High School: Barrington

IHSA football playoff bracket -- Class 8A

October, 23, 2011
10/23/11
3:18
AM CT
Maine South is shooting for its fourth consecutive Class 8A state championship. Who are the other contenders?

Bracket and analysis.

Weeks 2 prep football preview

September, 2, 2011
9/02/11
2:15
AM CT

Here's a look at the second week of action for the teams ranked in ESPNChicago.com's top 20.

No. 3 Wheaton Warrenville South (0-1) at No. 1 Maine South (1-0)

Maine SouthWheaton Warrenville SouthWhen: Friday at 7 p.m.
The story: This game could have been No. 1 vs. No. 2, but it’s still one of the most anticipated games of the year. Two years ago, Maine South won 27-9 at home. Last season, Wheaton Warrenville South rolled 44-7 at home. Now with the game back in Park Ridge, Maine South is looking for revenge. The lopsided loss was the low point of last season for the Hawks. They did rebound from it and win out. The tables have turned, at least on paper this season. Where Wheaton Warrenville South was the experienced team and Maine South was the young squad last year, it’s now the other way around.
Wheaton Warrenville South players to watch: The Tigers’ young offensive line took its lumps against Glenbard West last week. This is will be another test for it.
Maine South player to watch: Maine South quarterback Matt Alviti was an inexperienced sophomore the last time these teams met. He’s grown up since then.
Quote: Wheaton Warrenville South coach Ron Muhitch – “Maine South is a dynamic spread offense.”
Prediction: Maine South 31, Wheaton Warrenville South 20

Willowbrook (0-1) at No. 2 Glenbard West (1-0)

Glenbard WestWillowbrookWhen: Saturday at 1:30 p.m.
The story: Glenbard West’s defense gave Wheaton Warrenville South little chance last week. With Penn State recruit Tommy Schutt applying constant pressure up front and Glenbard West possessing speed everywhere else, most opponents will experience a similar fate. The Hilltoppers will look to improve their offense this week. Turnovers were a problem last week. Willowbrook lost its opener 35-14 to Glenbard East.
Willowbrook player to watch: Dom Battaglia scored both of Willowbrook’s touchdowns last week. He had a rushing and receiving touchdown.
Glenbard West player to watch: Running back Avery Balogh provided a bulk of the offense last week. He’s a threat once he turns the corner.
Quote: Glenbard West coach Chad Hetlet – “I was impressed last week with how confident we played even when the game was tight.”
Prediction: Glenbard West 42, Willlowbrook 7


No. 4 Montini (1-0) at No. 10 Loyola (1-0)

LoyolaMontiniWhen: Saturday at 1:30 p.m.
The story: Montini possesses one of the state’s most high-powered offenses. Loyola’s defense is in that same class. Something will have to give. A year ago, Loyola won 31-9. Montini lost its starting quarterback prior to last year’s Loyola game, and that’s the case again this season. Junior quarterback Mark Gorogianis filled in for John Rhode last week and held his own. This week will be an even larger challenge against Loyola’s dominant defense. If Gorogianis can get the ball to Nebraska wide receiver recruit Jordan Westerkamp and company, the Broncos will have a chance. Loyola quarterback Malcolm Weaver was sensational in the opening week, throwing for three touchdowns.
Montini player to watch: Defensive tackle Josh Rogers had 12 tackles in last week’s win over Palatine.
Loyola player to watch: Wide receiver Charlie Dowdle had touchdown catches of 24 and 33 yards last week. He’ll be a major target for Weaver all season.
Quote: Montin coach Chris Andriano – “Up front on both sides of Loyola is big, athletic and very well coached. Defensively, they are very good at mixing up coverages and blitzes which can confuse the offense.”
Prediction: Loyola 24, Montini 21


Dunbar (0-1) at No. 5 Lincoln-Way East (1-0)

