Preps Talk

Youkilis nonprofit group helping youth baseball after fire

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Youkilis nonprofit group helping youth baseball after fire

GOFFSTOWN, N.H. White Sox third baseman Kevin Youkilis is helping out a youth baseball organization in New Hampshire that lost everything in a weekend fire.

A lightning strike leveled a storage shed at Allard Park in Goffstown on Saturday night, destroying thousands of dollars worth of equipment that belonged to the Goffstown Babe Ruth organization.

WMUR-TV reports a nonprofit group led by the former Red Sox third baseman said Monday it will replace all the equipment that was destroyed. The organization Youks Kids said it will donate up to 20,000.
Copyright2012 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published,broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

High School Lites Preview: Week Five

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NBC Sports Chicago

High School Lites Preview: Week Five

NBC Sports Chicago will have cameras across Chicagoland covering the biggest high school football on the Week Five edition of High School Lites, Friday at 11:00 p.m. Can Notre Dame keep rolling and beat Marian Central Catholic in ESCC play? Can Benet Academy slow Nazareth's high flying offense? Can Wheaton South detour Batavia's drive to the DuKane Conference title? Will Maine South remain the kings of the Central Suburban South or will Evanston have other ideas? And which side of the bitter rivalry are you on...the (Lincoln-Way) East side or the (Lincoln-Way) Central side?

All games are Friday unless otherwise noted. Numbers in parantheses reflect the latest @NBCSPreps Power Rankings.

Thursday: Curie vs Hubbard at Gately Stadium, 7:15 p.m.

EDGY's Take: First-year head coach Arthur Ray Jr. was able to get his Condors (1-3) in the win column with a victory over Taft last week. Curie has played a very difficult non-conference slate. They will feature senior big back AJ Sanya and QB Damarius Johns. As for Hubbard and veteran head coach Elton Harris, they boast a standout, two-way lineman in senior D-1 recruit Kenny Givens. Keep an eye on senior WR/DB Montrell Edmonds as well. Can the Hubbard defense slow down AJ Sanya and the Condors? Can Curie prevent Hubbard from breaking open big plays? 

EDGY's Pick: Curie 22 Hubbard 20

Kenwood at Back of the Yards, 4:30 p.m.

EDGY's Take: Both Kenwood (4-0, 1-0) and Back of the Yards (4-0, 1-0) are looking to get a leg up in the CPL Illini Prairie State conference race with a win this week. Coach Sinque Turner of Kenwood will rely on several key names including senior WR/DB Mark Aitken (NIU). As for Back of the Yards, head coach Sheamus Murphy features a loaded roster. Keep an eye out on OL/DL Kevin Pacheco. Can Back of the Yards slow down Kenwood's speed and big play potential?

EDGY's Pick: Kenwood 27 Back of the Yards 12

Lincoln-Way Central at (1) Lincoln-Way East, 7:00 p.m.


EDGY's Take: Lincoln-Way East (4-0, 2-0) has been piling up the points (178) so far this season. Coach Rob Zvonar has the Griffins offense clicking; they're led by Illinois State commit QB Jack Baltz. The first team offense hasn't played a full four quarters yet in 2018. East's defense is also a strength. Don't be surprised if LB Gus Christensen and junior DE Adrian Wilson make some plays. Lincoln-Way Central (3-1, 3-0), under head coach Jeremy Cordell, will look to establish the running game. They'll get the football into the hands of RB Conner McWilliams and RB Justin Ellis as much as possible. Can Central's offense run the football against the East's defense?

EDGY's Pick: Lincoln-Way East 37 Lincoln-Way Central 21

Marian Central Catholic at Notre Dame, 7:00 p.m.

EDGY's Take: Marian Central Catholic (3-1, 1-1), coached by Mike Maloney, has been getting a big season so far from QB Patsy Ricciardi and RB Luke Rogers. The Hurricanes defense will be tested this week. Notre Dame (3-1, 1-1), under veteran coach in Mike Hennessey, has some weapons on offense led by senior RB Ty Gavin and sophomore QB Anthony Sales. Whose defense comes ready to play for four quarters this Friday? 

