High School: Vernon Hills
Montini, to no one’s surprise, had won the last two Class 3A state championships. The Broncos had been stacked with Division I players, and it would have been a shock if they hadn’t raised back-to-back titles in 2010 and 2011.
This year’s Montini team didn’t have those same expectations placed on it. The program had graduated its star players and while it had some young talent coming up, even Montini coach Jason Nichols thought his team was a year away from its next state championship.
A night after rallying from 13 points behind in the fourth quarter to upset Hillcrest, the Broncos rolled to a 56-38 win over Vernon Hills on Saturday to win their third consecutive Class 3A state championship.
“A lot of people said this year would be our downfall, but we proved them wrong,” said Montini sophomore Jasmine Lumpkin, who scored a team-high 14 points. “We came back. We had a lot of motivation to come back and win another state title.”
As Nichols stood off to the side as his players celebrated, he expressed how this latest title did feel different than his previous ones.
“Just nobody expected us to be here, including their coach at times,” Nichols said. “I thought maybe when the pairings came out we had a shot to go down. I thought Hillcrest, Springfield would be the two favorites. All of a sudden, we were there.”
Nichols was worried about his team’s energy heading into Saturday’s game. The Broncos had been through a draining game against Hillcrest, and he noticed they looked tired when they met for breakfast.
1. Taking their place in history: Wheaton Warrenville South was dominant from the 2010 season’s opening kickoff to its final seconds. The Tigers began the season by knocking off Maine South on ESPN, followed that up by rolling through one of the toughest conferences in the state, battled through a deep Class 7A field which included last year’s state runner-up Glenbard West and ultimately defeated Lake Zurich and its stellar defense for their second consecutive state championship. They finished No. 1 in ESPNChicago.com’s area poll and No. 13 nationally in ESPN RISE’s poll.
2. East St. Louis’ dismissal : If anyone was going to give Wheaton Warrenville South competition, East St. Louis was the team. The Flyers were also nationally ranked and full of college prospects. Just before the playoffs began, the IHSA ruled East St. Louis would be removed from the Class 7A playoff field because they used an ineligible player. The Flyers appealed the IHSA’s judgment, were granted a temporary restraining order and won their first-round playoff game before the IHSA finally ruled again and East St. Louis was removed from the playoffs for good.
3. The unlikely 3-peat: Maine South’s chances of winning its third consecutive state championship looked much in doubt when the Hawks opened the season with back-to-back losses, including a 44-7 one to Wheaton Warrenville South on national television. Maine South never lost faith, though. The young Hawks got better and better each week, and when it was all said and done, they were on top again. They defeated another historic program, Mount Carmel, in the Class 8A state championship.
4. The best by far: Wheaton Warrenville South senior quarterback Reilly O'Toole ran away with the ESPNChicago.com High School Football Player of the Year award. While leading the Tigers to their second consecutive state championship, he completed 186-of-252 passes for 3,187 yards, 42 touchdowns and three interceptions. An Illinois recruite, he could give the Illini’s young quarterbacks a run for their money sooner rather than later.
5. Bibbs’ day: The question Kapri Bibbs received more than any other this season was whether his commitment to Colorado State was still firm. The reason everyone asked that was because they assumed bigger schools would come calling for him after the Plainfield North running back rushed all over the competition this season. His biggest game was when he ran for a state-record 520 yards against Oswego in Week 6. He also added seven touchdowns in the win. To his credit, Bibbs is loyal and will be playing for the Rams. He was the ESPNChicago.com Offensive Player of the Year.
6. Hiben’s day : Glenbard West isn’t known for its passing game. The Hilltoppers like to run the ball as much as possible. But in the second round of the Class 7A playoffs, Glenbard West senior wide receiver Mark Hiben put his team’s passing game in the record books. Hiben caught 12 passes for a state-record 319 yards in the Hilltoppers’ 42-28 win over Lincoln-Way East.
8. The greatest show in Vernon Hills: The state of Illinois possessed two ESPNU Top 150 players this season, and they both happened to belong to the same team. Vernon Hills was blessed with two of the state’s most dynamic players in DaVaris Daniels and Evan Spencer. Daniels, a Notre Dame recruit, had 23 catches for 513 yards and five touchdowns, threw for 173 yards and a touchdown, rushed for 637 yards and 10 touchdowns, returned two punts for touchdowns, intercepted six passes and scored one defensive touchdown. Spencer, a Ohio State recruit, had 23 catches for 410 yards and six touchdowns, rushed for 266 yards and eight touchdowns, returned two punts and one kickoff for touchdowns, intercepted two passes and had two defensive touchdowns.
9. Catholic League trio: Before the season, the Catholic League title was thought to be a race between Loyola, Mount Carmel and St. Rita. While it was expected to be close in the end, no one could have imagined that all three would share the title. Loyola defeated St. Rita, St. Rita defeated Mount Carmel, Mount Carmel defeated Loyola, and they all tied for first place.
10. The turnaround : Craig Buzea took over a Homewood-Flossmoor program that a season ago was one of the worst in the area, going 1-8. In just a year’s time, Buzea transformed the Vikings’ culture and their record. Homewood-Flossmoor went 10-3 this season and fell just short of reaching the Class 8A title game, losing 28-21 to Mount Carmel in the semifinals. With quarterback Tim Williams returning and Buzea still making strides to improve the program, watch out for the Vikings down the road.
Curie senior defensive lineman James Adeyanju
Adeyanju was the premier defensive lineman in the Public League and one of the best in the state this season. He had 71 tackles, 19 tackles for a loss, 12 sacks, four forced fumbles and one fumble recovery. He will play at Wisconsin next season.
“He was able to go out and control football games despite being double- and triple-teamed every week,” Curie coach Tyson LeBlanc said. “He’s got a motor. He would fight through the first guy, fight through the second guy and go find the ball.”
St. Rita senior running back Jahwon Akui
Akui capped of his career by becoming St. Rita’s all-time leading rusher. As a senior, he ran for 1,650 yards and 22 touchdowns. He was co-Catholic League Offensive Player of the Year. He is being recruited by a number of schools for football and wrestling.
“He was the most physical running back that I have ever coached and was as sound a blocker as he was a runner,” St. Rita coach Todd Kuska said. “Jahwon was as competitive a player as I have seen and will definitely be hard to replace”
Hinsdale Central senior offensive lineman Jack Allen
In his third year starting for Hinsdale Central, the 6-foot-2, 260-pound Allen continued to be a menace for defensive linemen. Also a star wrestler, Allen possesses a perfect mix of strength and speed. He is committed to Michigan State.
“Jack Allen is one of the most intense players that I have had the pleasure to coach,” Hinsdale Central coach Mike DiMatteo said. “He brings a relentless attitude to practice each and every day. It’s one thing to be a great player, but Jack also has the ability to make those players around him better, thereby making his team better. He is one of a kind.”
Wheaton Warrenville South senior defensive back Caleb Bednarz
A four-year varsity player, Bednarz has been a consistent fixture in the Tigers’ secondary and in their return game. He will play in third state championship game this weekend. He had a team-leading seven interceptions this season. He picked off two passes in the state quarterfinals against Glenbard West.
“Defensively, I think he’s a great playmaker,” Wheaton Warrenville South coach Ron Muhitch said. “He has natural instincts to read and move athletically and jump on passes. He’s very cunning in that regard.”
Plainfield North senior running back Kapri Bibbs
The area possessed a number of quality running backs this season, but Bibbs was at another level. He rushed for 2,654 yards and 38 touchdowns on 300 carries. He also passed for two touchdowns. In his biggest game this season, he rushed for a state-record 520 yards and seven touchdowns against Oswego. He was the ESPNChicago.com Offensive Player of the Year. He is committed to Colorado State.
“Kapri had an outstanding year … the type of year that should put him on anyone’s all-state list and player of the year ballot,” Plainfield North coach Tim Kane said. “He is a well-rounded runner in that he runs between the tacklers for tough yards and has elite speed in the open field. He is ultra-competitive and did all he could to help us win games this year.”
Fremd senior offensive/defensive lineman Brian Bobek
Bobek, who is 6-3 and 275 pounds, is considered one of the top offensive lineman in the country. He helped pave the way for much of Fremd’s offensive attack this season while the Vikings reached the second round of the Class 8A playoffs. He is headed to Ohio State.
“Brian Bobek has lived up to his All-American status,” Fremd coach Michael Donatucci said. “He dominated at center against some of the top teams in the state and was also a mainstay as a defensive tackle. A leader on and off the field, Brian has been a huge part of our success as a program.”
“He just continued to do the things we needed him to do,” Lake Zurich coach Bryan Stortz said. “It’s become harder and harder for him because people continue to focus on him. He didn’t put up the big numbers as he did last year, but he continued to put up the performances that we needed.”
Simeon senior offensive lineman Chris Bryant
The 6-foot-5, 330-pound Bryant was one of the state’s biggest offensive linemen, but also one of the most talented. Bryant was the key piece on a line that led to the Wolverines scoring 40-plus points in 11 games this season. He is being recruited by a number of elite schools.
“He was incredible in the things he was doing out there,” Simeon coach Dante Culbreath said. “He was dominant out there.”
Wheaton North senior quarterback Reece Butler
Butler emerged as one of the area’s top dualthreat quarterbacks this season. He led the Falcons in rushing and passing. He ran for 608 yards and six touchdowns. He was 187-of-275 passing for 1,956 yards and 17 touchdowns.