Lincoln-Way EastDunbarWhen: Friday at 7:30 p.m.
The story: Lincoln-Way East’s offense will have no trouble putting up points this season. The Griffins scored 45 points on Edwardsville last week and that was without Illinois recruit J.J. Robertson playing. Robertson missed the game because he violated team rules. Dunbar’s defense struggled to stop Vernon Hills last week. Dunbar lost 58-34.
Dunbar player to watch: Darvell Harris rushed for two touchdowns and threw for one in last week’s game.
Lincoln-Way East player to watch: Jay Yancy stepped up in Robertson’s absence last week and caught seven passes for 136 yards and two touchdowns.
Prediction: Lincoln-Way East 56, Dunbar 17


No. 6 St. Rita (1-0) at Whitehaven, Tenn. (2-0)

WhitehavenSt. RitaWhen: Sunday at 4 p.m. in East St. Louis, Ill.
The story: St. Rita will face its second out-of-state opponent in as many weeks. The Mustangs defeated Portage, Ind. 32-21 last season. This week should be a tougher task. Whitehaven went 12-2 and lost in the state semifinals last year. In its two games this season, Whitehaven has out-scored it opponents 104-0.
St. Rita player to watch: Linebacker Will McNamara is a three-year starter for the Mustangs. St. Rita’s defense will have to come to play in this one.
Prediction: St. Rita 21, Whitehaven 17


Morgan Park (0-1) vs. No. 7 Mount Carmel (1-0)

Mount CarmelMorgan ParkWhen: Friday at 7:30 p.m. at Gately Stadium
The story: Both these teams played at Soldier Field last week. A lot of people came away impressed by Mount Carmel’s play on both sides of the ball in their win over Simeon. Morgan Park dropped its game 21-6 to Providence. Morgan Park is a work in a progress under first-year coach Jeremy Gold.
Morgan Park player to watch: Quarterback Andrew Newell delivered a touchdown pass against Providence and showed he has potential.
Mount Carmel player to watch: Brandon Greer ran the ball once for negative five yards in the first half against Simeon. In the second half, he broke out for 160 yards.
Prediction: Mount Carmel 28, Morgan Park 7

Cary-Grove (1-0) at No. 8 Lake Zurich(1-0)

Lake ZurichCary-GroveWhen: Friday at 7:30 p.m.
The story: Cary-Grove first-year coach Brad Seaburg took care of his first win with last week’s 28-0 victory over St. Charles East. It gets tougher this week. Lake Zurich put together a dominant 35-3 win over Fremd in the season opener. Cary-Grove’s option offense against Lake Zurich’s speedy defense should be entertaining to watch.
Cary-Grove player to watch: Quarterback Corey Laktas ran for 156 yards and two touchdowns in last week’s win.
Lake Zurich players to watch: Running backs Connor Schrader and Mike Shield each ran for 100-plus yards last week.
Quote: Lake Zurich coach Bryan Stortz – “Week 2, we need to work on fundamental things, more importantly, finishing. We played hard, but we missed some tackles and didn’t finish blocks on every play. So, we need to get better in those areas.”
Prediction: Lake Zurich 27, Cary-Grove 17

No. 9 Joliet Catholic (1-0) at Notre Dame (0-1)

Notre DameJoliet CatholicWhen:Friday at 7:30 p.m.
The story: Joliet Catholic pulled out a miracle 32-31 win over Carmel last week. While there’s plenty of East Suburban Catholic play remaining, Joliet Catholic is the team to beat now. Notre Dame dropped its conference opener 35-21 to Marist last week.
Joliet Catholic player to watch: All eyes should be on running back Ty Isaac this week. He could be a special one.
Notre Dame player to watch: Quarterback Nick Pieruccini scored three touchdowns in last week’s loss.
Quote: Joliet Catholic coach Dan Sharp – “We have to play better than we did last week. I feel like we have to validate last week’s win with a better performance.”
Prediction: Joliet Catholic 42, Notre Dame 21


Nazareth (1-0) at No. 11 Carmel (0-1)

