High School: Marian Central

Montini fires on all cylinders in rout

November, 13, 2011
11/13/11
12:02
AM CT

LOMBARD, Ill. -- The most difficult part of Montini’s 52-27 win over Marian Central in the Class 5A quarterfinals may be who to award the game ball to on Saturday.

The Broncos (9-3) certainly didn’t lack notable individual performances on either side of the ball in their win, which avenged a regular-season loss to Marian Central (11-1).

[+] EnlargeMontini football
Scott Powers for ESPNChicago.comMontini quarterback John Rhode threw for 434 yards and five touchdown on Saturday.

Broncos quarterback John Rhode was 28-of-41 passing for 434 yards and five touchdowns. Wide receiver Jordan Westerkamp caught nine passes for 158 yards and four touchdowns. Joe Borsellino had eight catches for 106 yards and two touchdowns and rushed for two touchdowns.

Montini’s defense had its stars, too. Defensive back Joe Cione intercepted three passes. Defensive lineman Mike Kaiser had three sacks.

Montini coach Chris Andriano didn’t single out one player as his star of the game, but he did feel the team’s four interceptions were the game-changer. Erik Floecker also had an interception for the Broncos.

“I really thought the defense was going to have to be the difference because both offenses are special,” Andriano said. “There’s good players on both sides of the ball. I think the interceptions were the difference on the day for us.”

Montini, the two-time defending 5A champions, will face Kaneland in the semifinals next week.

Early on Saturday, it appeared Marian Central was going to go blow for blow with Montini. The Hurricanes scored on their first drive when quarterback Chris Streveler ran for a 58-yard touchdown. After Montini scored two consecutive times, Marian Central responded with its own touchdown to pull within 14-13 .

But after that, it was all Montini.

Montini Marian Central

Rhode connected with Borsellino for a 7-yard touchdown to put the Broncos ahead 21-13. Two possessions later, Rhode hooked up with Westerkamp for a 44-yard touchdown to go ahead 28-13.

On the following drive, Cione came up with his first interception and returned it to Marian Central’s 1-yard line. A play later, Borsellino bulldozed his way into the end zone and Montini had a 35-13 lead.

Cione added two more interceptions before halftime, and Montini capitalized on the second one with a 33-yard touchdown pass from Rhode to Westerkamp again to go up 42-13.

Cione had a two-interception day before, but never three. The third one was a surprise for him.

“I didn’t think he was going to keep throwing the ball,” said Cione, who has six interceptions on the season. “It ended up he did. The last one I didn’t think I was going to be inbounds, but I looked down and broke on the ball again and got it.”

When Marian Central defeated Montini 21-20 in the regular season, the Broncos were missing Rhode. Back then, the offense didn’t pack the punch it did on Saturday. At halftime, he had thrown for 284 yards and four touchdowns.

“At that point of the season, we weren’t at full strength, so it’s nice to come in this game at full strength and show them what we’re made of,” Westerkamp said. “John again, just watching him, he’s unbelievable. The way he can read the field and everything. Having John is a big plus.”

Streveler was up and down Saturday. He finished 22-of-29 passing for 152 yards and one touchdown and rushed for 126 yards and three touchdowns.

Marian Central’s Nikko Theodorou had 11 receptions for 93 yards and a touchdown.



Football quarterfinal round preview

November, 10, 2011
11/10/11
9:52
PM CT
Here's a look at this week’s quarterfinal action in ESPNChicago.com's top 20.

Lyons (7-4) at No. 1 Loyola (11-0)

Loyola Lyons
When:Noon Saturday
The story: On paper, Loyola should run away with this one. But after last week’s round of upsets, it’s easy to realize that there are no guarantees in the playoffs. The Ramblers haven’t been tested yet through two rounds. They outscored their first two opponents 64-0. Lyons has had some close calls, defeating Bartlett by three points in the opening round and then knocked off Glenbrook South by three points in overtime last week. The Lions’ strength the past three weeks has been putting up points. Their only games of scoring 30 or more points this season came in the last three weeks.
Lyons player to watch: Jaime Jones would have been a great fantasy running back last week. He rushed for five touchdowns on 25 carries.
Loyola player to watch: Wide receiver Peter Pujals is coming off a nine-reception, 181-yard performance against Dunbar.
Prediction: Loyola 31, Lyons 13


No. 12 Downers Grove South (10-1) at No. 2 Bolingbrook (10-1)

