High School: Wheaton North

IHSA football playoff bracket -- Class 7A

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

Bracket and analysis.

Win gives WWS share of DuPage Valley title

October, 22, 2011

WHEATON, Ill. -- Wheaton Warrenville South’s conference championship celebrations have been muted in recent years.

The way the Tigers rolled through the DuPage Valley, leaving no doubt who the conference’s top team was, didn’t lend itself to blowout parties. There was also the fact that Wheaton Warrenville South’s sights were set mainly on state titles, which it won in 2009 and 2010.

This year was different.

Wheaton Warrenville South Wheaton NorthAfter Wheaton Warrenville South defeated No. 15 Wheaton North 27-13 on Friday, earning itself a share of the DuPage Valley title along with Wheaton North, the Tigers took the time to really enjoy their improbable accomplishment after starting the season with three losses in their first four games.

“How’s that feel?” Wheaton Warrenville South coach Ron Muhitch shouted as he entered his team’s postgame huddle.

The players yelled back in joy.

“It’s a huge, huge [accomplishment,]” Muhitch said to reporters after the game. “This senior class has been depleted and had a lot of kids that left. It takes time. When you’re young, you can’t coach experience. Playing Glenbard West and Maine South, yeah, that was a steak that was a little overdone for us the time we were trying to take it on.

“The credit goes to the kids. They’ve finally come back. They play good team football, which is what you want. Solid offense, good running game and just great defense.”

The Tigers defense continued to show Friday why it’s among the state’s best. Wheaton Warrenville South (6-3, 6-1) contained Wheaton North (7-2, 6-1) for most of the night, set the Tigers’ offense up with favorable field position and accounted for a key touchdown late in the first half.

[+] EnlargePatrick Sharp
Scott Powers for ESPNChicago.comWheaton North running back Patrick Sharp carries the ball against Wheaton Warrenville South on Friday. Sharp had one touchdown.
Wheaton North running back Patrick Sharp scored on a 29-yard touchdown run with 2:08 left in the first half to pull within 13-7. Following the score, the Falcons forced Wheaton Warrenville South to punt and were looking to score quickly again before halftime.

Wheaton Warrenville South linebacker Daniel Roadman had other ideas. On the second play of the drive, Roadman picked off Wheaton North quarterback John Peltz and sprinted 37 yards for a touchdown to give The Tigers a 20-7 lead with 47 seconds left in the half.

Wheaton North would trail by two touchdowns the rest of the game.

“I tripped at the start and tried to run as fast as I could,” said Roadman, who has two interceptions on the season. “That definitely was a huge momentum-shifter going into the half. It gave us a lot of confidence at halftime having a two-score lead with our defense the way we’ve been playing.”

Wheaton Warrenville South running back Dan Vitale and sophomore quarterback Ryan Graham took care of the offensive side. Vitale rushed for 136 yards and two touchdowns on 36 carries. Graham rushed for 77 yards and threw for 27 yards and a touchdown.

“We’re just playing with confidence,” said Vitale, a Northwestern recruit. “That’s the biggest thing. We know the concepts. The biggest thing is we’re executing now.

“We knew the potential we had as a team. We just had to get going. We knew it from the beginning.”

Peltz was 14-of-28 passing for 147 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions. Sharp had 63 rushing yards and one touchdown.

Wheaton Warrenville South’s Tyler Cook and Wheaton North’s Micah Penn had touchdown receptions.

Week 9 prep football preview

October, 19, 2011

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)

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

Prep football rankings: Montini on rise

October, 16, 2011
Maine South and Glenbard West continue to hold the top two spots, but No. 16 Montini is on the rise.

Scott Powers' rankings

Coaches roundtable: Why that offense?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    October, 9, 2011
    PM CT
    Maine South, Glenbard West and Lincoln-Way East maintained the top three spots in the prep football rankings.

    Check out the complete rankings.

