High School: Lockport

Week 9 prep football preview

October, 19, 2011
10/19/11
10:28
PM CT

Here's a look at the final regular-season week of action in ESPNChicago.com's top 20.

Glenbrook South (7-1) at No. 1 Maine South (8-0)

Maine South Glenbrook South
When:Friday at 7 p.m.
The story: Maine South takes a 54-game Central Suburban South winning streak into this game. The Hawks’ last division loss was in 2000 to New Trier. Glenbrook South has often finished second to Maine South and is hopeful to change that this year. The Titans’ lone loss this season was to Stevenson early in the year. Glenbrook South has gone undefeated in conference and put up similar overall numbers to Maine South.
Glenbrook South player to watch: Fullback Kevin Schroeder has been key to the Titans’ offense.
Maine South player to watch: Running back Paul Preston has been stellar all season for the Hawks.
Prediction: Maine South 38, Glenbrook South 28

No. 2 Glenbard West (8-0) at Downers Grove North (2 6)

Downers Grove North Glenbard West
When:Friday at 7:30 p.m.
The story: Glenbard West has already clinched the West Suburban Silver title. The Hilltoppers have shut out their last two opponents. Downers Grove North is better than its record. The Trojans have been in every game this season, but just haven’t found a way over the hump.
Glenbard West player to watch: Senior offensive lineman Johnny Caspers recently committed to Stanford.
Downers Grove North player to watch: Quarterback Riley McGinnis has a big arm.
Prediction: Glenbard West 31, Downers Grove North 7

No. 3 Lincoln-Way East (8-0) at Joliet West (2-6)

Joliet West Lincoln-Way East
When:Saturday at 12 p.m.
The story: Lincoln-Way East should close out its Southwest Suburban Blue title run with an easy win. The Griffins had no trouble last week and beat Joliet Central 42-0. Joliet West has won two conference games, but is coming off a 56-19 loss to Homewood-Flossmoor.
Lincoln-Way East player to watch: Defensive end Joel Magrum returned an interception for a touchdown last week.
Joliet West player to watch: Wide receiver Korey Rogers knows how to find holes in a secondary.
Prediction: Lincoln-Way East 42, Joliet West 7

No. 5 St. Rita (7-1) at No. 4 Loyola (8-0)

Loyola Academy St. Rita
When:Saturday at 1 p.m.
The story: The Catholic League Blue championship comes down to this game. Loyola has had St. Rita’s number for the past few years. A season ago, the Ramblers beat St. Rita on its home field and forced a three-way tie for the conference crown. Both teams have stellar defenses. It could be a game decided by a field goal or a lone touchdown.
St. Rita player to watch: Defensive back Ryan Leonard is a big hitter.
Loyola player to watch: Quarterback Malcolm Weaver got dinged up last week, but will be needed this week.
Prediction: Loyola 17, St. Rita 14

No. 6 Downers Grove South (8-0) at Addison Trail (7-1)

Addison Trail Downers Grove South
When:Friday at 7:30 p.m.
The story: Downers Grove South hasn’t been tested in the West Suburban Gold in recent years. That could change this week. Addison Trail has proven to be among the area’s top teams, especially with its defense. Its only loss was a narrow one to Glenbard West. Addison Trail will have to find a way to stop Josh Williams, who is approaching 2,000 yards for the season.
Downers Grove South player to watch: Defensive lineman Jeremy Ulrich had a sack and a fumble recovery in last week’s win.
Addison Trail player to watch: Anthony Messina had three touchdown runs in last week’s win.
Prediction: Downers Grove South 24, Addison Trail 10

Cary-Grove (6-2) at No. 7 Prairie Ridge (8-0)

Prairie Ridge Cary-Grove
When:Friday at 7:15 p.m.
The story: Prairie Ridge has been one of the state’s most dominant teams this season. The Wolves have out-scored their opponents 360-65 through eight weeks. Cary-Grove is out of the Fox Valley Valley title race, but it could spoil Prairie Ridge’s outright championship. The Trojans did upset Lake Zurich early in the season and possess one of the area’s top defenses.
Cary-Grove player to watch: Junior quarterback Quinn Baker has the Trojans’ option offense running smoothly.
Prairie Ridge player to watch: Corey Barcoft is one of the key players on the Wolves’ defense.
Prediction: Prairie Ridge 31, Cary-Grove 14

Lockport (6-2) at No. 8 Bolingbrook (7-1)