Bolingbrook Downers Grove South
When:6 p.m. Saturday
The story: Some of the best football games of the previous four years were Bolingbrook-Downers Grove South matchups. Last season, Bolingbrook won 28-21. In 2009, Bolingbrook won 16-14 in a regular-season matchup, and Downers Grove South won 22-20 in the playoffs. In 2008, Bolingbrook pulled out a 21-20 win. In 2007, Downers Grove South won 10-7. This was the first season their non-conferences meetings ceased, so it’s only fitting they square off in the Class 8A quarterfinals. This could be another classic.
Downers Grove South player to watch: Kaylon Miller is one of the many offensive weapons for the Mustangs.
Bolingbrook player to watch: Offensive lineman Robbie Bain is often responsible for the holes created for Aaron Bailey.
Prediction: Bolingbrook 26, Downers Grove South 24


No. 3 St. Rita (9-2) at O’Fallon (10-1)

When:7 p.m. Friday
The story: St. Rita will be making the long drive to the St. Louis area again. The Mustangs made a similar trip in Week 2 when they went to play an out-of-state opponent in East St. Louis. St. Rita is hoping for a better outcome this time after losing that game. O’Fallon has pulled out a couple close wins this season. It narrowly defeated Pekin 34-31 last week. The Panthers’ offense has scored on a consistent basis. St. Rita’s defense will be looking forward to that challenge.
St. Rita player to watch: Max Kurucar had a key interception in last week’s win over Andrew.
O’Fallon player to watch: Running back Ejay Johnson rushed for six touchdowns in the first round.
Prediction: St. Rita 30, O’Fallon 17


No. 4 Stevenson (9-2) at No. 17 Glenbard North (8-3)

Glenbard North Stevenson
When:3 p.m. Saturday
The story: According to the seeding, Stevenson and Glenbard North should not be playing in the quarterfinals. Glenbard North overcame Barrington and Palatine to get here. Stevenson pulled off the biggest upset of the playoffs with last week’s win over three-time defending Class 8A state champs Maine South. Stevenson has the been king of close games this season. The Patriots have won six games by a touchdown or less. Glenbard North fell on the wrong side of a couple close games during the regular season, but has been finishing strong late in the season.
Stevenson player to watch: Matt Morrissey is among the capable wide receivers for the Patriots.
Glenbard North player to watch: Phil Jackson makes his presence known on both sides of the ball.
Prediction: Stevenson 24, Glenbard North 21


No. 5 Wheaton Warrenville South (8-3) at East St. Louis (9-2)


When:Noon Saturday
The story: This is the game everyone had hoped to see last season, but it wasn't to be after East St. Louis was removed from the playoffs due to an ineligible player. Neither team is as talented as it was a year ago, but this should still be an entertaining game. East St. Louis’s defense overwhelmed Oswego with its speed in last week’s win. Its offense also has its share of athletes. Wheaton Warrenville South has been getting by on its defense. The Tigers pulled out a 7-0 win over Lincoln-Way East last week.
Wheaton Warrenville South player to watch: Jack Lipinsky is a threat to get to the quarterback on any play.
East St. Louis player to watch: Natereace Strong is no ordinary freshman running back. He ran for 146 yards and a touchdown against Oswego.
Prediction: Wheaton Warrenville South 17, East St. Louis 13


Elk Grove (10-1) at No. 6 Lake Zurich (10-1)


When:1 p.m. Saturday
The story: Lake Zurich put together a defensive masterpiece against Glenbard West. If the Bears are playing that well, there are few teams who will be able to beat them. Elk Grove has flown around the radar this season without any wins over ranked teams, but all it has been doing is winning. The Grenadiers are riding a nine-game winning streak into this game. They’ve scored 35-plus points in their two playoff games.
Elk Grove player to watch: Fernando Lozana scored three touchdowns in last week’s victory.
Lake Zurich player to watch: Mike Shield scored the lone touchdown in last week’s win over Glenbard West.
Prediction: Lake Zurich 21, Elk Grove 13


Hubbard (9-2) at No. 7 Lemont (11-0)


When:6 p.m. Saturday
The story: Hubbard is the lone Chicago Public League team to reach the quarterfinals in any class. The Greyhounds’ defense has come up big in the playoffs. It hasn’t allowed more than 13 points. Lemont will be a huge test for Hubbard. The Indians haven’t scored less than 35 points since September. Lemont is also one of the state’s premier defensive teams. It has allowed only two teams more than 14 points.
Hubbard player to watch: Quarterback Quincy Skanes ran for 116 yards and three touchdowns in last week’s win over Richards.
Lemont player to watch: Kyle Krull is one of the defensive stars for the Indians.
Prediction: Lemont 38, Hubbard 17