    Weeks 2 prep football preview

    September, 2, 2011
    AM CT

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Preseason No. 19: Wheaton North

    August, 10, 2011
    PM CT
    Wheaton NorthScott Powers/ESPNChicago.comLed by kicker Marci Gawlak and receiver Johnny Daniels, the Falcons could be soaring.
    Last season: 8-3 overall, 5-2 DuPage Valley, lost in the Class 7A second round to Wheaton Warrenville South, ranked No. 20 in the final ESPNChicago.com 2010 poll

    Season ahead: Wheaton North's problem last season was running into top-ranked Wheaton Warrenville South twice. The Falcons lost to the Class 7A state champs in the regular season and the playoffs. Although Wheaton North won't be able to avoid Wheaton Warrenville South this season, it does hope to be better prepared. The Falcons return six offensive starters, including three offensive linemen, two on the defensive side and all-conference kicker Marcin Gawlak. Their offense is expected to drive this year's team, at least until the defense gains some experience. Wheaton North could be in store from some early shootouts.

    Star power: Kickers aren't normally stars, but Wheaton North has a special one in Marci Gawlak. The Falcons hope his leg will translate into extra points this season. "I wouldn't hesitate at all with him to kick a 50-yard field goal if the game warranted it," Wheaton North coach Joe Wardynski said.

    Breakout performer: Wide receiver Johnny Daniels is holding an offer from Ball State, but he could end up getting plenty more if his senior season goes as expected. Daniels, who is 6-2 and 200 pounds, showed off his size and athleticism throughout the summer. "He made some big plays for us as a junior," Wardynski said. "He was probably our No. 2 option last year. This year he should be the go-to guy."

    Defensive difference-maker: Linebacker Mike Swider had a solid junior season, but he's expected to reach another level this season. As Wheaton North's main defensive starter back, Swider will be looked to lead in a variety of ways. "We're hoping he'll provide leadership for us," Wardynski said. "He had a nice junior year, and we hope he takes a step forward."

    Newcomer to watch: Wheaton North has had some good luck in quarterbacks the past few years with Taylor Graham and Reece Butler. The Falcons hope junior John Peltz can continue the trend. At 6-2 and 215 pounds, Peltz has good size. He also has a strong arm and a football IQ. "He's got a really good head on his shoulders," Wardynski said. "He picks up what we're doing offensively."

    Schedule breakdown: The DuPage Valley will be one of the state's toughest conferences again. Glenbard North, Naperville North and Wheaton Warrenville South will all be tough conference match ups for the Falcons. In addition, Wheaton North will face Bartlett and Geneva in back-to-back game to open the season. "Those two games will tell us a lot going into the conference," Wardynski said.

    Key game: Oct. 21 at Wheaton Warrenville South: The Tigers handed Wheaton North two of its three losses last season. Beating Wheaton Warrenville South at home and in the regular-season finale would be a nice way to enter the playoffs for Wheaton North.

    Interesting fact: Quarterback John Peltz and linebacker Mike Swider are cousins, and their fathers coach at Wheaton College.

    What they're saying: "I'm not sure where the defense is going to come together," Wardynski said. "I'm interested to see how we do when we get out there. We looked okay in the summer, but when you line up Bartlett and Geneva in the first two weeks, you find out good or bad you are."

    Round 1: Wheaton N. 27, Marian Catholic 12

    October, 30, 2010
    AM CT

    WHEATON, Ill. -- From the opening kickoff to the final whistle, the Wheaton North Falcons' offense was in high-gear on Friday night against the visiting Marian Catholic Spartans. Led by senior quarterback Reece Butler, the Falcons (8-2, 5-2) scored on five of their first six possessions en route to a 27-12 win in the opening round of the Class 7A playoffs.

    Butler converted on 12 of his first 13 passes for 129 and two touchdowns to start the game as the Falcons scored every time they had the ball in the first half. In fact, the only thing that slowed down the Falcons offense was self-inflicted wounds. They missed a field goal in the third quarter and fumbled away a drive in the fourth, accounting for two of the three times Wheaton North did not score when it had the ball. The Falcons punted just once.

    “Every game you want to start out fast and doing it in the playoffs is huge,” said Reece, who led the Falcons on a 14-play drive to start the game. “And we built on that throughout the night.”

    Butler finished the game with 193 passing yards, 78 rushing yards and three total touchdowns. Running back Patrick Sharp and senior wide receiver Richard Finley complemented their ace quarterback throughout the night as Sharp ran for 56 yards while Finley caught nine passes for 89 yards and touchdown.

    The Spartans (6-3, 4-0) opened their night with an equally impressive 14-play drive, but struggled to move the ball for much of the game00. Aside from the opening drive, the only points Marian Catholic scored the rest of the night came on a 48-yard touchdown reception by Randall Wells with six minutes left in the game. Wells finished the game with 91 receiving yards.

