High School: Reilly O'Toole
O’Toole has played in three of the first four games of his college career. His first two appearances came in blowouts, but he was given a chance when it mattered in Saturday’s 23-20 win over Western Michigan.
“It’s a little different from playing the whole game through,” said O’Toole, who starred at Wheaton Warrenville South and was the ESPNChicago.com 2010 Player of the Year. “It’s fine. Any way I can help the team is fine by me. I think it worked out all right. Whatever they want to do is fine by me.”
It was an up-and-down performance for O’Toole. He came into the game to start the third quarter and immediately hooked up with Evan Wilson for a 20-yard gain. On his second throw, O’Toole nearly threw an interception, which would have likely been returned for a touchdown if the defensive back didn’t drop it.
“It was OK,” said O’Toole, who is 13-of-17 passing for 88 yards and one touchdown this season. “I almost threw a pick-six the second play I was in there. The plays I had completions on, the receivers did a really good job. I had time on every single one of my plays. You can’t argue with that. Hopefully, next time I have more completions.”
There should be plenty of next times. Illinois offensive coordinator Paul Petrino liked being able to give Scheelhaase some rest and add another element to his offense.
“I think it helps take some pressure off where [Scheelhaase] doesn’t have to make every single play on the drive,” Petrino said. “When you’re running the option and you’re throwing the ball, the quarterback has to do it all. If you can bring Reilly in a little bit here and there and let him make some plays, it takes the pressure off Nathan, and it just helps him play better in my belief.”
Neither Scheelhasse nor O’Toole expressed any problems with Petrino’s plan.
“It’s not a threatening thing at all,” Scheelhaase said. “It’s kind of a change-of-a-pace thing. Some things he does really well and helps our offense out. It was good to see him execute and stuff like that because you never know throughout the season.”
How the quarterback situation will unfold in the future is unknown. Scheelhaase could be the starter for two more seasons, and O’Toole has three more years ahead of him.
Wheaton Warrenville South coach Ron Muhitch has been pleased to see O’Toole receive early playing time. Throughout O’Toole’s recruitment, Illinois said it would like to find ways to use him in the offense along with Scheelhaase.
O’Toole gives the offense a bigger arm. Scheelhaase has improved his passing from his freshman season, but still hasn’t been able to deliver the big-pass plays. He was 11 of 15 for 135 yards, one touchdown and one interception against Arizona State, and 14 of 20 for 133 yards, one touchdown and one interception against Western Michigan.
“The type of passing game that Illinois wants to get to is not being realized the first four games they have played,” Muhitch said. “I know they want to get there with [O’Toole.] I know that their coaching staff is very high on him as a thrower.
“Scheelhaase is a talent. They have the best of both worlds down there. I would like to have a quarterback who can run and make plays like him and have a thrower who can throw the ball deep like Reilly.”
Muhitch has kept in touch with his former quarterback. He’s also continued to give him advice.
“I reminded him his junior year he had to compete and had to prove himself against what was a senior quarterback at the time in front of him,” Muhitch said. “I reminded him he’s been through this before, and the competitor inside of him stood tall in that situation.
“He got my message. He said, ‘I know I’ve been here before.’ That’s a good sign.”
1. Taking their place in history: Wheaton Warrenville South was dominant from the 2010 season’s opening kickoff to its final seconds. The Tigers began the season by knocking off Maine South on ESPN, followed that up by rolling through one of the toughest conferences in the state, battled through a deep Class 7A field which included last year’s state runner-up Glenbard West and ultimately defeated Lake Zurich and its stellar defense for their second consecutive state championship. They finished No. 1 in ESPNChicago.com’s area poll and No. 13 nationally in ESPN RISE’s poll.
2. East St. Louis’ dismissal : If anyone was going to give Wheaton Warrenville South competition, East St. Louis was the team. The Flyers were also nationally ranked and full of college prospects. Just before the playoffs began, the IHSA ruled East St. Louis would be removed from the Class 7A playoff field because they used an ineligible player. The Flyers appealed the IHSA’s judgment, were granted a temporary restraining order and won their first-round playoff game before the IHSA finally ruled again and East St. Louis was removed from the playoffs for good.