No. 8 Batavia (11-0) at Lakes (9-2)

Lakes Batavia
When:5 p.m. Saturday
The story: Batavia again looked like one of the area’s best in last week’s win over Lake Forest. The Bulldogs’ run defense especially emerged in the win. That defense will have another challenge this week against Lakes and its bruising running back Direll Clark, who has been one of the biggest stars of the playoffs. He ran for 200-plus yards in last week’s win over Grant.
Batavia player to watch: Alec Lyons had a sack and two tackles for loss in last week’s win over Lake Forest.
Lakes player to watch: Andre Spencer had seven receptions for 114 yards and a touchdown last week.
Prediction: Batavia 38, Lakes 24


No. 9 Nazareth (10-1) at No. 15 Prairie Ridge (10-1)

Prairie Ridge Nazareth
When:1 p.m. Saturday
The story: This game has a state championship feel. Either team could take this game and go onto the win the Class 6A title. Nazareth was expected to be good this season, but no one could have imaged it would be this good. The Roadrunners ran through the gauntlet of the East Suburban Catholic for the league title and has been nearly perfect in the playoffs. Prairie Ridge went through a similarly difficult schedule in the Fox Valley and has cruised in its two playoff games. Both teams have strong run games and can put up points.
Prairie Ridge player to watch: Jordan Getzelman only needed five carries to run for 108 yards and two touchdowns last week.
strong>Nazareth player to watch: Aenas White caught a 56-yard touchdown pass in last week’s win over Cary-Grove.
Prediction: Nazareth 31, Prairie Ridge 21


No. 14 Marian Central (11-0) at No.10 Montini (8-3)

Montini Marian Central
When:2 p.m. Saturday
The story: This is the quarterfinal matchup everyone was waiting for in Class 5A. Marian Central defeated Montini 21-20 when they met in Week 4. The question is whether Marian Central can repeat the feat now that Montini quarterback John Rhode has returned from injury. Rhode missed the first game. He’s thrown 28 touchdowns in his six games back. It’s not as if Marian Central pulled off a fluke win, though. No opponent has come within 15 points of the Hurricanes since their win over Montini.
Marian Central player to watch: Wide receiver Scott Stochal had eight receptions for 147 yards and one touchdown last week.
Montini player to watch: There may not be a better player in the state at any position than wide receiver Jordan Westerkamp.
Prediction: Montini 35, Marian Central 28


Rockford Boylan (11-0) at No. 11 Crystal Lake South (10-1)


When:1 p.m. Saturday
The story: Like Nazareth-Prairie Ridge, this game could have been a state championship game. Boylan and Crystal Lake South have been two of the state’s premier teams all season. Boylan, which won last year’s Class 6A title, has won all of its games by 14 or more points and has held 10 of its opponents to less than 10 points. Crystal Lake South’s defense has been just as spectacular. The Gators have allowed only one opponent more than 14 points this season. This game could come down to inches.
Rockford Boylan player to watch: Defensive lineman Dean Lowry is a Northwestern recruit.
strong>Crystal Lake South player to watch: Reese Dziedzic rushed for 127 yards in last week’s win over Carmel.
Prediction: Crystal Lake South 20, Boylan 14


No. 15 Joliet Catholic (9-2) at Washington (10-1)


When:1 p.m. Saturday
The story: Joliet Catholic had its season ended unexpectedly by Peoria Richwoods in the Class 5A quarterfinals last season. The Hilltoppers are looking to take another step this season. Joliet Catholic defeated Washington 49-7 in the opening round last season. This is an improved Washington team, though. The Panthers have been especially impressive defensively this year.
Joliet Catholic player to watch: Running back Ty Isaac added to his memorable season with five touchdowns last week.
strong>Washington player to watch: Dakota Bullard returned the opening kick 87 yards in last week’s win over Rich East.
Prediction: Joliet Catholic 38, Washington 24


No. 18 Homewood-Flossmoor (8-3) at No. 19 Naperville Central (8-3)