CarmelNazarethWhen: Friday at 7:30 p.m.
The story: Carmel is looking to bounce back from last week’s heartbreaker. The Corsairs’ running game was as good as advertised despite the loss. The big plays were what did the defense in. Nazareth won 17-0 over Benet last week.
Nazareth player to watch: Linebacker Joe DeSimone led the defense last week. He returned an interception for a touchdown.
Carmel player to watch: Mike Panico rushed for three scores in last week’s game. He would have been the hero if it weren’t for Joliet Catholic’s late touchdown.
Prediction: Carmel 24, Nazareth 10


Deerfield (0-1) at No. 12 Homewood-Flossmoor (1-0)

Homewood-FlossmoorDeerfieldWhen: Friday at 7:30 p.m.
The story: Homewood-Flossmoor’s offense went off for 76 points in last week’s win over Senn. The Vikings won’t be able to put up that many points every week, but you can see the offensive potential they have. Deerfield lost 27-13 to Zion-Benton last week.
Deerfield player to watch: Running back Jeremy Kritt has big-play ability. He rushed for 10 touchdowns last season.
Homewood-Flossmoor player to watch: Quarterback Tim Williams was efficient last week. He completed 4-of-4 passes and three of them went for touchdowns.
Prediction: Homewood-Flossmoor 52, Deerfield 7


No. 13 Downers Grove South(1-0) at No. 17 Lyons (1-0)

LyonsDowners Grove SouthWhen: Friday at 7:30 p.m.
The story: This should be one of the more competitive games of Week 2. Both teams are coming off solid wins. Downers Grove South took care of South Elgin, and Lyons defeated previously-ranked Stevenson. Lyons junior quarterback Connor Onion’s debut went smoothly with 20 completions, 190 yards and a touchdown. The Lions will try to get running back Jaimie Jones going after a rocky opener. Downers Grove South running back Josh Williams was nearly impossible to take down last week. He rushed for a school-record 336 yards and added three touchdowns.
Downers Grove South player to watch: Williams came flying out of the gate in Week 1. What can he do for an encore?
Lyons player to watch: Evan Booth found the ball wherever he was in the opener. He had two interceptions on defense and four receptions on offense.
Quote: Lyons coach Kurt Weinberg – “Downers Grove South has a phenomenal running back. One of the best I’ve seen in 18 years.”
Downers Grove South coach John Belskis – “What impresses me about Lyons is their offensive timing and their execution is way ahead of most teams.”
Prediction: Downers Grove South 28, Lyons 24


No. 14 Glenbard North (1-0) at Fenger (1-0)

FengerGlenbard NorthWhen: Saturday at 3:30 p.m. at Gately Stadium
The story: Glenbard North put Oak Park away quickly last week. The Panthers will look to do the same with Fenger on Saturday. This will also be another opportunity for Glenbard North’s offensive line to get some more experience. Fenger opened its season with a 40-19 win over Reavis last week.
Glenbard North player to watch: Mario Rodriguez made an impact last week on offense, defense and special teams.
Fenger player to watch: Junior Darrien Boone is a smart and athletic quarterback. He’ll test the Panthers.
Quote: Glenbard North coach Ryan Wilkens – “Our team needs to shore up our special teams’ phases of the game. In addition, our offensive line needs to continue to gel.”
Prediction: Glenbard North 49, Fenger 17


Mundelein (0-1) at No. 15 Prairie Ridge (1-0)

Prairie RidgeMundeleinWhen: Friday at 7:15 p.m.
The story: Prairie Ridge’s offense, defense and special teams were impressive in the Wolves’ opening week 55-12 win over Glenbard South. Coach Chris Schremp did feel as if his team had to run its option quicker to be more effective. Overall, a good start, though. Mundelein dropped its opener 29-20 to Wheeling. The game was tied at halftime.
Mundelein player to watch: Running back L.D. Frison ran for a touchdown almost every time he touched the ball last week. He rushed for 115 yards and three touchdowns on seven carries.
Prairie Ridge player to watch: Playing tight end and kicker, Nick Margiotta can often fly under the radar. Last week, he was well above it. He caught two passes for 130 yards and a touchdown and had five touchbacks off kickoffs.
Quote: Prairie Ridge coach Chris Schremp – “We always strive to force turnovers on defense, and we forced four last week. We are looking to continue that this week.”
Prediction: Prairie Ridge 31, Mundelein 14

