High School: Lake Zurich

Prep rankings: 8A title finalists are top two

November, 20, 2011
11/20/11
5:53
PM CT
Loyola remained No. 1 in this week's rankings and Bolingbrook stayed at No. 2. The two teams will face off in the Class 8A final on Saturday.

Complete rankings.

Prep rankings: Loyola stays at No. 1

November, 13, 2011
11/13/11
8:36
PM CT
Loyola, Bolingbrook and St. Rita held onto the top three spots in ESPNChicago's prep football rankings.

Complete rankings

Prep rankings: Loyola claims top spot

November, 7, 2011
11/07/11
12:56
AM CT
After last week's top 3 all lost in the second round of the playoffs, Loyola (11-0) moved into the No. 1 spot.

Complete rankings.

Lake Zurich shuts down Glenbard West in upset

November, 5, 2011
11/05/11
10:26
PM CT
GLEN ELLYN -- Lake Zurich was able to contain a Glenbard West offense that scored fewer than 21 points only once this year, clawing and scratching its way to a gritty 10-3 upset win on Saturday.

The Bears, who were in the Class 7A state finals just a year ago, pulled it off despite being outsized in the trenches. Dealing with Penn State recuit Tommy Schutt (6-3, 290 pounds) is a tall task for any offensive line. But the Bears held their own on the play that mattered the most: a 15-yard run by running back Mike Shield for the only touchdown of the game.

When asked about the size differential, receiver John Orlando pointed to his chest.

Glenbard West Lake Zurich“We got the heart,” Orlando said. “We like being the underdog and coming out there and showing everyone what we can do.”

The Bears defense was also able to limit the Hilltoppers’ mobile quarterback Justice Odom to only a few big plays. Odom finished 9-for-20 passing for 113 yards but Lake Zurich’s defensive backs did a nice job of not letting anyone get behind them for a big play. Odom also had 15 carries for 84 yards.

When the Hilltoppers look back at the footage, they will be kicking themselves over all the mental mistakes they made. They had seven costly penalties, two of those coming on third-and-short, making things more difficult on an offense that had trouble finding its rhythm all game long.
But no penalty was more costly than the personal foul after an Orlando punt return that placed the ball at the Hilltoppers 15-yard line. The Bears scored on the ensuing play, giving them a 7-0 lead with four seconds left in the first quarter.

The only drive on which the Hilltoppers moved the ball consistently was in the second quarter when they drove 61 yards on nine plays for a 30-yard field goal with 2:32 left in the half.

Yet the Hilltoppers gave up another big play on the Bears’ next possession. A 66-yard run by Orlando put the Bears within field goal range with time ticking down in the half.

“Everyone made their blocks and the lane was just wide open. I just kept going but I got caught from behind, sadly,” Orlando said.

The Bears capitalized and went into halftime up 10-3.

The key story of the second half was the punting game by the Bears. With the offense only being able to muster up two first downs, both of which came on the final drive of the game, the Bears had to punt often and senior Mark Weber stepped up and delivered booming punt after punt, consistently pinning the Hilltoppers deep in their own territory.

“Our punting game was outstanding in helping us with the field position,” Lake Zurich head coach Bryan Stortz said. “That really helped our defense tremendously because they couldn’t take as many shots.”

On the Hilltoppers last drive of the game, they had another mental mistake, being flagged for a delay of game on third-and-9 with under four minutes left. After being pushed back, Odom was only able to scramble for four yards and the ball went back to the Bears.

With 2:47 left in the game and only one timeout remaining for Glenbard West, Orlando took the snap from the Wildcat formation and ran for 12 yards and the first down. That was the first time the Bears were able to move the chains in the second half.

Player of the game: Orlando was the big-play guy for the Bears. He was seen mostly in the Wildcat formation and sprung through a hole at the end of the first half and darted 66 yards to set the Bears up with a field goal attempt.

Stat of the game: Four punts inside the 25-yard line for Weber in the second half alone. He came up huge for the Bears as he never allowed the Hilltoppers to start off with good field position.

