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.
Head coach: Morgan Weaver
Assistant coaches: Mike Young, Kyran Weaver, Rob Hancock, Ryan Keen, Nicholas Schultz, Tramaine Weaver, Phillip Burkett and Langdon Mattox
How they fared in 2017: 9-3 (5-1 South Suburban Blue Conference). Hillcrest made the Class 5A state football playoff field. The Hawks defeated Peoria and Glenwood then lost to Dunlap in the quarterfinal round.
2018 Regular Season Schedule:
Aug. 24 vs Rich Central
Sept. 1 @ Rich South
Sept 7 @ Shepard
Sept. 14 vs Oak Forest
Sept. 21 vs Lemont
Sept. 28 @ Tinley Park
Oct. 5 @ T.F. South
Oct. 12 @ T.F. North
Oct. 19 vs Bremen
[MORE: 79 Days to Kickoff - Crete-Monee]
Biggest storyline: Consistency. After two straight postseason berths, can the Hawks reload and get back into the IHSA playoff field once again this fall?
Names to watch this season: WR Corey Crooms (Western Michigan) and DE Cam Mattox (NIU)
Biggest holes to fill: The Hawks welcome back 11 returning starters (six offense, five defense); hoewever, they will need to reload on the offensive line and at linebacker.
EDGY's Early Take: Head coach Morgan Weaver was able to get the Hawks into the state playoffs in his first season. What can they do as an encore? Hillcrest has the potential to be a real threat in 5A. Keep an eye on a strong and experienced group of receivers and backs led by senior Corey Crooms (Western Michigan). They also boast a defense that features an experienced secondary and a ton of speed.
While we are still just one week into the 2017 IHSA football season, a few schools came away with eye-catching victories in the opening weekend. Could the following five teams stick around for the long haul?
Addison Trail- The Blazers posted a strong 28-0 win over Glenbard South to open the season. Head coach Paul Parpet Jr. has a standout in senior RB Nick D'Ambrose. A-Trail also brings back experienced line play on both sides of the football. They travel to Elmhurst to take on York this week.
Hillcrest- The biggest high school football question in Country Club Hills was regarding new head coach Morgan Weaver: could he carry over the Hawks' success from former head coach Marquise Cole? After the Hawks blasted Morgan Park 52-0 last Saturday, it's looking like Hillcrest should be just fine this fall. Hillcrest hosts the Stars from Rich South Friday.
St. Edward- The Green Wave got off to a torrid 4-0 start last season before losing five straight games to end the season. But after Friday's impressive 44-26 win over 5A power Metamora, you can't help but get excited about the Green Wave's chances in 2017. Senior QB Dylan Mlinarich, an All-State quarterback last season, is one of several returning starters to watch this fall. No rest for the Wave, though, as they welcome a solid Chicago Hope Academy team to Elgin Friday night.
[MORE: Edgy Tim's Week Two Power Rankings]
Lake Park- The Lancers pulled off one of the most impressive upset wins last Friday, beating Waubonsie Valley 36-34. And as a result, they picked up a huge early-season DuPage Valley Conference victory. Lake Park and head coach Chris Roll took their lumps last season, finishing 2-7. However, they welcomed back 30 seniors and feature a roster loaded with varisity experience. Keep an eye on senior QB Jackson Behles and senior LB Gino Romano for the Lancers. Up next: a home date with Wheaton Warrenville South Friday night.
Oswego East- The Wolves and head coach Tyson LeBlanc had several big questions heading into the season. One of them figuring out how to replace several starters from last year's 9-2 state playoff team. In steps junior ATH Justin Clark, who can play several spots for the Wolves including quarterback. Illinois verbal commit DB Antwain Walker is another name to watch. Both played huge roles in the Oswego East 36-20 win over Joliet West last Friday. The Wolves travel to Romeoville on Friday.