“I just think he’s more confident,” Wheaton North coach Joe Wardynski said. “Last year, he felt a lot of pressure trying to fill in for Taylor Graham, who was a Big Ten recruit. He now feels like this is his team. He’s a senior. Guys look to him as a leader and not a fill-in guy. He’s always been kind of level-headed, a cool character. He doesn’t seem to get rattled too much.”
Kaneland senior quarterback Joe Camiliere
Camiliere had high expectations leading up to the season and met them. He was 194-of-299 passing for 2,955 yards, 36 touchdowns and five interceptions. He also rushed for 687 yards and nine touchdowns while leading Kaneland to the state semifinals.
Vernon Hills senior wide receiver/defensive back DaVaris Daniels
Daniels did a lot of everything for the Cougars this season. He caught 23 passes for 513 yards and five touchdowns. He was 11-of-23 passing for 173 yards and one touchdown. He rushed for 637 yards and 10 touchdown on 59 carries. He returned two punts for touchdowns. He intercepted six passes with one for a touchdown. He also had 20 tackles. He will play at Notre Dame next season.
“He’s the most gifted athlete I’ve coached and an even better person,” Vernon Hills coach Tony Monken said. “ We’re going to miss him, but also can’t wait to watch him on Saturdays.”
Wheaton Warrenville South senior wide receiver Titus Davis
Davis emerged as the Tigers’ No. 1 receiver in the season and continued to flourish throughout the year as Reilly O’Toole favorite target. He caught 52 passes for 1,135 yards and 16 touchdowns. He is being recruited by a number of Division I schools.
“He’s unbelievable, just a great athlete,” Wheaton Warrenville South senior Reilly O’Toole said. “He can always get open. He has great hands. He’s just an unstoppable receiver. I want to get the ball in his hands.”
Prospect senior quarterback Steve Dazzo
Dazzo stepped in perfectly in the shoes of Illinois-bound quarterback Miles Osei and was one of the area’s top dual-threat quarterbacks this year. Dazzo threw for 1,263 yards and 12 touchdowns and rushed for 1,476 yards and 23 touchdown for one of the state’s top offenses.
“It was his first year playing quarterback,” Prospect coach Brent Pearlman said. “He led us not only with arm and his legs, but with his spirit.”
Maine South junior linebacker Tyler Fahey
Fahey was a major reason behind Maine South’s run to the Class 8A state championship game. After missing the first two games of the year – both losses – Fahey was an impact player on the defensive side the rest of the way. He had 81 tackles, 13 tackles for a loss, seven sacks, four interceptions, three fumble recoveries and two defensive touchdowns.
“He’s very athletic,” Maine South coach David Inserra said. “He probably studies more film than anyone I’ve coached. He’s always so prepared for a game. Sometimes, he’s coaching us. He hits. He’s our second biggest hitter.”
Marist senior kicker/punter Ben Falloon
Falloon was one of the area’s most accurate kickers this season. He connected on 7-of-11 field goals this season with all seven coming from 30-plus yards. His longest was from 50, and all four of his misses were from 50 yards and beyond. He also made 32-of-33 extra points and punted for a 38.2-yard average on 43 punts.
“He is by far the most mentally tough player I’ve been around,” Marist coach Pat Dunne said. “The kicks he’s had in high-pressure situations, I’ve never seen anyone so mentally tough. He also has one of the best work ethics I’ve been around.”
Lemont senior defensive back Clayton Fejedelem
Fejedelem was one of the area’s biggest threats whenever he touched the ball. He returned three punts for touchdowns and one kickoff. He also had 69 tackles, five interceptions, two forced fumbles, one fumble recovery and blocked three kicks.
“He was the strongest player on the team,” Lemont coach Eric Michaelsen said. “He has a nose for the ball and is physical and fast.”
Joliet Catholic senior running back Josh Ferguson
Ferguson was good for a first down almost every time he touched the ball. He rushed for 1,886 yards on 144 carries, giving him a 13.1 average. He finished with 25 rushing touchdowns, two receiving touchdowns and one kickoff return touchdown. He will play at Illinois next season.
“I think he had to be one of the greatest running backs I’ve had a chance to see let alone to coach,” Joliet Catholic coach Dan Sharp said.
Gregory was the motor for one of the state’s most high-powered offenses. He completed 84-of-120 passes for 1,600 yards and 28 touchdowns. He also rushed for 919 yards and 16 touchdowns. He is being recruited by a number of big-time schools.
“I was impressed with the way he was able to pick up the offense and run the team,” Simeon coach Dante Culbreath said. “He did a good job with the offense this year. He ran the team better. His decision-making got better. He got stronger. He got faster. I believe he got better overall.” Marmion senior linebacker/running back T.J. Lally
There were few in the state as good as Lally on both sides of the ball. He rushed for 1,264 yards and 16 touchdowns. Defensively, he had 130 tackles and six sacks while leading the Cadets to the Class 6A state title game. He is being recruited by a number of Division II programs.
“He’s an old-school football player,” Marmion coach Dan Thorpe said. “He’s tough, physical and has a great heart. He’s just a playmaker. He has a lot more speed than people give him credit for, and he’s so physical.”
Naperville North senior linebacker Nick LifkaLifka was the Brian Urlacher of Illinois high school football this season. Wherever the ball was, Lifka was. He had 168 tackles (113 solo), 13 tackles for a loss, four sacks, three forced fumbles, three fumble recoveries and two interceptions. He also had an offensive touchdown. He was the ESPNChicago.com Defensive Player of the Year. He is committed to Boston College.
“A throwback player who plays the game the way it was meant to be played,” Naperville North coach Sean Drendel said. “The best player I have ever coached, and quite possibly as good as a person as he is a player. We will never be able to replace a Nick Lifka.”
Schaumburg senior running back Shepard Little
Little made up for lost time after missing last season. He rushed for 1,897 yards and 24 touchdowns. He also caught two touchdown passes. Against Simeon in the playoffs, he rushed for three touchdowns and returned two kickoffs for touchdowns. He is uncommitted.
“I think his vision is good,” Schaumburg coach Mark Stilling said. “I think he’s sneaky powerful for his size. I don’t think you expect someone of his size to hit you like he does. His ability to hit you and make you miss, that’s the tough part. His speed is good, but it’s not great. He’s not going to run past everyone on Friday night, but he’s going to make everyone miss.”
Lincoln-Way East senior linebacker Pat Meehan
Meehan led one of the top defenses in the area. He had 123 total tackles with 79 solo. He had 14 tackles for a loss, two sacks, two quarterback hurries, two forced fumbles, three fumble recoveries, one interception and one touchdown. He is committed to Illinois State.
“Pat has set a new standard of linebacker play at Lincoln-Way East,” Lincoln-Way East coach Rob Zvonar said. “He has every tool necessary to become a dominate college football player. A tremendous young man both on and off the field.”
Elk Grove senior quarterback Nick Meyer
No player in the state may have meant as much to his team as Meyer did to Elk Grove. He was the Grenadiers’ offense. Meyer was 180-of-293 passing for 2,258 yards and 20 touchdowns. He rushed 1,011 yards and 20 touchdowns. He also had 44 tackles and one interception on defense. He is uncommitted.
“Every time Nick touched the ball this season, you realized there was a chance he could do something very special,” Elk Grove coach Brian Doll said. “His ability to change the game so quickly put him in a special class of football players. He broke almost every offensive Elk Grove High School record during his three seasons on varsity. He will be missed.”
Wheaton Warrenville South senior quarterback Reilly O’Toole
Expectations were high for O’Toole this season after starting for last year’s state championship team and committing to Illinois , and he surpassed everything people thought he was capable of this season. O’Toole was named the ESPNChicago.com High School Football Player of the Year after completing 172-of-229 passes for 3,005 touchdowns, 40 touchdowns and just two interceptions. He also rushed 393 yards and six touchdowns. He will play for the Illini next season.
“He’s a special kid,” Glenbard West coach Chad Hetlet.
Lake Zurich senior linebacker JJ Raffelson
Raffelson was the catalyst behind the state’s top defense. He had 111 tackles and 23 tackles for a loss while helping the Bears to the Class 7A state championship game. He is being recruited by a handful of Division I schools.
“He spent a tremendous amount of time in the offseason working his speed development as well as in the film room,” Lake Zurich coach Bryan Stortz said. “He has logged a lot of hours studying the opponent. He knows how they’re going to act and what we’re going to do.”
Glenbard West junior defensive lineman Tommy Schutt
The 6-foot-3, 300-pound Schutt is considered one of the top junior defensive lineman in the country. He had 67 tackles, 14 sacks, 13 tackles for a loss, four forced fumbles, three fumble recoveries and three blocked kicks this past season. He is being recruited by a number of high-profile schools.
Vernon Hills wide receiver/defensive back Evan Spencer
Spencer and DaVaris Daniels made for one exciting pair. Spencer had 23 catches for 410 yards and six touchdowns. He rushed for 266 yards and eight touchdowns. He returned two punts and one kickoff for touchdowns. He also had 25 tackles, two interceptions and two defensive touchdowns. He’s committed to Ohio State.
“He’s one of the best athletes I’ve ever been around, and his ability to play the ball high, run strong with the ball and pull away from defenders sets him apart from all others,” Vernon Hills coach Tony Monken said. “He’s been a tremendous leader and role model for our program, and they’re going to love him at Ohio State.”