No. 16 Wheaton North (1-0) at Geneva (1-0)

GenevaWheaton NorthWhen: Friday at 7:30 p.m.
The story: Wheaton North survived its first test with a last-second touchdown to defeat Bartlett and its star quarterback A.J. Bilyeu. Now the Falcons have to face another quality team in Geneva, which has a quality quarterback in Matt Williams, a Northern Illinois recruit. Geneva defeated Rock Island 27-14 last week. Williams had an up-and-down day and will be looking bounce back against Wheaton North. This has a chance to be a good one.
Wheaton North player to watch: Cole Hrgich was the hero last week with a 21-yard touchdown catch as time expired.
Geneva player to watch: Parker Woodworth rushed for 104 yards and three touchdowns in the Vikings’ win last week.
Prediction: Wheaton North 35, Geneva 30

No. 18 Simeon (0-1) vs. Jefferson City, Mo. (1-0)

Jefferson CitySimeonWhen: Sunday at 2 p.m. in East St. Louis, Ill.
The story: Simeon coach Dante Culbreath expected his young team would experience some bumps in the road early in the season. The Wolverines showed their youthfulness in last week’s loss to Mount Carmel. Culbreath’s hope is they’ll be better this week against out-of-state opponent Jefferson City, which defeated McCluer North 39-7 in its opener last week.
Simeon player to watch: Quarterback Robert Gregory committed to Arkansas earlier this week. His new fans will have an eye on how he does.
Prediction: Simeon 33, Jefferson City 27


Urban Prep (1-0) at No. 19 Libertyville (1-0)

LibertyvilleUrban PrepWhen: Friday at 7:30 p.m.
The story: Libertyville is riding the momentum of last week’s overtime win over Barrington. The Wildcats persevered despite trailing Barrington on three different occasions. Urban Prep pulled out a 14-6 win over Maine West last week.
Libertyville player to watch: Brian Swift ran for 127 yards on 11 carries and put the Wildcats in position for a number of their scores.
Quote: Libertyville coach Randy Kuceyeski – “What impressed me last week was our ability to come back and win the game.”
Prediction: Libertyville 38, Urban Prep 10

Neuqua Valley (1-0) at Naperville Central (0-1)

Naperville CentralNeuqua ValleyWhen: Friday at 7:30 p.m.
The story: Neuqua Valley coach Bryan Wells was impressed by how his team never wavered in its 37-23 win over Naperville North last week. The Wildcats went up 13-0 early, but then allowed 16 unanswered points. Instead of dropping their heads, the Wildcats responded by closing out the first half on a strong note. Naperville Central lost 21-7 to a quality Waubonsie Valley team last week.
Neuqua Valley player to watch: Joey Rhatigan rushed for 161 yards and four touchdowns in last week’s win.
Naperville Central player to watch: Senior Matt Randolph rushed for 129 yards on 27 carries last week.
Quote: Neuqua Valley coach Bryan Wells – “We need to play better defensively and keep doing the things we do on offense.”
Prediction: Neuqua Valley 34, Naperville Central 20


Week 1 prep preview capsules

August, 25, 2011
8/25/11
10:45
PM CT
Here's a look at the first week of football action for the teams rated in ESPNChicago.com's top 20.

Warren (0-0) at No. 1 Maine South (0-0) on Friday

Maine SouthWarrenThe story: Maine South begins its quest to win a fourth consecutive Class 8A state championship with Warren. Maine South is widely considered the state’s top team this season. Maine South coach David Inserra will miss the opener due a one-game suspension due to incidents at last year’s state title game. Warren is looking for a stronger start to this season. The Blue Devils dropped two of their first three games last season. They’re expected to pass the ball more this season.
Warren player to watch: Linebacker Matt Goad should be a difference-maker for the Blue Devils this season.
Maine South player to watch: With the departure of Reilly O’Toole, Matt Alviti is the state’s next biggest star quarterback. He has already received offers from Illinois, Notre Dame and Northwestern.
Quote: Maine South coach David Inserra -- “The kids have taken it on as a motivation to work that much harder. We talk about opportunities. This is an opportunity that not many kids get to win a fourth state championship.”
Prediction: Maine South 42, Warren 21