EDGY's Pick: Notre Dame 28 Marian Central Catholic 21

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

EDGY's Take: Benet Academy (3-1, 1-1) is coming off a loss last week to Notre Dame. The Redwings will go back to work on Friday with a major task: trying to slow down one of the state's most explosive offenses in Nazareth Academy (4-0, 2-0). Benet's offense is anchored by junior QB Colin Gillespie and a strong running game with RB Ben Hickey. Their defense is also a strength. Watch for senior DL Jack Benish to make some plays. As for the Roadrunners, head coach Tim Racki has gotten a big year so far from sophomore QB JJ McCarthy. Nazareth also hase a couple of big time playmakers in the likes of senior WR Michael Love and senior WR/DB Diamond Evans. The defense has experience. Keep an eye on senior linemen Cameron Leach and Nathan Lugo. Can the Benet defense limit Nazareth's big play ability?

EDGY's Pick: Nazareth 31 Benet 21

Wheaton Warrenville South at (3) Batavia, 7:30 p.m.

EDGY's Take: Veteran head coach Ron Muhitch has his Wheaton Warrenville South Tigers (4-0, 2-0) playing well and clicking in all three phases. They will look to establish the run with junior RB Jake Arthurs and QB Noah Henkel. WR Jack Olson is also a top-notch kicker/punter. On defense, the Tigers have allowed just 17 points this season. Batavia (4-0, 2-0) also wants to run the football. Keep an eye out for RB Art Taylor and the play-action passing game. That area of their offense has improved each week under QB Jack Meyers. Batavia's defense features two D-1 names in senior LB Luke Weerts (North Dakota State) and OLB Michael Jansey Jr. (Northwestern). Can the Tigers run the football against the Batavia defense? Can the Batavia offense keep the Wheaton South defense on their heels?

EDGY's Pick: Batavia 27 Wheaton South 17

Warren at Lake Forest, 7:30 p.m.

EDGY's Take: Lake Forest (2-2, 2-0) struggled a bit early out of the gates but has now won two straight North Suburban conference games, including a big win last week over Lake Zurich. The Scouts have a potent offense led by QB James Swartout and senior WR Ryan Cekay (Colgate). Junior DL Rylie Mills is already a nationally sought-after recruit in the Class of 2020. Warren Township (3-1, 2-0) lost their season opener to Barrington but has since put together three straight wins. On offense, the Blue Devils will get the football into the hands of RB Martin Walker Jr.  Warren's defensive line is a strength behind senior Zach Pelland and junior DT Willis Singleton, Jr. Can the Lake Forest offense move the football against the Blue Devils defense? 

EDGY's Pick: Warren Township 28 Lake Forest 27

(12) Maine South at (16) Evanston, 7:30 p.m.

EDGY's Take: Maine South (3-1) and head coach Dave Inserra opens Central Suburban South conference play after a strong non-conference showing, including last week's win over Conant. Senior QB Cole Dow has been making more and more progress after filling in for injured starting QB Bobby Inserra. Also, take note of senior RB/LB Jimmy Bartell and junior D-1 recruit OL/DL Peter Skoronski. Evanston (4-0) has been on a roll. They raised a lot of eyebrows in last week's surprise 32-12 win over Barrington. Wildkits head coach Mike Burzawa has weapons on offense including senior QB Ben Tarpey and junior RB Quadre Nicholson. The defense has played well, allowing just 58 points in four weeks. Can Evanston's defense keep Maine South's offense in check? Will Hawks starting QB Bobby Inserra come back this week? Can the Maine South defense slow down the Kits' explosive offense?

EDGY's Pick: Maine South 35 Evanston 28

(5) Brother Rice at Providence, 7:30 p.m.

EDGY's Take: Brother Rice (4-0, 1-0) is coming off a big 35-3 win over Loyola. The Crusaders have already doubled their win total from a season ago. They've received a big start to the season from senior QB John Bean. He's truly a dual threat in the Rice offense; their line play is also a strength. Providence Catholic (4-0, 1-0), under head coach Mark Coglianese, is off to a strong start as well this fall. The offense has been able to run the football behind a big and physical line, led by junior Jake Renfro. The Celtics have two quality running backs in senior Brenden Martus and freshman Aaron Vaughn. Can the Providence offense run the ball against the Crusader 'D? 