Mount Carmel senior quarterback Chris Sujka
No one in the area ran the option offense better than Sujka. A two-year starter for the Caravan, Sujka rushed for 1,344 yards and 30 touchdowns this season. He also was 50-of-104 passing for 728 yards and four touchdowns. He was named the co-Catholic League Offensive Player of the Year.
“He told me right from the beginning of the season that the game had slowed down for him,” Mount Carmel coach Frank Lenti said. “As a junior, he was always real frantic. He made me nervous out there watching him. This year when he runs the option, he’s very confident and comfortable with what he does.”
Loyola senior defensive lineman Mark Sullivan
Sullivan was the Catholic League Defensive Player of the Year. He had 88 tackles, 10 sacks and one forced fumbled for one of the area’s top defenses. He is uncommitted.
“Mark is incredibly athletic for a defensive lineman,” Loyola coach John Holecek said. “He has a great motor, good instincts and pursuits to the ball like no other defensive lineman I have coached. He has had a dominant senior year, ending the regular season as the total tackle, sack, and QB pressure leader for one of the best defenses in the area. While not yet the size of a D-I interior lineman, he has the height and frame to gain muscle and be a real force at the next level.”
Carmel senior linebacker Luke Venegoni
Venegoni was the defensive leader for one of the best defenses in the state. He was a three-year starter. He had 120 tackles, 63 solo tackles, six tackles for a loss and two sacks this season. He is being recruited by a number of schools.
“Luke Venegoni is extremely fast and strong,” Carmel coach Andy Bitto said. “He worked very hard in the offseason to position himself to be the defensive player of the year in the ESCC.”
Barrington junior offensive lineman Dan Voltz
The 6-foot-5, 295-pound Voltz was a rock for this year’s Barrington offensive line. He opened many holes for the Broncos’ successful running game this season and helped Barrington turn last year’s losing record until a winning one this season. He is being recruited by some of the country’s top football programs.
“Dan is a relentless performer whose best attribute I believe is that he is a finisher,” Barrington coach Joe Sanchez said. “He is very athletic for his size and is always looking to improve. He is a tremendous role model for our players both on and off the field. I firmly believe his best football is still front of him.”
Glenbard West senior offensive lineman Jordan Walsh
The 6-foot-4, 290-pound Walsh is one of the top offensive linemen in the country. His blocking has been vital to the Hilltoppers’ offensive success the past few seasons. He will play next season at Iowa.
“Jordan, he’s an incredible player," Glenbard West coach Chad Hetlet said. "He goes 100 percent all the time. When he gets that helmet on, and he gets between the lines, he flips that switch and gets that attitude. He'll just bury people.”
Montini junior wide receiver Jordan Westerkamp
Coming off a breakout sophomore season, Westerkamp took his game to another level this year and became the most dominant wide receiver in the area. He caught 82 passes for 1,485 yards and 18 touchdowns. He’s being recruiting by a number of Big Ten schools.
“He is a special football player and the best I have ever had in my 32 years at Montini,” Montini coach Chris Andriano said. “A 40-inch vertical jump with great hands and body control, he makes all the catches in traffic with defenders all around him. His toughness and strength are also seen in his yards after catch and his blocking. He is a complete receiver and a Division I player at the college level.”
Glenbard North senior offensive lineman Paul Wisniewski
The 6-foot-4, 300-pound Wisniewski has been a dominant offensive lineman in the DuPage Valley the past three seasons as a starter for the Panthers. He’s uncommitted, but has a number of schools recruiting him.
“He can run and pass block equally well for a player that is 6-4 and 300 pounds,” Glenbard North coach Ryan Wilkens said. “He has exceptional feet and is a great blocker.”
Richards senior defensive back/wide receiver Jarrell Williams
Williams was a jack of all trades for Richards this season. He had 65 tackles, three tackles for loss, five deflections, two caused fumbles and three interceptions. Offensively, he rushed for 402 yards and six touchdowns, caught 18 passes for 272 yards and four touchdowns and had one punt return touchdown and one kickoff return touchdown. He will play at Northwestern next season.
“Jarrell was asked to do a lot for us this year,” Richards coach Tony Sheehan said. “He did a great job. He is so valuable, he can cover, hit, run the ball, throw the ball and catch the ball, and we asked him to do it all. He very rarely ever came off the field. He is a dangerous player with the ball in his hands.”
Stevenson senior linebacker Brion Wood
Wood anchored one of the area’s top defenses. He had 130 tackles, 17 tackles for a loss, eight sacks and four forced fumbles. He is committed to Penn.
“He does a lot for us,” Stevenson coach Bill McNamara said. “He’s basically another coach on the field. He’s a very smart young man. He scored a 33 on the ACT. When we need to make adjustments or an opposition comes out with a unique formation, he has the ability to line us up correctly and be ready to play football. He’s able to combine the physical and mental parts of the game.”
Sandburg senior kicker/punter Taylor Zalewski
Zalewski is ranked among the top kickers in the nation by ESPN. He connected on 11-of-13 field goals this season with his longest coming from 48 yards. He also was 28 for 29 on extra points and sent 41 of 55 kickoffs in the end zone. He is being recruited by Michigan, Minnesota and other Division I schools.
“He was a huge offensive weapon for us because of his ability to score points for us,” Sandburg coach Dave Wierzal said. “He also helped control field position because he also punts for us.”
Honorable mention all-area
Minooka senior running back Kyle Banks
Mount Carmel senior running back Michael Banks
Thornton senior running back Damien Bell
Crystal Lake South senior offensive lineman Jake Bernstein
South Elgin senior running back Brad Birchfield
Prospect senior running back/defensive back Peter Bonahoom
Glenbard West senior running back Nick Burrello
Minooka senior defensive lineman Zach Colvin
Wheaton Warrenville senior defensive lineman Will Davis
St. Patrick junior wide receiver Guy DiBalsamo
Stevenson senior quarterback Kevin Earl
Glenbrook North junior offensive lineman Brian Ermel
Montini senior defensive lineman Ross Ferraro
Mount Carmel senior linebacker Conor Flaherty
Bishop McNamara senior offensive lineman Matt Frazier
Glenbard West senior wide receiver Mark Hiben
Morgan Park junior quarterback Dae’Shaun Hurley
Schaumburg senior quarterback Mark Iannotti
Carmel junior running back Jordan Kos
Naperville North senior quarterback Matt LaCosse
Glenbard West senior defensive back Mike Laning
Warren senior running back Tom Lindal
St. Rita senior offensive lineman Brian Lurquin
Plainfield South senior quarterback Sheldon Magee
Thornridge senior running back Mik’ail McCall
Joliet Catholic senior linebacker Mike Mettille
Stevenson junior kicker Matt Micucci
Lincoln-Way East senior offensive lineman Joe Mizera
Waubonsie Valley senior defensive lineman Devon Morgan
St. Rita senior linebacker Matt Mullen
Maine South senior offensive lineman Victor Nelson
Homewood-Flossmoor senior running back Malik Norman
Crystal Lake South senior quarterback Drew Ormseth
Downers Grove South senior wide receiver Ryan Oruche
York senior defensive back Joe Paparone
Marist senior wide receiver Alex Puhar
Neuqua Valley senior linebacker TJ Rhattigan
Joliet Catholic senior offensive lineman Kyle Rouse
Homewood-Flossmoor senior offensive lineman Michael Rouse
Simeon senior defensive back Darius Scott
Kaneland senior defensive lineman/running back Blake Serpa
Lyons senior defensive back/wide receiver Mark Sewall
T.F. South senior linebacker Robert Sterling
Marian Catholic junior running back Jeruel Taylor
Prairie Ridge senior defensive back Devon Vance
Loyola junior quarterback Malcolm Weaver
Loyola senior wide receiver EJ Webb
Downers Grove South junior running back Josh Williams
Glenbard North senior defensive lineman Alex Wynn
"We came up clutch," said Callaghan, who had five catches for 42 yards. "It seemed like whenever we needed a play we came up clutch and made it. We never say die."
Vernon Hills star DaVaris Daniels finished with 97 yards rushing and 69 yards receiving, including a 49-yard touchdown reception from Chris Argianas for the game's first score in the second quarter.
Top-seeded Kaneland (12-0) will play host to No. 6 Montini in a Class 5A semifinal.
"This is just something that we've preached all year long, to just keep playing," Kaneland coach Tom Fedderly said. "Forget about the last play, try to win the next play and these kids just kept battling."
Player of the game:Kaneland quarterback Joe Camiliere: 25 of 40 for 317 yards, four touchdowns and three interceptions
Stat of the game: All seven combined touchdowns were scored by different players.
It was over when:Camiliere found Callaghan on a 10-yard touchdown pass with 9.8 seconds remaining in the game, and the Knights recovered the ensuing kickoff.
Quote of the day:"All we want to do is just get the ball to our receivers and move the chains. When we catch a few passes in a row, we're hard to stop, and that was just a clutch performance by our quarterback." -- Kaneland coach Tom Fedderly.
ESPNChicago.com’s Player of the Year race is heating up. It’s down to six players. It’s still Reilly O’Toole’s award to lose, but the opening few playoff rounds could decide it all.
1. Reilly O’Toole, SR, QB, Wheaton Warrrenville South (previously ranked No. 1)
Last week: O’Toole closed out an impressive regular season by completing 13-of-16 passes for 221 yards and three touchdowns and rushing for 71 yards on six carries in a 42-6 win over West Aurora. Wheaton Warrenville South improved to 9-0.