    With the win, the Falcons advance to the second round of the playoffs where they will play archival Wheaton Warrenville South. The Falcons lost in their regular-season matchup with the state's top team 42-14 earlier this season.

    Player of the game: Butler

    Stat of the game: 1. The number of times Marian Catholic forced the Falcons into a three-and-out.

    It was over when: Junior Marcin Gawlak connected on a 29-yard field goal at the end of the first half to give the Falcons at 20-6 lead.

    Quote of the night: “It’s going to be a good one. We’re excited to get another shot at [Wheaton Warrenville South] and it’s going to be fun.” - Butler after the game on next week’s matchup against the top-ranked Tigers.

    Class 7A playoff breakdown

    October, 28, 2010
    AM CT
    The Class 7A playoff field is a lot like the old Royal Rumble of the World Wrestling Federation. You throw a whole lot of talent in the ring and wait for anything to happen.

    [+] EnlargeWheaton, Warrenville
    Scott Powers for ESPN.comDespite playing top local competition, Wheaton-Warrenville South has yet to face a true challenge en route to a 9-0 record.
    Fourteen of the 32 teams in the 7A playoffs were ranked at some time this season. Ten of them appeared in the top 10. Five of them spent time in the top 5. One of them has been No. 1 the last eight weeks.

    “I don't think you can overstate the depth of quality teams in this class,” Schaumburg coach Mark Stilling said.

    If there was a Hulk Hogan of the group, it would be Wheaton Warrenville South. The Tigers have been the best team in the state from start to finish. They’ve rolled through their schedule – not an easy one either – and have out-scored their opponents by 35.8 points.

    Wheaton Warrenville South may be the favorite, but Simeon, Carmel, St. Rita and Glenbard West are all just slightly behind. Those five times comprised the ranking’s top 5 before Glenbard West and St. Rita were upset by Class 8A teams in the final week of the regular season.

    If those five teams are the top tier, the next tier would be Elk Grove, Lake Zurich, Lincoln-Way East, Marian Catholic, Minooka, Plainfield North, Plainfield South, Prospect, Schaumburg and Wheaton North. Those 10 teams have lost a combined 15 games. Of those 15 losses, eight were to other teams in the 7A field and 10 of them were to ranked teams.

    Then, there’s the story of East St. Louis. Nationally ranked along with Wheaton Warrenville South, the Flyers were considered another state title contender. That was until Tuesday when the IHSA forced them to forfeit all of their 2010 wins and removed them from the playoffs due to using ineligible players.

    “Obviously, the whole East St. Louis thing has added drama to this class,” Minooka coach Bert Kooi said.

    The Royal Rumble always had that as well.

    Best opening-round game
    No. 9 Schaumburg at No. 8 Elk Grove: Elk Grove defeated Schaumburg 36-34 in one of the more intense regular-season games. The Grenadiers stopped Schaumburg short on a two-point conversion to pull out the win. Elk Grove quarterback Nick Meyer threw for three touchdowns and ran for two in the win. Saxons quarterback Mark Iannotti had four touchdown passes. The winner of this will likely get Simeon.

    Top 10 Class 7A teams
    1. Wheaton Warrenville South (9-0): This could be one of the best teams in state history
    2. Simeon (9-0): Looking to become the first Public League state champion
    3. Carmel (8-1): Won the East Suburban Catholic Conference
    4. St. Rita (8-1): Played six playoff teams and defeated five of them
    5. Lincoln-Way East (8-1): Has played exceptionally well since losing to Wheaton North
    6. Glenbard West (8-1): Unexpectedly lost in Week 9 to Lyons
    7. Lake Zurich (8-1): Only loss was Stevenson
    8. Wheaton North (7-2): Has a knack for winning close games
    9. Prospect (8-1): Winners of its last eight games
    10. Schaumburg (7-2): Ended Maine South’s two-year winning streak

    Top 5 players to watch
    1. Reilly O'Toole, Wheaton Warrenville South, SR, QB: An Illinois recruit, O'Toole is the front-runner for the ESPNChicago.com Player of the Year award. He’s thrown for 1,700-plus yards, 26 touchdowns and just one interception.
    2. Kapri Bibbs, Plainfield North, SR, RB: A Colorado State recruit, he has been the complete surprise of the season. Despite missing the opening week of the season, he’s rushed for 2,519 yards and 37 touchdowns.
    3. Jordan Walsh, Glenbard West, SR, OL: An Iowa recruit, Walsh is one of the country’s top offensive lineman.
    4. Robert Gregory, Simeon, JR, QB: He can run and pass the ball with the best of them. He’s made the Wolverines a state contender.
    5. Shepard Little, Schaumburg RB: After sitting out last season, Little has made up for lost time by running for 1,500-plus yards.