3. The unlikely 3-peat: Maine South’s chances of winning its third consecutive state championship looked much in doubt when the Hawks opened the season with back-to-back losses, including a 44-7 one to Wheaton Warrenville South on national television. Maine South never lost faith, though. The young Hawks got better and better each week, and when it was all said and done, they were on top again. They defeated another historic program, Mount Carmel, in the Class 8A state championship.
4. The best by far: Wheaton Warrenville South senior quarterback Reilly O'Toole ran away with the ESPNChicago.com High School Football Player of the Year award. While leading the Tigers to their second consecutive state championship, he completed 186-of-252 passes for 3,187 yards, 42 touchdowns and three interceptions. An Illinois recruite, he could give the Illini’s young quarterbacks a run for their money sooner rather than later.
5. Bibbs’ day: The question Kapri Bibbs received more than any other this season was whether his commitment to Colorado State was still firm. The reason everyone asked that was because they assumed bigger schools would come calling for him after the Plainfield North running back rushed all over the competition this season. His biggest game was when he ran for a state-record 520 yards against Oswego in Week 6. He also added seven touchdowns in the win. To his credit, Bibbs is loyal and will be playing for the Rams. He was the ESPNChicago.com Offensive Player of the Year.
6. Hiben’s day : Glenbard West isn’t known for its passing game. The Hilltoppers like to run the ball as much as possible. But in the second round of the Class 7A playoffs, Glenbard West senior wide receiver Mark Hiben put his team’s passing game in the record books. Hiben caught 12 passes for a state-record 319 yards in the Hilltoppers’ 42-28 win over Lincoln-Way East.
8. The greatest show in Vernon Hills: The state of Illinois possessed two ESPNU Top 150 players this season, and they both happened to belong to the same team. Vernon Hills was blessed with two of the state’s most dynamic players in DaVaris Daniels and Evan Spencer. Daniels, a Notre Dame recruit, had 23 catches for 513 yards and five touchdowns, threw for 173 yards and a touchdown, rushed for 637 yards and 10 touchdowns, returned two punts for touchdowns, intercepted six passes and scored one defensive touchdown. Spencer, a Ohio State recruit, had 23 catches for 410 yards and six touchdowns, rushed for 266 yards and eight touchdowns, returned two punts and one kickoff for touchdowns, intercepted two passes and had two defensive touchdowns.
9. Catholic League trio: Before the season, the Catholic League title was thought to be a race between Loyola, Mount Carmel and St. Rita. While it was expected to be close in the end, no one could have imagined that all three would share the title. Loyola defeated St. Rita, St. Rita defeated Mount Carmel, Mount Carmel defeated Loyola, and they all tied for first place.
10. The turnaround : Craig Buzea took over a Homewood-Flossmoor program that a season ago was one of the worst in the area, going 1-8. In just a year’s time, Buzea transformed the Vikings’ culture and their record. Homewood-Flossmoor went 10-3 this season and fell just short of reaching the Class 8A title game, losing 28-21 to Mount Carmel in the semifinals. With quarterback Tim Williams returning and Buzea still making strides to improve the program, watch out for the Vikings down the road.
The Tigers also finished No. 2 in the Midwest rankings behind St. Edward (Lakewood, Ohio).
Wheaton Warrenville South was 14-0 this season and won its second consecutive Class 7A state championship in November. Tigers quarterback Reilly O'Toole was the ESPNChicago.com Player of the Year, and wide receiver Titus Davis and defensive back Caleb Bednarz were all-area selections.
Scott Powers: Stevenson 24, Lake Zurich 23 in Week 6 -- This game had been hyped since the start of the season, and it lived up to expectations. Stevenson pulled out the win when it drove 80 yards in the final two minutes. Joe Cassata scored at the goal line with three seconds left, and Matt Micucci added the extra point for the win. Lake Zurich's next loss would be in the Class 7A state championship game.
Willie Mullen: Prospect 42, Elk Grove 41 OT in Week 8 -- Led by quarterback Nick Meyer's 350 yards and six touchdowns, Elk Grove scored two touchdowns in the final four minutes to tie the game late, but lost in overtime when it failed to convert a two-point conversion.
Andrew Braverman: Maine South 29, Loyola 22 in Class 8A semifinals -- Maine South led 13-7 at the start of the fourth, lost the lead, trailed by nine, then fought back. The Hawks recovered a Loyola fumble in the end zone with under three minutes to play and hung on for the win in the best high school atmosphere I saw all year ... Tailgating in Wilmette, standing-room only crowd, true pandemonium.