Season: 106-of-145 passing for 1,946 yards, 29 touchdowns and one interception; two rushing touchdowns.
2. Kapri Bibbs, SR, RB, Plainfield North (2)
Last week: Bibbs had another remarkable week to keep himself near O’Toole. Bibbs rushed for 395 yards and five touchdowns on 56 carries in Plainfield North’s 43-35 win over Plainfield South. Plainfield North improved to 7-2.
Season: 2,519 rushing yards and 37 touchdowns on 280 carries.
3. Nick Meyer, SR, QB, Elk Grove (3)
Last week: Anyone outside of Bibbs and O’Toole are likely a long shot at this point, but Meyer kept himself in consideration this past week. He was 15-for-24 passing for 257 yards, four touchdowns and zero interceptions. He also rushed for 58 yards and one touchdown in a 35-21 win over Rolling Meadows. Elk Grove improved to 7-2.
Season: 159-of-258 passing for 2,092 yards and 19 touchdowns; 885 rushing yards and 18 touchdowns.
4. DaVaris Daniels, SR, WR, Vernon Hills (2)
Last week: Daniels rushed for 68 yards and one touchdown on three carries, completed 2-of-3 passes for 29 yards and caught two passes for 51 yards in Vernon Hills’ 55-6 win over North Chicago. Vernon Hills improved to 8-1.
Season: 9-of-20 passing for 141 yards and one touchdown; 13 receptions for 341 yards and four touchdowns; 431 rushing yards and seven touchdowns; two punt return touchdowns; three interceptions and two defensive touchdowns.
5. Robert Gregory, JR, QB, Simeon (5)
Last week: Gregory’s numbers don’t compare to the others, but it’s not his fault. Simeon has been rolling through opponents, and he’s not needed much. In last week’s 48-14 win over Brooks, he completed 2-of-2 passes for 91 yards and two touchdowns and rushed for one yard and one touchdown on one carry. Simeon improved to 9-0.
Season: 46-of-77 passing for 971 yards and 14 touchdowns; 777 rushing yards and 18 touchdowns.
6. Josh Ferguson, SR, RB, Joliet Catholic (6)
Last week: Ferguson ran for 179 yards and two touchdowns on 13 carries in Joliet Catholic’s 45-0 win over Benet. The Hilltoppers improved to 8-1.
Season: 1,362 yards and 20 touchdowns on 104 carries.
Could there be another Cinderella team this season? Maybe Marian, a 6-3 team that played seven playoff teams? Or could Joliet Catholic, the state favorite again, take care of business?
Here’s a deeper look at the Class 5A playoffs.
Best opening-round game
No. 11 St. Francis at No. 6 Montini: This is the third year in a row that these two teams meet in the playoffs. They also met earlier this season in Week 4, and Montini scored a late touchdown to pull out a 28-14 victory. Montini’s Jordan Westerkamp had six catches for 126 yards and two touchdowns. St. Francis stayed in the game by forcing five turnovers.
Top 10 Class 5A teams
1. Joliet Catholic (8-1): Averages 41.6 points per game
2. Vernon Hills (8-1): Allowed 24 total points in nine games
3. Montini (7-2): Defending Class 5A state champions
4. Sacred Heart-Griffin (8-1): Out-scored opponents by 33.1 points
5. Kaneland (9-0): Only one opponent scored more than 13 points against
6. Richwoods (9-0): Defeated Crystal Lake Central in Week 3
7. Sycamore (8-1): Only loss came to Kaneland
8. Crystal Lake Central (7-2): Ended season on six-game winning streak
9. Marian (6-3): Played seven playoff opponents this season
10. Lincoln-Way West (7-2): Had five games decided by seven points or less
Top 5 players to watch
1. DaVaris Daniels, SR, WR, Vernon Hills: A Notre Dame recruit, Daniels is the state’s highest-rated prospect. He has scored 16 touchdowns in a multitude of ways this season. He has scored passing, rushing, receiving, kick returning and defensively.
2. Josh Ferguson, SR, RB, Joliet Catholic: An Illinois recruit, Ferguson has rushed for 1,362 yards and 20 touchdowns. He has averaged 13.1 yards per carry.
3. Jordan Westerkamp, JR, WR, Montini: He has 57 receptions for 1,026 yards and 14 touchdowns.
4. Ryan Klachko, OL, Springfield Sacred Heart-Griffin: A Nebraska recruit, Klachko is ranked the 30th-best offensive guard in the country by ESPN Recruiting. He is 6-3 and 280 pounds.
5. Joe Camiliere, SR, QB, Kaneland: He has completed 112 of 173 passes for 1,867 yards, 23 touchdowns and two interceptions.
Senn: How is a No. 2 seed that went 9-0 in the regular season a sleeper? Well, the Bulldogs may have out-scored their competition 412-57 and gone undefeated, but their competition wasn’t too fierce. They faced only one other playoff team (Taft) and did not play anyone outside of the Chicago Public League. They’ll have a lot to prove in the playoffs.
Road for defending Class 5A state champions
Montini came out of nowhere to win last year’s Class 5A state championship. The Broncos barely got into the playoffs and then went on a miraculous run, which included a comeback win in the title game against Joliet Catholic. Montini won’t be flying under the radar this season. After starting the season with back-to-back losses to Joliet Catholic and Loyola, Montini has won its last seven games. The Broncos defeated previously-unbeaten Marmion during the final week of the season. They may be a No. 6 seed in the playoffs, but they are one of the class’s premier teams and should be a title contender again.
New kids on the block
Lincoln-Way West is the lone team making its first playoff appearance in Class 5A. The Chargers are in their second year as a program and improved from last season’s 2-7 mark to a 7-2 one this year. Kicker Nick Bray, quarterback Justin Butterfield and running back Mike Bellamy have been key to their success. Bellamy had 290 rushing yards against Lincoln-Way North earlier this season.
Joliet Catholic has made an IHSA record 17 state title appearances. Of the Class 5A teams, Sacred Heart-Griffin is next with seven appearances, which ranks 11th. The two schools have also won five of the past nine Class 5A state championships.
State championship prediction: Joliet Catholic defeats Vernon Hills
No. 6 Glenbard North (7-0) at No. 1 Wheaton Warrenville South (7-0) on Friday
The story: Wheaton Warrenville South has faced four ranked teams this season and has defeated them by a combined score of 155-40. Now, the Tigers will meet possibly their greatest challenge of the season in Glenbard North. The Panthers have remained undefeated thanks to a versatile running game and one of the area’s best defenses. They’ve allowed 73 points this season and have also defeated three ranked teams. Quarterback Reilly O’Toole and Wheaton Warrenville South’s offense will be unlike anything Glenbard North has seen this season. ESPN 1000 will be in attendance.
Glenbard North player to watch: Offensive right tackle Paul Wisniewski has been a major reason for the Panthers’ running success. He recently received an offer from Wyoming.
Wheaton Warrenville South player to watch: The Tigers’ passing game receives a lot of attention, but running back Matt Rogers has also done his part. He’s burned plenty of opponents this season.
Quotes: Glenbard North coach Ryan Wilkens – “ Offensively, they do everything. They run the ball from under center and the gun with Rogers and O’Toole. They use play-action pass, sprint outs and straight drop backs using multiple receivers. Defensively, they rally to the football, they fight the pressure well and take down double-teams.”
Wheaton Warrenville South coach Ron Muhitch – “Glenbard North is a very good power-running team. Their offensive line is very big and good at the run game. [Phil] Jackson and [Evin] Natick are very solid
runners and can break a long run anytime. Their defense is a solid unit that has been very good at keeping people out of the end zone with less than 10 points a game. Their defensive backs match up well with our offensive skills. It’s going to be a tough game for the Tigers.”
Prediction: Wheaton Warrenville South 35, Glenbard North 20
St. Ignatius (5-2) at No. 2 St. Rita (7-0) on Friday
The story: St. Rita won’t be overlooking crossover opponent St. Ignatius, but the Mustangs are fully aware that they close out the regular season with Loyola next week. The Ramblers are the only team keeping them from an outright Catholic League championship.
Prediction: St. Rita 41, St. Ignatius 10
Downers Grove North (1-6) at No. 3 Glenbard West (7-0) on Saturday
The story: Glenbard West will be looking to put together a clean game from opening kick to final whistle this week. They had their share of miscues in last week’s win over York. The Hilltoppers have another test in Lyons next week.
Prediction: Glenbard West 40, Downers Grove North 14
Notre Dame (5-2) at No. 4 Carmel (7-0) on Friday
The story: If someone’s looking for a possible upset this week, this could be one. Notre Dame has hung with everyone it has played this season. The Dons lost by 12 to Marist and by one to Marian Catholic. The Corsairs have shown, though, not to be a team that overlooks opponents. They would win the East Suburban Catholic title outright with a victory.
Prediction: Carmel 31, Notre Dame 20
Lane (3-4) vs. No. 5 Simeon (7-0) at Gately on Thursday
The story: Simeon hasn’t been tested since the opening week. That might not change until the playoffs either. The Wolverines look as if they can make a real run this season.
Prediction: Simeon 50, Lane 20
Marist (5-2) at No. 7 Joliet Catholic (6-1) on Friday
The story: These two teams created a great one last year with Marist pulling out a 24-17 win. The RedHawks went on to the Class 8A state championship game while Joliet Catholic advanced to the Class 5A one. That could happen again this season with both being contenders in their respective classes. Joliet Catholic has been putting up a whole lot of points all season. The Hilltoppers scored 73 of them in last week’s win over St. Patrick. Marist has only one in-state loss and is on the verge of being in the top 20 again.