It was over when: Orlando took the snap out of the Wildcat and sprinted left, eluding tacklers and stumbling for a 12 yard gain on a third-and-7 late in the fourth quarter. The Hilltoppers were forced to use their final timeout and the Bears ran out the clock from there.

Quote of the night: “We spent a lot of time in the film room this week. We really picked up on their formations and we had it nailed down to the select plays they could have ran before the ball was even snapped. We did a great job of reading and recognizing. Our pass defense was a little shaky but they are going to make plays. That’s inevitable. We just have to make more. “ – Running back/defensive back Mike Shield on their preparation this week.

Round 2 playoff preview capsules

November, 3, 2011
11/03/11
12:11
AM CT
Here's a look at 10 notable second-round playoff games.

No. 1 Maine South (10-0) at No. 19 Stevenson (8-2)

Stevenson Grant
When:Saturday at 3 p.m.
The story: Maine South and Stevenson met in the Class 8A quarterfinals last season. Maine South won that matchup 20-9 and continued on to its third consecutive state championship. Stevenson’s goal will be to keep this game close. The Patriots have had seven games this season decided by seven points or less. They’ve won five of them. Maine South hasn’t been in many tight games. It defeated Wheaton Warrenville South 13-9 early in the season, but has won every game since by 16 or more points. Maine South has been held to less 35 points just once this season. Stevenson hasn’t allowed more than 28 points this year.
Maine South player to watch: Wide receiver Jimmy Frankos is one of Matt Alviti’s main targets. Frankos had four catches for 103 yards and two touchdowns last week.
Stevenson player to watch: Wide receiver Troy Radtke is capable of making big plays in the Patriots’ offense.
Prediction: Maine South 35, Stevenson 24

Lake Zurich (8-2) at No. 2 Glenbard West (10-0)

Glenbard West Lake Zurich
When:Saturday at 1 p.m.
The story: Glenbard West and Lake Zurich possess two of the top defenses in the area and two of the top defensive players. Glenbard West, which is led by Penn State recruit Tommy Schutt, has held eight opponents to seven points or less. The Hilltoppers have given up a total of 57 points this season. Lake Zurich’s defense isn’t as dominant as it was last season, but the Bears can still get to the ball with blazing speed. Led by Minnesota recruit Jack Lynn, Lake Zurich has held six opponents to seven points or less. Both teams have also lost to Wheaton Warrenville South in the state championship in recent years. Glenbard West fell in 2009 and Lake Zurich lost last season.
Lake Zurich player to watch: Running back Mike Shield has broken his share of runs this season.
Glenbard West player to watch: Running back Avery Balogh has consistently been productive this year.
Prediction: Glenbard West 27, Lake Zurich 17

No. 18 Wheaton Warrenville South (7-3) at No. 3 Lincoln-Way East (10-0)

Lincoln-Way East Wheaton Warrenville South
When:Friday at 7:30 p.m.
The story: Wheaton Warrenville South has to lose for someone else to win a Class 7A state championship. The Tigers have won the last two titles. Although they didn’t resemble early on a team that was going to three-peat, they do look more like it now. Lincoln-Way East has proven itself against some of the state’s best teams and is a legitimate state contender. Its offense hasn’t been contained yet. This has a shot at being one of the better playoff games of 2011.
Wheaton Warrenville South players to watch: The Tigers’ junior offensive line has come a long way since Game 1.
Lincoln-Way East player to watch: Wide receiver Jay Yancy would be the No. 1 receiver on most teams.
Prediction: Lincoln-Way East 24, Wheaton Warrenville South 21

Mount Carmel (7-3) at No. 5 Bolingbrook (9-1)

Bolingbrook Mount Carmel
When:Saturday at 6 p.m.
The story: A few weeks ago, this matchup had the makings of a Class 8A semifinal. Instead, Mount Carmel dropped its last two games of the regular season and it fell in the seeding. Don’t think Bolingbrook is taking the Caravan any lighter due to that. Mount Carmel is still a state title contender. If its offense can get going, the Caravan can play with anyone. Bolingbrook has continued to flourish on both sides of the ball and is the favorite to reach the state championship from its bracket.
Mount Carmel player to watch: Running back Brandon Greer was key to the Caravan’s offense rolling in the first round.
Bolingbrook player to watch: Quarterback Aaron Bailey is one of the most exciting players in the state.
Prediction: Bolingbrook 31, Mount Carmel 17