John Venerable: Homewood-Flossmoor 34, Waubonsie Valley 28, 2OT in Class 8A second round -- This was hands down the top game I saw during the 2010 season. Waubonsie Valley came back from the dead after trailing by double digits in the fourth quarter. However, it was the Vikings rallying back in the game's second overtime to advance to the quarterfinals. Craig Buzea would be my coach of the year.
Best individual performance
Powers: Glenbard West isn't a passing offense, but Mark Hiben turned it into one against Lincoln-Way East in the Class 7A second round. Hiben caught 12 passes for a state-record 319 yards and four touchdowns. He was incredible.
Mullen: Elk Grove quarterback Nick Meyer passed for 350 yards and six touchdowns against Prospect.
Braverman: Schaumburg running back Shepard Little ran for 302 yards and two touchdowns against Buffalo Grove. A close second would be Homewood-Flossmoor running back Malik Norman's 162 rushing yards, 79 receiving yards and four touchdowns against Naperville North in the 8A quarterfinals.
Venerable: Following Wheaton Warrenville South quarterback Reilly O'Toole's first interception of the season on his first pass attempt against Wheaton North, he would go on to complete his next 14 passes for over 250 yards and four scores in a 42-14 win.
Best overall player
Powers: Wheaton Warrenville South quarterback Reilly O'Toole had more competition than expected with Plainfield North's Kapri Bibbs, Joliet Catholic's Josh Ferguson, Naperville North's Nick Lifka, Vernon Hills' DaVaris Davis and others had outstanding seasons, but O'Toole was the best.
Mullen: Plainfield North running back Kapri Bibbs and Wheaton Warrenville South quarterback Reilly O'Toole were the best.
Braverman: Vernon Hills wide receiver DaVaris Daniels was the best.
Venerable: Plainfield North running back Kapri Bibbs. In my opinion, no one player did more for his team than Bibbs. After missing the first game of the season, Bibbs put together a magnificent run in which he rushed for nearly 2,700 yards and 38 touchdowns all while averaging an astounding 8.8 yards per carry. Reilly O'Toole obviously had a great season, but Bibbs was a one-man wrecking crew.
Favorite player to watch
Powers: Naperville North linebacker Nick Lifka. To see someone make 19 tackles in a game is a lot of fun.
Mullen: Bolingbrook sophomore quarterback Aaron Bailey has my vote.
Braverman: Five-foot-four Maine South running back Paul Preston was the best I saw.
Venerable: Joliet Catholic running back Malin Jones. It just seemed like every time he touched the ball, whether it be on offense or special teams, he scored. He's a phenomenal player.
Powers: There are so many great fans' sections. I guess the one that sticks out to me is Lake Zurich's student section because they wear white and they're such a massive group. It's impressive to get that many people to color coordinate.
Mullen: Glenbard North.
Braverman: Lake Zurich and Fremd.
Venerable: Lincoln Way East. Classy fans to go with a classy program.
Most memorable play
Powers: Wheaton Warrenville South quarterback Reilly O'Toole to wide receiver Titus Davis on the opening play of almost every game. With the old Chicago Bears, it was almost a given that Jim McMahon was going to air it out to Willie Gault on the first play from scrimmage. It was the same for O'Toole and Davis. They hooked up for a touchdown on their first play of the 7A state championship on Saturday.
Mullen: St. Rita's TJ Verdun's punt return for a touchdown against Mount Carmel
Best concession stand
Powers: York. I think it's the only one I ate at this season.
Mullen: Naperville North
Braverman: Glenbrook North and Stevenson
Venerable: Marist. I'm sure it helped that I hadn't eaten all day.
Powers: "Jordan's just a junior, so I guess I'm coming back next year." -- Montini coach Chris Andriano on junior wide receiver Jordan Westerkamp returning next season and his prospects of returning to the Class 5A state championship.
Mullen: "We got a shootout!" -- Bolingbrook QB Aaron Bailey when asked what was going through his mind after Downers Grove South responded to his 81-yard touchdown run with a 90-yard kickoff return during the Raiders' 14-7 win over Downers Grove South in Week 1.