Marist player to watch: RedHawks quarterback Luke Oosterbaan displayed his running ability in last week’s win over St. Viator. He scored three rushing touchdowns.
Joliet Catholic player to watch: Josh Ferguson is one of 11 remaining players in the running for the ESPNChicago.com Player of the Year award. He had three touchdowns in last week’s win.
Prediction: Joliet Catholic 38, Marist 34
Cary-Grove (5-2) at No. 8 Crystal Lake South (7-0) on Friday
The story: Crystal Lake South has won’t the Fox Valley Conference title since 1992. With two games remaining, the Gators are nearing that achievement, but they have to go through Cary-Grove as always for it. After winning the Class 6A state championship last season, the Trojans had a rough start to this season, losing their first two games. They’ve since won their last five, including a 23-20 overtime win over McHenry last week. On paper, Crystal Lake South may be the better team, but this is one of those games where anything can happen.
Cary-Grove player to watch: Quarterback Corey Latkas has continued to improve as the season has unfolded. He’s been consistent in running the team’s option attack and completing key passes when needed.
Crystal Lake South player to watch: Quarterback Drew Ormseth has been one of the area’s best this season. He’s a threat to run and pass the ball.
Quotes: Cary-Grove coach Bruce Kay – “The key to the game is ball control and turnovers. Their defense is very talented, and it will be difficult to make big plays. We need to keep the South QB on the sideline. Our kicking game has been very good all year, and we will need to make South play on long fields.”
Prediction: Crystal Lake South 28, Cary-Grove 27
Lincoln-Way Central (1-6) at No. 9 Lincoln-Way East (6-1) on Friday
The story: Lincoln-Way East is on the verge of winning the Southwest Suburban Blue. The Griffins’ next two opponents have a combined record of 1-13.
Prediction: Lincoln-Way East 49, Lincoln-Way Central 7
No. 10 Barrington (7-0) at Fremd (3-4) on Friday
The story: Fremd’s season hasn’t gone as expected. The Vikings were thought to be a state contender before the season, but now they must defeat highly-ranked Barrington just to keep their playoff hopes alive. Fremd has made 15 consecutive playoff appearances. As for Barrington, it has been one of the season’s bigger surprises. Just a year ago, the Broncos missed the playoffs after going 3-6.
Barrington player to watch: Running back Nico Martinez is returning to his old form after breaking his hand and missing the season’s first four games. He and Chase Murdock make up a tough backfield.
Fremd player to watch: Offensive lineman Brian Bobek is considered one of the best in the country. He’s headed to Ohio State.
Quote: Barrington coach Joe Sanchez – “As for keys for both teams, it will come down to which group can sustain and finish drives. I also believe special teams will play a key part in the game with regards to field position for both teams. Turnovers, which team can create extra opportunities and take advantage of them, will be big.”
Prediction: Barrington 24, Fremd 17
No. 11 Stevenson (7-0) at Libertyville (3-4) on Friday
The story: Stevenson looks to remain undefeated while Libertyville hopes to stay in the playoff hunt. Stevenson is known for its offense, but the Patriots have only allowed 83 points this season.
Prediction: Stevenson 35, Libertyville 17
Lake Forest (5-2) at No. 12 Vernon Hills (7-0) on Friday
The story: Can Vernon Hills shut out an opponent for the eighth consecutive week? This is will be its toughest challenge. Lake Forest has scored 256 points this season, which ranks second in the North Suburban Lake, and hasn’t been held to less than 13 points all season. The Cougars should be happy with just a win against Lake Forest.
Lake Forest player to watch: Junior running back Owen Williams can be tough to stop. He had 272 yards on 18 carries against Libertyville earlier this season.
Vernon Hills player to watch: Do-everything senior DaVaris Daniels has scored in almost every way possible this season. It’ll be interesting to see if he can find another way against Lake Forest.
Quote: Vernon Hills coach Tony Monken – “The difference in Lake Forest is they have a better balanced offense than we’ve played this year. When we crossover over to the big-school North Suburban division, we only play them once every seven years. It’s an uphill battle for us because they have more numbers than our program. When we have a crossover game, we try to sneak up on them. I don’t think we can sneak up on anyone this year. I think it’s going to be a heck of a ballgame.”
Prediction: Vernon Hills 34, Lake Forest 21
No. 20 Prospect (6-1) at No. 13 Elk Grove (6-1) on Friday
The story: The winner of this clinches at least a share of the Mid-Suburban East title. Prospect lost its season-opener, but has been winning big ever since. The Knights have one of the state’s most potent offenses with 292 points this season. Elk Grove’s offense isn’t too shabby itself. Led by quarterback Nick Meyer, the Grenadiers have scored 212 points a game. Prospect has won the last five meetings between the two teams.
Prospect player to watch: Quarterback Steve Dazzo threw for two touchdowns and ran for four in last week’s win over Wheeling. This will be a chance to really make a name for himself.
Elk Grove player to watch: Joey Bishoff has been Meyer’s favorite target this season. He has 33 catches for 455 yards and three touchdowns.
Quote: Elk Grove coach Brian Doll – "Prospect is very sound on offense. With great offensive line play and two strong running backs in Steve Dazzo and Peter Bonahoom, they force you to defend both of them on every play.”
Prediction: Elk Grove 42, Prospect 38
Mundelein (0-7) at No. 14 Lake Zurich (6-1) on Friday
The story: Lake Zurich’s defense has held opponents to 59 points this season. Outside of Libertyville and Stevenson, the Bears’ opponents have only scored 13 points.
Prediction: Lake Zurich 31, Mundelein 0
Naperville North (5-2) at No. 15 Wheaton North (5-2) on Friday
The story: Neither team may still be in the running for the DuPage Valley title, but there are playoff points to still be earned. Neither team wants to fall to 5-3 either. Both have lost to Glenbard North and Wheaton Warrenville South this season.
Naperville North player to watch: Antonio Owens can score in a variety of ways. He caught a touchdown pass and rushed for one last week.
Wheaton North player to watch: Wide receiver Johnny Daniels was the hero last week. He caught a game-winning touchdown as time expired.
Quote: Wheaton North coach Joe Wardynski – “We don’t have the big-name players that Naperville North does, but I do feel that we’re coming together well as a team right now. I’m hoping that the kids are starting to see that it takes offense, defense and special teams to win close ball games. In addition, it takes solid backups at several positions for a team to get good results on Friday nights.”
Prediction: Naperville North 27, Wheaton North 20
No. 16 Mount Carmel (5-2) at St. Laurence (4-3) on Friday
The story: The Caravan still have an outside hope of earning a share of the Catholic League title. The Corsairs have defeated Loyola and fell to St. Rita this season.
Prediction: Mount Carmel 35, St. Laurence 13
Gordon Tech (1-6) at No. 17 Loyola (6-1) on Saturday
The story: Like St. Rita, Loyola has taken Gordon Tech seriously this week, but also has taken a peak at next week’s all-important Catholic League game.
Prediction: Loyola 42, Gordon Tech 6
Plainfield East (1-6) at No. 18 Plainfield South (7-0) on Friday
The story: Plainfield South is tied for third in the state with 342 points this season. The Cougars have scored 50 or more points three times this year.
Prediction: Plainfield South 52, Plainfield East 10
No. 19 Schaumburg (5-2) at Palatine (4-3) on Friday
The story: Palatine may not have the record to show for it, but it’s been a handful for every one of its opponents this season. The Pirates’ losses have included a 28-21 to Lake Forest, 41-27 to Prospect and 17-16 to Fremd. They close out the season with Schaumburg and Barrington.
Prediction: Schaumburg 35, Palatine 17
With only a few games remaining, the ESPNChicago.com High School Football Player of the Year award is O’Toole’s to lose. Either he’ll need to have a really poor game or someone will need a really great one for that to change.
The number of candidates was cut down to 11 this week.
1. Wheaton Warrrenville South senior quarterback Reilly O’Toole (previously ranked No. 1)
Last week: O’Toole only needed to play one half in Wheaton Warrenville South’s 56-0 win over West Chicago. He completed 8-of-9 passes for 145 yards and four touchdowns. Wheaton Warrenville South improved to 7-0.
Season: 79-of-107 passing for 1,518 yards, 23 touchdowns and one interception; two rushing touchdowns.
2. Vernon Hills senior wide receiver DaVaris Daniels (3)
Last week: Daniels’ 86-yard punt-return touchdown against Grant was one of the more electrifying plays of his season. According to Vernon Hills coach Tony Monken, Daniels made 10 or 11 guys miss, and a couple of those missed a few times. Daniels also had four tackles, one forced fumble, one reception for 13 yards and 12 rushing yards on three carries.
Season: 4-of-6 passing for 71 yards and one touchdown; 11 receptions for 290 yards and four touchdowns; 258 rushing yards and six touchdowns; two punt return touchdowns; three interceptions and two defensive touchdowns.
3. Plainfield North senior running back Kapri Bibbs (2)
Last week: Bibbs was slowed down -- at least for his standards -- in Plainfield North’s 35-34 loss to Minooka. He rushed for 198 yards and three touchdowns on 32 carries. Plainfield North fell to 5-2.
Season: 1,887 rushing yards and 29 touchdowns on 190 carries.
