100 days

1 Day to Kickoff: Loyola Academy

1 Day to Kickoff: Loyola Academy

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 Aug. 5, we’ll unveil the @NBCSPrepsTop 25 Power Rankings, leading up to kickoff on Friday, Aug. 30.

School: Loyola Academy

Head coach: John Holecek

Assistant coaches: Pete Devine, Beau Desherow, Tim Feldheim, Mike Dooley, Pete Distaulo, Tyler Vradenburg, Mike Kotowski, Ryan Gallagher and Pat Naughton

How they fared in 2018: 11-3 (2-2 Chicago Catholic Blue Conference). Loyola Academy made the Class 8A state playoff field and defeated Minooka, Oswego, Maine South and Lincoln-Way East They advanced to the state title game and defeated Brother Rice 13-3 at Champaign's Memorial Stadium.

2019 regular season schedule:

Aug. 31 vs St. Ignatius (Ohio) in Michigan City IN
Sept. 7 vs New Trier
Sept. 14 vs St. Rita
Sept. 20 @ Mount Carmel
Sept. 27 @ St. Ignatius
Oct. 5 vs Brother Rice
Oct. 12 vs Benet Academy
Oct. 18 @ Marian Central Catholic
Oct. 26 vs Marist

[MORE: 9 Days to Kickoff - Brother Rice

Biggest storyline: Loyola Academy has made six trips to the state title game since 2011, with titles in 2015 and 2018. The key to another title will be if they can reload, especially on defense.

Names to watch this season: RB Trevor Cabanban (Sr.) and OL Christo Kelly (Sr., Holy Cross)

Biggest holes to fill: The Ramblers welcome back just one returning starter on defense-- senior DE Luke Desherow. 

EDGY's Early Take: Head coach John Holecek might be coming off his best coaching year ever. The Ramblers hit a rough midseason patch, losing three of four games and needing to win out in the last two regular season games just to make the IHSA playoff field. From there, they rattled off seven straight wins and captured the school's second 8A state title in four years and their third overall IHSA football state title in school history (the other was in 1993). The 2019 Ramblers offense will be critical in setting the tone, especially in the early going. They bring back six returning starters. Senior RB Trevor Cabanban and senior RB Tyler Flores are proven, experienced options in the run game who will run behind three returning starters on the offensive line: senior Christo Kelly, junior Josh Kreutz and senior Peter Gianaris. Loyola will also feature several newcomers, including junior QB Perrion McClinton. Junior kicker Nate Van Zelst is already drawing recruiting attention. As mentioned, the defense will be young but the talent level in the underclassmen group is very high. Several of them will be asked to step big time up this season. Loyola Academy has remained one of the most consistent large enrollment programs to find ways to win. They've posted double-digit win totals every season since 2008. They have the pieces in place for another deep run to DeKalb this fall. 

2 Days to Kickoff: Nazareth Academy

2 Days to Kickoff: Nazareth Academy

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 Aug. 5, we’ll unveil the @NBCSPrepsTop 25 Power Rankings, leading up to kickoff on Friday, Aug. 30.

School: Nazareth Academy

Head coach: Tim Racki

Assistant coaches: Casey Moran, Joe Reynolds, Rudy Luna, Brody Budmayr, Jeff Tumpane, Joe Battaglia, Steve Gray, Andy Miller and Larry White

How they fared in 2018: 13-1 (6-1 East Suburban Catholic Conference). Nazareth made the 2018 7A state playoff field and defeated Andrew, Hersey, Simeon and Batavia. They advanced to the state title game and defeated St. Charles North 31-10.

2019 regular season schedule:

Aug. 31 vs Cardinal Ritter (MO)
Sept. 6 vs Curie
Sept. 13 vs Fenwick
Sept. 20 @ St. Laurence
Sept. 27 vs Leo
Oct. 4 vs De La Salle
Oct. 11 @ Marist
Oct. 18 @ Notre Dame
Oct. 26 @ Benet Academy

[MORE: 73 Days to Kickoff - Fenwick] 

Biggest storyline: It's a pretty simple one-- Can Nazareth Academy win back-to-back Class 7A state titles?