No. 3 Glenbard West (0-0) at No. 2 Wheaton Warrenville South (0-0) on Sunday
Glenbard WestWheaton Warrenville SouthThe story: This will be one of the most highly-anticipated games of the season. The two teams have met in the playoffs last two seasons, and Wheaton Warrenville South won both times, including in the 2009 Class 7A state title game. Both teams are stacked with talent again and could very well meet up in the playoffs for a third consecutive season. To add to the excitement, the game will be televised on ESPN2.
Glenbard West player to watch: Quarterback Justice Odom is not only making his starting debut, but he’s also doing it against his former school. Odom previously attended Wheaton Warrenville South.
Wheaton Warrenville South player to watch: Thaddeus Armstrong replaces Reilly O’Toole at quarterback. Armstrong isn’t expected to be as dominant as last year’s ESPNChicago.com player of the year, but he does have ability and is expected to excel in the Tigers’ offense.
Quote: Wheaton Warrenville South coach Ron Muhitch – “It’s a great chance to show off Illinois football, which is in the intent of signing this game up.”
Prediction: Wheaton Warrenville South 28, Glenbard West 27


Palatine (0-0) at No. 4 Montini (0-0) on Friday
The story: How Montini does against Palatine and Loyola in its opening two weeks likely won’t determine whether it win another state championship, but it will show whether the Broncos can hang with the big boys and deserve to be ranked No. 4 in the area. The Broncos’ offense was unstoppable during the summer. Palatine hopes to build on last season’s success. After clawing into the playoffs, the Pirates made a run to the Class 8A state quarterfinals.
Palatine player to watch: Jesse Bobbit is one of the area’s biggest offensive threats. He was on the watch list for ESPNChicago.com offensive player of the year.
Montini player to watch: No one may have looked more polished this summer than wide receiver Jordan Westerkamp. Defenses will have their hands full with the Nebraska recruit this season.
Quote: Montini wide receiver Anthony Taylor – “Every team is gunning for the top and knock off Montini. We’re gunning for another state championship. It won’t be easy, but I think we can do it.”
Prediction: Montini 28, Palatine 21


No. 5 Lincoln-Way East (0-0) vs. Edwardsville (0-0) at Illinois State on Friday
The story: Expectations haven’t been this high at Lincoln-Way East since the Griffins won a state championship in 2005. They return a talented group of offensive players, including quarterback Blake Winkler and wide receiver Jason Robertson. Lincoln-Way East cruised past Edwardsville when they met last season.
Lincoln-Way East player to watch: Quarterback Blake Winkler had a strong junior season. He has the potential to throw for some big numbers this season.
Quote: Lincoln-Way East coach Rob Zvonar -- “I think this group without being arrogant just wants to put that target on our back and be the group that turns the tide again.”
Prediction: Lincoln-Way East 42, Edwardsville 17


No. 6 St. Rita (0-0) at Portage, Ind. (0-1) on Friday
The story: St. Rita will play two out-of-state opponents this season. The Mustangs defeated Portage 22-0 in Chicago last season. Portage dropped its season opener last week.
St. Rita player to watch: St. Rita relies on its running game, and junior Guerby Ministre becomes the Mustangs’ featured back this season.
Prediction: St. Rita 27, Portage 7


No. 7 Mount Carmel (0-0) vs. No. 10 Simeon (0-0) at Soldier Field on Friday
The story: Mount Carmel and Simeon are quickly developing into a South Side rivalry. Mount Carmel had the Wolverines’ number until last season when Simeon pulled off the upset at Soldier Field. This year’s game should be another classic. Both teams return a number of Division I recruits.
Mount Carmel player to watch: Mount Carmel’s option offense requires a skilled quarterback, and the Caravan believe they have one in first-year starter Don Butkus. He will make his debut at Soldier Field, which is where his great uncle Dick Butkus used to star.
Simeon player to watch: Wolverines quarterback Robert Gregory was one of the most entertaining players in the state last season. He ran and passed with the best of them.
Quote: Simeon coach Dante Culbreath -- “It’s Mount Carmel. It’s the best of Illinois. You get an opportunity to play those guys, and you just got to play hard. It’s been Mount Carmel for years. What those guys have done over there is legendary. We’re just a small group out here working.”
Prediction: Mount Carmel 48, Simeon 42