Braverman: "Did you guys see those hawks flying over? I had a hawk almost take my hair off this morning as I walked out my door, and I told the boys, ‘It's going to be a great day for the Hawks.' Restore the soar as we said after Week 2." -- Maine South head coach David Inserra after the Hawks' 29-22 Class 8A semifinal win over Loyola.
Venerable: "We could have gone for steaks in the first half and been back in plenty of time." -- Joliet head coach Dan Sharp in reference to only running 10 offensive plays in the first half against Providence.
Powers: I wasn't tackled this year. I was knocked down at least once last year when reporting from the sidelines and had a lot of really close calls. Whether I was quicker or just plain luckier, I wasn't close to hitting the ground this year.
Braverman: When I went to cover Crystal Lake South's Week 6 contest at Jacobs, I went down to the field prior to kickoff to talk to a photographer on the Crystal Lake South sidelines. After about a three-minute conversation, I asked the very kind woman I was speaking with if she'd be able to email me a picture of Gators' quarterback Drew Ormseth, so I could use it for my recap. "I believe he's No. 8," I told her. She nodded and said she'd love to, and as I gave her my card, I had asked for her name. She gave me her first name, and then started to spell her last name, "O-R-M-S-E...." and as I looked up in pure embarrassment, about five or six Crystal Lake South students who were standing near us began laughing hysterically at me. Drew's mother simply smiled and said she'd be happy to send a picture of her son."
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. – Wheaton Warrenville South senior quarterback Reilly O’Toole had proven himself in nearly every way this season.
His accuracy was unmatched. He tossed 40 touchdowns and just two interceptions. He displayed a long ball that hadn’t been there a year ago. He wasn’t afraid to get of the pocket and take off when needed. Tigers coach Ron Muhitch has described him as the complete package, and he was named the ESPNChicago.com Player of the Year.
On Saturday, O’Toole answered that final query in Wheaton Warrenville South’s 28-17 win over Lake Zurich, giving the Tigers their second consecutive Class 7A state championship at Memorial Stadium in Champaign.
With Wheaton Warrenville South trailing 17-14 with 11:49 remaining, O’Toole stepped back on the field with a different focus than he had before. He wasn’t looking for the big play. He was going to make sure the Tigers got in the end zone piece by piece. This was going to be a drive. His drive. The Reilly O’Toole drive.
He began it with an eight-yard run. The next play he rolled to his left and connected with Jason Schumann for nine yards. O’Toole rushed for one yard on the following play. He then rolled to his right, threw across the field and the ball soared just above Lake Zurich’s leaping defender’s hands and into Ryan Crowe’s grasp for a 22-yard play. O’Toole ran the ball again on the next play and picked up another nine yards. Matt Rogers carried it then for two yards. O’Toole went back to the air and hit Titus Davis for a nine-yard again and followed that up with a 13-yard pass to Davis. Finally, Rogers punched it in from a yard out, and the Tigers went ahead 21-17.
Wheaton Warrenville South wouldn’t trail again.
“I struggled early in the game, so I just had to buckle down and just make the easy play, not try to do too much,” O’Toole said. “It worked. It was a really good drive. I think that changed the game.”
As Rogers put it, “It was the drive of our life.”
The drive nor the season will be forgotten anytime soon at Wheaton Warrenville South. Ranked atop the state and in the nation’s top 20, the Tigers went 14-0, trounced 13 of their opponents and pulled through when Lake Zurich and its stellar defense pushed them to the brink.
“Sometimes you never see the true character of the competitor until you’re tested,” Muhitch said. “I think tonight was that night that the Tigers rally showed what they have inside.
“I knew Lake Zurich was a great football team defensively. I knew [Jacob] Brinlee was a great running back. Sometimes that combination tests you to your soul, and I think that’s exactly what Lake Zurich did today.”
Rogers added, “As a senior to be able to do this, to have an undefeated season and probably go down as one of the best teams in your program’s history is an incredible feeling. It’s just amazing feeling to be back-to-back champs.”
Underestimated as they had been for most of the playoffs, the Bears (12-2) were only a few plays away from shocking Wheaton Warrenville South.
Lake Zurich’s defense continued to shine, and Brinlee emerged as the offensive presence the Bears needed to stick with Wheaton Warrenville South. He rushed for a Class 7A state championship record 226 yards.