4. Elk Grove senior quarterback Nick Meyer (5)
Last week: Meyer was 18-of-20 for 225 yards and two touchdowns and ran for 71 yards and two touchdowns on 27 carries in Elk Grove’s 28-13 win over Hersey. The Grenadiers improved to 6-1.
Season: 118-of-193 passing for 1,553 yards and 15 touchdowns; 679 yards and 11 touchdowns on 114 carries.
5. Naperville North senior linebacker Nick Lifka (4)
Last week: Lifka was his usual defensive beast in Naperville North’s 49-21 win over Glenbard East on Friday. Lifka had 11 tackles to lead the Huskies. Naperville North improved to 5-2.
Season: 88 tackles, eight tackles for a loss, three sacks, four forced fumbles and one fumble recovery.
6. Simeon junior quarterback Robert Gregory (6)
Last week: Gregory was very efficient in Simeon’s 55-6 win over Lincoln Park on Saturday. He completed 2-of-2 passes for 79 yards and ran for 63 yards and three touchdowns on seven carries. The Wolverines improved to 7-0.
Season: 41-of-71 passing for 787 yards and 10 touchdowns; 674 rushing yards and 16 touchdowns.
7. Schaumburg senior running back Shepard Little (7)
Last week: Little, the ESPNChicago.com Prep Athlete of the Week, rushed for 99 yards and four touchdowns on 12 carries in Schaumburg’s 42-21 win over Conant. The Saxons improved to 5-2.
Season: 1,274 yards and 16 touchdowns on 155 carries; two receiving touchdowns.
8. Joliet Catholic senior running back Josh Ferguson (10)
Last week: Ferguson ran wild again. He scored three touchdowns, including an 80-yarder, in the Hilltoppers’ 73-27 win over St. Patrick. Joliet Catholic improved to 6-1.
Season: 929 rushing yards and 15 touchdowns on 74 carries.
9. Lake Zurich senior running back Jacob Brinlee (9)
Last week: Brinlee scored one of his team’s two touchdowns in a 14-0 win over Warren on Saturday. He finished with 114 rushing yards and one touchdown on 14 carries. Lake Zurich improved to 6-1.
Season: 949 rushing yards and 11 touchdowns on 90 carries; one receiving touchdown.
10. Loyola junior quarterback Malcolm Weaver (12)
Last week: Weaver completed 13-of-22 passes for 151 yards and two touchdowns in Loyola’s 45-7 win over Fenwick. The Ramblers improved to 6-1.
Season: 97-of-172 passing for 1,513 yards and 22 touchdowns.
11. St. Rita senior running back Jahwon Akui (13)
Last week: Akui rushed for 195 yards and a touchdown on 34 carries in St. Rita’s 31-19 win over Providence. The Mustangs improved to 7-0.
Season: 917 rushing yards and 11 touchdowns on 186 carries.
1) Prospect quarterback Steve Dazzo ran for four touchdowns and threw for two more in the Knights’ 62-24 win over Wheeling. Between Dazzo and Elk Grove quarterback Nick Meyer, this week’s meeting between the two Mid-Suburban East teams should be interesting.
2) Homewood-Flossmoor’s Malik Norman rushed for 244 yards and three touchdowns on 29 carries in the Vikings’ 28-21 win over Lockport.
3) Glenbrook South’s Max Pompilus caught five passes for 104 yards and three touchdowns in the Titans’ 56-7 win over Niles West.
4) Cody Gillard rushed for two touchdowns and caught another to help Senn remain undefeated with a 34-6 win over Schurz.
5) Crystal Lake South quarterback Drew Ormseth was 5-of-6 passing for 112 yards and two touchdowns and rushed for 122 yards and three touchdowns in the Gators’ 48-14 win over Huntley.
1) Vernon Hills’ defense is playing out of its mind. The Cougars forced seven turnovers in their 20-0 win over Grant on Friday. The Cougars have outscored their opponents 310-0 this season.
2) Schaumburg defensive tackle Joe Zolper had 5 ½ sacks in the Saxons’ 42-21 win over Conant.
3) Lake Zurich linebacker J.J. Raffelson had five sacks and a forced fumble in the Bears’ 14-0 win over Warren.
4) Plainfield South’s Ryan West intercepted three passes in his team’s 57-30 win over Oswego.
5) Kaneland’s Quinn Buschbacher and Tyler Callaghan each had an offensive touchdown and a defensive interception in the team’s 34-13 win over Yorkville.
1) Thornton 32, Lincoln-Way West 27: Wildcats quarterback Charles Knowles connected with Jamel Frazier for an eight-yard touchdown pass in the game’s final seconds for the win.
2) Bishop McNamara 28, St. Laurence 21: Theo Bradley intercepted a pass in overtime and threw the game-winning touchdown pass for the Fightin’ Irish.
3) Minooka 35, Plainfield North 34 OT: Minooka fullback Taylor Salazar scored on a two-yard run, and Jason Lizalek made the extra point to give the Indians the narrow victory.
4) Wheaton North 23, Naperville Central 21: Reece Butler hit Johnny Daniels for a 19-yard touchdown pass as time expired.
5) Fremd 17, Palatine 16: Freshman quarterback Sam Beutler threw a 37-yard touchdown pass and ran in for a two-point conversion in the second half to lift the Vikings to the victory.
At least, he could have sweated a bit and showed he had some kind of nerves before stepping foot on the field.
There were plenty of reasons for Glawe to be an emotional mess. It was his first career varsity quarterback start. He was facing unbeaten York with Glenbard West’s three-year conference undefeated streak on the line. He was also playing before a standing-room-only crowd with the majority of those fans rooting against him.
Not Glawe, though. He showed no hint that he was about to embark on anything significant. Displaying the calmness of a veteran, he completed 9-of-12 passes for 213 yards and two touchdowns and led No. 3 Glenbard West to a 27-10 win over No. 20 York in the West Suburban Silver matchup.
Glawe was even relaxed enough to make a few jokes in the huddle and on the sidelines.
“He’s a jokester,” said Glenbard West senior wide receiver Mark Hiben, who was the recipient of four passes for 126 yards and a touchdown. “He was having fun. He was making everyone laugh. He really calms everyone down. It’s definitely not normal. That’s why he’s such a great kid.”
Hetlet was just as impressed.
“This is a varsity start,” Hetlet said. “It doesn’t get any bigger than this. They were loud. He was poised. He was more poised than I was.”
York (6-1, 4-1) gave Hetlet and the Hilltoppers plenty of reason to worry early. After Glenbard West fumbled away the ball on the game’s first play from scrimmage, York capitalized with a 37-yard field goal by Sean McDaid. Following another defensive stop, the Dukes went ahead 10-0 in the second quarter on an 18-yard touchdown pass from Jim Nudera to Jordan Preuss.
York’s fans began chanting, “Overrated.”
It was too soon, though. From there, it was all Glenbard West.
Glawe got the Hilltoppers (7-0, 4-0) going three plays after York’s touchdown when he connected with Hiben on a 68-yard score. Running back Nick Burrello scored the first of his two touchdowns at the end of the first half, and Glenbard West took a 13-10 lead into halftime.
In the second half, it was more of the same. The Hilltoppers’ offense kept rolling, and the defense contained York. Burrello scored again to put the Hilltoppers ahead 19-10, and Glawe later threw a five-yard touchdown to Kendall Johnson and then completed a pass to Nathan Marcus (three catches for 73 yards) for the two-point conversion for the final score.
“It’s something you dream of, definitely, coming in an environment like this,” Glawe said. “It’s just an awesome time. My O-line said, ‘Trust us, and we’ll give you the time. You’ll make the plays, and we have confidence.’ The coaches were saying all week, ‘We got confidence. It’s your time to shine.’ It’s definitely a big help when your coaches and your teammates give that little boost.”
The Hilltoppers dedicated the win to former player Pierre Washington Steele, who was killed in a car accident in February. After the win, Hetlet raised a memorial plaque for Steele over his head, and his players cheered.
“His number was No. 7, so this happened to be Week 7,” Hetlet said. “This is the game we dedicated to him. It was very emotional. I thought the kids played with a lot of heart. It was good to see how hard the kids came out and competed on a big stage.”
Making up for a poor offensive showing, the widely discussed Cougars defense did not disappoint, forcing seven Grant turnovers -- six fumbles and one interception.
Perhaps it was the absence of Ohio State-bound receiver Evan Spencer that enabled the Bulldogs’ defense to limit Vernon Hills to just 5-yards of total offense.
“Obviously we missed Evan because he helps us spread the field out," said Cougars head coach Tony Monken. "I'm not sure how word got out that he was hurt, but their defensive scheme was definitely lined up as if they knew he'd be out."
Spencer, who did not see action due to a lower muscle strain, is expected to be back in the Vernon Hills lineup next week against Lake Forest. In his absence, Vernon Hills' other Division-I receiver, DaVaris Daniels (headed to Notre Dame), only managed one catch for 13 yards in the first quarter. Daniels did, however, make jaws drop on an 85-yard punt return touchdown to score Vernon Hills’ first points midway through the second quarter.
Despite only trailing 7-0 at halftime, Grant failed to establish its offense, not managing a first down until minutes into the third quarter. Senior running back-turned-quarterback Alex Cacchione ran for 70 yards on 21 carries, while fellow senior Steven Niewiedzial collected 59 yards on the ground. The two also accounted for three fumbles and an interception.
For Vernon Hills, running back Brian Palmer shouldered much of the load in the second half, finishing the game with 43 rushing yards and the final two Cougars’ touchdowns. "In the second half, our offensive line did a hell of a job," said Palmer, who scored on runs of 3 and 2 yards. "They started moving guys up front and that was huge for us."