No. 16 Cary-Grove (8-2) at No. 10 Nazareth (9-1)

Nazareth Geneva
When:Saturday at 1 p.m.
The story: With so many state title contenders in Class 6A, it was inevitable there would be some intriguing early-round matchups. This game is among those. Both teams showed throughout the regular season they’re among the state’s best. Both excel with strong running backs and solid defensive play. Nazareth did go undefeated at home during the regular season.
Cary-Grove player to watch: Max Kersten is among the defensive playmakers for the Trojans.
Nazareth player to watch: Quarterback Sam Poulos has the ability to beat opponents through the air.
Prediction: Nazareth 28, Cary-Grove 20

Crystal Lake South (9-1) at Carmel (7-3)

Nazareth GenevaWhen:Friday at 7 p.m.
The story: Crystal Lake South’s defense has limited nearly every offense it has played this season. The Gators have allowed more than 14 points just once. On the other hand, Carmel’s offense hasn’t been slowed down. The Corsairs have scored at least 27 points in all 10 of their games. In the games Carmel did lose, it allowed a minimum of 32 points. If Crystal Lake South’s offense can put up a similar numbers, the Gators could be in good shape.
Crystal Lake South player to watch: Quarterback Austin Fowler completed five passes in last week’s win and three of them were for touchdowns.
Carmel player to watch: Quarterback Brian Brennan’s excels at running the option, but he can pass the ball effectively when needed.
Prediction: Carmel 31, Crystal Lake South 24

Brother Rice (7-3) at No. 14 Downers Grove South (9-1)

Downers Grove South Brother Rice
When:Friday at 7 p.m.
The story: This is a showdown of two of the elite running backs in the state. Downers Grove South’s Josh Williams has rushed for more than 2,000 yards and 30 touchdown. Walker, who shares carries, has rushed for 1,189 yards and 17 touchdown on 148 carries. This is another chance for Brother Rice to prove itself against an elite team. The Crusaders had trouble against Loyola, Mount Carmel and St. Rita during the regular season.
Brother Rice player to watch: Andrew Walker is the Crusaders’ other running back option.
Downers Grove South player to watch: Defensive back John Wauer intercepted a pass and recovered a fumble last week.
Prediction: Downers Grove South 34, Brother Rice 28

Lake Forest (8-2) at No. 8 Batavia (10-0)

Batavia Lake Forest
When:Saturday at 1 p.m.
The story: Top-seeded Batavia got a scare in the first round. The Bulldogs did dominate the second half of last week’s win against Notre Dame. They’ll be looking for that sort of start against Lake Forest. The Scouts have been a surprise this season. No one expected them here after dropping their season opener to Buffalo Grove. In a win over Stevenson and a loss to Lake Zurich, Lake Forest’s defense kept it in each game. Its offense will need to step up for the Scouts to have a chance.
Lake Forest player to watch: Owen Williams rushed for four touchdowns in the first half last week.
Batavia player to watch: Cole Gardner caught six passes for 110 yards and three touchdowns in last week’s win.
Prediction: Batavia 31, Lake Forest 21

Lakes (8-2) at Grant (7-3)

Grant Lakes
When:Friday at 7 p.m.
The story: When these two teams met in Week 3, Lakes rolled to a 38-14 win over Grant. Since then, Grant has been a different team. It’s won six of its last seven games and pulled off a comeback win over Antioch in the first round. Lakes lost to Antioch during the regular season, but has been consistently solid on both sides of the ball all season.
Lakes player to watch: Direll Clark rushed for 280 yards and four touchdowns on 41 carries last week.
strong>Grant player to watch: Running back Jonathan Well ran for 229 yards on 31 carries last week.
Prediction: Lakes 27, Grant 20

Joliet Catholic (8-2) at Morris (9-1)

