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: Glenbard North
Head coach: Ryan Wilkens
How they fared in 2018: 0-9 (0-7 DuKane Conference). Glenbard North failed to qualify for the IHSA state football playoff field.
2019 regular season schedule:
Aug. 30 vs Neuqua Valley
Sept. 6 @ Warren Township
Sept. 13 vs St. Charles East
Sept. 20 @ Batavia
Sept. 27 vs Wheaton North
Oct. 4 vs Lake Park
Oct. 11 @ St. Charles North
Oct. 18 @ Wheaton South
Oct. 25 vs Geneva
[MORE: 64 Days to Kickoff - Geneva]
Biggest storyline: The redemption tour. Can the Panthers bounce back after last season's downturn and challenge for a state playoff spot?
Names to watch this season: QB Michael Vazquez (Sr.) and RB/LB Angelo Cusumano (Sr.)
Biggest holes to fill: The Panthers graduated a handful of key leaders from a season ago, particularly DB Josh Flowers and LB Michael Wellman.
EDGY's Early Take: One of the biggest surprises in Chicagoland last season was seeing Glenbard North, a year-in and year-out power who moved from the DuPage Valley to the DuKane Conference, post a winless season for only the second time in school history. Head coach Ryan Wilkens and his staff have led the Panthers to the state playoffs in 12 of the last 14 seasons. This is a very proud program and they’ve looked very focused this summer. The Panthers were able to play a ton of underclassmen in 2018. If they can survive a very tough early regular season schedule (first four games are against 2018 playoff teams), it’ll give us a good indicator on which way the arrow is pointing in Carol Stream.
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: Glenbard North
Head coach: Ryan Wilkens
Assistant coaches: Rich Smelko, John Cassidy, Bruce Donash, John Pullia, Tom Gudella, Kudret Kamberi and Matt Ng
How they fared in 2017: 5-5 (4-4 DuPage Valley Conference). Glenbard North made the Class 7A state playoff field and lost to Batavia in opening round action.
2018 Regular Season Schedule:
Aug. 24 @ Neuqua Valley
Aug. 31 vs Warren Township
Sept. 7 @ St. Charles East
Sept. 14 vs Batavia
Sept. 21 @ Wheaton North
Sept. 28 @ Lake Park
Oct. 5 vs St. Charles North
Oct. 12 vs Wheaton Warrenville South
Oct. 19 @ Geneva
[MORE: 50 Days to Kickoff - Neuqua Valley]
Biggest storyline: The Panthers have a new conference home. Can the Panthers reload and fare well in the DuKane Conference?
Names to watch this season: LB Michael Wellman and FB Jake Wilson
Biggest holes to fill: The Panthers will need several players to step up on offense with just one returning starter back from a season ago-- senior FB Jake Wilson.
EDGY's Early Take: Glenbard North says farewell to the DuPage Valley conference and says hello to all things DuKane. The Panthers will undoubtedly be a younger team in 2018. While some of the star power has graduated, head coach Ryan Wilkens will once again focus on establishing a strong, fast and physical running game. Getting off to a good start against a loaded schedule will be a big key for Glenbard North this season.
Here are five lower-seeded teams in Classes 8A thru 4A that shouldn’t be overlooked heading into this weekend's first round of the IHSA state football playoffs.
No. 23 seed Palatine (6-3): First-year head coach Corey Olson had an up-and-down regular season. But don't let the Pirates’ record fool you. Palatine lost to three state playoff teams in Stevenson (14-7 in Week 1), Maine South (17-14 in Week 4) and Barrington (26-24 in Week 6). The combined record of all three opponents was a stout 23-4. Palatine will rely on senior QB DJ Angelaccio, senior WR Johnny O'Shea and senior WR Jack Orlando. The defense is led by senior LB Cortez Hogans (NIU), senior DE Bryant Smith and versatile senior DB Jake Moertl.
No. 29 seed Glenbard North (5-4): Yes, the Panthers struggled at times this season. Yes, they needed to beat Neuqua Valley last Friday just to make the 7A playoff field. That said, when this team is on they can hang with anyone and everyone in their class. The Panthers have gotten a big season from senior RB/LB Jayleen Fitzpatrick, senior QB Lee Rady and a veteran offensive line anchored by senior Jose Vazquez. GBN’s defense is the program’s calling card. Their secondary, featuring senior Tyrik Henderson (Minnesota), is just one of several names to watch on the defense.
No. 13 seed Providence Catholic (5-4): The Celtics also stumbled to the finish line in regular season play, losing their last two games. But Providence, whose four losses came to opponents with a combined 30-6 record (East St. Louis, Missouri’s Vianney Prep, Loyola Academy and Mount Carmel) are undoubtedly playoff tested. Their running game, featuring senior RB De'Shon Gavin (Western Illinois) and their big, experienced offensive line are included in their many strengths. Providence Catholic, who plays mainly 8A/7A level competition most of the regular season, will have an old-school battle in the opening round against Richards (7-2). Should Providence win that game, the Emerald Isle could go on a deep run.
No. 14 seed Marian Central Catholic (5-4): Head coach Mike Maloney's sideline at times resembled more of a MASH unit than a playoff-ready team. The Hurricanes have survived that storm of injuries and could be primed for a nice run in 5A. Marian Central Catholic has gotten some key names back to the lineup including former QB Gavin Scott, who has been moved to running back. The Hurricanes are also battle-tested coming off an East Suburban Catholic Conference schedule.
No. 14 seed Geneseo: The Maple Leafs are one of the state's traditional power football programs. They have struggled at times but were able to upset state-ranked Morris 21-17 to become playoff eligible. Geneseo also played a tough schedule and posted losses to bigger enrollment playoff names Quincy (6-3), Sterling (9-0), Rochelle (6-3) and Kaneland (6-3). Geneseo is a power running offense built for playoff football. Keep an eye on senior RB Drew Rapps and junior RB Zac Olson.