“I thought we knew we could run the ball on them,” Brinlee said. “The O-line has played great all season. We were just confident in what we could do.”
O’Toole finished 14-of-23 passing for 182 yards, two touchdowns and one interception. Davis had six catches for 106 yards and two touchdowns.
Rogers had a team-high 87 rushing yards and two touchdowns. Caleb Bednarz led the Tigers with 14 tackles.
Lake Zurich quarterback Zach Till and running back John Mularz each rushed for a touchdown. JJ Raffelson had a team-high eight tackles.
There was talk of blitzing him and trying to push him out of the pocket. The other idea was to drop eight defenders and take away his options.
“We decided on mixing it up, and what we found is that it doesn’t matter,” New said. “He'll beat both strategies.”
The Redwings shouldn’t feel too bad. Every coach who faced O’Toole this season tried a variation of Benet’s plan, and every coach discovered the same truth -- there was no precise way to defend him this season. O’Toole was nearly perfect this season while leading Wheaton Warrenville South into the national rankings and to the Class 7A state championship game for the second consecutive season.
“He's one of the best quarterbacks that I've seen in the Chicago area since I've been coaching high school football since 1990,” New said. “I played on an all-star team in the late ’80s with Kent Graham, and he reminds me a lot of him.”
Like Graham, O’Toole tormented defenses in the DuPage Valley throughout his senior season. Graham’s old team, Wheaton North, experienced the best of O’Toole, too. In Wheaton Warrenville South’s two wins over the Falcons this season, O’Toole was 28-of-32 passing for 483 yards and eight touchdowns.
O’Toole’s season stats weren’t much different. He was 172-of-229 passing for a 75.1 completion percentage to go along with 3,005 yards and 40 touchdowns. He also rushed for 393 yards and six touchdowns.
Of his numbers, what may be most impressive was the Illinois-bound O’Toole threw just two interceptions.
“The thought of throwing just two interceptions in 13 games with as much throwing as they do is just mind-boggling,” Naperville North coach Sean Drendel said. “There’s no dropped balls. You got to think there’s going to be a fluke in there. It’s incredible. I’m just happy he’s going away to college, so Naperville North doesn’t have to face him.”
Naperville North senior linebacker Nick Lifka, who was the ESPNChicago.com Defensive Player of the Year, was on the losing side of two meetings with O’Toole during his career, but he always enjoyed the challenge. O’Toole was 11 of 18 for 228 yards and three touchdowns in the Tigers’ 41-13 win over Naperville North this season.
“Reilly O’Toole is a very efficient quarterback,” Lifka said. “He’s smart. He runs the ball. He uses the pocket. In our game, he didn’t make a mistake. He would throw the ball perfectly to the receiver. He would make the reads. I try to study the little things on an opponent. He does such a great job with the little things that you can’t tell what he’s going to do on each play.”
O’Toole’s maturation as a quarterback this season was dramatic. A year ago, he led the Tigers to the Class 7A state championship, but he had his ups and downs. Even in the state title game, Glenbard West was able to rattle him, and he was 10 of 21 with two interceptions.
When Glenbard West pressured him again this season, O’Toole lit up the Hilltoppers for a 40-20 win. He was 15 of 21 for 263 yards and two touchdowns, and he rushed for two more scores.
It was the type of performance Wheaton Warrenville South coach Ron Muhitch saw from Week 1 to Week 13 this season.
“What impressed me about Reilly this season was his consistency,” Muhitch said. “His consistency has been evident in how he makes decisions with the football as a quarterback, and he’s always been consistent in making the plays as an athlete himself.
“With all of his talent throwing the ball, which is very evident to everybody, he’s also expanded his ability in the running game, ability to throw the ball with a little more touch at times and he’s had a tremendous ability to avoid sacks and avoid pressure and still get passes off.”
Opposing coaches were just as complimentary even though O’Toole defeated all them by 20 or more points.
Stine did suggeste one way of containing O’Toole.
“The only way to stop him is to not let him on the field,” Stine said.
Opponents probably considered that, too.
The Hilltoppers’ motivation was simple: They were out to prove last season’s Wheaton Warrenville South double-overtime victory was a fluke.
Wheaton Warrenville South wanted the rematch just as much. The Tigers knew last year’s state championship could have gone either way, and they were out to erase any doubts this time around.