Morris Joliet Catholic
When:Friday at 7 p.m.
The story: These are two of the state’s most historic programs. Morris has made 29 playoff appearances, including 11 consecutive, owns a 60-25 playoff record, won three state titles and had six runner-up finishes. Joliet Catholic has made 35 playoffs appearances, including 14 consecutive, gone 97-21 in the playoffs, won 13 state titles and had three runner-up finishes. Morris has had two of its worst games of the season in the last two weeks. The Redskins’ main problem has been starting slow. Joliet Catholic’s offense can put up points quickly. If its defense can contain Morris, Joliet Catholic should advance.
Joliet Catholic player to watch: Linebacker Austin Bolton had eight tackles and recovered an onside kick last week.
Morris to watch: Jeff Perry rushed for 145 yards and two touchdowns over Morton last week.
Prediction: Joliet Catholic 42, Morris 21

IHSA football playoff bracket -- Class 7A

October, 23, 2011
10/23/11
3:15
AM CT
Wheaton Warrenville South doesn't have a stranglehold on Class 7A this season as it has had the past two years on its way to back-to-state championships. Who else could contend?

Bracket and analysis.

Coaches roundtable: Why that offense?

October, 11, 2011
10/11/11
8:07
PM CT
Each week all of the coaches in ESPNChicago.com top 20 poll are presented a question. This week’s Coaches Roundtable question: What type of offense do you run and why?

  • Crete-Monee coach Jerry Verde: We have run a variation of the spread here at CMHS for the last five years. It best suits our talents.

  • St. Rita coach Todd Kuska: We run a multi-faceted offense. We are a base pro team that will use some spread -- four wide receiver packages -- at times to give some different looks. We believe in the pro-style offense as it allows us to use all of our weapons (running back, fullback, tight end, wide receiver). The spread package allows us to do just that, spread out the defense and find the weaknesses.

  • Lemont coach Eric Michaelsen: Power running/play action. It fits our personnel and philosophy of moving the chains and keeping the other team's offense off the field.

  • Wheaton North coach Joe Wardynski: We run the pistol offense at Wheaton North High School. This type of offense was selected because it matches the skills of the kids that we currently have. The other reason that our offensive coordinator likes the pistol is that it is slightly different than your traditional spread offense and defenses don't see it quite as often throughout the year.

  • Downers Grove South coach John Belskis: We run primarily a pro-style offense but infuse some spread plays, as well. We chose it because we feel that it allows us enough balance to accommodate the wide range of talent we get from year to year.

  • Lake Zurich coach Bryan Stortz: We have evolved over the years using a hybrid wing-t concept in combination with spread principles. We have utilized formations and motions to gain numbers advantages, misdirection, double teams and reads by the quarterback to build our offense. We have tried to limit the number of skill sets that each position must master in order to execute successfully. We believe that this philosophy provides the best opportunity to run the football effectively and integrate a complimentary passing game. We have felt that the concepts have fit our personnel and can be tailored to each team's specific talents.

  • Antioch coach Brian Glashagel: We are a triple-option team (Georgia Tech, Navy, Air Force, etc.). We feel this gives us the best chance to compete. In the option, we can run the ball against any defense and really put pressure on the defense to cover all three of the phases. We don't have to block everyone on the defense, and we are also out flanking you at the point of attack. Mix in a counter game, short passing and play-action passing game and you have our offense. We do not have a lot of plays, but rather change some formations for even more advantages.

  • Glenbard West coach Chad Hetlet: Double wing jet offense. It has allowed us to do many things from pound the ball to throwing it all over. The misdirection element has been vital as well.
    Batavia coach Dennis Piron: We have traditionally run a pro I attack, but this year run more I out of the shotgun. We also mix in one-back misdirection with spread concepts.

  • Bolingbrook coach John Ivlow: We run option football. No one runs it anymore, and we struggle to find offensive linemen every year!

  • Prairie Ridge coach Chris Schremp: Prairie Ridge runs double-wing option similar to what you see Georgia Tech or Navy. The main reason we run the option is week after week it gives our linemen a chance to be successful. In our schemes, our linemen do not have to block a defender on the line on his own -- we can double team or “read” any D-lineman we choose. Another reason we run the option is we always feel we can find a good athlete to execute our option. Sometimes it is extremely hard to find a QB that can drop back and throw the ball, but we feel we can always find a good athlete and coach him up to run our option.

