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: Corey Olson
How they fared in 2017: 7-4 (4-1 Mid Suburban West Conference). Palatine made the Class 8A state playoff field. They defeated South Elgin and then lost to Edwardsville in second round action.
2018 Regular Season Schedule:
Aug. 24 @ Stevenson
Aug. 31 vs Rolling Meadows
Sept. 7 @ Glenbrook South
Sept. 14 vs New Trier
Sept. 21 vs Fremd
Sept. 28 @ Hoffman Estates
Oct. 5 vs Schaumburg
Oct. 12 @ Conant
Oct. 19 @ Barrington
[MORE: 83 Days to Kickoff - Fremd]
Biggest storyline: The Pirates are shooting for their 11th playoff season in 12 years. How much can they reload this season en route to playoff football in the fall?
Names to watch this season: OL/DL David Balanganayi and WR Jake Gronwick
Biggest holes to fill: The Pirates will need to have a few guys step up in several spots including quarterback, wide receiver and also on both the offensive and defensive line.
EDGY's Early Take: Palatine and head coach Corey Olson will be a bit younger this season. The Pirates lost some key impact names from a season ago, including WR Johnny O'Shea, DB Jake Moertl and QB D.J. Angelaccio. One of the big keys for the Pirates this season will be getting some of the newer faces up to speed quickly.The early non-conference schedule will be a challenge, featuring games against the likes of Stevenson and New Trier. They also have a Week Two Mid-Suburban crossover hosting Rolling Meadows.
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.
CSNChicago.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 Jul. 31, we'll unveil the @CSNPreps Top 25 Power Rankings, leading up to kickoff on Friday, Aug. 25.
Head coach: Craig Buzea
How they fared in 2016: 10-1 (7-0 Southwest Suburban Conference), made the Class 8A state playoff field, defeated Evanston then lost to Glenbard West in second-round action.
[MORE: CSN Preps Preseason Power Rankings - No. 10 Palatine]
2017 regular season schedule:
Aug. 25 vs. Michigan City, Indiana
Sept. 1 @ South Durham, North Carolina
Sept. 8 @ Stagg
Sept. 15 vs. Bolingbrook
Sept. 22 @ Lincoln-Way West
Sept. 28 vs. Lincoln-Way East
Oct. 6 vs. Bradley
Oct. 13 @ Andrew
Oct. 20 @ Sandburg
Biggest storyline: Can the Vikings get deep into the Class 8A state playoffs in 2017?
Names to watch this season: senior RB/DB Justin Hall (NIU), senior DL Jeff Griffin (NIU), senior LB Mario Wright II (Western Kentucky)
Biggest holes to fill: The Vikings will need to fill some important spots including the quarterback position this fall.
EDGY's early take: If any program can reload each year it's the Vikings under Buzea. The Vikings will look towards Hall, who can see action at any number of positions including returner. Griffin moved over from the offensive line, while Wright II is another name to watch along with junior defensive back Wynston Russell, a top Class of 2019 player who transferred in from De La Salle. Homewood-Flossmoor has the overall numbers, talent and depth to once again be a real threat in Class 8A this season.