Palmer's first score was set up by one of two Dustin Rusch fumble recoveries after punter Austin Miller pinned the Bulldogs back on their own 3-yard line, while the second also came off of a turnover in the fourth quarter.
Even with a comfortable 20-0 lead down the stretch, everyone on the Vernon Hills sidelines held their collective breath during Grant's final drive. With under a minute remaining and Grant facing a fourth-and-14 from the Vernon Hills 28, Steven Niewiedzial's 45-yard field goal attempt fell inches short, securing a seventh straight shutout for the Cougars.
"Our defense is doing a heck of a job and they saved us tonight," Monken said.
Players of the game: Vernon Hills RB Brian Palmer: 12 carries, 43 yards, 2 TDs and Vernon Hills Dustin Rusch and Wayne Didier: 2 Fum Rec each.
Stat of the game: Vernon Hills forced 7 Grant turnovers but was outgained 128-5 in total offense; Grant did not complete its only pass of the game.
It was over when: The Cougars' shutout was secured for the seventh week in a row.
Quote of the night: “Our special teams coordinator said he couldn't kick one from that far, so I trusted him," Monken said laughing. "We were more worried about the fake than we were about blocking it."
The story: York has been one of the year’s more surprising teams. After going 4-5 last year, the Dukes are off to their best start in school history and are coming off a big win over previously unbeaten Lyons. Despite their success, Glenbard West will still be a grand challenge. The Hilltoppers have been ranked in the top 5 all season and are dominant on both sides of the ball. York should benefit from being at home. ESPN 1000 will be in attendance.
Glenbard West player to watch: Nick Burrello is in the running for the ESPNChicago.com Player of the Year award. He’s dangerous in the running, passing and return game.
York player to watch: Running back Ryan Kent leads York’s offense. He ran for 180 yards and two touchdowns on 31 carries in last week’s win.
Quotes: “[Nick Burrello] has always had great speed, but now he has the vision to go along with it. He’s played really confident and has had over 1,500 all-purpose yards.” -- Glenbard West coach Chad Hetlet
“Ryan Kent is a kid who works hard, and he’ s really matured over the years he has been at York. I think there is a solid cohesiveness within this group that makes them special.” -- York coach Bill Lech
Prediction: Glenbard West 34, York 21
No. 12 Vernon Hills (6-0) at Grant (3-3) on Friday
The story: Vernon Hills has outscored its opponents 290-0. The 290 points scored was expected. The zero points allowed was not. The Cougars look to extend their unlikely shutout streak against Grant in a North Suburban Prairie game. The Bulldogs have put some points up this season. They’ve scored more than 40 twice and have 178 points on the season.
Vernon Hills player to watch: DaVaris Daniels, who is committed to Notre Dame, is among the front-runners for the ESPNChicago.com Player of the Year award. He does a lot of everything for Vernon Hills.
Grant player to watch: Fullback Steven Niewiedzial has been racking up yards and touchdowns all year. He ran for 244 yards and three touchdowns in a win two weeks ago.
Quote: “Over the years our two programs have been the most consistent in the Prairie and [it] has kind of become our rivalry game. Everyone knows to win the Prairie you have to beat two teams, Grant and Vernon Hills. Two years ago, we beat them in the regular season and then they knocked us out in the playoffs in double overtime. We expect it to be a hard-hitting rivalry game Friday night with a playoff-type atmosphere.” -- Vernon Hills coach Tony Monken
Prediction: Vernon Hills 38, Grant 10
Waubonsie Valley (5-1) vs. Neuqua Valley (4-2) at North Central College on Friday
The story: This is a key game in the Upstate Eight Valley. Waubonsie Valley is still undefeated in the conference, and Neuqua Valley is only a game back. Waubonsie Valley has been faced with a handful of injuries and illnesses over the past few weeks and have handled them well. Quarterback Matt Schapen has filled in for Tom Kolzow (concussion) the past three weeks and has kept the Warriors afloat. Neuqua Valley lost to South Elgin two weeks ago, but bounced back with a 42-0 win over Metea Valley last week. Both teams have quality defenses.
Waubonsie Valley player to watch: Sophomore linebacker Austin Lacke is one to watch for the future. He’s been among the Warriors’ top defensive players this season.
Neuqua Valley player to watch: Safety Sami Khalil is among the Wildcats’ best defensive players. He had two interceptions, including one for a touchdown, in last week’s win.
Quote: “Our defense is averaging three turnovers per game. When they give the offense great field position, it is a lot easier to score. Our offense has also been able to get big plays during the games as well. So we basically can score from anywhere on the field, which makes it harder for the defenses to defend us.” -- Waubonsie Valley coach Paul Murphy
“We have been playing well in all aspects of the game. Our defense has shown the ability to stop the run, and our offense has had success running the ball. When a team is able to do both of those things, it will have success.” -- Neuqua Valley coach Bryan Wells
Prediction: Waubonsie Valley 24, Neuqua Valley 21
Bolingbrook (4-2) at No. 9 Lincoln-Way East (5-1) on Friday
The story: The Southwest Suburban Blue will likely be decided by this game. Lincoln-Way East has a one-game lead on Bolingbrook and Homewood-Flossmoor. The Griffins have already defeated Homewood-Flossmoor and will now host Bolingbrook. The Raiders will again be without quarterback Aaron Bailey, who also missed last week’s loss to Homewood-Flossmoor with an ankle injury. Lincoln-Way East junior Blake Winkler is quickly becoming one of the area’s better quarterbacks.
Bolingbrook player to watch: Quarterback DJ Pruitt has been making strides since taking over for Bailey. He’ll look to take another step in his progress against Lincoln-Way East.
Lincoln-Way East player to watch: Wide receiver J.J. Robertson had two touchdown catches of 50-plus yards last week. He’s one of the area’s top wide receivers.
Quotes: “Quarterback Blake Winkler has shown tremendous progress. He has stepped up time and time again in crucial situations and made the big plays. Most impressive is the way he responds to adversity or a negative play. He lets it go and usually makes a very positive play soon after.” -- Lincoln-Way East coach Rob Zvonar
“No turnovers and being able to run the ball are the keys to the game.” -- Bolingbrook coach John Ivlow
Prediction: Lincoln-Way East 31, Bolingbrook 17
Minooka (5-1) at Plainfield North (5-1) on Friday
The story: Two of the state’s best running games will be on display in this Southwest Prairie matchup. Plainfield North running back Kapri Bibbs has ran for nearly 2,000 yards despite missing the season’s first game and is coming off a state-record 520-yard performance. No one has been able to stop him this season. Minooka has a number of players capable of carrying the ball. Running backs Kalvin Hill and Kyle Banks and quarterback Mitch Brozovich have all been dangerous. Minooka’s only loss was to undefeated Plainfield South. Plainfield North lost in its season-opener against West Chicago without Bibbs.
Minooka player to watch: Indians running back Kalvin Hill rushed for 217 yards and two touchdowns in last week’s win over Oswego East.
Plainfield North player to watch: Kapri Bibbs is putting together an incredible season. He’ll be playing at Colorado State next season.
Quotes: “We won't stop Kapri, but we do hope to limit his touches. We also hope to limit his long plays. Our offense must put long scoring drives together that eats up clock. Special teams must play well. We are a much better football team than we have shown. We are still waiting to throw the ball consistently and kick the ball consistently. We need to improve our third-down defense and reduce the number of big plays on defense." -- Minooka coach Bert Kooi
“We need to find a way to stop their powerful running game. They have four very good weapons in the backfield. Their quarterback does an outstanding job faking and running the ball. Obviously, Minooka will be very aware of Kapri and have a game plan to stop him. We will need to make necessary in-game adjustments to be able to move the ball.” -- Plainfield North coach Tim Kane
Prediction: Plainfield North 55, Minooka 49
No. 4 Carmel (6-0) at Marian Catholic (5-1) on Friday
The story: Carmel faces another difficult test as it travels to face Marian Catholic in the East Suburban Catholic matchup. Carmel is undefeated with a combination of strong offense and defense. The Corsairs lead the conference with 243 points scored and 78 points allowed. Marian Catholic enters the game on a five-game winning streak after losing to Homewood-Flossmoor in Week 1. Spartans coach Dave Mattio has been pleased with his team’s effort, but said it has yet to put together a “signature” win, which he described as a “contest played with 48 minutes of intensity if all three phases of the game.”
Carmel player to watch: Running back Jordan Kos has been a nightmare for defenses for much of the season. He had 168 yards and two touchdowns last week.
Marian Catholic player to watch: Junior running back Jeruel Taylor has a big reason for the Spartans’ success. He had 221 yards in last week’s 31-27 win over Crete-Monee.
Quotes: “We need to run the ball well and prevent Marian from having big plays. We need to be sure their skilled backs do not have 20-yard-or-more plays. -- Carmel coach Andy Bitto
“Carmel plays with a great deal of energy and confidence. It is important for Marian Catholic to play with the same two attributes from the start of the contest. There have been a number of contests this year where the Spartans have shown a resiliency to come back from a deficit or to make big plays to change momentum of a contest.” -- Marian Catholic coach Dave Mattio
Prediction: Carmel 35, Marian Catholic 20
The ESPNChicago.com Player of the Year race has been trimmed down to 18 spots after Week 6. Most notably, Kapri Bibbs put himself right with Reilly O’Toole at the top after rushing for a state-record 520 yards this past week.