  • Nazareth coach Tim Racki: I have always run a pro-style/spread offense. It is very easy to adapt to whatever personnel you may have in any given year. This is great for various personnel groupings as well. It also allows you to be much more balanced.

  • Carmel coach Andy Bitto: We run triple option. In our league, we do not always have the biggest group of kids, but we traditionally have quick and smart kids. Therefore, we are able to run our offense without blocking two of the opponent’s best players. We have averaged over 30 points a game for the last 12 years and have won about 80 percent of them.
  • Five thoughts from Week 7

    October, 10, 2011
    10/10/11
    11:57
    PM CT
    Here are five thoughts from the high school football weekend:

    1. Conference showdowns: The next two weeks should be full of drama in a number of conferences. The Catholic League Blue again will come down to Loyola, Mount Carmel and St. Rita. Four teams are tied for first in the East Suburban Catholic. Wheaton North is in first place in the DuPage Valley, but still has to play Glenbard North and Wheaton Warrenville South. Lake Forest leads the North Suburban Lake, but still has to play Lake Zurich and Libertyville.

    2. Prairie Ridge belongs: The question I had before watching Prairie Ridge play Jacobs on Friday was whether it belonged in the conversation with the state’s elite teams. Because Prairie Ridge plays smaller schools and falls into Class 6A, there is always that perception the Wolves can’t hang with the big boys. After watching them on Friday, I’m positive they belong. Their offense could likely move the ball on anyone. Their running game is among the area’s best, and quarterback Nick Nissen is mobile and delivers a nice pass. The defense bent against Jacobs, but didn’t break in the end. Prairie Ridge won’t get a chance to face Maine South, Glenbard West or the other elite teams, but it is among them.

    3. Lake Zurich-Stevenson again: Last season, my favorite game was Stevenson’s come-from-behind victory over Lake Zurich in the final seconds. I didn’t expect this year’s game to be as exciting, but I was wrong. While it’s not my favorite game of the year -- Joliet Catholic’s win over Carmel probably still ranks No. 1 -- Thursday’s game was another classic with Stevenson pulling out another win with a long drive in the final minutes. I’m sure next year’s will be just as dramatic.

    4. Don’t forget about Wheaton Warrenville South: The back-to-back Class 7A state champs rightfully dropped off everyone’s radar after falling to 1-3. Quietly, the Tigers have won their last three games and have put themselves in a position to make a run at another DuPage Valley title. They may not be the same team they were a year ago, but they’re still not someone opponents will want to see come playoff time.

    5. Rhode, wow: It hasn’t taken Montini quarterback John Rhode long to get back into the swing of things. After making his season debut in Week 6, he threw for eight touchdowns this past week. Montini’s offense is clicking at the right time.

    Stevenson 24, Lake Zurich 17

    October, 7, 2011
    10/07/11
    2:49
    AM CT


    LINCOLNSHIRE, Ill. – The heroes and location had changed from a year ago, but the result was just the same.

    For the second consecutive season, Stevenson drove the field in the final minutes to knock off conference rival Lake Zurich. On Thursday, the Patriots went 98 yards on their game-winning drive, and Kevin Foley scored from 3 yards out with 23 seconds remaining to lift his team to a 24-17 win over visiting No. 9 Lake Zurich.

    Last season, the Patriots went 80 yards and scored with six seconds left to pull off 24-23 win at Lake Zurich.

    “It’s last year all over again,” Lake Zurich senior Jon Way said. “This time it’s our home field, so we get to celebrate with our fans, which is nice. Yeah, it’s just like déjà vu. We put up points, and we come back for that last touchdown.”

    The North Suburban Lake match up was a rollercoaster most of the way through.

    After a scoreless first quarter, Stevenson (5-2, 3-1) jumped on Lake Zurich (5-2, 4-1) with three consecutive scores to go up 17-0 in the second quarter. Patriots quarterback Matt Micucci connected with Anthony Bozin for a 55-yard touchdown and then Way for a 10-yard score. Micucci added a 41-yard field goal.

    Micucci had one of his finest days as Stevenson’s quarterback. He went 18-for-23 passing for 247 yards and two touchdowns. He was the backup last season.