No. 8 Carmel (0-0) at No. 11 Joliet Catholic (0-0) on Friday
The story: Don’t expect to see many passes thrown in this game. Carmel and Joliet Catholic possess the two best backfields in the state. Carmel’s running game is led by three-year starters Jordan Kos, Michael Panico and Matt Maher. Joliet Catholic is powered by Division I running back recruits Malin Jones and Ty Issac. A Carmel-Joliet Catholic game hasn’t been decided by more than three points the last two seasons. Carmel won 31-28 last season, and Joliet Catholic won 19-16 in 2009.
Carmel player to watch: Jordan Kos rushed for more than 1,500 yards last season. He is on the verge of breaking the school’s rushing record.
Joliet Catholic player to watch: Malin Jones is the next in the long line of talented Hilltopper running backs. He’s headed to Northwestern.
Quote: Carmel coach Andy Bitto – “It’s a good chance right away to go to their stadium and play in front of a huge crowd on TV. You get to know where you’re at right away.”
Prediction: Carmel 41, Joliet Catholic 38


No. 9 Lake Zurich (0-0) at Fremd (0-0) on Friday
The story: Lake Zurich is the favorite headed into this game, but Fremd should never be counted out. Last year, Lake Zurich pulled out a 20-10 win. Two seasons ago, Fremd won 10-7. With the game being at Fremd, don’t be surprised if this comes down to the fourth quarter again.
Lake Zurich player to watch: Jack Lynn is one of the area’s top linebackers. He’s headed to Minnesota.
Fremd player to watch: Sophomore quarterback Sam Beutler stepped in as a freshman and helped the Vikings into the playoffs. He should be even better this season.
Prediction: Lake Zurich 20, Fremd 14


No. 12 Loyola (0-0) at Evanston (0-0) on Friday
The story: Loyola has reached the Class 8A semifinals the last two seasons and lost to Maine South. The Ramblers are hoping for more this season. They travel to nearby Evanston to open the season. The Ramblers defeated Evanston 35-0 in last year’s meeting.
Loyola player to watch: Quarterback Malcolm Weaver was impressive with his running and passing last season. He’s primed for another big season.
Evanston player to watch: Evanston linebacker Leonard Garron made ESPNChicago.com’s defensive player of the year watch list.
Quote: Loyola coach John Holecek – “Here, we play good defensive football. We expect that every year no matter who we play. We expect to be very tough on defense.”
Prediction: Loyola 31, Evanston 7


Senn (0-0) at No. 13 Homewood-Flossmoor (0-0) on Friday
The story: Homewood-Flossmoor surprised a lot of people last season by going to the Class 8A semifinals after having only won one game the year before. With that, the Vikings won’t be sneaking up on anybody this season. Senn went 9-1 last season, but all of its wins came against Chicago Public League opponents.
Homewood-Flossmoor player to watch: Quarterback Tim Williams was a major reason for the Vikings’ success last season. He may be the biggest and most athletic quarterback in the state.
Prediction: Homewood-Flossmoor 42, Senn 10


No. 14 Barrington (0-0) at Libertyville (0-0) on Friday
The story: This game should be entertaining from the start with Wayne Messmer singing the National Anthem and Libertyville wearing camouflage jerseys in tribute to it former players who have served in the military. Outside of that, the game should also be a good one. Barrington has an enormous offensive line and a talented running back in Chase Murdock. Libertyville is thought to be one of this season’s sleepers.
Barrington player to watch: Barrington have had some quality offensive linemen come through its program, but Dan Voltz may be the cream of the crop. He’s committed to Wisconsin.
Libertyville player to watch: Luke Mathewson is likely to make an impact on both sides of the ball at tight end and defensive end.
Quote: Barrington coach Joe Sanchez – “We open with Libertyville, and it’s a great opening game for both schools.”
Prediction: Barrington 27, Libertyville 21