EDGY's Pick: Brother Rice 28 Providence Catholic 14

Viewers' Choice Game 

Oswego East at Plainfield South, 7:00 p.m.

EDGY's Take: Plainfield South (4-0, 4-0) is off to a terrific start this season. Head coach Bill Bicker and the Cougars will rely on a punishing ground game, led by senior RB/QB Cody Dieball. They boast a very fast/athletic defense which has allowed just 20 points so far this season. Oswego East (4-0, 4-0) has been rolling along. The Wolves, coached by Tyson LeBlanc, have talent this fall including senior WR/DB Justin Clark and a defense that's allowed just six points so far this season. But the schedule ramps up big time starting on Friday with Plainfield South. Can the Cougars run the football, move the chains and match speed against speed with Oswego East? Can the Wolves take away the Plainfield South option game and break some big plays against the Cougars defense?  

EDGY's Pick: Oswego East 14 Plainfield South 13

Why 'here we go again' may not be a bad thought for the Bears' defense

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USA Today

Why 'here we go again' may not be a bad thought for the Bears' defense

When Russell Wilson dropped a perfectly-placed dime to receiver Tyler Lockett in the back corner of Soldier Field’s north end zone on Monday night, it was naive to think some players on the Bears’ defense didn’t have "here we go again" cross their mind.

That score cut the Bears’ lead to 17-10 with plenty of time for a Super Bowl-winning quarterback to mount a comeback. More importantly, it came eight days after Aaron Rodgers fired an outlandishly-good touchdown pass to Geronimo Allison (who, like Lockett, beat Kyle Fuller on the play) for a touchdown that sparked a monumental fourth quarter Packers rally.

But thinking “here we go again” doesn’t necessarily mean it’s a negative thought leading to a self-fulfilling prophecy. For cornerback Prince Amukamara, it wound up being a motivational, positive thing. 

“I don’t know how other players thought, but I know personally for me, I kinda caught myself and said, okay, do not say here we go again,” Amukamara said. “Just know, try to remember what happened last week and try to step it up that much more to prevent it from happening. I think it definitely was in the back of my head and because it was, it just made me want to play that much harder. 

“… You try to take control of that thought because yes, they did march down the field and then it was 17-10 and it’s still in the fourth quarter, and it’s like gosh, we played so hard in the first half, let’s continue to finish. I was happy to stretch the lead a little more.”

Amukamara’s pick six on a swing pass to running back Rashaad Penny happened because of film study and coaching to jump that route, as well as catching thousands of balls from JUGS machines during the offseason. The extra motivation he got from not wanting the same Week 1 fate to befall his team in Week 2 was a bonus. But the mentality on the sideline after Wilson’s touchdown to Lockett was confident and positive, to the point where Eddie Jackson told Amukamara they should do a baseball celebration if one of them got a pick-six (that celebration didn’t happen in the commotion of Amukamara’s touchdown). 

Still, the Bears’ defense probably needed to finish the way they did against Seattle — with Amukamara’s pick-six and Danny Trevathan’s strip-sack — to make sure “here we go again” didn’t become a bad thing. Amukamara pointed to his third year in the league, when the New York Giants began the 2013 season with six consecutive losses, as an example of how things can spiral negatively. 

“We couldn’t get over that hump,” Amukamara said. “We just have to make sure that we don’t get that mood here.”

The Bears’ defense believed it could and would finish a game if given another opportunity following their Week 1 loss. But believing something and following through on it can sometimes be two different things, so for this group to accomplish what they set out to do on Monday can pay dividends the rest of the season. 

Meaning: The next time the Bears get in a similar situation as they had in Green Bay, they can think “here we go again” — but in the sense of finishing out a win, not losing control for a loss. 

“For us to be resilient and come up with the win, it shows a lot of character with our team,” Amukamara said.