    [+] EnlargeStevenson-Lake Zurich
    Scott Powers for ESPNChicago.comLake Zurich's Mike Rantis leaps to avoid a tackle against Stevenson on Thursday.
    Lake Zurich closed the first half out with a 39-yard field by Mike Leiva and carried that momentum in the third quarter. The Bears stopped Stevenson on two consecutive drives to open the second half and capitalized with back-to-back touchdowns to even the game.

    Lake Zurich quarterback Zach Till scored the first touchdown on a 22-yard run, and Mike Shield plunged in for a 1-yard score to tie the game.

    From there, the drama only increased.

    Following another Lake Zurich stop, the Bears moved the ball again with ease on Stevenson. They got all the way down to its 1-yard line and faced a fourth and goal. Till attempted to carry the ball in over the left corner, but Stevenson linebacker Carl Miller stepped up and halted him from reaching the goal line.

    It was Stevenson’s third goal-line stop of the season.

    “Our defense has always stepped it up,” Micucci said. “Those guys make big plays at big times.”

    Stevenson’s defense was tested twice more. On Lake Zurich’s next drive, it set up a 33-yard field goal attempt. Miller came through again and blocked the field goal off his helmet. Finally after Stevenson’s last score, Dominykas Bickus intercepted Till to seal the win.

    “It was two playoff-caliber football teams just battling it out, slugging, punching,” Stevenson coach Bill McNamara said. “It was like 15-round heavyweight boxing match. We had enough in the tank in the end.”

    Lake Zurich was left with an empty feeling again.

    “We got to play four quarters of football,” Lake Zurich coach Bryan Stortz said. “I don’t think we’ve done that as a football team. Here we are in Week 7, and we still haven’t played four quarters. We need to do something coaching-wise, player-wise to do that or it’s going to be tough for us.”

    Till rushed for 104 yards and a touchdown. He was 8-of-18 passing for 95 yards.

    Each week we present a specific question to all of the coaches in ESPNChicago.com’s top 20 poll.

    This week’s coaches roundtable question: What coach had the biggest impact on you wanting to become a coach?

    Crystal Lake South’s Chuck Ahsmann: Bill Mack was my high school football coach. The way he coached had a big influence on my decision to go into coaching and the way I try to coach my teams. Coach Mack is a hall of fame coach because of his achievements, but I believe he has had a lot of influence on coaches he has coached as well.

    Maine South’s David Inserra: Three coaches for this one. Phil Hopkins was my high school coach and an Illinois Hall of Fame coach. He brought passion, intensity, an urge to win at any competition and a great knowledge of the whole game of football. He was extremely personable and so easy to talk with. Glen Van Proyen was a teacher of mine. I never got to play for him, but was the consummate "teaching life through a game" coach. The last one is Bobby Knight. As a young kid I loved how he broke everything down, expected 100 percent out of his players at all times and played by the rules. He was stubborn to a fault, but he was so far ahead of his time with X's and O's and use of film.

    Batavia’s Dennis Piron: In high school -- I went to Batavia -- Mike Gaspari was an assistant coach who spent time with me before and after practice to become a better player. He was a new coach at Batavia and went on to become the head coach and develop a very highly respected program at Batavia. I also went on to North Central College and ran track and played football for four years there. Mike invited me back to Batavia after graduation to coach with him, and I have been coaching ever since. Mike is the reason I am doing what I do today.

    Antioch’s Brian Glashagel: Although all of the coaches I had at Conant High School were great (Dave Pendergast for football, Tom McCormick for basketball) and the coaches I had at Knox College (Randy Oberembt for football and Bob Prout for track), the coach that most impacted me wanting to become a coach and most impacted my life was Ron Gummerson from Conant. He was my track coach. The reason being is that he didn't only transform me physically from a football and basketball player into a track sprinter/hurdler, but made me mentally tougher. He taught me that you don't always have to perform your best every competition, but just compete every time. If you wait to compete in perfect conditions, you will never compete. He emphasized this every day. He never yelled. Not once. But he had a look. He could just look at you, and you knew you messed up, and it made you like you were letting down a parent. He passed away this past summer. and he obviously impacted the lives of many as the line was out the door, and it was filled with coaches he worked with and against and athletes from over the past four decades.

