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.
Head coach: Bill Ziemba
Assistant coaches: John Erlenbaugh, Rob Oden, Carol White, Joe Mende and Phil Wisniewski
How they fared in 2018: 7-5 (2-3 CPL Illini Red Bird Conference). Solorio failed to qualify for the 2018 IHSA state playoff field. The Sun Warriors then entered the CPL playoffs and defeated Lincoln Park and Curie before losing to Taft in the title game.
2019 regular season schedule:
Aug. 30 @ Clark
Sept. 6 vs Phoenix Academy
Sept. 13 @ Raby
Sept. 20 vs Simeon
Sept. 27 @ Taft
Oct. 4 vs Westinghouse
Oct. 11 @ Curie
Oct. 18 vs Hubbard
Oct. 25 vs Perspectives Leadership
[MORE: 82 Days to Kickoff - Taft]
Biggest storyline: The Sun Warriors had a recent string of IHSA playoff berths; last year they advanced to the Public League title game. Can the Sun Warriors make it back to the IHSA state playoff field in 2019?
Names to watch this season: RB Amarius Weatherspoon (Jr.) and WR/DB Brian Whitsey (Jr.)
Biggest holes to fill: The Sun Warriors will bring back a ton of experience for 2019 but will need to fill a few key spots this summer. That list includes the quarterback position and along the defensive line.
EDGY's Early Take: Solorio head coach Bill Ziemba believes his Sun Warriors are in the top five of Public League programs. They finished the 2018 season with a 5-4 record but missed the IHSA state playoff field because of low playoff points. The Sun Warriors will need to ramp up their overall game as they move into to the CPL Illini Land of Lincoln conference. If they can get out of the gates well early on, they have a great shot at getting back to the state playoffs in 2019.
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: Bill Ziemba
How they fared in 2017: 8-4 (3-2 Chicago Public League Illini Land of Lincoln Conference). Solorio made the Class 5A IHSA football playoff field. The Sun Warriors defeated Back of the Yards, then lost to Phillips in second round action. Solorio also lost to Simeon in the Prep Bowl playoffs.
2018 Regular Season Schedule:
Aug. 24 vs Bogan
Sept. 1 vs Niles West
Sept. 7 @ Westinghouse
Sept. 14 @ Simeon
Sept. 21 vs Taft
Sept. 28 vs Lane Tech
Oct. 5 vs Curie
Oct. 12 @ Hubbard
Oct. 19 @ Perspectives
[MORE: 71 Days to Kickoff - Raby]
Biggest storyline: Given the graduation of QB Quincy Patterson (Virginia Tech), can the Sun Warriors readjust and reload this fall?
Names to watch this season: WR/DB Messiah Travis (NIU) and WR/DB Ayinde Thompson
Biggest holes to fill: The Sun Warriors will need to find an answer for Elite 11 QB Quincy Patterson. They'll try to keep the ball rolling with first year head coach Bill Ziemba. Former head coach Matt Erlenbaugh took the Bartlett job.
EDGY's Early Take: Solorio has been on a nice roll over the past few seasons. They've been on the plus side of .500 every year of their existence (since 2012) and the last four seasons have resulted in IHSA playoff berths. Even though Patterson has moved on, the Sun Warriors still have talent on hand this fall. If they can find a few answers over the summer, including on the offensive line, they have some athletes to compete with all challengers in the Public League and beyond this season.
The Bears weren’t the only area football team to have a successful weekend bringing in talent.
Northern Illinois University and head coach Rod Carey saw a big spike over the weekend in the Huskies’ Class of 2019 in-state recruiting efforts.
NIU was able to add four new verbal commitments this past weekend in Solorio junior wide receiver Messiah Travis (5-foot-10, 170 pounds), Raby junior defensive back Romel Goston (6-foot-1, 170 pounds), Buffalo Grove junior tight end Tom Trieb (6-foot-2, 220 pounds) and Kenwood junior cornerback Mark Aitken (5-foot-9, 175 pounds).
"I like a lot of what NIU has to offer," Messiah said. "Getting to play and go to school close to home at NIU was really important to me. I'm really close with my family. It will allow my mom and my dad to come and see me play in college. NIU also recruited me really hard right out of the gates and NIU was my first offer. NIU really made me feel wanted and like I was needed there."
NIU was able to find early recruiting success a year ago when Carey and his staff decided to extend verbal scholarship offers much earlier in the recruiting process compared to previous years.
Three of the latest Chicagoland pledges (Messiah Travis, Romel Goston and Mark Aitken) play together on the HEROH 7-on-7 team based on the South Side. Those connections played a big part in Aitken's decision process.
"We have a really strong connection both mentally and emotionally," according to Aitken. "I feel like we can just make each other better at NIU and also keep each other on the right track. It was definitely a part of my decision to commit to NIU."
NIU now has five known verbal commitments in the Class of 2019. That list includes Detroit’s Martin Luther King High School junior wide receiver Jalen McGaughy (6-foot-3, 175 pounds).
This will mark the sixth full season for Carey leading the Huskies. He owns a 44-24 record during his time in DeKalb with five bowl appearances.