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Edgy Tim's Top 25 Preps Power Rankings: Quarterfinal Round

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NBC Sports Chicago

Edgy Tim's Top 25 Preps Power Rankings: Quarterfinal Round

Here are the latest @NBCSPreps Top 25 Power Rankings as teams embark on the semifinal round of the IHSA playoffs.

1. Lincoln-Way East 12-0 (1)
Last Week: Beat Homewood-Flossmoor, 26-7
This Week: @ Marist
EDGY's Take: The Griffins go two-for-two against H-F and make the 8A semifinal round for the third straight season.

2. Mount Carmel 12-0 (2)
Last Week: Beat Phillips, 24-8
This Week: @ Willowbrook
EDGY's Take: Justin Lynch had 169 total yards and two touchdowns in the win. The Caravan will hit the road and take on Willowbrook this Saturday.

3. Nazareth Academy 12-0 (3)
Last Week: Beat Batavia, 38-24
This Week: @ Rolling Meadows
EDGY's Take: Michigan-bound quarterback J.J. McCarthy threw for three touchdowns and the Roadrunners never looked back. They'll have an undefeated Rolling Meadows team to contend with next week.

4. Warren Township 12-0 (4)
Last Week: Beat Bolingbrook, 18-6
This Week: vs Brother Rice
EDGY's Take: The Blue Devils have given up only 40 points on the season. And now, a rematch against Brother Rice-- the team that ended Warren's season in 2018.

5. Brother Rice 8-4 (19)
Last Week: Beat Minooka, 38-21
This Week: @ Warren Township
EDGY's Take: The Crusaders look like a new team in the postseason; sophomore QB Jack Lausch is a big part of the transformation. 

6. Marist 8-4 (18)
Last Week: Beat Loyola, 41-27
This Week: vs Lincoln-Way East
EDGY's Take: The Redhawks beat Loyola twice. In Wilmette. In one season. In less than a month. Wow.

7. Willowbrook 11-1 (14)
Last Week: Beat Lake Zurich, 28-10
This Week: vs Mount Carmel
EDGY's Take: The Warriors get another All State-caliber performance on Saturday from QB Sam Tumilty; Warriors advance to the IHSA semis for the first time since 1975.

8. Rolling Meadows 12-0 (15)
Last Week: Beat Wheaton South, 20-3
This Week: vs Nazareth Academy
EDGY's Take: The Mustangs continue to get a strong postseason from their defense while QB Cason Schiller has also been a major key on offense.

9. Prairie Ridge 11-1 (14)
Last Week: Beat Cary-Grove, 14-13
This Week: @ Deerfield
EDGY's Take: The Wolves beat C-G handily in the regular season but had to hang on for dear life in this one.

10. Homewood-Flossmoor 10-2 (5)
Last Week: Lost to Lincoln Way East, 26-7
This Week: Season Completed
EDGY's Take: The Vikings and head coach Craig Buzea will have a nice core of underclassmen coming back in 2020. 

11. Loyola 8-4 (6)
Last Week: Lost to Marist, 41-27
This Week: Season Completed
EDGY's Take: The Ramblers started several key underclassmen this season on both sides of the football. They will be a force in 2020.

12. St. Rita 9-3 (16)
Last Week: Beat Hillcrest, 35-8
This Week: vs Boylan
EDGY's Take: Kaleb Brown had two touchdowns in the win. The Mustangs have rolled so far in 5A and get to host Rockford Boylan on Saturday.

13. Minooka 11-1 (7)
Last Week: Lost to Brother Rice, 38-21
This Week: Season Completed
EDGY's Take: The Indians will graduate 17 senior starters this spring but the numbers remain up in Minooka.

14. Bolingbrook 8-4 (8)
Last Week: Lost to Warren Township, 18-6
This Week: Season Completed
EDGY's Take: The Raiders also will look to reload a bit in 2020. Having two FBS-level underclassmen back in (S) Justin Walters and (LB) Tyler McLaurin is a good place to start. 

15. Glenbard West 10-1 (9)
Last Week: Season Completed
This Week: Season Completed
EDGY's Take: The Hilltoppers also welcome back some key underclassmen for 2020 including RB Jalen Moore.

16. Neuqua Valley 9-2 (10)
Last Week: Season Completed
This Week: Season Completed
EDGY's Take: The Wildcats will need to reload in the offensive skills department for 2020 but the Wildcats always have talent in the program.

17. Batavia 9-3 (11)
Last Week: Lost to Nazareth Academy, 38-24
This Week: Season Completed
EDGY's Take: The Bulldogs also will return some key names in 2020 led by WR Trey Urwiler and QB Kyle Oroni.
 