    Geneva’s Rob Wincinski: My college coach Bill Mallory, loved his intensity. I wanted to be him. My old Ottawa High School coach Gary Vancil also influenced me to go into high school coaching. It looked like he was having a blast.

    Lake Zurich’s Bryan Stortz: I’ve been so fortunate to have so many great coaches influence how and why I coach, including my high school coaches Don Tanney, Randy Bouris, Jack Esterdahl and Tom Wooden and college coaches John Furlong and Tom Schmulbach. My father Barry Stortz was a high school football and wrestling coach in the 1970’s. We learned the foundation for sports and life from him – work ethic, attitude, commitment and the “little things.” It seemed like every day during the summer he would take my older brother and I out in the yard and hit fly balls and grounders to us. If we did a good job fielding, he would then pitch and let us bat. We learned that defense comes first! He coached many of our youth baseball and football teams. He always seemed to purely love being out there coaching and teaching all of us. He taught us fundamental after fundamental, demanded a great effort and inspired us all. I grew up seeing firsthand how being a teacher/educator and coach was a great profession. People would walk up to my dad in a store or restaurant and say, “Hi coach, remember when…. thanks!” I thought that was the greatest thing, I couldn’t believe the impact that he was able to have on someone’s life. He’s definitely had the biggest impact on why I became a coach.

    Crete-Monee’s Jerry Verde: Marian Catholic’s Dave Mattio was my coach in high school and later hired me as his defensive coordinator. He has been a mentor and a friend. Much of what I know about coaching high school football has been just trying to emulate him. His ability to win with class, get the best out of his players and yet still be personable is an example for any coach.

    Lemont’s Eric Michaelsen: My high school football coach Marv Gonsiorowski. He helped me to develop a love and respect for the game. He also treated people the right way. He never acted too important to talk to anyone and was always willing to help. An all time great person.

    Maine S., Glenbard W. remain atop rankings

    September, 25, 2011
    9/25/11
    7:55
    PM CT
    Maine South escaped a close contest with New Trier but retained its No. 1 spot in the prep football rankings. The top seven in the rankings remained unchanged, and a pair of new teams -- Antioch and Jacobs -- moved in.

    Check out the complete rankings.

    Week 5 prep preview capsules

    September, 22, 2011
    9/22/11
    3:34
    AM CT
    Here's a look at the fifth week of action in ESPNChicago.com's top 20.

    No. 1 Maine South (4-0) at New Trier (3-1)

    New Trier Maine South
    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)

    Oak Park Glenbard West
    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)

    Lincoln-Way EastSandburg
    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)

    Mount CarmelBrother Rice
    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)

    BenetJoliet Catholic
    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)

    Loyola Gordon Tech
    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)

    St. Rita Brother Rice 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)

    Wayzata Carmel
    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)

    Downers Grove South Downers Grove North
    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)

    Glenbard North West Aurora
    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)

    Prairie Ridge Crystal Lake Central
    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)

    Mundelein Lake Zurich
    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)

    Homewood-Flossmoor Bolingbrook
    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)

    St. Charles North Geneva
    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)

    Kankakee Crete-Monee
    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)

    McHenry Crystal Lake South
    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)

    Jacobs Cary-Grove
    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)

    Lemont Tinley Park
    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)

    Batavia St. Charles East
    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

    Maine S., GB West remain atop rankings

    September, 18, 2011
    9/18/11
    8:54
    PM CT
    After the fourth week of prep football action, ESPNChicago.com's prep football rankings remain largely unchanged. The top eight teams in the rankings -- led by No. 1 Maine South and No. 2 Glenbard West -- didn't change. Cary-Grove, Lemont and Batavia moved into the top 20.

    Read the entire top 20.