Names to watch this season: QB J.J. McCarthy (Jr., Michigan) LB Marcus Griffin (Sr.) and WR Tyler Morris (Soph.)

Biggest holes to fill: The Roadrunners will need to replace all five starting offensive linemen from a season ago.
 
EDGY's Early Take: The Roadrunners are seeking a repeat of last year's Class 7A championship. Not a bad feat for a program that has been "success factored" by the IHSA for the past two seasons. They have an actual enrollment of 772 and a miltiplied enrollment of 1274, which is much closer to what you would find at a 5A school. Head coach Tim Racki's offense will be spearheaded by junior four star-ranked  QB J.J. McCarthy (Michigan), who has a stable full of talented receivers and backs led by junior RB Derrick Strongs, sophomore WR Tyler Morris and incoming transfer junior WR Landon Morris (6-foot-6, 205 pounds). Morris is another intriguing D-1 talent to watch this season. The defense has experience back. They're led by senior DT C.J. West, senior LB Riley Theobald and senior LB Marcus Griffin. Junior DE Ryan Keeler (6-foot-5, 250 pounds) had multiple Power Five scholarship offers this summer. If the Roadrunners can find the right pieces along the offensive line, they have a great shot to hoist a first place trophy Thanksgiving weekend in DeKalb.  
 

3 Days to Kickoff: Lincoln-Way East

3 Days to Kickoff: Lincoln-Way East

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 Aug. 5, we’ll unveil the @NBCSPrepsTop 25 Power Rankings, leading up to kickoff on Friday, Aug. 30.

School: Lincoln-Way East

Head coach: Rob Zvonar

How they fared in 2018: 12-1 (7-0 Southwest Suburban Conference). LWE made the Class 8A state playoff field and defeated St. Charles East, Glenbard West and Edwardsville. They advanced to the semifinal round where they lost to Loyola Academy.
 
2019 regular season schedule:

Aug. 30 vs Stevenson
Sept. 6 @ Naperville Central
Sept. 13 vs Bradley
Sept. 20 @ Bolingbrook
Sept. 27 vs Homewood-Flossmoor
Oct. 5 @ Lincoln-Way Central
Oct. 11 vs Lockport
Oct. 18 @ Sandburg
Oct. 25 vs Lincoln-Way West

[MORE: 27 Days to Kickoff - Stevenson] 

Biggest storyline: Lincoln-Way East has made the playoffs every year of the program's existence-- 18 years and counting. Can the Griffins, once again, reload and make a deep run toward a state title game this November?

Names to watch this season: ATH A.J. Henning (Sr., Michigan) and DE Sean McLaughlin (Sr., Northwestern) 

Biggest holes to fill: The Griffins will need to replace 18 graduated starters from a season ago. 

EDGY's Early Take: Lincoln-Way East and head coach Rob Zvonar looked unstoppable for almost all of the 2018 season. But in the semifinal round, Loyola Academy stunned the Griffins in a 24-16 loss in Wilmette to end the season. East will feature a senior group long on talent including four star-ranked senior WR A.J. Henning (Michigan). They also bring back senior DE Adrian Wilson (Bowling Green) and senior DE Sean McLaughlin (Northwestern). The new faces are talented as well. Keep an eye on senior QB Kyle Quinn, junior RB Jamal Johnson and junior WR Mason Pierre Antoine. The schedule will test the Griffins right away as they host Stevenson and then travel to Naperville Central in Week 2. If the new faces can settle in quickly, look for the Griffins to challenge for a state title. Lincoln-Way East still possesses one of the biggest and deepest rosters in Illinois-- a huge advantage in this era of lower overall participation numbers in high school football.