18. Hillcrest 10-2 (12)
Last Week: Lost to St. Rita, 35-8
This Week: Season Completed
EDGY's Take: Hillcrest head coach Morgan Weaver has built the Hawks into a top South Suburban power and having RB Mar'Kiese Irving back for another year is huge.

19. Huntley 9-2 (19)
Last Week: Season Completed
This Week: Season Completed
EDGY's Take: Season Completed

20. Maine South 7-3 (20)
Last Week: Season Completed
This Week: Season Completed
EDGY's Take: Season Completed 

21. Phillips 9-2 (21)
Last Week: Lost to Mount Carmel, 24-8
This Week: Season Completed
EDGY's Take: The Wildcats are a perennial contender. They will reload the roster again and be a force in the CPL and Class 7A in 2020.

22. Wheaton South 8-4 (22)
Last Week: Lost to Rolling Meadows, 20-3
This Week: Season Completed
EDGY's Take: The Tigers also will look to QB Parker Brown being back in 2020.
  
23. Deerfield 10-2 (NR)
Last Week: Beat Lake Forest, 21-20
This Week: vs Prairie Ridge
EDGY's Take: The Warriors beat Lake Forest and are in the IHSA semifinals for the first time since 1990. Is Steve Winiecki Coach of the Year?

24. Fremd 8-3 (24)
Last Week: Season Completed
This Week: Season Completed
EDGY's Take: Season Completed

25. Notre Dame 8-3 (25)
Last Week: Season Completed
This Week: Season Completed
EDGY's Take: Season Completed

Edgy Tim's quarterfinal round analysis and picks

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NBC Sports Chicago

Edgy Tim's quarterfinal round analysis and picks

NBC Sports Chicago will have cameras covering the biggest high school football games across Chicagoland on the IHSA quarterfinal round edition of High School Lites, this Saturday at 11:00 p.m. Can Marist beat Loyola twice on the road in the span of a few weeks? Can Minooka stun Brother Rice on Chicago's South Side? Can Batavia get some revenge against Nazareth Academy? Who do you have winning the unofficial Prep Bowl between Phillips and Mount Carmel? Who wins the Fox Valley Super Bowl between Cary Grove and Prairie Ridge?

Class 8A

(23) Marist at (18) Loyola Academy, 12:30 p.m.

EDGY's Take: This is a rematch from Week 9 as Marist (7-4) defeated Loyola (8-3) 14-6 to earn the Redhawks a playoff bid. Marist head coach Ron Dawczak has relied on senior QB Hayden Mikesell, a steady running game and a big offensive line led by junior Pat Coogan. The Redhawks defense has been strong in the postseason as well. They're led by senior LB Colin Bohanek (EIU). Loyola is coming off a come from behind 28-27 win over Glenbard West. In that game, the Ramblers' running game got on track behind RB Vaughn Pemberton. The passing game remains solid with junior QB J.T. Thomas and his main target WR Matty Mangan. Can Marist beat Loyola twice within a month in Wilmette? 

EDGY's Pick: Loyola 27 Marist 17

(1) Minooka at (24) Brother Rice, 5:00 p.m.

EDGY's Take: Minooka (11-0), with Hall of Fame head coach John Belskis, will rely on a strong running game to keep the Crusaders offense off the field. Minooka senior QB Seth Lehr is a steady signal caller and leader for the Indians. Senior OL/DL Jacob Shipla and RB Noah Ellens are solid as well. Defensively, keep an eye on junior FB/LB Zach Wingerder, senior DB Ernesto Ramirez and senior DB/WR Steven Gonzales. Brother Rice (7-4) has been able to overcome various injuries while still winning games. Coach Brian Badke and his staff have settled on sophomore QB John Lausch to run the offense while junior RB Willie Shaw has been a major impact player out of the backfield. The 'Rice 'D is also a strength. Watch for senior DL/LB Justin Jefferson, senior DT Denver Warren, senior S Giacomo Iraci and sophomore LB Myles Jones. The best match up is in the trenches: Minooka's O-line against Rice's D-line. 

EDGY's Pick: Minooka 27 Brother Rice 21

Class 7A

(8) Phillips at (1) Mount Carmel, 1:00 p.m. #SENDEDGY

EDGY's Take: The unofficial Prep Bowl takes place on Saturday at Mount Carmel in a game that's been highly anticipated for the past handful of years. Phillips (10-1) will feature QB Antonio Brown to run the Wildcats offense and senior WR/S Ronald Pledger has been a key playmaker for coach Troy McAllister and company. Mount Carmel (11-0) head coach Jordan Lynch features a ball control offense led by junior QB Justin Lynch. Junior RB/LB Kenenna Odeluga has been strong all season long. Senior OL/DL Jalen Grant leads the Caravan offensive and defensive line. Can Phillips get the football back from the Caravan offense on Saturday? Can the Mount Carmel defense avoid giving up the big play against Phillips?
 
