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.
Head coach: Brad Seaburg
Assistant coaches: Matt Furlong, Mike Walston, Dean Schlueter, Rick Splitt, Mike Manning, Phil Raffaelli, Ryan Passaglia, Ryan Ludwig and Eric Chandler
How they fared in 2017: 7-4 (6-2 Fox Valley Conference). Cary-Grove made the Class 6A state playoff field and defeated St. Ignatius before losing to Prairie Ridge in second round action.
2018 Regular Season Schedule:
Aug. 24 vs Crystal Lake South
Aug. 31 @ Crystal Lake Central
Sept 7 vs Hampshire
Sept. 14 @ Huntley
Sept. 22 vs Dundee-Crown
Sept. 28 @ McHenry
Oct. 5 vs Jacobs
Oct. 12 @ Prairie Ridge
Oct. 19 vs Naperville Central
[MORE: Power Rankings #23 - Prairie Ridge]
Biggest storyline: Can the Trojans win the Fox Valley Conference in 2018?
Names to watch this season: OL Addison West (Western Michigan) and RB/DB Danny Daigle
Biggest holes to fill: The Trojans welcome back 11 returning starters (six offense, five defense) and will need to replace their entire starting defensive line from a season ago.
EDGY's Early Take: Cary-Grove is always near the top of the Fox Valley Conference and bring back some top names this fall including several starters in the offensive skills. The Trojans always look to establish it's power running game while playing light out fast on defense and if the defensive line can gain experience sooner rather than later Cary-Grove will be a top team in the FVC and Class 6A as well in 2018.
High School Lites has plenty of high school basketball action from all over the Chicagoland area this week. We have top-25 matchups in both the Public League and non-conference play in the North suburbs. Some strong South suburban teams and a classic North Shore rivalry also play out on this week's episode.
Check out the latest edition of High School Lites at 11 p.m. on Friday night for scores and highlights from all over the area. Be sure to follow us on Twitter @NBCSPreps to get the latest scores and updates from the area's IHSA teams.
GIRLS: New Trier at Evanston, 6:00 p.m. -- A huge rivalry takes center stage on the girls side on Friday night. Evanston is one of the area's best teams as senior Jayla Turchin is player to watch. New Trier is led by Ava Zaslavsky as they won by a point when these two played for High School Lites cameras last season. The Trevians held off Maine South for a conference win to start the week.
New Trier at No. 8 Evanston 7:30 p.m. -- One of the classic area rivalries also gets played on the boys side on Friday night. New Trier (4-3, 0-1) knocked off Maine East earlier this week after falling to Lane in the Chicago Elite Classic. The Trevians own some close losses to ranked teams like Loyola and Glenbrook South as they are a dangerous team. Evanston (6-0, 1-0) earned an impressive win over Notre Dame in the Chicago Elite Classic as the junior class is full of standouts. Blake Peters and Jaylin Gibson are a strong offensive duo. Isaiah Holden is a defensive presence on the perimeter as well.
Rich Central at No. 14 Thornton, 6:00 p.m. -- Can Thornton continue its monster week following the win over No. 1 Bloom earlier in the week? The Wildcats (6-0, 3-0) have been a major story to start the season as they've gone from unranked to likely top ten in a matter of weeks. Rich Central (0-5, 0-1) will try to shake things up in the Southland by picking up its first win of the season.
No. 4 Whitney Young at No. 11 Lincoln Park, 6:30 p.m. -- Two Public League powers battle in the Red North/West here. The Dolphins (3-2, 3-0) have established a strong start in conference play as seniors D.J. Steward (Duke) and Tyler Beard are a strong backcourt. Lincoln Park (7-1, 3-0) counter with the junior perimeter of Julio Montes and Ismail Habib as they played well as sophomores. Big man Romelle Howard is a factor to watch inside for the Lions and how Whitney Young defends him.
Niles West at No. 19 Glenbrook South, 7:00 p.m. -- We catch a glimpse of unbeaten Glenbrook South (6-0, 1-0) and Player of the Year sleeper Dom Martinelli. Niles West (3-5, 1-0) lost to St. Viator earlier this week as they've lost a few close games to strong competition. The Titans will be challenged as it all begins with Martinelli. One of the area's most potent scorers will look to establish the Glenbrook South offense early as he's had more help in recent weeks.