    Sleeper team
    Plainfield North (7-2): The way Plainfield North can compile yards and touchdowns with the ball in Kapri Bibbs' hands makes the Tigers a tough match up for anyone. They can be slowed down, and Minooka proved that by defeating them in overtime.

    Road for defending state champions
    Of all the defending state champions, Wheaton Warrenville South is the lone one considered to be a favorite to repeat. The Tigers have been unstoppable this season. They faced five ranked teams and defeated them all easily. Wheaton Warrenville South’s offense averaged 43.1 points, and its defense gave up 7.3 points a game. Reilly O’Toole is the marquee name in the group, but there’s talent all over the field. Wide receiver Titus Davis has especially made a name for himself.

    Fun fact
    Carmel and St. Rita are making their 11th consecutive playoff appearances. Lincoln-Way East and Simeon are making their 10th. DuQuoin holds the current streak with 27 and is followed by Mount Carmel’s 25.

    Coaches’ thoughts
  • Wheaton Warrenville South coach Ron Muhitch: “We need to maintain a good balance between offense, defense and special team performance. We need to keep injury free and get some back that are recovering. They are all good teams from here on out. It always comes down to one or two key plays.”

  • Elk Grove coach Brian Doll: “This is the second straight year we have made it to the playoffs, but it will be the first time since 2004 that we have a home playoff game in EG NATION. The Elk Grove students and community are very excited to host a first round game. This first round game should be one of the best first round matchups in the 7A field.”

  • Minooka coach Bert Kooi: “From Day 1, Wheaton Warrenville South was projected to be one of the best teams in the entire state regardless of class. Simeon with all its D-I prospects drops from 8A to 7A adding even more interest to a stacked class. St. Rita proved a year ago with their talented running back they can challenge anyone. Carmel has shown us all this season that they have one of those teams, as they do every couple of years, that can challenge for a state championship. Obviously, the whole East St. Louis thing has added drama to this class. Plus, there are a ton of very, very good 8-1 football teams that at any given weekend may just knock off one of the top dogs. Will be interesting each and every week!”

    State championship prediction: Wheaton Warrenville South defeats St. Rita
  • Week 8 notebook: Football's best

    October, 19, 2010
    AM CT
    Another week of prep football is in the books. Here’s a quick look at some of the Week 8 stars.

    Powers’ playmakers:

    Joliet Catholic senior Josh Ferguson rushed for 257 yards and four touchdowns on 17 carries in the Hilltoppers’ win over Marist.

    2) Travis Kern was Wheaton Warrenville South’s go-to receiver in the Tigers’ 49-6 win over Glenbard North. Kern had eight receptions for 137 yards and two touchdowns.

    3) Elk Grove fell to Prospect 42-41 in overtime, but the loss wasn’t for Nick Meyer’s effort. He was 26-for-41 passing for 288 yards and ran for 148 yards and six touchdowns.

    4) Mount Carmel quarterback Chris Sujka has been carrying the Caravan the last couple of weeks. He had touchdown runs of 17 and 81 yards and threw a touchdown pass in Mount Carmel’s 52-7 win over St. Laurence on Friday.

    5) Glenbrook North’s Grant Rushing lived up to his name in the Spartans’ 48-0 win over Maine East on Friday. Rushing rushed for a game-high 149 yards and three touchdowns.

    Defensive delights:

    In a spin on things, Lake Forest’s defense shut out Vernon Hills 21-0 on Friday, snapping Vernon Hills’ shutout streak at seven games. The Cougars had outscored opponents 310-0 before Friday’s loss.

    2) Glenbard West’s Mike Laning intercepted two passes in the Hilltoppers’ 47-7 win over Downers Grove North.

    3) Bartlett’s Demetrius Coleman recovered two fumbles in the Hawks’ 25-23 win over Neuqua Valley.

    4) Wheaton North’s Andy Dietz had two interceptions in his team’s 14-7 win over Naperville North.

