High School: Glenbard North
Check out the complete rankings.
No. 1 Maine South (4-0) at New Trier (3-1)
When: Friday at 7:30 p.m.
The story: Maine South hasn’t lost in the Central Suburban South since 2000. New Trier has proven it’s a good team this season with three consecutive wins since losing its season opener to Schaumburg, but the question is if it’s a good enough team to dethrone Maine South. The Hawks haven’t allowed more than 12 points in a game this season and have scored 40 or more points in three of their wins. It’ll take a special game for the Trevians to defeat Maine South.
Maine South player to watch: Pat Barrett, a two-year starter, is one of the team’s quiet leaders and hardest workers.
New Trier player to watch: Quarterback Jack Nykaza has the Trevians’ offense running smoothly. Maine South’s defense will be another challenge for him.
Quote: Maine South coach David Inserra – “I like how we are progressing, but we still need more consistency from the receiving core. The O-line, with five juniors getting significant time, is doing very well. Paul Preston is as explosive as advertised, and Matt Alviti can only get better with the wide receivers improving. Defense is solid and will have a good match this week with New Trier. Specials are improving after a poor showing early.”
Prediction: Maine South 31, New Trier 14
No. 2 Glenbard West (4-0) at Oak Park (2-2)
When: Saturday at 1 p.m.
The story: Glenbard West has to be considered right with Maine South as the area’s best team. The Hilltoppers have dominated on both sides of the ball and their defense has been remarkable. They’ve allowed an average of six points a game this season. That isn’t likely to change this week. Oak Park has been an up-and-down team under first-year coach John Hoerster. After two consecutive wins, the Huskies lost 35-7 to York last week.
Glenbard West player to watch: Kicker/punter Dan Cavazos has been the Hilltoppers’ unsung hero. All of his kickoffs this season have been touchbacks. His punt hang time hasn’t allowed a return yard. He has not missed an extra point or field goal.
Oak Park player to watch: Jakari Cammon rushed for 178 yards on 25 carries in last week’s game against York.
Quote: Glenbard West coach Chad Hetlet - “We’re shaping up to be a solid team, great group of young men to coach.”
Prediction: Glenbard West 35, Oak Park 7
Sandburg (4-0) at No. 3 Lincoln-Way East (4-0)
When: Friday at 7:30 p.m.
The story: Lincoln-Way East took care of its first conference obstacle last week with a 38-21 win over Homewood-Flossmoor. Now comes the Griffins’ second test with undefeated Sandburg. The Eagles have gotten by all of their opponents, but just barely. They’ve won three of their games by seven points or less. Their defense will have to step up to contain Lincoln-Way East.
Sandburg player to watch: Anthony Adams completed 10-of-14 passes, including the game-winner with 1:52 left, to defeat Lincoln-Way Central last week.
Lincoln-Way East player to watch: Griffins fullback Nick Colangelo rushed for 102 yards and one touchdown on nine carries in the second half last week.
Prediction: Lincoln-Way East 45, Sandburg 20
Brother Rice (3-1) at No. 4 Mount Carmel (4-0)
When:Friday at 7 p.m. at Gately Stadium
The story: A week after Brother Rice and St. Rita hooked up on the South Side, it’s now time for Brother Rice and Mount Carmel to do the same. The Caravan have been running away with their wins for most of the season. This should be a good test for them. Brother Rice stuck right with St. Rita before losing last week. Brother Rice has proven it’s a quality team, but it still needs to knock off one of the conference’s powers to be move up the ladder. Both these teams will want to keep the ball on ground.
Brother Rice player to watch: Running back Martez Walker was limited last week. He’ll look to make up for it against Mount Carmel.
Mount Carmel player to watch: Defensive lineman Vontrell Williams committed to Illinois last week.
Prediction: Mount Carmel 38, Brother Rice 27
No. 5 Joliet Catholic (4-0) at Benet (0-4)
When:Saturday at 7:30 p.m.
The story: Joliet Catholic is one of seven teams in the state to score 200 or more points this season. The Hilltoppers are averaging 50 points a game. Benet hasn’t won a game, but its defense has been sharp. It hasn’t allowed more than 27 points. The problem is the offense hasn’t scored more than 14 points.
Joliet Catholic player to watch: Running back Ty Isaac was one of five players to make ESPNU’s Class of 2013 watch list.
Benet player to watch: Jack Euritt had four receptions and a touchdown against Marist last week.
Prediction: Joliet Catholic 42, Benet 7
Gordon Tech (3-1) at No. 6 Loyola (4-0)
When:Saturday at 1:30 p.m.
The story: Loyola crosses over into the Catholic League Red to host Gordon Tech this week. The Rams are coming off a 45-44 win over Hales. Loyola’s offense will be even more of a challenge for them. The Ramblers have been averaging a little over 40 points a game.
Gordon Tech player to watch: Quarterback Julian Russell threw for four touchdowns and rushed for two in last week’s win.
Loyola player to watch: Loyola’s unsung hero has been long snapper Dan Rafferty. He’s been accurate all season.
Prediction: Loyola 49, Gordon Tech 14
Providence (3-1) at No. 7 St. Rita (3-1)When: Friday at 7:30 p.m.
The story: St. Rita pulled out a narrow win over Brother Rice last week and will have another challenging game this week. The Mustangs’ defense has been their strength all season. Providence struggled in last week’s 32-6 loss against Loyola. The Celtics have a chance to redeem themselves against another top-10 team this week, but their offensive will have to be more consistent.
Providence player to watch: Running back Andy Hoffmeister scored Providence’s lone touchdown in last week’s loss to Loyola.
St. Rita player to watch: Charles Elmore was last week’s MVP on both sides of the ball.
Prediction: St. Rita 28, Providence 14
No. 8 Carmel(3-1) at Wayzata, MN (3-0)
When: Friday at 6:30 p.m. at the University of Dubuque
The story: Carmel’s lone non-conference game this season is against Wayzata, a Minnesota team. Carmel has won three straight since losing to Joliet Catholic. Its running game has been among the best in the area, but its defense has been good, too. The Corsairs’ last three opponents scored a total of 30 points. Wayzata is undefeated on the season and has been in control of every game. No opponent has scored more than 21 points against them.
Carmel player to watch: Running back Mike Panico has been picking up big yards every time he touches the ball.