On Saturday, No. 1 Wheaton Warrenville South quieted any remaining skeptics and handed No. 10 Glenbard West a 40-20 defeat in the Class 7A quarterfinals.
After the victory, one Tigers player yelled, “Twice is nice!”
“Getting up for this game wasn’t hard at all,” said Wheaton Warrenville South running back Matt Rogers, who scored two touchdowns. “They’ve had this game marked on the calendar since last year. We’ve had this game marked on the calendar since last year. They’re a great team. Once we saw the playoff pairings, we wanted Glenbard West since the beginning. We just wanted to take it to them and show the world and settle the dispute from last year.”
The Tigers were up 7-0, and their high-powered offense had yet to take the field.
“I think it definitely sent a message,” Bednarz said. “That’s exactly what we wanted to do -- send a message. I’d say so. It sent the tone for the rest of the game.”
Glenbard West coach Chad Hetlet agreed.
“It’s enough you have to try to stop them with your defense,” Hetlet said. “But when they score on your offense, it’s not good. So that wasn’t good.”
Bednarz added another interception later for his seventh of the season. Austin Pannell and Mike Monterrubio also picked off passes for Wheaton Warrenville South.
The Tigers built their lead to 14-0 in the first quarter when quarterback Reilly O’Toole hooked up with his favorite target, Titus Davis, for a 67-yard touchdown pass. O’Toole followed it up with two touchdown runs of his own, and Wheaton Warrenville South had a 27-13 lead at halftime.
O’Toole, an Illinois recruit, was as near perfect as he’s been all season. He was 15-of-21 passing for 263 yards and two touchdowns. He completed all seven of his passes in the second half. He also rushed for 47 yards and two touchdowns.
“The Reilly O’Toole kid is just … his vision is good,” Hetlet said. “I knew we were going to pressure them. We did pressure them like nobody else has this year. He just made a lot of plays with his feet. He’s a special kid.”
Davis was the beneficiary of O’Toole’s passes, catching seven balls for 165 yards and two touchdowns.
Glenbard West’s top wide receiver, Mark Hiben, wasn’t bad himself. After setting a state record for 319 receiving yards last week, Hiben had nine catches for 130 yards and two touchdowns.
Glenbard West (10-2) made it a game in the second half. After stopping the Tigers on the opening drive of the third quarter, Glawe found Hiben for a 17-yard touchdown to pull within 27-20.
The Tigers (12-0) answered on the following drive when Rogers scored from 1 yard out. After Bednarz intercepted his second pass, Rogers put the game to rest with another goal-line touchdown run.
No. 13 Wheaton North (8-2) at No. 1 Wheaton Warrenville South (10-0) on Saturday
The story: This will be the second time these DuPage Valley foes meet this season. The first time around Wheaton Warrenville South ran away with a 42-14 win. Quarterback Reilly O’Toole threw only one incompletion in the win. Wheaton North was within seven points at half, but will need to put together a full game against the top-ranked Tigers.
Wheaton North player to watch: Quarterback Reece Butler is the key to the Falcons flying. He needs to have another off-the-charts game for Wheaton North to have a chance.
Wheaton Warrenville South: Wide receiver Travis Kern has emerged as a playmaker this season. He and Titus Davis have been major targets for O’Toole.
Prediction: Wheaton Warrenville South 35, Wheaton North 17
No. 2 Simeon (10-0) at No. 16 Schaumburg (8-2) on Saturday
The story: Simeon’s path to the Chicago Public League’s first state championship becomes more difficult starting with this game. The question is whether the Wolverines can turn it on again against another top team. They haven’t been truly challenged since the season-opener against Mount Carmel. Schaumburg is coming off a big win over Elk Grove. The Saxons will have to contain Simeon’s big-play offense to pull off the upset.
Simeon player to watch: Offensive lineman Chris Bryant is a major reason the Wolverines have had so much offensive success. He’s 6 foot 3, 330 pounds and is being recruited by a number of schools.
Schaumburg player to watch: Shepard Little has been one of the state’s top running backs this season. Schaumburg will need to score in this game, and Little is the man to do it.