    Week 4 prep preview capsules

    September, 15, 2011
    9/15/11
    1:17
    AM CT

    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)

    Maine South Niles North
    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)

    Glenbard West Hinsdale Central
    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)

    Homewood-Flossmoor Lincoln-Way East
    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)

    St. Joseph Mount Carmel
    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)

    Joliet Catholic St. Viator
    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)

    Loyola Loyola

    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)

    Brother Rice St. Rita
    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)

    Carmel Marian Catholic
    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)

    Leyden Downers Grove South
    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)

    Glenbard East Glenbard North
    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)

    Naperville North Wheaton Warrenville South
    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)

    Marian Central Montini
    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)

    Prairie Ridge Dundee-Crown
    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)

    Lake Zurich Lakes
    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)

    Bolingbrook Joliet West
    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)

    Geneva Elgin
    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)

    Crete-Monee Glenbard South
    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)

    Crystal Lake South Huntley
    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

    Recap: Cary Grove 10, Lake Zurich 7

    September, 3, 2011
    9/03/11
    3:45
    AM CT

    It was hot, overly-muggy and insects were flying everywhere, but of the thousands in attendance on Friday night in Lake Zurich, no one looked more uncomfortable than the Bears' offense. After running all over Fremd in Week 1, No. 8 Lake Zurich (1-1) was held to 45 yards on the ground as the visiting Cary-Grove Trojans (2-0) left Mel Eide Field with a 10-7 upset victory over the Bears.

    Lake ZurichCary-GroveThe Trojans, who posted an impressive 28-0 shutout over St. Charles East last week, found themselves outside of the Week 2 ESPNChicago.com poll, but that's not the type of locker-room material Cary-Grove used as inspiration. Junior defensive back Zach Marszal made this much clear after his team's upset win: the Trojans are out to earn respect with their physicality, work ethic and determination.

    "We try not to pay attention to any of that," said Marszal, who collected a pair of interceptions in the contest. "We just go out and do our thing every game. We practice hard every week and we don't look at the rankings - we know we're a very talented team that can do damage."

    Doing damage is an understatement; the Lake Zurich running back tandem of Mike Shield and Connor Schrader, who each ran for over 100-yards one week ago, tallied just 12 and 6 yards respectively. LZ backup quarterback Steven Kuhn (9-23, 106 yds, 2 INT) was also limited, finishing with 21 yards on the ground and a touchdown pass, all of which came on the Bears' second to last series from scrimmage.

    Trailing 10-0 with 2:42 to play, Kuhn led the Bears on a 9-play touchdown drive, capped off by a five-yard pass to Brandon Markert (5 rec, 49 yes). Following a Cary-Grove three-and-out, however, Kuhn's final two throws fell incomplete to end the game.

    Though Lake Zurich had plenty of missed opportunities and a multitude of bad-snaps, head coach Bryan Stortz credited his team's effort in the loss.

    "Cary-Grove played a great football game and they deserved to win, but I know that our kids walk out of here knowing that there are things we did not do well enough to earn a victory," Stortz said. "But they gave everything that they had and laid everything out on the field. There were plenty of people here who thought this one was wrapped up but our kids kept fighting - they kept fighting and I think that's definitely something to take pride in and build off of."

    Despite being held scoreless in the second half, Cary-Grove wasted no time scoring its only touchdown of the game. The Trojans reached the end zone on the 10th play of their opening drive, a 21-yard reverse to senior John Pearl; kicker Josh Buckingham added the Trojans' final three points on a 31-yard field goal with 1.6 seconds remaining in the first half.

    CG relied heavily on the ground game, totaling 184 yards on the ground to just 17 through the air; Trojans' quarterback Corey Laktas (34 yds, FUM), threw just a single pass in the game, a 17 yard completion to Pearl.

    Trojan work-horse, Patrick O'Malley led the victors with 81 yards on 16 carries.

    Player of the game: Cary-Grove junior DB, Zach Marszal: 2 INT's (one in the end zone).

    Stat of the game: After entering halftime with a 10-0 lead, Cary-Grove went three-and-out on all of its seven second-half possessions and still earned the "W."

    It was over when: Though it's cliche, this one was over when the clock struck 0:00 after Kuhn's final two passes fell incomplete.

    Quote of the night: "We just got to the football. We didn't really have a secret." - Cary-Grove head coach, Brad Seaburg on how the Trojans thwarted Lake Zurich's rushing attack.




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