Bolingbrook Lockport
When:Friday at 7:30 p.m.
The story: Bolingbrook will likely have to settle for second place in one of the area’s toughest conferences. The Raiders have allowed only three points since losing to Lincoln-Way East. Lockport is headed to the playoffs, but hasn’t fared well against the top talent in the conference. The Porters lost to Homewood-Flossmoor and Lincoln-Way East by a combined 66 points.
Lockport player to watch: Dexter Taylor scored two rushing touchdowns in last week’s win over Sandburg.
Bolingbrook player to watch: Quarterback Aaron Bailey will be in consideration for ESPNChicago.com’s Offensive Player of the Year.
Prediction: Bolingbrook 35, Lockport 14

Providence (5-3) at No. 9 Mount Carmel (6-2)

Mount Carmel Providence
When:Friday at 7 p.m. at Gately Stadium
The story: Mount Carmel fell out of the Catholic League Blue race last week with a loss to rival St. Rita. The Caravan will be looking to get back on track against Providence. Mount Carmel’s offense has struggled in its defeats this season. Providence is 0-3 against conference opponents this season.
Providence player to watch: Running back Andrew Hoffmeister leads the Celtics’ offense.
Mount Carmel player to watch: Brandon Greer scored the Caravan’s lone touchdown last week against St. Riva.
Prediction: Mount Carmel 28, Providence 20

No. 10 Crete-Monee (8-0) at Rich East (6-2)

Rich East Crete-Monee
When:Saturday at 12 p.m.
The story: Crete-Monee can win the Southland title outright with a win over Rich East, which has one conference loss. Crete-Monee hasn’t scored less than 30 points in a game this season. Rich East has allowed more than 30 points just once. Something will have to give in this game.
Crete-Monee player to watch: Recruiting attention is picking up for wide receiver LaQuan Treadwell.
strong>Rich East player to watch: Running back Rondell Willingham has been key to the team’s offensive success this season.
Prediction: Crete-Monee 35, Rich East 20

Oak Forest (6-2) at No. 11 Lemont (8-0)

Lemont Oak Forest
When:Friday at 7 p.m.
The story: Lemont has already secured itself the South Suburban Blue title. The Indians have put together a memorable defensive season. They’ve allowed one opponent more than six points. Oak Forest should be another challenge. The Bengals have scored 40 or more points five times this season.
Oak Forest player to watch: Running back Tevin Coleman is one of the state’s best.
Lemont player to watch: Jake Lemming is among the Indians’ defensive playmakers.
Prediction: Lemont 31, Oak Forest 14

Streamwood (6-2) at No. 12 Batavia (8-0)

Batavia Streamwood
When:Friday at 7:30 p.m.
The story: Batavia can put the finishing touches on its Upstate Eight River title this week. The Bulldogs have held six opponent to seven points or less and are coming off back-to-back shutouts. Streamwood guaranteed itself a playoff spot with a win last week. It’ll be the Sabres’ first playoff appearance since 2002.
Streamwood player to watch: Running back Alex Morrow rushed for 228 yards in last week’s win.
Batavia player to watch: Quarterback Noel Gaspari has been among the area’s best this season.
Prediction: Batavia 42, Streamwood 14

St. Viator (2-6) at No. 13 Nazareth (7-1)

Nazareth Nazareth
When:Saturday at 1 p.m.
The story: Nazareth will earn a share of the East Suburban Catholic title with a victory over St. Viator. The Roadrunners’ offense and defense have been clicking the past few weeks and out-scored their last two opponents 86-19. St. Viator’s defense has struggled this season, but did shut out Benet in a 28-0 win last week.
St. Viator player to watch: John Balas had four receptions for 129 yards and two touchdown in last week’s win.
Nazareth player to watch: Joshua Moore has been having some remarkable rushing performances.
Prediction: Nazareth 42, St. Viator 14

No. 14 Joliet Catholic (7-1) at Marist (6-2)

Marist Joliet Catholic
When:Friday at 7:30 p.m.
The story: There’s a good chance that this could be a high-scoring affair. Marist put up 64 points in last week’s win over Carmel. Joliet Catholic is among the state’s offensive leaders with 376 points this season. The winner will get at least a share of the East Suburban Catholic title.
Joliet Catholic player to watch: Defensive back Brody Wilhelmi blocked a punt last week.
Marist player to watch: Ian Woodworth threw eight touchdowns in last week’s win.
Prediction: Joliet Catholic 49, Marist 42

No. 15 Wheaton North (7-1) at Wheaton Warrenville South (5-3)

Wheaton Warrenville South Wheaton North
When:Friday at 7:30 p.m.
The story: Wheaton North can win the DuPage Valley outright with a win over Wheaton Warrenville South. The Falcons haven’t done much against Wheaton Warrenville South in recent years. Their last win over the Tigers came in 2002. Last year, Wheaton Warrenville South beat them twice. The Tigers are riding a four-game winning streak since their early struggles.
Wheaton North player to watch: Running back Patrick Sharp gives the Falcons a balanced offensive attack.
Wheaton Warrenville South player to watch: Running back Dan Vitale is one of the area’s most versatile players.
Prediction: Wheaton North 17, Wheaton Warrenville South 14