Wayzata player to watch: Eric Roti has rushed for a team-best five touchdowns this season.
Prediction: Carmel 35, Wayzata 31
Downers Grove North (1-3) at No. 9 Downers Grove South (4-0)
When: Friday at 7:30 p.m.
The story: Downers Grove South’s offense and its star running back Josh Williams have been getting a lot of the headlines, but the Mustangs’ defense has been stellar, too. They’ve allowed seven points all season and have out-scored their opponents 161-7. Despite their records, this still has a chance to be a good one. Downers Grove South squeaked out a 17-14 win over North last year. Despite having three losses, the Trojans have been in every game this season.
Downers Grove North player to watch: Quarterback Riley McGinnis has been airing it out for the Trojans.
Downers Grove South player to watch: Senior linebacker Korey Higgins is one of the players making a difference on defense.
Prediction: Downers Grove South 41, Downers Grove North 27
West Aurora (2-2) at No. 11 Glenbard North (4-0)
When: Friday at 7:30 p.m.
The story: Glenbard North has plenty of tough games coming up, but it’s the team to beat in the DuPage Valley for now. The Rams have outscored their opponents 179-20 through four games. West Aurora has lost its last two contests. The Blackhawks scored a total of 20 points in their losses.
West Aurora player to watch: Sophomore quarterback Quintez Jones looks better each week.
Glenbard North player to watch: Justin Jackson has given Glenbard North a quality backup running back.
Prediction: Glenbard North 31, West Aurora 7
Crystal Lake Central (3-1) at No. 11 Prairie Ridge (4-0)
When: Friday at 7:15 p.m.
The story: Prairie Ridge has been as impressive as anyone in the state. It’s out-scored its opponents 195-14. This week begins the tougher part of the Wolves’ schedule. Crystal Lake Central marks the first winning team they’ve faced this season. Their previous opponents have a combined record of 1-15. Crystal Lake Central has a chance to prove itself in this game. The Tigers haven’t allowed more than nine points to an opponent, and their only loss was a 9-0 one to Crystal Lake South.
Crystal Lake Central player to watch: Running back Gage Harrah is a threat whenever he touches the ball.
Prairie Ridge player to watch: Running back Jordan Getzelman can run with the ball or catch it out of the backfield.
Prediction: Prairie Ridge 24, Crystal Lake Central 14
No. 12 Lake Zurich (3-1) at Mundelein (0-4)
When: Friday at 7:30 p.m.
The story: Lake Zurich should be able to cruise for one more week before the Bears’ schedule becomes difficult. They’ve won their last two games by a combined score of 61-14 after losing to Cary-Grove. Mundelein has scored just seven points over the last three weeks.
Lake Zurich player to watch: John Orlando had a 54-yard touchdown reception in last week’s win.
Mundelein player to watch: Drew Malcolm caught a touchdown pass against Libertyville last week.
Prediction: Lake Zurich 35, Mundelein 7
No. 13 Bolingbrook (4-0) at No. 14 Homewood-Flossmoor (3-1)
When: Friday at 7:30 p.m.
The story: This has the makings of the game of the week. Bolingbrook is undefeated, but it still needs to prove itself in the conference. Homewood-Flossmoor wants to rebound from last week’s tough loss to Lincoln-Way East, and there would be no better way of doing that than beating Bolingbrook. Both teams’ numbers are similar. Bolingbrook has outscored its opponents 188-47. Homewood-Flossmoor has outscored its opponents 186-51.
Bolingbrook player to watch: Aaron Bailey has been as good as any quarterback in the area. This will be another chance to prove himself.
Homewood-Flossmoor player to watch: Sheldon Jones does a little bit of everything for the Vikings’ offense. He had two touchdowns last week.
Prediction: Homewood-Flossmoor 35, Bolingbrook 28
No. 15 Geneva (4-0) at St. Charles North (0-4)
When: Friday at 7:30 p.m.
The story: Geneva can’t overlook St. Charles North, but it can start peaking at next week’s game against Batavia. Both teams face winless teams this week and should be undefeated going into next week. St. Charles North was defeated soundly by Neuqua Valley and Streamwood, two quality teams, the past two weeks.
Geneva player to watch: Offensive lineman Bobby Byker has worked his way up the depth chart the last few seasons.
St. Charles North player to watch: Kicker Michael Schroeder has accounted for all of the team’s 12 points on field goals the last two games.
Quote: Geneva coach Rob Wicinski – “There are always parts of the game to improve on ... but, we have few complaints here at Geneva and the team seems to be making normal progress as past Viking teams have done.”
Prediction: Geneva 35, St. Charles North 10
No. 16 Crete-Monee (4-0) at Kankakee (0-4)
When: Friday at 6 p.m.
The story: Crete-Monee has put itself in the driver’s seat in the Southland Conference. The Warriors have been playing at a different level than everybody else. They defeated Glenbard South 63-14 last week. Kankakee has had a rough season so far, losing all four games by 16 or more points.
Crete-Monee player to watch: Wide receiver Lance Lenior has been the Warriors’ unsung hero. He has a team-high 25 receptions and is the team’s punt returner.
Kankakee player to watch: Chris Jackson can make an impact on the offensive and defensive line.
Quote: Crete-Monee coach Jerry Verde – “We are pleased with where we are after four weeks, but we still need to improve each week leading up to week 10.”
Prediction: Crete-Monee 49, Kankakee 7
No. 17 Crystal Lake South (4-0) at McHenry (2-2)
When: Friday at 7:15 p.m.
The story: Crystal Lake South’s defense has continued to lead the way. The Gators allowed a season-high 12 points in a win over Huntley last week. They should be able to contain McHenry before next week’s test against Prairie Ridge. McHenry already has more wins than it did last season. The Warriors haven’t been blowout this season and will look to continue to play solid football against Crystal Lake South.
Crystal Lake South player to watch: Defensive end Josh Beveridge leads the Gators in tackles, sacks and tackles for loss.
McHenry player to watch: Quarterback Robert Tonyan has put up some impressive numbers this season.
Quote: Crystal Lake South coach Chuck Ahsmann – “We are very happy with where we are at. We had a tough schedule to start our season. We feel our toughest games are yet to come, so we will need to continue to prepare well.”
Prediction: Crystal Lake South 34, Huntley 14
No. 18 Cary-Grove (3-1) at Jacobs (4-0)
When: Friday at 7:15 p.m.