South Elgin (0-0) at No. 15 Downers Grove South (0-0) on Friday
The story: This is a good test for both teams. South Elgin was nearly ranked after coming a strong season last year. South Elgin lost 10-7 in the Class 8A second round to Stevenson and returns a number of quality players this season. Downers Grove South should be a state contender this season if it can remain healthy. That was the Mustangs’ downfall last year.
South Elgin player to watch: Joe Slania earned all-conference honors at offensive tackle last season. He’s also play on the defensive line this season.
Downers Grove South player to watch: When healthy, Josh Williams can be one of the state’s best running backs. The Mustangs hope he can stay healthy for an entire season for the first time in three years.
Quote: Downers Grove South coach John Belskis -- “I think there’s enough kids back where we should be competitive in every game we play. That’s all you can ask.”
Prediction: Downers Grove South 42, South Elgin 35


No. 16 Stevenson (0-0) at No. 20 Lyons (0-0) on Friday
The story: This is one of four games between ranked teams in the opening week. Lyons and Stevenson each had its season ended in the Class 8A quarterfinals last season. Both look to replace some holes due to graduation, but are traditionally strong programs.
Stevenson player to watch: Versatile quarterback Matt Miccuci takes over Stevenson’s offense this season. He will also kick field goals.
Lyons player to watch: Jaime Jones rushed for 866 yards and 11 touchdowns last season. He should be among the area’s best this season.
Quote: Stevenson coach William McNamara – “We have to come out of the shoot ready to go.”
Prediction: Stevenson 24, Lyons 20


Oak Park (0-0) at No. 17 Glenbard North (0-0) on Friday
The story: Glenbard North had an impressive regular season last year, going 8-1, but were upset in the first round of the playoffs. The Panthers are hoping for better this season. Oak Park is looking to rebound from last year’s 2-7 mark. This will be the debut for Oak Park first-year coach John Hoerster. He was previously an assistant at Mount Carmel.
Oak Park player to watch: Returning senior quarterback John Phelan will be in charge of a new offense this season.
Glenbard North player to watch: Running back Phil Jackson was among the area’s best last season. He could have a huge season this year.
Prediction: Glenbard North 24, Oak Park 14


No. 18 Prairie Ridge (0-0) at Glenbard South (0-0) on Friday
The story: Prairie Ridge has high expectations heading into the season coming off back-to-back Class 6A state semifinal appearances. The Wolves return a number of players on both sides of the ball and should be led by returning running back Connor Greenwald and an experienced group of linebackers. Glenbard South joins the Metro Suburban Conference this season. It opened last season with four losses in its first five games, but bounced back to have a 4-5 record.
Prairie Ridge player to watch: Running back Connor Greenwald rushed for 1,172 yards last season. He’s added some speed this season.
Glenbard South players to watch: Running back Wes Sanders and quarterback Tyler Padera should be able to provide the Raiders a number of points this season.
Quote: Prairie Ridge coach Chris Schremp – “Our linebacker corp is the strongest we’ve had in the history of the school.”
Prediction: Prairie Ridge 33, Glenbard South 20


Bartlett (0-0) at No. 19 Wheaton North (0-0) on Friday
The story: Wheaton North undoubtedly will put up points this season. The Falcons’ offense is too potent not to. The question is whether their inexperienced defense will come through. Bartlett’s offense will be a good first test. Led by quarterback AJ Bilyeu, Bartlett is coming off an 8-3 season and a second round playoff appearance.
Bartlett player to watch: Quarterback AJ Bilyeu should one of the area’s best this season. He completed 105-of-157 passes for 1,437 yards and 19 touchdowns last season. He’s committed to Air Force.
Wheaton North player to watch: Wide senior Johnny Daniels was impressive in 7 on 7 player this summer. If he continues to impress, more Division I schools are bound to come knocking.
Quote: Wheaton North coach Joe Wardynski – “I think we’ve got quite a few kids coming back on offense. We knew where the pieces were going to fit on that side of the ball. Defensively, we’re basically replacing everybody.”
Prediction: Wheaton North 37, Bartlett 31