Wheaton Academy (1-7) at No. 16 Montini (6-2)

Montini Wheaton Academy
When:Friday at 7:30 p.m.
The story: Montini’s offense has been scary lately. Last week, the Broncos put up 75 points. Two weeks ago, they scored 59 points. They should have another big offensive day against Wheaton Academy. The Warriors lost 42-0 to Aurora Central Catholic last week.
Wheaton Academy player to watch: Isaiah Rosas is an offensive threat for the Warriors.
Montini player to watch: Wide receiver Jordan Westerkamp is in the running for ESPNChicago.com Player of the Year.
Prediction: Montini 49, Wheaton Academy 0

Conant (6-2) at No. 17 Palatine (7-1)

Palatine Conant
When:Friday at 7:30 p.m.
The story: Palatine can win the Mid-Suburban League West outright with a win over Conant. Aside from a narrow win over Schaumburg, the Pirates have been dominant against conference competition. Conant should be up for the test. The Cougars are playoff bound and their two losses came by a combined five points.
Conant player to watch: Tim Manckzo is the Cougars’ premier offensive weapon.
Palatine player to watch: Linebacker Kurt Becker is playmaker on defense.
Prediction: Palatine 28, Conant 17

Grayslake Central (7-1) at No. 18 Crystal Lake South (7-1)

Crystal Lake South Grayslake Central
When:Friday at 7:15 p.m.
The story: This could be an interesting Fox Valley crossover game. Crystal Lake South has proven itself throughout the season and will be favored. The Gators are one of the area’s top defensive teams and have allowed only one opponent more than 12 points this season. Grayslake Central has the same record, but hasn’t played the same level of competition. This will be a chance for the Rams to earn some respect.
Grayslake Central player to watch: Joel Valdivia was unstoppable last week. He rushed for 365 yards and six touchdowns against rival Grayslake North.
Crystal Lake South player to watch: Reese Dziedzic rushed for two touchdowns in last week’s win over Jacobs.
Prediction: Crystal Lake South 20, Grayslake Central 10

No. 19 Marian Central (8-0) at Marmion (5-3)

Marmion
When:Friday at 7:30 p.m.
The story: Marian Central will take the Suburban Christian Blue with a win. The Hurricanes have proven themselves with narrow wins over Montini and Oswego this season, and they’ve dominated everyone else. Marmion has been up and down this season after reaching the Class 6A title game last year. It defense has been its strength and will need to be again against Marian Central. The Hurricanes have scored 40-plus points in their last four games.
Marian Central player to watch: Quarterback Chris Streveler has been consistent throughout the season.
Marmion player to watch: Running back Jake Ruddy is a threat to run or catch the ball out of the backfield.
Prediction: Marian Central 24, Marmion 14

Kaneland (8-0) at No. 20 Morris (8-0)

Morris Kaneland
When:Friday at 7:30 p.m.
The story: This game will decide the Northern Big 12 East championship. Both teams have been dominant most of the season. Morris’ defense has probably been slightly better than Kaneland’s, and Kaneland’s offense probably has the edge between the two teams. They both were tested last week and prevailed. Kaneland rolled in last year’s meeting, winning 47-7. There isn’t much separating the two teams this season.
Kaneland player to watch: Wide receiver Quinn Buschbacher scored five touchdowns in a game earlier this season.
Morris player to watch: Quarterback Austin Feeney was the difference in last week’s 14-10 win over Rochelle. He scored on a 58-yard run to give his team the lead.
Prediction: Morris 28, Kaneland 24

POTW: Romeo powering Lockport

April, 9, 2011
4/09/11
7:43
PM CT

LOCKPORT, Ill. -- Lockport senior Lia Romeo didn’t mind she was one of only two girls to sign up for a powerlifting class at her school.

The boys, most of whom were football players, outnumbered them 28-2, but Romeo wasn’t intimidated. She welcomed the competition.

“It was fun to find out if I could lift more than the boys,” said Romeo, who deadlifted 225 pounds, squatted 185 pounds and bench pressed 100 pounds. “I found it enjoyable to work hard and push myself. There were a couple boys I was able to out-lift.”

As good of a feeling as it was to pump a little more iron than a few of her male classmates, Romeo’s real reward has been her play on the softball diamond. A year after hitting just three home runs, Romeo has already smacked four, including three in one game, this year.