The story: This is another game that will help decide the Fox Valley. Jacobs is undefeated at home, but it will still be the underdog against Cary-Grove. Jacobs has won all its games this season by 15 points or more. Cary-Grove bounced back from its narrow loss to Crystal Lake South with a win last week over Hampshire. The Trojans’ defense should be tested in this one.
Cary-Grove player to watch: Quinn Baker rushed for four touchdowns, including a 90-yarder, in last week’s win.
Jacobs player to watch: Quarterback Jason Judson threw two touchdowns and ran for one in last week’s win.
Prediction: Cary-Grove 21, Jacobs 17
Tinley Park (4-0) at No. 19 Lemont (4-0)
When: Friday at 7 p.m.
The story: Lemont’s defense is tied for first in the state in points allowed. The Indians have given up just six points this year. They have shut out three opponents and allowed six points against Richards. Tinley Park’s game is its offense. The Titans have scored 40 points in all their games and gone over 50 twice. One of these trends will have to change this week.
Tinley Park player to watch: Running back Preston Thompson has been helping the Titans put up a lot of points this season.
Lemont player to watch: Defensive lineman John Tomala has been one of the bright spots on the defensive line.
Quote: Lemont coach Erich Michaelsen – “We are a work in progress. We have many areas to improve on.”
St. Charles East (0-4) at Batavia (4-0)
When: Friday at 7:30 p.m.
The story: Batavia has been one of the season’s bigger surprises. The Bulldogs have been overwhelming on both sides of the ball, including in quality wins over Bartlett and Marmion. They haven’t allowed a first-half touchdown this year. St. Charles East has faced some good teams, but just hasn’t been able to stop them offensively for a whole game.
St. Charles East player to watch: Carter Reading rushed for 178 yards last week.
Batavia players to watch: Defensive tackles Mackenzie Brown and Austin Lewis have been providing pressure all season.
Quote: Batavia coach Dennis Piron – “I’m very pleased with how the team has come together and the relationships developing between the classes and the players. We had a great offseason and feel that has spilled over into our year. The challenge now is to improve as much in season.”
Prediction: Batavia 31, St. Charles East 13
Read the entire top 20.
Here's a look at Week 4 football action in ESPNChicago.com's top 20.
Niles North (1-2) at No. 1 Maine South (3-0)
When:Friday at 7 p.m.
The story: Maine South is shooting for its third unbeaten season in the last four years, and Niles North is the next step in that ladder. Maine South’s offense returned to form in last week’s 48-7 win over Deerfield after struggling the previous week against Wheaton Warrenville South. Look for the Hawks to have a similar night against Niles North, which is coming off a 33-25 loss to Waukegan.
Niles North player to watch: Linebacker Romeo Montiel caused the safety that gave Niles North a 2-0 win over Niles West two weeks ago.
Maine South player to watch: Offensive and defensive lineman Pat Barrett has been making big plays on both sides of the ball.
Quote:Maine South coach David Inserra -- “The kids are willing to put in the time and energy to improve. Our main goal is to focus on us as a team and individuals and learn to push ourselves to the limit. When we learn to do this, the team will soar.”
Prediction:Maine South 49, Niles North 10
Hinsdale Central (2-1) at No. 2 Glenbard West (3-0)
When: Saturday at 1:30 p.m.
The story: Glenbard West’s defense has been as good as advertised in the preseason. The Hilltoppers have allowed 10 points over their first three games, and the lone touchdown given up was without Penn State recruit Tommy Schutt on the field. Hinsdale Central opened the season with two consecutive wins, but struggled in last week’s 30-22 loss to Proviso West. Hinsdale Central allowed Proviso West to score 23 consecutive points in the second half. As a side note, Glenbard West assistant coach Mike DiMatteo was Hinsdale Central’s head coach for the past five years.
Hinsdale Central player to watch: Nick Sellinger can break a punt return at any given time.
Glenbard West player to watch: Kicker Dan Cavasos has been nearly perfect in all areas this season. He’s put all but one kickoff in the end zone for a touchback, made 15-of-15 extra points and connected on his only field goal opportunity, a 38-yarder.
Quote:Glenbard West coach Chad Hetlet – “I feel like what I know about my team is they don’t get rattled, and we play extremely fast on both sides of the ball.”
Prediction: Glenbard West 41, Hinsdale Central 10
No. 3 Lincoln-Way East (3-0) at No. 9 Homewood-Flossmoor (3-0)
When: Friday at 7:30 p.m.
The story: This should be the game of the week. Both teams have been extremely dominant on both sides of the ball through three games and came into the season highly ranked. Lincoln-Way East has out-scored its opponents 132-35. Homewood-Flossmoor has beat up its opponents by even more, out-scoring them 165-13. A year ago, this game decided the Southwest Suburban Blue with Lincoln-Way East winning 31-21 at home. The Griffins went undefeated in conference, and it would be Homewood-Flossmoor’s only loss.
Lincoln-Way East player to watch: The quarterbacks should be fun to watch in this one. With a few more inches, Lincoln-Way East quarterback Blake Winkler would be a major college recruit.
Homewood-Flossmoor player to watch: Vikings quarterback Tim Williams has been as good as any quarterback around this season. Colleges are interested in him, but basketball still may be his best sport.
Prediction: Lincoln-Way East 42, Homewood-Flossmoor 41
No. 4 Mount Carmel (3-0) at St. Joseph (0-3)
When:Saturday at 1:30 p.m.
The story: Mount Carmel coach Frank Lenti is likely going to break the state’s career wins record on Saturday. He tied former Richards coach Gary Korhonen with his 306th victory last week. Lenti has compiled a 306-54 record with nine state championships in his 28 seasons. St. Joseph has lost 19 consecutive games.
St. Joseph player to watch: Dominique Richards had a 35-yard touchdown catch against Lake Forest Academy.
Mount Carmel player to watch: Junior quarterback Don Butkus has quickly picked up the Caravan’s offense.
Prediction: Mount Carmel 45, St. Joseph 7
St. Viator (0-3) at No. 5 Joliet Catholic (3-0)
When:Friday at 7:30 p.m.
The story: No one has been able to contain Joliet Catholic’s running game of senior Malin Jones and Ty Isaac. The duo combined for 515 rushing yards and seven touchdowns in last week’s win over Peoria Richwoods. St. Viator’s defense will have to step up from previous weeks to have a chance. The Lions have allowed 149 points this season.