Preseason No. 14: Barrington

August, 15, 2011
8/15/11
4:13
PM CT
Barrington Scott Powers/ESPNChicago.comBarrington's linemen, who excelled at the Red Grange Classic in July, are among the state's best.
Last season: 7-3 overall, 3-2 Mid-Suburban League West, lost in the Class 8A first round to Glenbrook South, not ranked in the final ESPNChicago.com 2010 poll

Season ahead: Barrington coach Joe Sanchez cringed when he heard his team could be the favorite in the Mid-Suburban League West this season.

Sanchez does have his reasons to hesitate in crowning his Broncos just yet. Barrington hasn't won the conference since 2004.

"It's too long ago for my liking," Sanchez said. "We have had very good teams in between. It's just hard to show it.

"I don't know about [us being the favorite.] Everyone is talking about Palatine. From my personal standpoint, Fremd is still Fremd."

One major reason Barrington is highly considered this season is because of its offensive line, which should be among the state's best. The Broncos return Dan Voltz (6-5, 290 pounds) and Mason Darrow (6-5, 270), both Division I recruits, and surround them with three other linemen of similar size.

"We're going to have guys who pass the eyeball test," Sanchez said. "The question is whether we'll pass the football test. I think we will. If we can stay healthy, it will be our main strength of our team. When it's all said and done, they could be very, very good."

If the linemen are as good as advertised, running back Chase Murdock may have to thank them with a few gifts at the end of the season. Murdock rushed for over 1,000 yards last season and is expected to increase that number with him finally being completely healthy and having that improved line.

Star power: Barrington has produced its share of quality offensive linemen, including a few pros, but there may not be a better one than Dan Voltz. The Wisconsin recruit has the size, ability and mentality seen in elite linemen. "I've had to answer this question quite a bit, and I'm always apprehensive from the standpoint that people may not believe me because he may too good to be true," Sanchez said. "He's the real day on and off the field. What makes him special is he's got that nasty. He's got that desire. He's not satisfied in just getting into the guy, but he wants to finish a guy on every play."

Breakout performer: Everyone knows about Chase Murdock's ability as a running back. He also hopes to show everyone he can be a stellar linebacker. Murdock will add inside linebacker to his duties this season. "If he's going to play at the BCS level, it's going to be as a defensive player," Sanchez said. "There's no film on him playing linebacker. If he does what he's capable of, that could push the tide [in recruiting.]"

Defensive difference-maker: Sam Handler doesn't receive as much publicity as some of his teammates, but he's quietly put together an impressive career at Barrington. He's entering his third season as a starting wide receiver and defensive back. "He's a guy who often gets overlooked," Sanchez said. "What I love about him is he's such a throwback. He's just a football player. He plays with such emotion and enthusiasm and loves the game."

Newcomer to watch: Austin Schmidt showed he had talent as a running back on the sophomore team two years ago, but teetered on whether he would play last season and returned to the team too late to get on the field. He's back this season and will be a complimentary running back to Murdock. "People will know him by the time it's all said and done," Sanchez said.

Schedule breakdown: The Mid-Suburban League may not be as stacked as it was a year ago, but there will still be plenty of competition. Elk Grove, Palatine, Fremd and Schaumburg were all playoff teams last season. Libertyville should be improved and could give Barrington a competitive season-opener. "It's natural rivalry between us and Fremd and us and Palatine because of the proximities," Sanchez said. "They're always big games, and you know what you're getting."

Key game: Oct. 14 vs. Fremd: Barrington and Palatine may be the favorites, but this is still Fremd's conference until proven otherwise. Barrington hasn't defeated Fremd since 2004, which also happens to be the Broncos' last conference championship.

What they're saying: "If we can do what's best for the team, I think we can have a really good year," Sanchez said. "I think it could be a lot of fun."

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