EDGY's Pick: Mount Carmel 21 Phillips 14

(7) Batavia at (2) Nazareth, 1:00 p.m.

EDGY's Take: This is a rematch from last year's 7A semifinal, where Nazareth defeated Batavia 47-28; the Roadrunners wound up winning the state title. Batavia (9-2) is back once again, making a deep November run behind a strong running game led by senior RB Art Taylor and senior RB/LB Quinn Urwiler (North Dakota). The Bulldogs' defense is always fast and physical. Junior LB Matt "Mojo" Weerts is a name to watch along with senior S Sam Barus. Nazareth's offense is centered on Michigan commit J.J. McCarthy. This quarterback's main target has been junior WR Tyler Morris. The Roadrunners 'D also has talent. Keep an eye on junior DE/OL Ryan Keeler, senior LB Marcus Griffin (GVSU), senior ILB Riley Theobald and senior DB Jailon Welch (SIU). Can the Batavia defense slow down and contain the Nazareth spread offense?
  
EDGY's Pick: Nazareth Academy 31 Batavia 28

(5) Willowbrook at (20) Lake Zurich, 1:00 p.m.

EDGY's Take: Willowbrook (10-1) and head coach Nick Hildreth is in the 7A quarterfinal round for the fourth straight season. A huge part of the Warriors success has been senior QB/DB Sam Tumilty. On offense, he has a nice stable of backs and receivers. Senior Deandre Holliday and RB Ta'Vion Geanes will make plays. Lake Zurich has been playing great defense in the postseason; their offense has been able to generate enough points to keep advancing. Quarterback Jack Moses, senior TE Hunter Welcing (Northwestern), senior WR James Piggott and junior LB Bryan Sanborn are the leaders for the Bears. Can the Lake Zurich defense contain Sam Tumilty on Saturday? Can the Lake Zurich offense get into the end zone a bit more? Should be a good one.

EDGY's Pick: Lake Zurich 14 Willowbrook 13

Class 6A

(6) Cary-Grove at (1) Prairie Ridge, 1:00 p.m.

EDGY's Take: The annual "Fox Valley Super Bowl" takes things to an even-higher level come Saturday. Cary-Grove lost to rival Prairie Ridge 42-7 back in Week 5 as the Trojans just couldn't get their power run game on track. Cary-Grove will rely on senior FB/LB Blake Skol and senior QB Luke Eleftheriou to move the football and control the clock. Prairie Ridge (10-1) and head coach Chris Schremp will also want to run the football. Can the Wolves' power run game make a statement? The leaders on offense are QB Connor Lydon, FB Kyle Koelblinger and senior RB Blake Brown. Can the Trojans' defense slow down the Prairie Ridge run game? Can the Cary-Grove offensive line have a better showing in this rematch?
 
EDGY's Pick: Prairie Ridge 31 Cary Grove 20

Class 5A

(8) St. Rita at (4) Hillcrest, 3:00 p.m.

EDGY's Take: St. Rita (7-4) has been rolling this season. Coach Todd Kuska's crew posted an impressive 32-0 road win last Saturday over Sterling to advance. The Mustangs are getting an All-State caliber season from sophomore RB Kaleb Brown. He's been running behind an offensive line that is always a strength. The Mustangs' defense has been terrific since mid-season. Hillcrest (10-1) head coach Morgan Weaver also has an All-State caliber running back in junior Mar'Kiese Irving, but how healthy will Irving be after leaving in the second quarter in last week's 28-7 win over Fenwick? The Hawks also have playmakers in junior QB Robert Myles and senior RB/DB Darius Dawson. Can Rita's defense slow down the Hillcrest running game and big play potential? Will Mar'Kiese Irving be ready to go on Saturday? 

EDGY's Pick: St. Rita 31 Hillcrest 24

Class 4A

(3) IC Catholic at (2) Richmond-Burton, 3:00 p.m.