St. Viator player to watch: Junior quarterback Mickey Macius will look to bounce back from last week’s rocky performance.
Joliet Catholic player to watch: Tyler Reitz is lesser known Joliet Catholic running back. He rushed for two touchdowns last week.
Prediction: Joliet Catholic 49, St. Viator 13
No. 6 Loyola (3-0) at Providence (3-0)
When: Friday at 7:30 p.m.
The story: This is the first of two potentially great games in the Catholic League Blue on Friday. Loyola has proven it is again among the top teams in the state. Providence is looking to prove that again. After last week’s struggle, Providence has started the season off strong with wins over Morgan Park, Minooka and St. Laurence. The Celtics’ defensive will be tested against Loyola. The Ramblers have scored 40 or more points in all three games this year.
Loyola player to watch: Running back Willie Palivos helps keep opposing defenses on their toes. They can’t just focus on Loyola’s passing game.
Providence player to watch: Offensive lineman Ryan Ward is one of the best in country. He’s committed to Iowa.
Quote:Loyola coach John Holecek – “I believe we are a good football team, but the most challenging competition is coming up in the CCL Blue.”
Prediction: Loyola 31, Providence 17
No. 7 St. Rita (3-0) at No. 19 Brother Rice (3-0)
When:Friday at 7:30 p.m.
The story: Like Providence, Brother Rice has a lot to prove this week. The Crusaders have looked like one of the area’s top teams, and they can verify that with a win against St. Rita. Brother Rice’s strength is its running game. Running backs Andre Walker and Martez Walker have big-play ability. Of course, St. Rita likes to keep it on the ground, too. Guerby Minister has been getting the bulk of St. Rita’s carries. He scored twice in last week’s win over Fenwick.
St. Rita player to watch: Wide receiver Kenny Golladay has emerged as an offensive weapons for the Mustangs.
Brother Rice player to watch: Quarterback Scott Thomas completed 9-of-11 passes for 191 yards and three touchdowns last week.
Quote:St. Rita coach Todd Kuska – “We need to continue to work on our ball security on the offensive side.”
Prediction: St. Rita 28, Brother Rice 24
Marian Catholic (2-1) at No. 8 Carmel(2-1)
When: Friday at 7 p.m.
The story: This has a chance to be another hard-fought East Suburban Catholic matchup. Carmel struggled with Notre Dame until late last week. The Corsairs’ offense will look to get going earlier on Friday. Marian Catholic had quality wins over St. Viator and Benet the first two weeks, but lost 35-19 to Nazareth last week. Its defense will have to be better against Carmel and its running attack. Carmel won last year’s meeting 24-0.
Marian Catholic player to watch: Jeruel Taylor is one of the area’s top running backs. He had 197 rushing yards two weeks ago.
Carmel players to watch: Offensive linemen Shane Toub and Michael Dyer have been creating massive holes for the Corsairs’ running game.
Quote:Carmel coach Andy Bitto – “I really think our defense and specials team are playing really well. We need to become more consistent with our overall offense and especially our passing game.”
Prediction: Carmel 37, Marian Catholic 20
No. 10 Downers Grove South (3-0) at Leyden (0-3)
When: Friday at 7:30 p.m.
The story: Downers Grove South running back Josh Williams has been one of the year’s biggest playmakers. He’s been terrorizing defenses all season. He accounted for six touchdowns in just last week’s win. Williams could have another monstrous night this week. Leyden is 0-3 and has allowed 25-plus points a game.
Downers Grove South player to watch: Kicker Anthony Farinella has been converting all of the extra points on Williams’ touchdown. Farinella made eight of them last week.
Leyden player to watch: Adam Morrison picked off two interceptions in last week’s game.
Prediction: Downers Grove South 45, Leyden 7
No. 11 Glenbard North (3-0) at Glenbard East (1-2)
When: Friday at 7:30 p.m.
The story: Glenbard North hasn’t been tested yet and probably won’t be again this week. The Panthers have out-scored their last two opponents 90-0. Glenbard East is coming off a 48-7 loss to Naperville Central.
Glenbard North player to watch: Junior quarterback Brian Murphy has improved each week. The Panthers’ offense has scored 40 or more points each week.
Glenbard East player to watch: Junior running back Javonte Burnett can break long runs if given some room.
Quote:Glenbard North coach Ryan Wilkens – “Offensively, our team needs to improve its ability to block up front as well as to develop our pass game. In the future, our team will face adversity and how we respond is essential to success.”
Prediction: Glenbard North 42, Glenbard East 7
No. 12 Wheaton Warrenville South (1-2) at Naperville North (1-2)
When: Friday at 7:30 p.m.
The story: It’s still early in the season, but this could be an important game for both these teams. Neither one of them want to suffer their third loss in four games. Wheaton Warrenville South got back on track with a 20-6 win over West Aurora last week. The Tigers’ defense has been the team’s strength this season. Like Wheaton Warrenville South, Naperville North’s offense has struggled this season. The Huskies have scored 27 points over the last two weeks. They lost to Wheaton North last week.
Wheaton Warrenville South players to watch: Linebackers Adam Dansdill, Dan Roadmen and Brandon Peterson have been coming up big this season.
Naperville North player to watch: Running back Danny Puknaitis has scored a touchdown in all three games this season.
Quote:Wheaton Warrenville South coach Ron Muhitch – “The clock might be the most important factor in the game as both teams try to establish their running games.”
Prediction: Wheaton Warrenville South 17, Naperville North 10
No. 13 Montini (2-1) at Marian Central (3-0)
When: Friday at 7 p.m.
The story: Montini’s schedule continues to be a rough one. After battling Marmion and pulling out a 13-7 win last week, the Broncos travel to undefeated Marian Central this week. The Broncos’ offense will be looking to improve on last week’s performance. Marian Central has won two of its three games by six points or less. Its defense allowed 41 points to Oswego in Week 1, but has held opponents to under 10 points the last two weeks.
Montini player to watch: Linebacker Franklin Bruscianelli had 17 tackles in last week’s win.
Marian Central player to watch: Quarterback Chris Streveler can get his offense going. He threw for four touchdowns and ran for two against Oswego in Week 1.
Quote:Montini coach Chris Andriano – “We need to be consistent on offense. Turnovers and missed assignments are a big problem.”