    5) Lemont’s Clayton Fejedelem intercepted a pass and returned a punt for an 80-yard touchdown in the Indians’ 44-0 win over Thornton Fractional North.

    Five-star football:

    1) Crystal Lake South 28, Cary-Grove 14:
    The Gators won their first Fox Valley Conference division title since 1993, and they were able to do it by knocking off rival Cary-Grove.

    2) Joliet Catholic 49, Marist 42: Playing in the memory of teacher and basketball coach Jeremy Izzo, who recently passed away, the Hilltoppers pulled out an emotional win over Marist. Quarterback Breshion Tucker, who also played basketball for Izzo, threw three touchdowns in the victory.

    3) Schaumburg 35, Palatine 27: Mark Iannotti and Shepard Little combined for 357 rushing yards and four touchdowns to propel the Saxons.

    4) Fremd 26, Barrington 12: The Vikings kept themselves alive for the postseason with their upset win over previously-unbeaten Barrington. Fremd has made 15 consecutive playoff appearances and needs to still win one more game to keep that streak alive.

    5) Marian Catholic 29, Nazareth 28: John Rhode hooked up with Randall Wells for a 40-yard touchdown pass as time expired to give the Spartans the win.

    Week 8 prep preview capsules

    October, 15, 2010
    AM CT

    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

    Week 7 notebook: Defensive standouts

    October, 12, 2010
    AM CT
    Defensive standouts Joe Zolper of Schaumburg and J.J. Raffelson of Lake Zurich headlined Week 7 in Illinois high school football. The two went on a rampage this past week.

    Powers’ playmakers:

    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.

    Defensive delights:

    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 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.

    Five-star football:

    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.

    Week POY 6 race update

    October, 6, 2010
    AM CT

    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.

    [+] EnlargeCapri Bibbs
    Scott Powers for ESPN.comKapri Bibbs is giving Reilly O'Toole a run for his money.
    2. Plainfield North senior running back Kapri Bibbs (3)
    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.

    WHEATON, Ill. -- The men of Wheaton Warrenville South overcame a slow start in a big way Friday night, defeating rival Wheaton North 42-14.

    "We were really stopping ourselves ... making mistakes early that we usually don’t make,” said senior quarterback Reilly O’Toole.

    After forcing Wheaton North to punt on their opening possession, the Wheaton South offense promptly gave it right back as O’Toole’s first pass of the night was intercepted.

    “They blitzed and I tried to get it out to my running back and just missed him … great play by their linebacker,” said O’Toole.

    The Wheaton North offense would capitalize on the short field, as running back Matt Sambo rumbled in from seven yards out to give the Falcons a 7-0 lead.

    The very next drive, this time with the Tigers knocking on the door of the end zone, O’Toole would be stripped of the ball by a swarm of Falcon defenders to once again give possession to Wheaton North.

    Down seven and in need of a play defensively, Wheaton South linebacker R.J. Hoshell picked off Falcon’s quarterback Reece Butler inside the team’s 20 yard line to give the ball back to the Tigers. With his offense in desperate need of points, O’Toole began directing an 82 yard drive that would be capped by a 14 yard touchdown pass to wideout Titus Davis. After a Falcon three and out followed by a short punt, Wheaton South marched 31 yards for another score thanks to a seven yard TD run from running back Matthew Rogers.

    The second half was much of the same as the Tiger’s would end up scoring on every possession but their final one, while the Falcon’s offense wouldn’t find the end zone again until less than four minutes remained in the fourth quarter.

    Following his first quarter interception, O’Toole would go on to complete his next 14 passess for over 250 yards and four scores.

    “We bounced back and it showed, which is something we’re proud of. Everyone is pretty confident offensively and we know we can move the ball,” said O’Toole.

    Player of the game: Titus Davis, WR Wheaton South. Although the Tiger offense struggled early, Davis remained a constant throughout each quarter pilling up over 120 yards receiving as well as a touchdown.

    Stat of the game: Following the team’s first two possessions, which ended in turnovers, the WWS offense produced six straight touchdown drives.

    It was over when: O’Toole connected for his third touchdown pass, this time to Ryan Crowe, to extend the Tiger lead to 28.

    Quote of the night: “We knew we’d get Wheaton North’s best tonight and I like the way we responded … this is a big win for us.”
    -Wheaton South Head Coach Ron Muhitch