Preps Talk

Two ranked matchups highlight High School Lites

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Two ranked matchups highlight High School Lites

High School Lites has a great show this week as we have two matchups between ranked matchups and a number of other enticing games involving top 25 teams. 

Be sure to catch an all new edition of High School Lites Friday at 11 p.m. on NBC Sports Chicago. 

Thursday

Kenwood at No. 3 Curie, 5:00 p.m. -- These former Red-Central rivals matchup for the only guaranteed time this season in a battle in the Public League Red South-Central. Curie (13-2, 4-0) is coming off of a good win over Bogan as they continue to fight for the conference title with Simeon. Junior Marquise Walker is playing very well lately for the Condors. Kenwood (7-5, 3-2) dropped a game to Simeon earlier this week as they have a tough week in conference play facing two top-three teams. The Broncos are also dangerous enough to make this a tight game.

No. 13 Marist at No. 11 Marian Catholic, 7:00 p.m. -- Key game in the East Suburban Catholic Conference as Marist heads to Marian Catholic. The No. 11 Spartans (12-2, 1-1) have won five consecutive games since losing to Lincoln Park in the Hinsdale Central Holiday Classic. The No. 13 RedHawks (16-1, 2-0) placed third at Centralia as they've won three straight games of their own. With the ESCC being such a tight race, this could wind up being a key game in deciding the winner of the league. 

Friday

Schaumburg at Palatine, 6:00 p.m. -- Palatine tries to stay with the top teams in the Mid-Suburban West as they host Schaumburg. The Pirates (11-6, 3-1) fell to Buffalo Grove in a crossover last week as they try to stick with Barrington atop the MSL West. Schaumburg (5-13, 1-3) hasn't had a great start but they did knock off Hersey for a double-digit win last week. 

Westinghouse at No. 10 Lincoln Park, 6:30 p.m. -- The Public League Red North/West is one of the toughest leagues in the area as Westinghouse heads to Lincoln Park. The Lions (12-4, 4-1) just picked up a big win against North Lawndale as they've recently knocked off some quality opponents. Westinghouse (4-12, 0-4) is trying to end a recent losing streak and earn a conference win as the Warriors have played a really tough schedule so far this season. 

No. 12 DePaul Prep at No. 17 Loyola, 7:00 p.m. -- An important game in the Catholic League Blue involving two of the top teams. Loyola Academy (14-2, 2-1) is hot lately after winning a holiday tournament in Naples and beating St. Viator earlier this week. DePaul Prep (14-3, 2-0) earned a win on the road at St. Rita last week while also taking down Lindblom earlier this week. 

West Aurora at South Elgin, 7:00 p.m. -- The top two teams in the Upstate Eight Valley matchup in this one as West Aurora travels to South Elgin. The Storm (10-3, 2-1) are coming off of a solid showing at DeKalb during Holiday Tournament time as they also held off East Aurora for a conference win last week. West Aurora (10-4, 3-0) has picked up wins over West Chicago and DeKalb since losing to some top teams like Curie and Bloomington at Pontiac. These teams will play again on Feb. 16.

No. 14 Evanston at  New Trier, 7:30 p.m. -- One of the area's best rivalries also doubles as an important Central Suburban South game. New Trier (10-2, 4-0) just knocked off previously-unbeaten conference leader Niles North earlier this week as the Trevians are playing with a ton of confidence. Evanston (12-3, 3-1) rallied to win its final two games at Centralia before beating Niles West last week. 

No. 24 Naperville Central at Naperville North, 7:30 p.m. -- This crosstown rivalry has huge DuPage Valley Conference implications. The No. 24 Redhawks (11-2, 4-1) are coming off of a recent hot stretch that includes wins over Wheaton-Warrenville South and taking the DeKalb Tournament title. Naperville North (13-1, 5-0) only has a loss to Batavia this season as the Huskies are on top of the DVC at the moment. 

Viewers’ Choice Game of the Week

North Shore at Francis Parker, 6 p.m. -- Our Viewers' Choice Game of the Week heads to Lincoln Park for this Independent School League matchup. Francis Parker (3-8, 1-2) has a busy week with conference games on back-to-back nights. North Shore (6-5, 2-2) dropped a tough one-point decision to Northridge on Wednesday as they look to remain in the conference picture.

33 Days to Kickoff: Benet

33 Days to Kickoff: Benet

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: Benet Academy

Head coach: Pat New

How they fared in 2017: 9-4 (5-2 East Suburban Catholic Conference). Benet Academy made the Class 7A state playoff field. They defeated Maine West, Hononegah and Lincoln-Way Central before losing to Batavia in the state semifinal round. 

2018 Regular Season Schedule:

Aug. 24 @ St. Laurence

Aug. 31 @ Moline

Sept. 7 @ St. Patrick

Sept. 14 vs Niles Notre Dame

Sept. 21 vs Nazareth Academy

Sept. 28 @ Joliet Catholic

Oct. 5 vs St. Viator

Oct. 13 @ Marian Catholic

Oct. 19 vs Marist

[MORE: 78 Days to Kickoff - St. Patrick]

Biggest storyline: After back-to-back state semifinal playoff runs, can the Redwings pick things up right where they left off and another make deep playoff run?

Names to watch this season: QB Collin Gillespie and RB/S Ben Hickey

Biggest holes to fill: While the Redwings will welcome back some key starters from a season ago, they will need to reload a bit up front on both the offensive and defensive line. 

EDGY's Early Take: Coach Pat New's Redwings had an early 14-0 lead over eventual 7A state champion Batavia before falling to the Bulldogs. Benet, who has 50 program wins since 2012 (all playoff seasons), is never short on talent. Look for their offensive skills department to carry the load early this season. The Redwings should challenge in the East Suburban Catholic Conference race and into playoff time come October. 

34 Days to Kickoff: Bartlett

34 Days to Kickoff: Bartlett

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: Bartlett

Head coach: Mark Erlenbaugh

How they fared in 2017: 2-7 (2-3 Upstate 8 Valley Conference), Bartlett failed to qualify for the 20127 IHSA state football playoff field.

2018 regular season schedule:

Aug. 24 @ East Aurora

Aug. 31 vs Glenbard East

Sept. 7 vs Glenbard South

Sept. 14 @ Elgin

Sept. 21 @ West Aurora

Sept. 28 vs West Chicago

Oct. 5 vs Larkin

Oct. 13 @ South Elgin 

Oct. 19 @ Streamwood

[MORE: 53 Days to Kickoff - Glenbard East]

Biggest storyline: Can the Hawks soar in the newly realigned Upstate 8 conference?

Names to watch this season: QB Dean Kotsovetis and WR Austin Gates

Biggest holes to fill: The Hawks will need to fill in several spots this summer especially upfront on the offensive and defensive lines due to graduation losses.

EDGY's Early Take: Bartlett head coach Matt Erlenbaugh comes in from Chicago's Solorio High School and takes over the Hawks football program. Look for Bartlett to have a chance to challenge in the newly-realigned Upstate Eight schedule. The Hawks schedule this season won't include the likes of several 2017 state playoff teams like Lemont, Prairie Ridge and St. Charles East.