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Saturday on CSN: High School Lites - IHSA Playoffs Round 2

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Saturday on CSN: High School Lites - IHSA Playoffs Round 2

CSN Chicago will have cameras covering the biggest IHSA second round football playoff games across Chicagoland on High School Lites, Saturday at 11:00 p.m. In Class 8A, can Loyola Academy get payback against Stevenson, who eliminated the Ramblers at the same playoff stage last year? Can Waubonsie Valley beat Neuqua Valley in one of the state's best rivalry games? In 7A, can Mount Carmel upset Glenbard West on the shores of Lake Ellyn? In 6A, can Richards upset Lincoln-Way North in Oak Lawn in the last meeting between these two rivals? Catch highlights from games in 8A through 3A on this Saturday IHSA playoff edition of High School Lites.

Friday’s Viewers’ Choice Game, Class 7A: 

Geneva (9-1) at Bradley-Bourbonnais (7-3), 7:30pm

EDGY's Take: Geneva and head coach Rob Wicinski will rely on senior QB Sean Chambers (Princeton) and a strong running game led by senior RB Justin Taormina. Bradley and head coach Mike Kohl got a huge win on the road last week over Glenbrook North, 60-59, in 2 OT. Bradley will give the football to junior RB Camron Harrell early and often here. Can the Bradley defense slow down a Geneva offense that has been strong all year? Can Geneva win on the road at Bradley, where the Boilermakers have been known to pull off a few playoff upsets over the years?

EDGY's Pick: Geneva 37, Bradley 20

Saturday’s Schedule:

Class 8A: 

#16 Stevenson (7-3) at #1 Loyola (10-0), 12:00pm

EDGY's Take: This is a rematch from a year ago when Stevenson eliminated Loyola Academy 24-21 en route to the 8A championship. The Patriots will rely on senior QB Jack Sorenson (Miami of Ohio), along with a deep group of offensive skill players including RB/DB Tyler Vincent. Loyola Academy has been strong all season long on both sides of the football. Senior QB Emmett Clifford runs the Ramblers no huddle shotgun spread offense, and their skill players provide a tough matchup for the opposition. But the Ramblers defense remains its calling card. Senior DT Ben Leroy (NIU) is just one of several impact players. Can the Patriots defense slow down the Ramblers offense here?

EDGY's Pick: Loyola Academy 41, Stevenson 14

[MORE: IHSA Football Playoffs Saturday at 1 p.m. on CSN, Live Extra]

#9 New Trier (9-1) at #8 Homewood-Flossmoor (9-1), 7:00pm

EDGY's Take: New Trier and head coach Brian Doll will hit the road and try to slow down one of the state's most explosive offenses in Homewood-Flossmoor. The Trevians will rely on junior QB Clay Czyzynski along with a solid group of skill players including junior WR Eric Nicholas and senior RB Max Rosenthal. H-F counters with senior QB Bryce Gray along with the Harley-Hampton twins, senior RB/LB Devonte and senior RB Deante. Senior WR/S Kendric Pryor (Wisconsin) is also a key in all three phases for the Vikings this season. Can New Trier slow down the Vikings? Can the Vikings defense get the football back from the Trevians offense?

EDGY's Pick: HF 38, New Trier 17 

#15 Oswego (8-2) at #2 Huntley (10-0), 2:00pm

EDGY's Take: Oswego will be the second straight Southwest Prairie opponent for Huntley. Oswego and head coach Brian Cooney features a D-1 quarterback recruit in senior Steven Frank; however, the Panthers always look to establish the running game as their top priority. Huntley, coached by John Hart, was able to outmuscle Minooka in last week's 49-7 romp as the Red Raiders ran for nearly 300 yards in the win. Keep an eye on senior QB Anthony Binetti and sophomore RB Eric Mooney. Huntley’s defensive line is also a strength. Can Oswego outmuscle the Red Raiders on both sides of the line? Can Huntley avoid turnovers and win time of possession? 

EDGY's Pick: Huntley 28, Oswego 27

#30 Waubonsie Valley (6-4) at #19 Neuqua Valley (7-3), 6:00pm

EDGY's Take: Waubonsie Valley pulled off an impressive, 20-17, OT win last Saturday at Edwardsville to advance. The Warriors are guided by senior RB Max Ihry, QB Jack Connolly and a defense that has been consistently strong all season. Neuqua Valley also played well in beating Hinsdale Central, 29-26, last Saturday night to advance. The Wildcats have big play potential all over the field. Junior WR/S Isaiah Robertson had a big game back in the 28-7 win over the Warriors back in Week 3. Can the Wildcats get the big plays again in this rematch? I expect a very close game here.