Naperville Central Homewood-Flossmoor
When:7 p.m. Friday
The story: Homewood-Flossmoor and Naperville Central have been two of the most dominant teams through two rounds of the playoffs. Both teams have scored 40-plus points in both of their wins. Naperville Central’s defense has been more consistent that the Vikings’ defense this season. In Naperville Central’s three losses, it didn’t allow its opponent more than 21 points. In Homewood-Flossmoor’s three losses, it allowed 30-plus points in each game. Homewood-Flossmoor likely has the edge on offense between the two teams.
Homewood-Flossmoor player to watch: Tim Williams has continued to be one of the top quarterbacks in the area.
Naperville Central player to watch: Quarterback Ian Lewandowski ran for two touchdowns and threw for one in last week’s win.
Prediction: Naperville Central 38, Homewood-Flossmoor 28


No. 20 Kaneland (11-0) at Rochelle (8-3)


When:1 p.m. Saturday
The story: The saying “a win is a win” is most apt for the playoffs. It doesn’t matter how you survive, as long you survive. Kaneland and Rochelle are well aware of this. Kaneland got by Belvidere with a 51-45 win the first round and edged St. Francis 31-28 in the second round. Rochelle defeated Urban Prep Charter 43-41 in the first round and Sycamore 21-16 in the second round. The two teams met in the regular season, and Kaneland defeated Rochelle 35-14 in Week 5.
Kaneland player to watch: Cornerback Jacob Razo intercepted his ninth pass of the season last week.
Rochelle player to watch: Quarterback Nick Moore had a 91-yard touchdown run in last week’s win.
Prediction: Kaneland 28, Rochelle 17

Q&A with Montini coach Chris Andriano

November, 9, 2011
11/09/11
2:41
AM CT
Montini coach Chris Andriano couldn’t believe his eyes when he saw the final scores of last weekend’s playoff games.

After Maine South, Glenbard West and Lincoln-Way East, the area’s three top-ranked teams, were all knocked off within a 24-hour span, Andriano was glad his Broncos, the two-time defending Class 5A state champs, were still alive. They’ll play Marian Central in the Class 5A quarterfinals on Saturday.

Andriano spoke with ESPNChicago.com on Tuesday about the crazy weekend, quarterback John Rhode's stellar play and trying to avenge a regular-season loss to Marian Central.

[+] EnlargeChris Andriano
Scott Powers/ESPN.comMontini football coach Chris Andriano is trying to lead the Broncos to another Class 5A title.
Did you get a chance to follow all of last weekend’s playoff surprises?

Chris Andriano:
Wow, my jaw kept dropping. I can’t believe what’s going on there. It’s just high school football.

What’s been the difference for your team since quarterback John Rhode returned from injury?

CA:
John is able to see the field and spread the ball around and makes good decisions based on adjusting routes and defensive coverage. He’s the best of all worlds at quarterback because he’s so smart.

Did you anticipate this sort of success with him throwing 28 touchdowns in six games?

CA:
I did not, personally. I’ve never seen a kid, and I’ve been doing this a long time, who is able to combine reading defenses and getting the ball to the open guy. He’s just excellent. I’ve never seen anyone better.

What has to happen differently to beat Marian Central this time around?

CA:
Defensively, we’re going to have to play a better game. They really did beat us up there. Their offense was really outstanding. They had three long drives and scores. We have to play a better defensive game. We did not tackle well. I think whomever’s defense is playing the best is coming out on top.

What makes Marian Central so difficult to play?

CA:
Their quarterback, he’s a threat to run or throw. They have an excellent coaching staff and are a well-prepared team.

Prep rankings: Loyola claims top spot

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

Complete rankings.

Prep football rankings: Top 10 stay put

October, 30, 2011
10/30/11
9:19
PM CT
With the first round of IHSA football playoffs complete, there wasn't much movement at the top of the ESPNChicago.com rankings.

Complete rankings.

Class 5A breakdown: Montini can three-peat

October, 25, 2011
10/25/11
12:41
AM CT
MontiniScott Powers/ESPNChicago.comMontini is working toward winning its third straight Class 5A football championship.


Can anyone dethrone Montini?

That’s the main question heading into the ISHA fooball Class 5A playoffs. Montini was beatable without John Rhode at quarterback, but with him back, the Broncos look invincible again.

Strange occurrences do happen in the playoffs. Three years ago Montini barely reached the playoffs but got hot and ended up winning the first of two consecutive state titles.

Is there an underdog out there this year? Which team could be Montini’s biggest challenger? Here’s a deeper look at Class 5A.