Prediction: Simeon 46, Schaumburg 42
Hononegah (9-1) at No. 3 Carmel (9-1) on Saturday
The story: Carmel has been consistently good offensively and defensively this season. The Corsairs were especially impressive on the defensive side in last week’s first-round win. Hononegah has put some points this season, and its only loss was to undefeated Boylan. Hononegah is coming off a 51-7 win over Taft.
Prediction: Carmel 31, Hononegah 13
Sterling (8-2) at No. 4 Joliet Catholic (9-1) on Saturday
The story: There are few teams in the state playing as well as Joliet Catholic right now. The Hilltoppers have scored 45-plus points in their last six games. Big Ten-bound running backs Malin Jones and Josh Ferguson have been piling on the yards. Sterling defeated Morton 28-21 last week.
Prediction: Joliet Catholic 63, Sterling 10
No. 5 Loyola (9-1) at Fremd (6-4) on Saturday
The story: If there’s an upset this week, a lot of people are looking at this game as a possibility. It speaks nothing of Loyola’s play, but rather what Fremd has been up to. The Vikings seem like that team of destiny this season. After starting out 1-4, Fremd has won its past five games. Loyola will be a tough match up for Fremd. The Ramblers have also been among the area’s hottest teams.
Prediction: Loyola 28, Fremd 17
No. 6 St. Rita (9-1) at Harlem (8-2) on Friday
The story: St. Rita has to travel to Machesney Park on Friday after Harlem upset Glenbrook North in the first round. Harlem has scored 30-plus points in seven games this season. St. Rita escaped with a narrow win over Highland Park last week. Star running back Jahwon Akui is expected back after missing last week’s game.
Prediction: St. Rita 34, Harlem 17
Lake Forest (7-3) at No. 7 Crystal Lake South (10-0) on Saturday
The story: Lake Forest is one of the sleeper teams in 6A. The Scouts have played well the last quarter of the season with a win over Vernon Hills and a narrow loss to Lake Zurich. As they showed in their 45-25 opening-round win over Shepard, their offense has big-play capabilities. Five of their touchdowns were scored on 50-yard-plus plays. Crystal Lake South is the team to beat in Class 6A and has played consistently.
Prediction: Crystal Lake South 27, Lake Forest 21
No. 8 Lincoln-Way East (9-1) at No. 11 Glenbard West (9-1) on Saturday
The story: There are so many potentially great games in the second round, but this one could be the best. Both teams were ranked in the top 10 for most of the season, and both have been among the state’s best defensive teams. While Wheaton Warrenville South is still the favorite in Class 7A, both of these teams are capable of giving the Tigers a game.
Lincoln-Way East player to watch: Wide receiver J.J. Robertson returned from injury last week and scored two touchdowns. He’s among the area’s best at his position.
Glenbard West player to watch: Do-everything senior Nick Burrello is a threat to score whenever he touches the ball. He’s coming off a big game.
Prediction: Glenbard West 21, Lincoln-Way East 20
South Elgin (7-3) at No. 9 Stevenson (10-0) on Saturday
The story: Stevenson continues to put it together on both sides of the ball. Defensively, the Patriots are led by ESPNChicago.com Prep Athlete of the Week Brion Wood. Offensively, they’ve used a balanced running and passing attack. South Elgin ended the regular season with back-to-back losses, but bounced back with a win over a tough Warren team last week.
Prediction: Stevenson 24, South Elgin 13
Sandburg (8-2) at No. 10 Lyons (9-1) on Saturday
The story: Lyons has been on a roll. It has out-scored its last three opponents, which included Glenbard West, 143-20. Sandburg’s only losses this season were to Lincoln-Way East and Homewood-Flossmoor, two teams still alive in the playoffs. The Eagles are 3-1 this season in games decided by 10 points or less.
Prediction: Lyons 28, Sandburg 14
No. 12 Lake Zurich (9-1) at No. 15 Prospect (9-1) on Saturday
The story: Prospect puts up a lot of points; Lake Zurich doesn’t allow many. Something will have to give in this game. The Knights have scored more than 40 points seven times this season. Lake Zurich has only given up more than 14 points twice.
Lake Zurich player to watch: Senior Jacob Brinlee became the school’s all-time leading rusher last week. He has more than 3,000 yards in his career.
Prospect player to watch: Quarterback Steve Dazzo can burn a team in so many ways. He’s been phenomenal the past few weeks.