EDGY's Pick: Neuqua Valley 21, Waubonsie Valley 14 

Class 7A: 

#16 Mt. Carmel (8-2) at #1 Glenbard West (10-0), 1:00pm

EDGY's Take: This could wind up being one of the top games in the entire state this weekend. Mount Carmel and head coach Frank Lenti looked like a state title contender in last week's 42-15 win over Glenbard North. The Caravan ran the ball effectively and senior QB Anthony Thompson (NIU) is a key. Head coach Chad Hetlet’s Glenbard West squad features one of the state's top players in senior RB Sam Brodner (Vanderbilt). The Hilltoppers always play very fast and physical on defense. Can both teams avoid the turnover monster -- and also limit the penalties? This has the makings of a down-to-the-wire type of finish. 

EDGY's Pick: Glenbard West 24, Mount Carmel 21 

[MORE: The good and bad from Round 1 of the playoffs

#12 Benet (8-2) at #5 Cary-Grove (9-1), 1:00pm

EDGY's Take: Benet Academy and head coach Pat New needed to go to the running game in beating St. Charles North last week. The Redwings got a big game from RB Alec McEachern; senior QB Jack Sznajder runs the football well to complement his passing attack. Cary-Grove and head coach Brad Seaburg doesn’t play around: they will run the football right at you and play tough defense week in and week out. Junior FB Ty Pennington has been a varsity starter for Cary Grove since his freshman year and is a name to watch here. Can the Benet defense handle the power running game from Cary Grove? The Redwings have fared pretty well against power running/option teams this season including beating Joliet Catholic 24-21 back in Week 8.

EDGY's Pick: Cary-Grove 27, Benet Academy 21 

#14 Lincoln-Way East (8-2) at #3 Libertyville (10-0), 1:00pm

EDGY's Take: Lincoln-Way East and head coach Rob Zvonar will travel to take on Libertyville and one of the state's top game-breaking players in senior QB Riley Lees. Lincoln-Way East’s offense is led by senior QB Brandon Bauer and a solid running game with backs Nigel Muhammad and Liam Morrissey. Libertyville and head coach Mike Jones will continue to run his offense through Lees, who is headed to Northwestern. On defense, the Wildcats are strong. They’re led by senior DE Ben Kimpler (Miami of Ohio). Can the Griffins defense contain Lees? Can the Libertyville defense take away LWE’s running game?

EDGY's Pick: Libertyville 20, Lincoln-Way East 14 

Class 6A: 

#5 DeKalb (8-2) at #13 Deerfield (7-3), 2:00pm

EDGY's Take: DeKalb has been strong all season. The Barbs have relied heavily on the arm and legs of junior QB Derek Kyler. Also, keep an eye on DeKalb senior OL Hayden LaPointe. Deerfield and head coach Steve Winiecki will look to senior QB Brian Ranallo and senior WR/DB Lukas Kerstein. Can Deerfield control the ball on offense, win time of possession and keep the DeKalb offense off the field? Can the DeKalb defense tighten up after giving up 44 points in last week's win over Hampshire?

EDGY's Pick: DeKalb 45, Deerfield 34

#1 Lincoln-Way North (10-0) at #9 Richards (7-3), 6:00pm

EDGY's Take: This game is a rematch from Week 1 as Lincoln-Way North beat Richards, 30-29. The Phoenix, coached by George Czart, feature a balanced offense led by QB Jake Arthur and standout athlete Jaylin Branch. North’s defense has also been solid all season. Richards and head coach Tony Sheehan has some serious speed on both sides of the ball. They will look to get the football into the hands of junior RB Pat Doyle. Richards has eliminated Lincoln-Way North from the state playoffs for the past three seasons.

EDGY's Pick: Lincoln-Way North 35, Richards 34 OT 

Class 5A: 

#6 Marian Central Catholic (8-2) at #3 Joliet Catholic Academy (9-1), 1:00pm

EDGY's Take: This game is a rematch from Week 5 as Joliet Catholic beat Marian Central Catholic, 41-3. Marian Central Catholic head coach Mike Maloney played for JCA’s current head coach Dan Sharp. Both are very familiar with each other. Can the Hurricanes get their running game on track this time around against a very strong JCA defensive line? Could we see Marian Central Catholic open things up a bit more in the passing game with senior QB Joe Budmayer? Can Joliet Catholic continue to pound opposing teams with its power running game? The Hilltoppers are more than capable with the passing game -- if needed-- with QB Cade Earl.

EDGY's Pick: Joliet Catholic 35, Marian Central Catholic 20

Class 4A: 

#7 Plano (8-2) at #2 Marengo (10-0), 3:30pm

EDGY's Take: Plano and head coach Brad Kunz have been very balanced on offense this fall behind junior QB Tyler Ward and junior RB/DB Michael Marshall. Marengo has been beating teams with a strong passing attack, led by QB Zach Knobloch. Their defense has been stingy, limiting Coal City to just 138 yards of total offense in last week’s 28-10 win. Can the Reapers offense dent the Indians defense? Weather permitting, can Marengo throw the football on the Plano defense?