Prediction: Montini 34, Marian Central 20
Dundee-Crown (0-3) at No. 14 Prairie Ridge (3-0)
When: Friday at 7:15 p.m.
The story: Prairie Ridge’s schedule is loaded toward the back of it, but it still doesn’t take away from that fact the Wolves have been impressive offensively and defensively so far. They’ve out-scored their opponents 140-14 this season. Their schedule will pick beginning next week with Crystal Lake Central. Dundee-Crown is 0-3, but has been competitive in all three games.
Dundee-Crown player to watch: Sophomore running back Cody Lane has the makings of a quality player. He’s scored the past two weeks.
Prairie Ridge player to watch: Jordan Getzelman scored on touchdown catches of 9, 17 and 68 yards last week. He also had 54-yard touchdown run.
Prediction: Prairie Ridge 49, Dundee-Crown 7
Lakes (3-0) at No. 15 Lake Zurich (2-1)
When:Friday at 7:30 p.m.
The story: Lake Zurich didn’t have the start against Warren it desired last week after losing to Cary-Grove the previous week. But after trailing 14-3 following one quarter, the Bears responded and pulled out a 33-14 win. It’s the sort of win that could build some momentum for Lake Zurich. Its defense has been stellar, and the offense should be better now with the return Zach Till at quarterback. Lakes is off to a strong start with three consecutive wins. Its defense hasn’t allowed more than 14 points in a game this season.
Lakes player to watch: Running back Direll Clark has scored six touchdowns this season. He had three last week.
Lake Zurich player to watch: Kicker Mike Leiva made field goals of 27, 30, 39 and 40 yards in last week’s win over Warren.
Prediction: Lake Zurich 27, Lakes 13
Joliet West (0-3) at No. 16 Bolingbrook (3-0)
When: Friday at 7:30 p.m.
The story: While a lot of attention has gone to Homewood-Flossmoor and Lincoln-Way East in the Southwest Suburban Blue, Bolingbrook has been just as terrific. The Raiders have out-scored their opponents 139-35 this season. Quarterback Aaron Bailey has matured as a junior, and the defense is led by Florida recruit Antonio Morrison. Joliet West’s offense finally got going in Week 3 and scored 28 points in a narrow loss to Sandburg.
Joliet West player to watch: SaVaughn Alexander rushed for 202 yards and a touchdown in last week’s game against Sandburg.
Bolingbrook player to watch: Linebacker Antonio Morrison, a Florida recruit, has been living up to the hype.
Quote:Bolingbrook coach John Ivlow – “We are hungry for win, and they are working hard in practice and executing on both sides of the ball.”
Prediction: Bolingbrook 45, Joliet West 13
Elgin (1-2) at No. 17 Geneva (3-0)
When:Friday at 7:30 p.m.
The story: Geneva’s wins have come easy, but they still all count the same. Last week, the Vikings trailed at halftime before rallying to a 35-17 win over St. Charles East. Geneva will be looking for less drama against Elgin. Elgin has lost the past two weeks to Bartlett and Streamwood and allowed 70 points in those two games. Geneva has been averaging 30-plus points a game.
Elgin player to watch: Running back Dennis Moore can burn defenses with his ability.
Geneva player to watch: Bobby Byker has been one of the surprises for Geneva this season. He’s stepped up on the offensive line.
Quote:Geneva coach Rob Wicinski – “I feel that they really do not panic … a little laid back. With saying that, I feel like I almost know them less since Week 1?”
Prediction: Geneva 38, Elgin 10
Glenbard South (1-2) at Crete-Monee (3-0)
When: Friday at 7:30 p.m.
The story: Crete-Monee has been dominant on both sides of the ball this season. Quarterback Marcus Terrell has been lighting defenses up, and Michigan recruit Anthony Standifer and company have been shutting opposing offenses down. Wide receiver/defensive end LaQuan Treadwell has been assisting on both sides. Glenbard South will have its hands full with the Warriors. Glenbard South lost 23-19 to Rich East last week.
Glenbard South player to watch: Wes Sanders has been a threat to score rushing or receiving the ball.
Crete-Monee player to watch: Quarterback Marcus Terrell has thrown for 1,000 yards and 10 touchdowns through three games.
Quote:Crete-Monee coach Jerry Verde – “This team's focus is different from my teams the prior four years. They expect victory and put in the work needed to be prepared and conditioned.”
Prediction: Crete-Monee 49, Glenbard South 10
Huntley (0-3) at No. 20 Crystal Lake South (3-0)
When: Friday at 7:15 p.m.
The story: Crystal Lake South still has to be feeling pretty good after pulling out a 10-7 road win over rival Cary-Grove last week. The Gators have set themselves up to be 5-0 headed into their Sept. 30 matchup with Prairie Ridge if they can take care of business against Huntley and McHenry. Crystal Lake South’s defense has been leading the way. It has allowed 13 points all season. Huntley has struggled so far this season. It lost 43-2 to Prairie Ridge last week.
Huntley player to watch: Crystal Lake South will try to contain quarterback Jake Brock. He can run and pass the ball.
Crystal Lake South player to watch: Defensive lineman Josh Beveridge has 11.5 tackles, 4.5 tackles for loss and 2.5 sacks this season.
Quote:Crystal Lake South coach Chuck Ahsmann -- ”We still need to work on offense and special teams. In order to win championships, you need to have good balance.”
Prediction: Crystal Lake South 31, Huntley 7
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)When: 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)When: 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)When: 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)When: 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)When: 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)When: 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)When: 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)When: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)When: 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)When: 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)When: 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)When: 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)When: 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)When: 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)When: 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)When: 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)When: 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
Warren (0-0) at No. 1 Maine South (0-0) on FridayThe 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
The 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
The Hawks possessed the state’s best offensive weapon in 2008 (quarterback Charlie Goro) and 2009 (running back Matt Perez) and had plenty of talent around them to roll through their competition. Maine South went undefeated both years and won the state title in 2008 with a 41-21 win over Hinsdale Central and in 2009 with a 41-17 win over Marist.
In 2010, there’s finally hope for everyone else. While Maine South is still a state contender, the Hawks aren’t the same dominating team they were the past two seasons.
So who steps into the Hawks’ place? It’s up in the air. There are nearly a dozen teams capable of going all the way.
