

Marian Central Catholic's Mike Maloney set to return home

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Marian Central Catholic's Mike Maloney set to return home

When Marian Central Catholic head coach Mike Maloney steps foot on the turf at Joliet Memorial Stadium Friday night, you can understand if he feels a little out of sorts.

"It just hit me last night (Sunday) that this will be the first time that I'll ever be on the opposing sideline at Memorial Stadium," Maloney said. "I spent so many years on the home side either playing and wearing brown and white or rooting for JCA."

Maloney was a standout All State two-way linemen for Joliet Catholic’s 1999 4A state title team, coached by current JCA head coach Dan Sharp. Some considered this JCA team one of the best in their long and storied history.

Fast forward 16 years.

[MORE: Marian Central upsets No. 6 Nazareth]

Maloney and the 24th-ranked Hurricanes (4-0) are coming off a stunning 34-19 come from behind upset win over defending Class 6A champs Nazareth Academy (3-1). Next up for MCC: a date with the 6th-ranked Hilltoppers. This time around, he won't be wearing brown and white, but instead, cardinal red and Columbia blue. But he won't have any part of any pomp and circumstance on Friday night. 

"I'm excited and I know I'll also be anxious the closer we get to kickoff," Maloney said. "I know that once I took the job here at Marian one of the first games I looked for was when we played JCA. The moment I saw them on the schedule, it was just a special and unique feeling."

"I still talk to Dan (Sharp) quite a bit and we have a mutual love and respect for each other to this day. I guess the best way I can honor him and everyone at JCA is to bring a well prepared team on Friday night ready to play a hard fought game. I know that my entire family plus a lot of friends will be there on Friday night and that's great. I'm just too focused on the game to really pay too much attention to it all."

65 Days to Kickoff: Elmwood Park

65 Days to Kickoff: Elmwood Park

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: Elmwood Park

Head coach: Dylan Mack

Assistant coaches: Gabe Ostrander, Tim Eberhard, Mario Fiorito, Chad Nardi, Joe Kraft and Dwayne French

How they fared in 2017: 6-4 (4-1 Metro Suburban Red Conference), Elmwood Park made the Class 4A state football playoff field. The Tigers lost to Genoa-Kingston in opening round action. 

2018 Regular Season Schedule:

Aug. 24 vs St. Joseph

Sept. 1 vs Foreman

Sept. 7 vs Ridgewood

Sept. 14 @ St. Edward

Sept. 21 @ Fenton

Sept. 28 vs Leo

Oct. 5 @ Guerin Prep

Oct. 12 vs Chicago Christian

Oct. 19 vs Bishop McNamara

[MORE: 82 Days to Kickoff - Ridgewood]

Biggest storyline: An encore performance. Can the Tigers make back-to-back playoff appearances this season?

Names to watch this season: FB/DE Luciano Martino and WR/DB Kris Diallo

Biggest holes to fill: The Tigers will need to replace eight graduated starters on defense this fall.

EDGY's Early Take: Elmwood Park head coach Dylan Mack is looking to keep the winning momentum found last season going into 2018. The Tigers will rely on an experienced offense with eight returning starters back in the fold and if the defense can gel sooner rather than later, look for Elmwood Park to once again challenge for another state playoff bid this fall. 

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.