EDGY's Pick: Marengo 28, Plano 16

Class 3A: 

#6 Elmwood-Brimfield (9-1) at #3 IC Catholic Prep (9-1), 4:00pm

EDGY's Take: Immaculate Conception is always a dangerous team come state playoff time. The Knights feature one of the top running back recruits in the Class of 2017 in Jordan Rowell, but their play action passing game is also capable behind sophomore QB Luke Ricobene. Elmwood-Brimfield, out of the Peoria area, ran the ball all game long in its 45-7 win over DePaul Prep. Keep an eye on RB Jackson Harkness. Can Elmwood-Brimfield find a way of slowing down the Knights? 

EDGY's Pick: Immaculate Conception 42, Elmwood-Brimfield 14

Is Bears “D” in “football shape?” Lacking ability to finish? Fourth-quarter fades raise questions

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USA Today

Is Bears “D” in “football shape?” Lacking ability to finish? Fourth-quarter fades raise questions

During the critical fourth-quarter Oakland Raiders drive for a game-winning touchdown, one former Pro Bowl’er and NFL observer remarked to this writer that he was surprised to see a lot of hands on hips and mouth-breathing by members of the Bears defense – two common signs of being gassed.

Critiquing conditioning – or lack of – is problematic the way judging pain tolerance is. And if the Raiders score were an isolated incident, the question likely doesn’t come up.

But something is amiss. While the Bears defense remains among the NFL’s best, at least statistically, a shadow of concern is falling over the defense and its ability to close out games that it has within its reach.

The Bears held fourth-quarter leads over Denver and Oakland and allowed go-ahead touchdowns. They were rescued by Eddy Piñeiro’s 53-yard field goal in the final second. No such rescue in London.

Fully half of the eight touchdowns scored by Bears opponents in 2019 have come in fourth quarters. (The Bears themselves have not scored a single TD in any fourth quarter this season, but that’s a separate discussion.) By contrast, last season the defense did not allow a fourth-quarter touchdown in any of the final five regular-season games.

The temptation is to look only at the numbers, which are in fact positive. Even with the 24 points the Raiders scored against them in London, the Bears ranked second only to New England in scoring stinginess (13.8 ppg.) and fifth in yardage allowed (312 ypg.).

But the Bears have 17 sacks as a team; only three of those have come in fourth quarters.

Opposing quarterbacks have passed at an 81.3 rating in first halves; they are throwing at a 91.4 clip in second halves.

The defense has allowed 16 first downs in first quarters; 21 in seconds; 20 in thirds.

In 2019 fourth quarters, 34 first downs allowed.

Pulling the camera back for a wider view, extending back to include the disturbing 2018 playoff loss:

Vs. Philadelphia
Eagles drive 60 yards in 12 plays and nearly 4 minutes to score game-winning TD with :56 remaining. Cody Parkey’s double-doink overshadows fact that Bears defense forces Eagles into only two third downs and allows winning score on a fourth down.

Vs. Green Bay
With the Chicago offense sputtering all game and in need of a short field, Packers go on a 10-play, 73-yard drive that consumed 6:33 to set up a field goal to go up 10-3 deep in the fourth quarter.

At Denver
Inept Broncos offense scores 11 points in the fourth quarter to overcome a 13-3 Bears lead, driving 62 yards in 12 plays, converting two fourth downs and a two-point conversion. Denver’s second-half drives: 41 yards, 56 yards, 84 yards, 62 yards.

Vs. Washington
Bears build 28-0 lead before one of NFL’s worst offenses scores a pair of largely meaningless second-half TD’s.

Vs. Minnesota Vikings
Drive 92 yards in 13 plays for TD before Bears stiffen to stop two-point PAT and next Minnesota possession.

Vs. Oakland (London)
Raiders win game with 92-yard drive that includes fourth-down conversion on punt fake run despite Bears leaving No. 1 defensive unit in, anticipating fake.

3 takeaways from the Bulls' win over a limited Raptors squad in Toronto

3 takeaways from the Bulls' win over a limited Raptors squad in Toronto

The Bulls recorded their first win of the preseason with Sunday night’s 105-91 win over the Raptors. Here are three takeaways:

We got a peek at Jim Boylen's regular-season rotation

We had a clue that Boylen was going to go with Tomas Satoransky as his starter after he chose to sit him with the starters in the Bulls third preseason game against the Indiana Pacers, and tonight helped further confirm this idea. Boylen stated before the game that he would be starting to roll out his regular season rotations, and we saw "Sato" start next to the regular Bulls starting group of Zach LaVine, Otto Porter Jr., Lauri Markkanen and the returning Wendell Carter Jr.