For her play, Romeo is the ESPNChicago.com/Muscle Milk Prep Athlete of the Week.

“I used to never hit home runs,” said Romeo, whose full name is Ophelia Romeo. “My swing, I just feel a lot stronger. I can feel it in my legs with catching. I don’t feel fatigued.”

Romeo showed off those new muscles last week against Glenbard West. In her first at bat, she struck the ball and sent it into left-centerfield. She thought she had hit the ball well, but was surprised when she discovered it had gone over the fence for a home run. In her second at bat, she had the exact same feeling when she made contact, and the ball flew over again.

After reaching base with a double, Romeo came up a final time in the seventh inning, and this time she knew right away she had homered. The ball soared over the leftfield fence, and Romeo made her away around the bases for a third time.

“When I rounded third base, I said to [Lockport coach Marissa] Chovanec, ‘Did this really happen?’” said Romeo, who has signed to play at Western Illinois next season. “She said, ‘I don’t know.’ We were all in shock.”

Chovanec will never forget Romeo’s expression.

“She just kept smiling,” Chovanec said. “Three in one game, I hadn’t seen that before.”

Romeo hit her fourth home run this past week and has continued to be on terror. In her first 23 at bats this season, she had 12 hits, four doubles, four home runs and 10 RBIs.

In addition to her bat, Romeo has also been getting it done defensively for the Porters. Romeo is in charge of calling every pitch for Lockport’s staff and has been a major reason the Porters have opened the season 5-1-1 and ranked in the area.


I was a catcher, and I think it’s important that they call the game,” Chovanec said. “The catchers are in the game. They can see where the batters are. They know the pitchers. She does a great job of handling the pitchers and the staff we have.

“I’m lucky to have here. We’re lucky to have her at Lockport. We’ve had some good catchers in the past here, and she continues that tradition.”


Lincoln-Way East rolls over Lockport

September, 18, 2010
9/18/10
4:40
AM CT
LOCKPORT -- Lincoln-Way East senior linebacker Pat Meehan would like to forget about the Griffins’ loss to Wheaton North two weeks ago.

After No. 14 Lincoln-Way East’s surprisingly lopsided 45-14 win over Lockport on Friday, he even insisted that the reason the Griffins played so well in their last two games was because they had moved on so quickly from their Week 2 defeat.

A second later, though, Meehan went back on that. As much as Meehan and Lincoln-Way East (3-1) would like to say that losing to Wheaton North meant nothing to them, that isn’t truth.

“It was a big loss, but it taught us something,” Meehan said. “We still have a sour taste in our mouth. It taught us to play every play as hard as we can. We got to be prepared more, spend more time in the weight room, spend more time watching film. We were taking it for granted.”

Lincoln-Way East
Scott Powers/ESPNChicago.comLincoln-Way East's Jason Robertson keeps his balance on his way to a touchdown.
On Friday night, the Griffins were as ready as could be. With Lockport having been previously ranked and battling Bolingbrook before losing 21-7 last week, Lincoln-Way East was anticipating a dogfight.

Early on, it looked as if it would be, too. With the game scoreless in the first quarter and Lockport (2-2) going on fourth-and-1, Porters star running back Dan Holman took the handoff, burst through the line and sprinted his way to a 68-yard touchdown to put his team ahead, 7-0.
It would the final highlight for Holman and the Porters.

From there, it was all Lincoln-Way East. The Griffins scored 45 unanswered points and ran away with the victory.

“One of our mottos is, ‘Flush it’,” Meehan said. “Once a bad play happens, we flush it, clear it from our minds. We play the next play like it’s our first play.

“We came into this game thinking it was going to a hard one. Lockport is obviously a great football program and Bolingbrook is too. It was a close game last week between them. We thought we were in for a real good game.”

Lincoln-Way East quarterback Blake Winkler hooked up with wide receiver Jason Robertson for a 65-yard touchdown pass to start the Griffins’ roll. Winkler followed that up with an 84-yard touchdown pass to Kyle Buchbach and later hit Buchbach again for a 10-yard score to close out the first half.

Winkler finished 10 of 15 for 257 yards and three touchdowns. Buchbach had four catches for 106 yards, and Robertson caught four balls for 77 yards.

Buchbach’s teammates and Lincoln-Way East coach Rob Zvonar raved about his performance after the game. But Buchbach, who only began to play high school football last season as a junior, wouldn’t take any credit.

“Nothing would have happened without the O-line giving Winkler time,” said Buchbach, who scored his first career touchdowns. “It takes 11 guys for it to happen.”

Zvonar said, “He’s just a self-made, hard-working kid. We’re really proud of him.”

Holman finished with 92 yards on 12 carries.

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