Best opening round game
No. 3 Sterling vs. No. 14 Julian: Julian is one of a handful Chicago Public League teams which have a chance at advancing.

Top 10 Class 5A teams
1. Montini (7-2): The Broncos were ranked No. 4 in ESPNChicago.com’s preseason top 20, but lost two early games as starting quarterback John Rhode sat out with an injury he suffered prior to the season. Rhode has been back the last four games, and Montini appears to be the front-runner in Class 5A again.
2. Joliet Catholic (7-2): The Hilltoppers boast as much talent on offense as any team in the state regardless of class. Their defense has to get it together if they’re going to make a run at the program’s 14th state title. They could meet Morris in the second round.
3. Springfield Sacred-Heart Griffin (9-0): The Cyclones received a No. 1 seed in Class 5A last season and were upset in the first round. They should have a better showing this time. Their narrowest win came in a 34-27 victory over Chatham Glenwood in Week 1.
4. Marian Central (9-0): The Hurricanes beat out Montini for the Suburban Christian Blue title. They’ve proven they can play with anybody with wins over Montini and Oswego. They could meet Montini again in the quarterfinals.
5. Kaneland (9-0): The Knights reloaded this season after reaching the Class 5A state semifinals with a senior-laden group last year. They completed their perfect regular season with a win over Morris. They have the easiest path to the quarterfinals.
6. Morris (8-1): The Redskins nearly rallied from a 24-0 deficit to beat Kaneland in the season’s final week, but fell 31-28. They’ll look to carry that late momentum into the playoffs.
7. Chatham Glenwood (8-1): The Titans lost in the Class 5A state finals to Montini last season. That group included nine underclassman starters. Glenwood’s only loss this season was to Sacred-Heart Griffin in the season opener.
8. Tinley Park (7-2): The Titans know how to score. They averaged 37.4 points during the regular season and even put up 20 points in a loss to Lemont.
9. Metamora (7-2): The Redbirds lost in the 4A semifinals last season. They defeated Washington 27-24 in Week 9. The two teams are likely to meet again in the second round.
10. St. Francis (7-2): The Spartans finished third behind Marian Central and Montini in the Suburban Christian Blue.

Top 5 players to watch
1. Montini, SR, WR, Jordan Westerkamp: Westerkamp, a Nebraska recruit, is the state’s premier wide receiver.
2. Joliet Catholic, SO, RB, Ty Isaac: Isaac has the potential to be one of the best running backs to come out of Illinois in some time. Malin Jones, a Northwestern recruit, is also a skilled running back for the Hilltoppers.
3. Marian Central, SR, OL, Scott Taylor: Taylor is considered one of the top guards in the country. He’s headed to Northern Illinois.
4. Springfield Sacred Heart Griffin, SR, QB, Pat Smith: Smith has been one of the state’s most accurate passers. He’s thrown for 29 touchdowns and just one interception this season.
5. Kaneland, SO, QB, Drew David: David may only be a sophomore, but he’s played well beyond his years. He’s thrown for 2,422 yards and 33 touchdowns with seven interceptions this season.

Sleeper team
Julian (6-3): The Jaguars have been on a roll since quarterback Dae’Shaun Hurley was ruled eligible. They’ve scored 150 points in the last four games.

The road for the defending Class 5A state champions
Montini doesn’t have the smoothest path back to the state championship. Being a No. 6 seed, the Broncos will have to beat a number of higher seeds to get there. They could meet Marian Central, which defeated Montini in the regular season, in the quarterfinals. They could play Kaneland, which Montini beat in the state semifinals last seasons, in the semifinal. If Montini and Joliet Catholic reached the title game, it would be a rematch of the 2009 state championship.

Fun fact
Montini is attempting to win its third consecutive state championship with its third different quarterback. Brandon Pechlof was the quarterback in 2009. Matt Westerkamp directed the Broncos last season. John Rhode is the man this season.

State championship prediction: Montini defeats Joliet Catholic

IHSA football playoff bracket -- Class 5A

October, 23, 2011
10/23/11
3:09
AM CT
Montini isn't the top seed in Class 5A, but it has to be considered the state favorite as the Broncos aim for a third consecutive state title. Who are the other contenders?

Bracket and analysis.

Week 9 prep football preview

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Prep football rankings: Montini on rise

October, 16, 2011
10/16/11
6:29
PM CT
Maine South and Glenbard West continue to hold the top two spots, but No. 16 Montini is on the rise.

Scott Powers' rankings

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