On top of seeing the starting group, we got to see Thaddeus Young in his probable role as the sixth man, coming in for Carter to provide the Bulls with more of a small look where Markkanen acts as the center.

Markkanen was particularly effective on the glass against the smaller Raptors frontline sans Marc Gasol and Pascal Siakam. Lauri collected a double-double, finishing with 15 points and 13 rebounds, including 4 offensive rebounds. 

Giving an even greater effort on the glass will push Markkanen closer to All-Star status and it is not out of the question as we have seen him raise his rebounding average every season. Games like Sunday night's show that all of the muscle Markkanen added this offseason is going to pay dividends in the 2019-20 NBA regular season and beyond, which will allow the Bulls to play smaller more often to get dynamic scorers like Coby White on the floor.

White came in as a substitute for Porter, giving the Bulls another small-ball lineup in which LaVine acts as the small forward next to him and Satoransky.

Satoransky was great, finishing with 12 points, 3 rebounds, 4 assists and 2 turnovers in 21 minutes. Sato pushed the pace but also could sense the right time to pull the ball back out and run a play in the halfcourt.

In general, the Bulls trotted out more three-guard lineups in this game, and the size of big guards like Satoransky and Dunn help the Bulls blur the lines between wing and guard, mitigating some of the risks involved with not having a traditional wing on the floor.

On the flip side, the perimeter skills of a big man like Young allow the Bulls to play bigger lineups in which Young plays small forward next to two big men. In Sunday night's win over the Raptors, Young finished the game second on the Bulls in rebounds (7) and assists (3), while being in the right spot more times than not on D. 

With stretch-five Luke Kornet (2-7 from 3-point line vs Raptors), the gritty, playmaking Ryan Arcidiacono (3 assists, no turnovers), and rookie Daniel Gafford rounding out the rest of the new Bulls' Bench Mob", Boylen will have the ability to play many different ways, affording us a fair chance to see what Boylen is made of as an NBA head coach. He is already passing his first test of showing that he is open to change, with the Bulls shooting 49 3-pointers on Sunday night, keeping their promise of being more aggressive from deep.

The Zach LaVine All-Star push starts now 

Overall, Zach LaVine has not been shy about already being at an All-Star level of play, you just have to ask him.

LaVine came into Sunday night's game sixth in the league in preseason scoring, averaging 22.0 points per game through two contests, and he kept up that scoring onslaught in a big way. He finished the Bulls win over the Raptors with 26 points, 5 rebounds, 4 assists, and 2 steals in just 24 minutes of action. He finished the night with four turnovers as well, and while you would like to see the assist-to-turnover ratio improve, high turnover totals are just the name of the game for high-usage stars.

Besides, Boylen and co. likely would rather see LaVine collect some turnovers trying to make the extra pass—something the Bulls have committed to hard this preseason—rather than trying to iso and make a play for himself.

Notably, the LaVine-Markkanen pick-and-roll that figures to be a staple of the Bulls offense for a long time again made an appearance in this game, looking crisp at moments as defenses struggle with scrambling to Markkanen at the 3-point line or worrying more about LaVine's oftentimes dominant drives to the rim.

While it is encouraging to see LaVine score effortlessly, that is not a new development for Bulls fans. The true mark of improvement for LaVine will be his defense and playmaking, both of which looked good on Sunday night.

LaVine racked up two steals and showed an improved awareness and aggressiveness when prowling the passing lanes. What makes defense so huge for LaVine besides the fact that his effort-level sets the tone for the team is that he so often turns opponent turnovers into points in transition for Chicago.

The Bulls had 14 fastbreak points and 17 points off of turnovers in their win over the Raptors, with LaVine's efforts playing a large hand in the win. 

Coby White continues to score in bunches 

It has been stated many times how Coby White was more of a shooting guard in high school and only transitioned into being more a lead guard at North Carolina. And those natural scoring instincts have shown up time and time again in the NBA preseason, especially in transition. 

If you get White going towards the rim with a head of steam in transition, he will make it to the basket before the 24-second shot clock hits the 19-second mark, a remarkable display of his blazing speed.

Of course, everything is to be taken with a grain of salt in the NBA preseason, as we are often seeing White (and others) face off against a team's backups or even worse, players that won't even make an NBA roster. But what White has done well should play in the regular season too. He scored 18 points on 37.5% shooting from the field, including hitting 4 of his 12 attempts from 3-point range. White was 2-2 from the free throw line and finished with one assist and no turnovers. 

It looks like it will be a while before we see Coby White look like an NBA-level floor general but he is already playing like an uber-confident, spark plug shooting guard.

The Bulls can utilize White's scoring in the regular season knowing that even if his court vision isn't where they want it to be, his shoot-first mentality and propensity to keep the ball moving should result in lower turnover totals than your usual score-first point guard.