Here’s a deeper look at Class 8A.
Best opening round game
No. 9 Naperville North at No. 8 Marist: Both teams experienced similar seasons. They come from elite conferences. Both finished third behind highly-ranked teams. Both lost two close games. For Naperville North, it lost by seven points each to Glenbard North and Wheaton North and ended up third in the DuPage Valley. For Marist, it lost to Carmel and Joliet Catholic by a combined 11 points to take third in the East Suburban Catholic.
Top 10 Class 8A teams
1. Loyola (8-1): Earned a share of the Catholic League title with upset of St. Rita
2. Glenbard North (8-1): Only loss to Wheaton Warrenville South
3. Stevenson (9-0): Finished regular season undefeated for second consecutive season
4. Lyons (8-1): Earned a lot of respect with Week 9 win over Glenbard West
5. Mount Carmel (7-2): Caravan roll into 25th consecutive playoff appearance
6. York (8-1): Defeated Lyons during the regular season
7. Maine South (7-2): Has won seven straight since rough start
8. Marist (6-3): Experienced a few tough breaks this season
9. Naperville North (6-3): One of the best defensive teams in the area
10. Downers Grove South (7-2): Playing well after losing first two games of the season
Top 5 players to watch
1. Nick Lifka, SR, LB, Naperville North:A Boston College recruit, he may be the state’s best defensive player. He had 18 tackles against Glenbard North this season.
2. Malcolm Weaver, JR, QB, Loyola: He has flourished in his first year starting for the Ramblers, throwing for almost 30 touchdowns.
3. Chris Sujka, SR, QB, Mount Carmel: He operates the Caravan’s option to perfection, breaking off runs of 50-plus yards nearly every game.
4. Stephen Salata, SR, WR, Stevenson: He has been one of the area’s top receivers this season with 100 yards receiving in almost every game.
5. Brian Bobek, SR, OL, Fremd: At 6 foot 3 and 275 pounds, he is considered one of the nation’s top offensive linemen and is committed to Ohio State.
Fremd (5-4): After being highly ranked to start the season, the Vikings dropped four of their first five games. With their backs against the wall, Fremd won its last four games, including a 26-12 victory over Barrington, and reached the playoffs for the 16th consecutive season. No one wants to face them right now.
Road for defending champions
Maine South began the season No. 1 in ESPNChicago.com’s rankings. Young and inexperienced, the Hawks probably didn’t deserve that ranking. There was an assumption that because they had won 28 consecutive games and back-to-back state titles that they would continue winning this season. They lost their first two games -- including a lopsided one to Wheaton Warrenville South -- and fell out of the rankings. Since then, Maine South has gained that needed experience and turned itself into a quality team. Led by sophomore quarterback Matt Alviti, the Hawks have won their last seven games all by 21 points or more and are heading into the playoffs with some momentum. They have the highest scoring average of all 8A teams with 40.4 points a game. Being a No. 4 seed, the road isn’t easy, but it isn’t impossible.
The Class 8A playoffs would like to welcome back Barrington, Bartlett, Brother Rice, Dunbar, Evanston, Homewood-Flossmoor, Neuqua Valley, Vocational, Whitney Young and York. All 10 teams missed the playoffs last season. Homewood-Flossmoor made the biggest turnaround from last year. After a 1-8 season in 2009, the Vikings were 7-2 this year.
State championship prediction: Loyola defeats Mount Carmel
The story:Wheaton Warrenville South looks to put the finishing touches on its second consecutive unbeaten regular season. The Tigers have been perfect in the regular season three of the past four years. They will be the favorite to win the Class 7A state championship when the playoff pairings are released on Saturday night.
Prediction: Wheaton Warrenville South 49, West Aurora 7
No. 14 Loyola (7-1) at No. 2 St. Rita (8-0) on Friday
The story:The Catholic League championship will be decided with this game. If St. Rita wins, it takes full possession. If Loyola wins, the Ramblers, St. Rita and Mount Carmel could all finish the conference season with one loss. Mount Carmel is the lone team to defeat Loyola this season. The Ramblers are led by junior quarterback Malcolm Weaver. St. Rita has relied on running back Jahwon Akui. ESPN 1000 will be in attendance.
Loyola player to watch: Quarterback Malcolm Weaver receives a lot of the press, but his receivers also make him look good. E.J. Webb has been his top target.
St. Rita player to watch: Mustangs linebacker Matt Mullen came up with a couple huge tackles last week. St. Rita will look for more of the same against a talented Loyola offense.
Quote:Loyola coach John Holecek -- “Rita’s O-line and running back are awesome. They’re fast and have a physical defense. We must score on all opportunities to keep up and must have no errors in the passing game. Running back Spencer Perry has to have a game if they decide to cover everything. We need to try and limit the big plays and withstand their muscle and speed. … Hope for divine intervention.”
Prediction: St. Rita 28, Loyola 27
Lyons (7-1) at No. 3 Glenbard West (8-0) on Saturday
The story:Lyons stands in the way of Glenbard West’s third consecutive unbeaten regular season. The Lions have been in a handful of close ones this season. Four of their games have been decided by a touchdown or less. Their lone defeat was to York. The Hilltoppers have been dominant on both sides of the ball all season. They’ve out-scored opponents 288-62. They defeated York 27-10 in Week 7.
Lyons player to watch:Chris Klotz caught a touchdown pass and blocked a punt and recovered it in the end zone in the Lions’ win over Leyden last week.
Glenbard West player to watch: Beau Warden has been one of the best linebackers in the state this season. He has 91 tackles, seven sacks, five forced fumbles and two interceptions.
Quotes:Glenbard West coach Chad Hetlet -- “LT is a well-balanced offense even though they run a four- and five-receiver set. To be successful, we need to be able to run the ball and keep the chains moving.”
Prediction:Glenbard West 31, Lyons 17
No. 4 Carmel (8-0) at Elder (Ohio) (2-5) on Saturday
The story: Carmel closes out its season by traveling to Ohio on Friday. Elder has had a rocky season, going 2-5. The Panthers are coming off a bye week and have had time to prepare for Carmel’s arrival.
Prediction: Carmel 42, Elder 20
Brooks (3-5) at No. 5 Simeon (8-0) on Thursday
The story: Simeon has rolled through the Public League, and this city playoff opener shouldn’t be different. The Wolverines’ focus will be on the state playoffs as they try to become the first Public League team to win a state title.