1. Wheaton Warrrenville South senior quarterback Reilly O’Toole (previously ranked No. 1)
Last week: A day before making a visit to his future school Illinois, O’Toole completed 14-of-15 passes for 291 yards and four touchdowns in a 42-14 win over Wheaton North. Wheaton Warrenville South improved to 6-0.
Season: 71-of-98 passing for 1,373 yards, 19 touchdowns, one interception; two rushing touchdowns.
Last week: No one had a bigger week than Bibbs. He rushed for a state-record 520 yards and seven touchdowns in a 49-43 win over Oswego. Plainfield North improved to 5-1.
Season: Rushed for 1,689 yards and 26 touchdowns on 158 carries.
3. Vernon Hills senior wide receiver DaVaris Daniels (2)
Last week: Daniels had a quiet week for his standards. He rushed for 43 yards and one touchdown on three carries, was held without a reception and scored a 68-yard touchdown on a blocked field goal.
Season: 4-of-6 passing for 71 yards and one touchdown; 10 receptions for 277 yards and four touchdowns; 246 rushing yards and six touchdowns; one punt return touchdown; three interceptions and two defensive touchdowns.
4. Naperville North senior linebacker Nick Lifka (4)
Last week: Lifka was all over the field again on Friday. He made 11 tackles, including one for a loss and forced one fumble in Naperville North’s 27-24 win over Naperville Central. Naperville North improved to 4-2.
Season: 77 tackles, eight tackles for a loss, three sacks, four forced fumbles and one fumble recovery.
5. Elk Grove senior quarterback Nick Meyer (5)
Last week: Despite throwing a career-high four interceptions, Meyer completed 24-of-41 passes for 342 yards and three touchdowns in Elk Grove’s 35-14 win over Wheeling. Elk Grove improved to 5-1.
Season: 100-of-173 passing for 1,328 yards, 13 touchdowns and seven interceptions; 618 rushing yards and nine touchdowns on 87 carries.
6. Simeon junior quarterback Robert Gregory (8)
Last week: Gregory was back to being a do-everything quarterback for Simeon after an average Week 5. He completed 5-of-8 passes for 178 yards and three touchdowns and rushed for 114 yards and two touchdown on four carries in the Wolverines’ 63-32 win over Dunbar. Simeon improved to 6-0.
Season: 39-of-69 passing for 708 yards and 10 touchdowns; 611 rushing yards and 13 touchdowns.
7. Schaumburg senior running back Shepard Little (7)
Last week: Schaumburg stuck right with Barrington thanks to Little. He rushed for 184 yards and four touchdowns on 23 carries in the Saxons’ 34-32 loss. Schaumburg fell to 4-2.
Season: 1,175 rushing yards and 12 touchdowns on 143 carries, 11 receptions for 185 yards and two touchdowns.
8. Joliet Catholic senior running back Josh Ferguson (10)
Last week: Ferguson didn’t need the ball much to do his thing on Friday. He ran for 185 yards and two touchdowns on six carries in Joliet Catholic’s 48-19 win over St. Viator. Joliet Catholic improved to 5-1.
Season: 779 yards and 12 touchdowns on 63 carries.
9. Lake Zurich senior running back Jacob Brinlee (6)
Last week: Brinlee had a couple of long runs, but was contained for much of the night in Lake Zurich’s 24-23 loss to Stevenson. He rushed for 101 yards and one touchdown on 19 carries and caught one pass for 35 yards. Lake Zurich fell to 5-1.
Season: 835 rushing yards and 10 touchdowns on 76 carries; one receiving touchdown.
10. Glenbard West senior running back Nick Burrello (12)
Last week: Burrello continued making big plays in Glenbard West’s 41-7 win over Addison Trail. He ran for 157 yards and two touchdowns, which included an 80-yarder, on 16 carries. Glenbard West improved to 6-0.
Season: 699 rushing yards and eight touchdowns on 74 carries, 12 receptions for 284 yards and one touchdown; two punt/kick return touchdowns.
11. Carmel junior running back Jordan Kos (14)
Last week: Kos continued his recent success in Friday’s 42-0 win over Benet. He rushed for 168 yards and two touchdowns on 16 carries. Carmel improved to 6-0.
Season: 842 rushing yards and nine touchdowns on 92 carries.
12. Loyola junior quarterback Malcolm Weaver (19)
Last season: Weaver had his biggest game of the season in Friday’s 49-27 win over Brother Rice. He completed 18-of-29 passes for 370 yards and six touchdowns. Loyola improved to 5-1.
Season: 84-of-150 passion for 1,362 yards and 20 touchdowns.
13. St. Rita senior running back Jahwon Akui (9)
Last week: Mount Carmel concentrated on stopping Akui after he burned the Caravan last season. He ran for 69 yards and two touchdowns on 20 carries in St. Rita’s 35-14 win over Mount Carmel on Friday. St. Rita improved to 6-0.
Season: 722 rushing yards and 10 touchdowns on 152 carries.
14. Wheaton Warrenville South senior wide receiver Titus Davis (13)
Last week: Davis again was Reilly O’Toole’s favorite target in Friday’s 42-14 win over Wheaton North. Davis had seven catches for 137 yards and one touchdown.
Season: 27 receptions for 644 yards and 10 touchdowns.
15. Wheaton North senior quarterback Reece Butler (11)
Last week: Wheaton Warrenville South troubled Butler like it has all of its opponents this season. Butler completed 25-of-37 passes for 186 yards, one touchdown and three interceptions in Wheaton North’s 42-14 loss. He also ran 68 yards on 23 carries. Wheaton North fell to 4-2.
Season: 111-of-153 passing for 1,262 yards, 11 touchdowns and three interceptions; 276 rushing yards and four touchdowns.
16. Thornridge senior running back Mik’ail McCall (20)
Last week: McCall was the hero in Thornridge’s 31-25 win over Andrew. He rushed for 283 yards and four touchdowns, including one in overtime, on 42 carries. Thornridge improved to 3-3.
Season: 1,173 yards and 14 touchdowns.
17. Stevenson senior running back Joe Cassata (16)
Last week: Cassata didn’t pick up a whole lot of yards, but he got them when they were needed most in Stevenson’s 24-23 win over Lake Zurich. He rushed for 61 yards and two touchdowns, including the game-winner, on 15 carries. Stevenson improved to 6-0.
Season: 655 rushing yards and 12 touchdowns on 84 carries; six receptions for 84 yards and one touchdown.
No. 18 Crystal Lake South senior quarterback Drew Ormseth (17)
Last week: Ormseth did enough for the Crystal Lake South to get by Jacobs with a 28-14 win. He completed 6-of-13 passes for 93 yards, two touchdowns and one interception. Crystal Lake South improved to 6-0.
Season: 33-of-65 passing for 697 yards, 10 touchdowns and two interceptions, 318 rushing yards and three touchdowns.
Just days after receiving the honor, Plainfield North’s Kapri Bibbs rushed for a state-record 520 yards and seven touchdowns in a win over Oswego on Friday.
Bibbs’ performance tops another highlight-filled week.
1) Bibbs could fill all five top-playmaker slots with the game he had Friday. Colorado State is probably feeling pretty good about its future running back.
2) Maine South sophomore Matt Alviti has the makings of another star quarterback for the Hawks. He threw for 307 yards and four touchdowns and rushed for two more in Maine South’s 49-8 win over Evanston.
3) Plainfield South wide receiver Alex Flores caught four passes for 191 yards and three touchdowns in his team’s 59-20 win over Plainfield Central.
4) Loyola junior quarterback Malcolm Weaver was 18 for 29 for 396 yards and six touchdowns in Loyola’s 49-27 win over Brother Rice.
5) Lincoln-Way East wide receiver J.J. Robertson had touchdown catches of 60 and 77 yards in the Griffins’ 30-14 win over Sandburg on Friday.
1) Glenbrook South’s John Strickland intercepted two passes in the Titans’ 30-0 win over Waukegan. He also ran for 161 yards.
2) Vernon Hills’ defense shut out its sixth consecutive opponent Saturday with a 48-0 win over Wauconda. The Cougars have outscored opponents 288-0 this season.
3) Fenwick’s Joe Kelly had three interceptions in the Friars’ 17-7 win over Providence on Saturday.
4) Bartlett picked off five passes in its 42-23 upset win over South Elgin.
5) Crystal Lake South had two sacks and two interceptions in its 28-14 win over Jacobs. The Gators have allowed 58 points this season.
1) York 26, Lyons 16: York is off to its best start in school history after the Dukes knocked off previously-unbeaten Lyons. York running back Ryan Kent rushed for 140 of his 195 yards in the second half.
2) Lemont 37, Tinley Park 33: Lemont’s Clayton Fejedelem returned a punt for a 67-yard touchdown with 11 seconds remaining to defeat Tinley Park.
3) Stevenson 24, Lake Zurich 23: Stevenson drove down the field and scored with three seconds remaining to upset Lake Zurich on the road.
4) Hubbard 24, Amundsen 14: Hubbard rallied from a 6-0 halftime deficit for the win. The undefeated Greyhounds were led by Jonathan McClellan’s 236 rushing yards and three touchdowns.
5) Barrington 34, Schaumburg 32: The Broncos stopped Schaumburg on a two-point conversion with 46 seconds left to pull out the Mid-Suburban West win. Quarterback Matt LeMire threw four touchdowns in the victory.