No. 13 Notre Dame at No. 10 Loyola, 7:00 p.m. -- A huge clash of top-15 teams in non-conference play. Notre Dame (7-1, 1-0) won a huge game against Marian Catholic in ESCC play this week as Troy D'Amico and Louis Lesmond are two of the best juniors in the state. Loyola (7-0, 3-0) is off to an unbeaten start. Bennett and Jordan Kwiecinski are a pair of Division I signees at forward for the Ramblers as they should have a great matchup with Lesmond and D'Amico here.
Lincoln-Way Central at No. 16 Homewood-Flossmoor, 7:00 p.m. -- A SouthWest Suburban crossover between two teams off to solid starts. Lincoln-Way Central (5-1) lost its opener to Joliet West before running off five straight wins. The Vikings (5-1) have played a difficult schedule so far with a loss to Marian Catholic and a win over Hillcrest. Senior R.J. Ogom (College of Charleston) is one of the area's most productive forwards.
Latin vs. Parker, 7:30 p.m. at DePaul -- The Independent School League has a big rivalry matchup in Lincoln Park. Latin (3-1, 1-1) lost to Northridge in conference play earlier this week. Parker (4-4, 1-1) has two double-digit wins on the week as they try to keep the momentum rolling.
Viewers’ Choice Game of the Week
Mather at Foreman, 5 p.m. -- Our Viewers' Choice Game of the Week takes us to the North side for a Public League White-North matchup. Mather (4-5, 2-1) earned a conference win over Taft and fell to Lane in the Red division earlier this week in non-conference play. Foreman (2-3, 0-3) is trying to earn its first conference win after losing a close one to Northside earlier this week.
There are several teams that finished with losing records this past season; they will undoubtedly be flying under the radar come August. Who are the top 5 teams who could surprise IHSA football fans next fall?
St. Charles North (4-5): It was a tough 2019 season for the North Stars both on and off the field. The school administration and head coach Ron Pomazak had to deal with the serious brain injury to sophomore RB Aidan Carlson-- an issue which impacted the entire community. St. Charles North still has talent in the program including several starters on the offensive line, namely junior OL/DL Carmine Bastone and junior OT Ian Erickson. They are on the rise along with junior ATH Jordan Nubi, the younger brother of former North Star and current Minnesota Gopher safety Tyler Nubin.
Naperville Central (4-5): The Redhawks had a ton of hype in the preseason, then the reality of a brutal schedule set in. Naperville Central ended up losing three games to eventual state champions (Lincoln-Way East, Ohio’s Pickerington Central and East St. Louis). They lost another two games to teams with a combined record of 17-4. The 2020 Redhawks will still have one of the state's most dangerous athletes in QB Sam Jackson (Minnesota) along with a deep group of talented young receivers led by junior Keon Green and sophomore Reggie Fluerima.
Stevenson (4-5): The Patriots missed the IHSA state football playoff field for the first time since 1988. Can postseason football come back to Lincolnshire? Stevenson head coach Brent Becker will need to replace a very big senior class; however, this remains one of the top programs year in and year out in Illinois. Don't look for Stevenson to be down for very long.
Lockport (4-5): Easily one of the better stories of 2019. Former longtime Porter assistant coach George Czart was given the reins of this program in the offseason. Czart was also the head coach at Lincoln-Way North and led the Phoenix to a 54-29 record in eight seasons before the district closed the school. The Porters have numbers in the program; Czart’s staff did an outstanding job of getting everyone to buy in and the program became competitive as a result. The overall talent level is still a work in progress but the ingredients are in the building. They have the potential of becoming an eventual monster to watch in the Southwest suburbs.
Oak Park-River Forest (4-5): The Huskies, under head coach John Hoerster, wound up posting a losing record—a rarity for this Western Suburban Silver program. But outside of a 42-0 Week 9 loss to Glenbard West, OPRK was in every game last season. Several of the Huskies top players in 2019 will be back in 2020, led by QB/S Jaden McGill, LB Naahlyee Bryant and junior OL/DL Amarion Jones.