EDGY's Take: IC Catholic (10-1) is in the midst of another deep postseason run in attempting to defend its 4A state title. Head coach Bill Krefft and the Knights will rely on senior QB Danny Cronin and the big play ability of junior RB Kyle Franklin. This team has strong play on both the offensive and defensive lines. Richmond-Burton (11-0) features veteran head coach Mike Noll. The Rockets are rolling this season behind a big and physical offensive line. FB Dalton Wood is a name to watch along with RB Nick Legnaioli. Don't overlook the air attach. The Rockets are very capable of throwing the football with QB Josh Huber. Can R-B slow down the Knights' balanced offensive attack? Will home field advantage come into play for Richmond-Burton?

EDGY's Pick: IC Catholic 28 Richmond Burton 27

Class 3A

(3) Wilmington at (2) Byron, 1:00 p.m.

EDGY's Take: Wilmington and Byron are very familiar with each other, having faced off several times the years in the state playoffs. The visiting Wildcats (10-1), with veteran head coach Jeff Reents, will look to run the football. They will rely on RBs Jake Rodewald and Trey Shaw. The latter has been having a very strong postseason. While Wilmington doesn't throw the football a ton, QB Keaton Hopwood was able to show off his passing ability in beating Eureka last Saturday. Byron (10-1) and head coach Jeff Boyer have been on a mission after losing in the 3A state title game last season. The Tigers also want to run the football. RB Isaac Stickler will have his name called often. Same goes for Drake Snodgrass. Senior OL/DL Tyler Elsbury (Iowa) is a force on both sides of the football for the Tigers. Can Wilmington slow down the Byron power run game? Can the Byron defense find the football against the Wilmington offense?

EDGY's Pick: Byron 28 Wilmington 21

Offense wins IHSA football games...defense wins championships

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NBC Sports Chicago

Offense wins IHSA football games...defense wins championships

Every once in a while I come up with a decent idea for our weekly @NBCSPreps live Twitter segment— like this week's topic: “What are the top defenses that are still alive in the IHSA state playoff field?”

However, sometimes these "great" ideas become a bit harder the longer you look at them. This was definitely the case with this week's segment. 

While we only are allowed to list 13 teams for consideration for these segments (due to space restrictions) I came up with at least a handful of other teams who also could make the final cut of what was shown on the big board. 

Look, any team that makes it to the second round of the playoffs is good and they, more than likely, have a good defense. 

But in my mind, it's much more than just points allowed that separates the very good from the great defenses. 

For me, a great defense is a mindset. It's an attitude. A swagger. And they’re all present in that unit's play for each down.

An example? 

Warren Township’s entire defense plays with a mindset and a mentality that they are going to destroy everyone in front of them. And over the past two years in particular, in more cases than not, the Blue Devils defense has succeeded. Sure, Warren has also has its share of marquee names, starting with Iowa State commit DT Willis Singleton Jr., senior LB Juan Delacruz and junior LB Malachi McNeal. That said, the unit as a whole here is simply stronger than the individual parts. 

There are several other top teams left in Class 8A that are right there with the top defenses across the state. Take Loyola. 
The Ramblers also take on that same mindset and the personality mentioned above. Loyola coach John Holocek has a defense that, year in and year our, keep them in every game this season. The consistency over the years has been something to behold.

Lincoln-Way East head coach Rob Zvonar just seems to reload year in and year out with a brand new group of talented, speedy and highly intelligent kids on the Griffins‘ defense. Of course, having elite talent helps. East features two D-1 defensive ends in Adrain Wilson (Bowling Green) and Sean McLaughlin (Northwestern). The remainder of the Griffins’ defense is more kids who are simply  blue collar types— unheralded names who just show up and grind week in and week out. 

Then there is Glenbard West. Chad Hetlet's defense is nicknamed “The Hitters.” What else do you need to know? The Hitters play with a combination of speed and physicality you just don't see very often. When Hetlet's defense performs to his lofty standards, you can guarantee football in Glen Ellyn well into late November. 

While South Elgin (9-1) is still searching for respect from a rankings standpoint (keep those emails and DM's coming, fans) and while head coach Dragan Teonic teams have been more known for having a wide open offense, the Storm's defense in 2019 has been equally as strong than the offense. If you allow just 45 points in 10 games like the South Elgin defense has, I couldn’t care less about the teams you’ve played. Your defense is exceptional. 

In Class 7A alone you have teams such as Phillips, Mount Carmel, Willowbrook and Lake Zurich who all feature terrific defenses week in and week out. In Class 6A, while downstate Glenwood (10-0) has an offense that seems to get the hype, did you realize that the Titans ‘D has allowed just 105 points in 10 games so far this season? 

We can debate this all day and night long and that's fine. But all I know is that teams with the best defenses will be holding first place trophies on Thanksgiving weekend at NIU.