Prediction: Simeon 56, Brooks 7
No. 6 Joliet Catholic (7-1) at Benet (5-3) on Thursday
The story:In a rare Thursday East Suburban Catholic game, Joliet Catholic travels to play an inconsistent Benet team. The Redwings likely clinched themselves a playoff spot with last week’s 10-7 win over St. Viator. Joliet Catholic’s offense has been unstoppable lately. The Hilltoppers have scored 48 or more points in their last four games.
Prediction:Joliet Catholic 49, Benet 17
McHenry (1-7) at No. 7 Crystal Lake South (8-0) on Friday
The story: Crystal Lake South clinched the Fox Valley Valley title last week. The Gators have won with a balanced offense and defense. They’ve out-scored their opponents 253-86.
Prediction:Crystal Lake South 42, McHenry 6
Naperville Central (4-4) at No. 8 Glenbard North (7-1) on Friday
The story:Naperville Central needs to win this game to have a shot at the playoffs. Glenbard North is looking to bounce back from its 49-6 loss to Wheaton Warrenville South last week.
Prediction:Glenbard North 23, Naperville Central 17
No. 9 Lincoln-Way East (7-1) at Joliet Central (0-8) on Saturday
The story:Lincoln-Way East has been playing well heading into the playoffs. The Griffins have won their past six games since losing to Wheaton North.
Prediction:Lincoln-Way East 56, Joliet Central 7
No. 10 Stevenson (8-0) at Antioch (7-1) on Friday
The story: Stevenson is the top team in the North Suburban Lake, and Antioch is in second place behind Vernon Hills in the North Suburban Prairie. Prairie teams haven’t fared well against Lake teams this season.
Prediction: Stevenson 35, Antioch 14
No. 11 Lake Zurich (7-1) at Lake Forest (6-2) on Friday
The story: Lake Forest is coming off a 21-0 win over previously-unbeaten Vernon Hills. It was the first time Vernon Hills had allowed a point this season. Lake Forest’s two losses came to conference foes Stevenson and Warren. Lake Zurich’s defense has been among the best in the state this season. The Bears have allowed 10 or less points six times this year.
Prediction: Lake Zurich 24, Lake Forest 10
No. 12 Wheaton North (6-2) at Glenbard East (3-5) on Friday
The story:Wheaton North is hoping that this won’t be another nail-biter. The Falcons’ last two wins came down to the final minutes. They defeated Naperville Central 23-21 two weeks ago and Naperville North 14-7 last week.
Prediction:Wheaton North 41, Glenbard East 13
Providence (2-6) at No. 13 Mount Carmel (6-2) on Friday
The story:The season hasn’t gone according to plan for Providence, which was the 6A state runner-up last season. The Celtics began the year 0-4 and never could bounce back. If they could upset Mount Carmel, that might help their offseason. The Caravan have scored 40-plus points in five games this season.
Prediction: Mount Carmel 38, Providence 20
No. 15 Plainfield South (8-0) at Plainfield North (6-2) on Friday
The story:This has the potential to be a fun one. Plainfield South has one of the state’s premier offenses. The Cougars have scored 397 points this season. They haven’t scored less than 41 points in a game. Plainfield North has scored 33 or more points six times this year and possesses running back Kapri Bibbs, who has run for 2,000-plus yard this season. The game will decide the Southwest Prairie championship.
Plainfield South player to watch:Running back Dondre Adams is the Cougars’ offensive threat.
Plainfield North player to watch:Bibbs is in the running for the ESPNChicago.com Player of the Year award. He has 2,166 rushing yards and 32 touchdowns this season.
Quotes: Plainfield North coach Tim Kane -- “They have an explosive offense with weapons at quarterback, wide receiver and running back. Defensively, we will need to do all we can to eliminate big plays -- long runs and the deep pass. Offensively, obviously, we will need to get the ball in Kapri Bibbs' hands often. However, we will make some adjustments with formations and plays to maybe get it to him in different ways than we had previously as I am sure South has us very well scouted.”
Plainfield South coach Greg Banner -- “Gonna be great a high school football atmosphere, two strong teams battling for either a share of the conference title or the outright title. The biggest two keys are who makes the least mistakes, and who can stop the other from making big plays on offense. North has a strong rushing attack led by Bibbs. They have a lot of guys playing both sides of the ball, and they are talented. Should be a really exciting game.”
Prediction:Plainfield South 63, Plainfield North 54
Buffalo Grove (4-4) at No. 16 Prospect (7-1) on Friday
The story: Prospect has been one of the year’s bigger surprises. The Knights lost their season-opener and now have won seven straight, including an overtime win over Elk Grove last week. Buffalo Grove needs to win this game to be playoff eligible.
Prediction: Prospect 35, Buffalo Grove 20
No. 17 Schaumburg (6-2) at Hoffman Estates (1-7) on Friday
The story:Barrington, Fremd and Schaumburg all enter the final week with one Mid-Suburban West loss. Schaumburg’s only MSL West loss was to Barrington.
Prediction:Schaumburg 41, Hoffman Estates 10
Clark (4-4) at No. 18 Morgan Park (7-1) on Friday
The story:Morgan Park opens the Public League playoffs with Clark. The Mustangs are coming off a narrow win over previously-unbeaten Hubbard. Morgan Park quarterback Dae’Shaun Hurley was this week’s ESPNChicago.com Prep Athlete of the Week.
Prediction: Morgan Park 47, Clark 6
No. 19 Marmion (8-0) at Montini (6-2) on Friday
The story:This should be one of the better games in Week 9. Marmion started off the year with a couple of narrow wins and has since been crushing opponents. Montini opened the season with back-to-back losses to Joliet Catholic and Loyola and has been on a roll ever since. The Broncos have allowed six points in their past four games. The Suburban Christian Blue championship will be decided here.
Marmion player to watch:T.J. Lally ran for 209 yards on just seven carries last week.
Montini player to watch:Jordan Westerkamp has been one of the state’s top wide receivers this year. He has 52 catches for 967 yards and 12 touchdowns.
Quote: Montini coach Chris Andriano -- “The key to this week’s game is for our defense to shut down their dangerous running attack. If they are able to sustain long drives and win the time of possession, we will be in trouble. Our defense will need to get off the field on 3rd down to give our offense more possessions. Offensively, we will need to be able to run the ball to keep their defense honest. Our QB will need to continue to make good decisions and distribute the ball to all of our receivers.”
