High School: Libertyville

Antioch 21, Libertyville 0

September, 10, 2011
LIBERTYVILLE, Ill. -- All week long, the Antioch coaching staff reminded their players, and each other, of the year 2000: the last time the Sequoits beat Libertyville. What they didn't tell their kids, was that it had been 28 years since Antioch won on the Wildcats' home turf.

After a dominant display on defense and a three-touchdown, 179-yard effort from running back Danny Arden, everyone on Antioch's sideline -- coaches, players, parents and fans -- jumped, clapped and cheered the Sequoits' 21-0 road shutout on Friday.

LibertyvilleAntioch"I've been hearing the history all week and quite honestly, it's always been a tough history for Antioch going against Libertyville," said Antioch coach, Brian Glashagel. "I don't know if I could have predicted this. I was thinking it could come down to overtime like Libertyville did against Barrington. But for all of our coaches and our boys, this was just a great game for them. It means so much to me and to them. It's outstanding."

Despite an interception and lost fumble, both in Libertyville's end zone, Antioch was able to limit the Wildcats' offense -- the Sequoits held Libertyville to just 35 yards rushing and 160 yards of total offense.

Arden, who had 33 carries, first reached the end zone on his team's second possession of the game, sprinting 28 yards up the middle. He added 4- and 5-yard touchdown runs in the second and fourth quarters, respectively.

"I saw something in their defense, that their two linebackers weren't able to cover enough ground off tackle when I went up the middle, and we just took advantage of that," Arden said. "This was our first shutout of the year and the first time we've scored in the second half this year, and that's what our offense was determined to do. Our defense had the goal of a shutout, so we both accomplished what we wanted to tonight and came out with a win."

Hunter Herchenbach completed 13-of-23 passes for 125 yards for Libertyville, which was without starting receivers Justin Guarnaccio and Austin Williams. His fourth-quarter interception was the final piece of the Sequoits' winning puzzle. Junior Brian Swift led Libertyville with 35 yards rushing.

Although many will find Friday's outcome shocking, Glashagel thinks otherwise.

"I don't think this surprises people," he said. "For those who know football in Lake County, they know we were capable of pulling off a win like this."

Player of the game: Antioch Sr. RB, Danny Arden: 179 yards on 33 carries, 3 TDs

Stat of the game: Friday marked the first time in 28 years that Antioch defeated Libertyville on the road.

It was over when: Arden capped off a 16-play drive with a 4-yard fourth quarter touchdown. The drive, which started late in the third quarter, lasted 9:47.

Quote of the night: "We got together last week and decided to post some articles in the locker room of the last time we beat Libertyville. We wanted to give the kids some motivation. Every one of the coaches thought it was a great idea, so we went through with it and our guys were going crazy reading through everything at the beginning of the week. They ate it up." -- Antioch assistant coach Jeff Petersen, who played for the Sequoits the last time they beat Libertyville in 2000.

Weeks 2 prep football preview

September, 2, 2011

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

POTW: Libertyville's Trees an unselfish star

February, 12, 2011

LIBERTYVILLE, Ill. -- Savannah Trees could ever have imagined Libertyville would roll through the regular season unbeaten.

If Trees could have foreseen it, she probably wouldn’t have said after Libertyville’s first victory back on Nov. 16 she wasn’t going to wash her uniform until the Wildcats lost again.

Eighty-seven days and 27 wins later, Trees has lived up to her promise, although some would probably wish she hadn’t.

“It’s not as bad as you think because I try to spray it with good smelling stuff,” Trees said, laughing. “My warm-up jersey, I usually eat stuff wearing it, so I sometimes spill on it.”

Trees can be forgiven for her off-the-court sloppiness because on it she’s been nearly immaculate. As Libertyville’s point guard, Trees, the ESPNChicago.com/Muscle Milk Prep Athlete of the Week, has a perfect blend of scoring and distributor to elevate the Tigers to being one of the state’s premier teams.

[+] EnlargeSavannah Trees
Scott Powers/ESPNChicago.comSavannah Trees led Libertyville to an undefeated regular season.
“What she brings to us outside of being a talented player is she’s one of the smartest players around,” Libertyville coach Kathie Swanson said. “She knows what to do and how to do it.”

The 5-foot-8 Trees prefers to be a pass-first point guard. It’s actually a mentality Libertyville's roster as a whole possesses. The Wildcats have succeeded beyond anyone’s expectations this season largely because they all share the ball so well.

In a win over Barrington in late November, seven players scored between four and nine points for Libertyville. Alex Haley’s nine points led the way. The game wasn’t an anomaly either. It was pretty average for the season.

“They don’t care how many points they score,” Swanson said.

Trees believes that, too, but there have been games in which she’s forced herself to be selfish for the team’s sake. There’s no better example of that than the Wildcats’ final win to complete their undefeated regular season.

On Wednesday in the North Suburban Conference championship game, Libertyville was tied with Wauconda 27-27 with five minutes to play. Trees read the situation and understood what had to be done.

“I needed to take it upon myself,” Trees said.

She drained a 3-pointer. She scored, was fouled and sank the free throw for another three-point play. She sank four more free throws. When the buzzer sounded, Tree scored the game’s final 10 points, and Libertyville had won 37-27.

Tree’s clutch performance was nothing new to Swanson. She’s come to expect Trees to play her best in the marquee games. Against New Trier, Trees had 17 points. Against Stevenson, she had 12 points, eight rebounds and four steals. She had 17 points in the championship game of the Mundelein holiday tournament.

“The bigger the game, the bigger she steps up,” Swanson said. “She knows her moments.”

And Trees looks forward to those moments.

“There’s definitely more excitement,” said Trees, who is often called Sav by her friends. “Everybody is pumped for those games. I think the excitement makes me play better. I know those are the games where I’m needed to step up and show leadership and make big shots. I love that role. There’s some pressure sometimes in that role, but I love that.”

Star players tend to embrace those tension-packed moments, but where Trees separates herself is she nearly enjoys practicing as much as she does playing in game. It’s something she picked up as a kid.

“I was bored, and I would go shoot in my driveway,” said Trees, whose older brother Josh was also a point guard at Libertyville. “I would get better and better. A lot of people don’t like practice. They like the game. Anytime I can be on the court, I love any chance I get. I love improving my game and being the best player I can be.”

Colleges of all levels have been in touch with Trees. While a Division I program could be an option for her, Trees is taking her time to decide.

“I don’t want to go somewhere and play my senior season and have to sit for three seasons,” Trees said. “I want to go someplace where I can play and maybe win at national championship.”

Before Trees makes her collegiate choice, she and Libertyville have plans for the playoffs. A season ago, the Wildcats won a regional championship.

This season, they’d like to at least win the school’s first sectional championship since 1994. And if Trees had her way, Libertyville would make it downstate, and she wouldn’t have to wash her uniform ever again.

Her parents wouldn’t mind that either.

“They think it’s weird, but it’s less laundry for them to do,” Trees said.

Week 8 prep preview capsules

October, 15, 2010

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