Prediction:Montini 31, Marmion 24
No. 20 Lemont (8-0) at Hillcrest (0-8) on Friday
The story: The Indians haven’t lost more than three games in a season since 2003. That won’t change this season.
Prediction:Lemont 31, Hillcrest 13
Along with No. 20 Wheaton Warrenville South (8-0), which did not move this week, St. Rita (8-0) was ranked No. 50 this week.
In the Midwest Region Top 20 rankings, Wheaton Warrenville South remained at No. 2 behind top-ranked Glenville (Cleveland, Ohio). St. Rita (ranked No. 8 in ESPNChicago.com's rankings) and No. 17 Glenbard West also stayed put.
Glenbard North (7-1) fell out of the Midwest rankings after its loss to Wheaton Warrenville South, and Carmel (8-0) and Simeon (8-0) were on the Midwest bubble.
1) Joliet Catholic senior Josh Ferguson rushed for 257 yards and four touchdowns on 17 carries in the Hilltoppers’ win over Marist.
2) Travis Kern was Wheaton Warrenville South’s go-to receiver in the Tigers’ 49-6 win over Glenbard North. Kern had eight receptions for 137 yards and two touchdowns.
3) Elk Grove fell to Prospect 42-41 in overtime, but the loss wasn’t for Nick Meyer’s effort. He was 26-for-41 passing for 288 yards and ran for 148 yards and six touchdowns.
4) Mount Carmel quarterback Chris Sujka has been carrying the Caravan the last couple of weeks. He had touchdown runs of 17 and 81 yards and threw a touchdown pass in Mount Carmel’s 52-7 win over St. Laurence on Friday.
5) Glenbrook North’s Grant Rushing lived up to his name in the Spartans’ 48-0 win over Maine East on Friday. Rushing rushed for a game-high 149 yards and three touchdowns.
1) In a spin on things, Lake Forest’s defense shut out Vernon Hills 21-0 on Friday, snapping Vernon Hills’ shutout streak at seven games. The Cougars had outscored opponents 310-0 before Friday’s loss.
2) Glenbard West’s Mike Laning intercepted two passes in the Hilltoppers’ 47-7 win over Downers Grove North.
3) Bartlett’s Demetrius Coleman recovered two fumbles in the Hawks’ 25-23 win over Neuqua Valley.
4) Wheaton North’s Andy Dietz had two interceptions in his team’s 14-7 win over Naperville North.
5) Lemont’s Clayton Fejedelem intercepted a pass and returned a punt for an 80-yard touchdown in the Indians’ 44-0 win over Thornton Fractional North.
1) Crystal Lake South 28, Cary-Grove 14: The Gators won their first Fox Valley Conference division title since 1993, and they were able to do it by knocking off rival Cary-Grove.
2) Joliet Catholic 49, Marist 42: Playing in the memory of teacher and basketball coach Jeremy Izzo, who recently passed away, the Hilltoppers pulled out an emotional win over Marist. Quarterback Breshion Tucker, who also played basketball for Izzo, threw three touchdowns in the victory.
3) Schaumburg 35, Palatine 27: Mark Iannotti and Shepard Little combined for 357 rushing yards and four touchdowns to propel the Saxons.
4) Fremd 26, Barrington 12: The Vikings kept themselves alive for the postseason with their upset win over previously-unbeaten Barrington. Fremd has made 15 consecutive playoff appearances and needs to still win one more game to keep that streak alive.
5) Marian Catholic 29, Nazareth 28: John Rhode hooked up with Randall Wells for a 40-yard touchdown pass as time expired to give the Spartans the win.
WHEATON, Ill. -- How the history books will judge Wheaton Warrenville South’s 2010 team will largely depend on how the Tigers fare in the playoffs.
Whether Wheaton Warrenville South can repeat as Class 7A state champions won’t be known until late November. But through eight weeks of regular-season play, it’s hard not to start measuring this year’s Tigers with some of the best teams in recent Illinois history.
On Friday, No. 1 Wheaton Warrenville South continued to make a case for itself as it ran away with a 49-6 win over No. 6 Glenbard North, giving the Tigers their fifth lopsided victory over a ranked opponent this season.
Glenbard North (7-1) was thought to be the best team that the Tigers (8-0) have faced this season. The Panthers had come into Friday’s game undefeated with wins over three ranked opponents and was ranked among the best defenses in the state.
Early on, the Panthers did hang with Wheaton Warrenville South. They put together two solid drives to start off the game, one resulting in a five-yard touchdown pass from Mark Ng to Mark Szwan, and had forced the Tigers to punt after three unsuccessful plays on their opening drive.
After one quarter, Glenbard North was winning 6-0, and it appeared as if Wheaton Warrenville South was going to be in for its first real fight of the season.
“It was kind of a slow start,” O’Toole said. “We want to emphasize to get on a fast start. That’s what we got to work on for next week. We don’t want to get in a hole.”
That changed quickly, though, on Friday.
Tigers running back Matt Rogers put his team ahead 7-6 with a touchdown with 10:28 left in the second quarter. One drive later, O’Toole hooked up with Travis Kern for a four-year touchdown to go ahead 14-6. After forcing Glenbard North into fumble, the Tigers capitalized with a 15-yard touchdown pass from O’Toole to Titus Davis with 48.8 seconds remaining. Then on the kickoff, Adam Dansdill stole the ball cleanly from the Panthers’ kick returner and carried it into the end zone with 40.2 seconds remaining.
Just like that, Wheaton Warrenville South was up 28-6, and the game was decided.
O’Toole found Kern again for another score in the second half, and Patrick Garner rushed for two touchdowns to put the final touches on the victory.
Kern’s performance was the one that stood out the most on the day. He finished with eight catches for 138 yards and two touchdowns.
“He’s a great player,” O’Toole said of Kern. “He’s easy to find. He never drops the ball, runs great routes. He’s kind of in the shadows of Titus because Titus is such a big-time player. It was just Travis just getting open and making big plays.”
O’Toole, an Illinois recruit, continued his dominant ways. He was 14 of 22 for 207 yards and three touchdowns.
Evin Natick (90 rushing yards) and Phil Jackson (66 rushing yards) led the Panthers’ offense.