Prediction: Lake Zurich 31, Prospect 28
No. 14 Mount Carmel (8-2) at Neuqua Valley (7-3) on Friday
The story: Mount Carmel’s offense is relentless. The Caravan have scored 30-plus points in eight of their games this season. Only St. Rita was able to contain them. Neuqua Valley is better than its record. The Wildcats’ three losses have come by a combined 10 points. They have an impressive 43-6 win over Waubonsie Valley on their resume.
Prediction: Mount Carmel 38, Neuqua Valley 28
No. 17 Morgan Park (9-1) at Prairie Ridge (9-1) on Saturday
The story: Like Simeon, Morgan Park is out to become the first Public League state champion. Prairie Ridge will have something to say about that. Its only loss came to Crystal Lake South and has been one of the area’s best defensive teams. Morgan Park has scored 30 or more points in six games this season.
Prediction: Morgan Park 33, Prairie Ridge 24
Geneva (8-2) at No. 18 Lemont (10-0) on Saturday
The story: Geneva has been on a tear. The Vikings have scored 69 points in their last two games and are on an eight-game winning streak. Lemont is one of the favorites in Class 6A. The Indians have allowed one opponent more than 21 points this season.
Prediction: Geneva 35, Lemont 27
No. 19 York (9-1) at Naperville North (7-3) on Friday
The story: Naperville North put it all together in last week’s win over Marist. If the Huskies can play a total game again, they have the talent to pull off an upset against York. The Dukes rallied to defeat a tough Lockport team last week 21-14. They’ll need to play at a higher level this week.
Prediction: Naperville North 21, York 17
Bartlett (8-2) at No. 20 Maine South (8-2) on Saturday
The story: Maine South has won its last 11 playoff games, and the Hawks are shooting for their third consecutive state championship. Bartlett lost two close games early in the season and now has won seven in a row.
Prediction: Maine South 38, Bartlett 28
ESPNChicago.com’s Player of the Year race is heating up. It’s down to six players. It’s still Reilly O’Toole’s award to lose, but the opening few playoff rounds could decide it all.
1. Reilly O’Toole, SR, QB, Wheaton Warrrenville South (previously ranked No. 1)
Last week: O’Toole closed out an impressive regular season by completing 13-of-16 passes for 221 yards and three touchdowns and rushing for 71 yards on six carries in a 42-6 win over West Aurora. Wheaton Warrenville South improved to 9-0.
Season: 106-of-145 passing for 1,946 yards, 29 touchdowns and one interception; two rushing touchdowns.
2. Kapri Bibbs, SR, RB, Plainfield North (2)
Last week: Bibbs had another remarkable week to keep himself near O’Toole. Bibbs rushed for 395 yards and five touchdowns on 56 carries in Plainfield North’s 43-35 win over Plainfield South. Plainfield North improved to 7-2.
Season: 2,519 rushing yards and 37 touchdowns on 280 carries.
3. Nick Meyer, SR, QB, Elk Grove (3)
Last week: Anyone outside of Bibbs and O’Toole are likely a long shot at this point, but Meyer kept himself in consideration this past week. He was 15-for-24 passing for 257 yards, four touchdowns and zero interceptions. He also rushed for 58 yards and one touchdown in a 35-21 win over Rolling Meadows. Elk Grove improved to 7-2.
Season: 159-of-258 passing for 2,092 yards and 19 touchdowns; 885 rushing yards and 18 touchdowns.
4. DaVaris Daniels, SR, WR, Vernon Hills (2)
Last week: Daniels rushed for 68 yards and one touchdown on three carries, completed 2-of-3 passes for 29 yards and caught two passes for 51 yards in Vernon Hills’ 55-6 win over North Chicago. Vernon Hills improved to 8-1.
Season: 9-of-20 passing for 141 yards and one touchdown; 13 receptions for 341 yards and four touchdowns; 431 rushing yards and seven touchdowns; two punt return touchdowns; three interceptions and two defensive touchdowns.
5. Robert Gregory, JR, QB, Simeon (5)
Last week: Gregory’s numbers don’t compare to the others, but it’s not his fault. Simeon has been rolling through opponents, and he’s not needed much. In last week’s 48-14 win over Brooks, he completed 2-of-2 passes for 91 yards and two touchdowns and rushed for one yard and one touchdown on one carry. Simeon improved to 9-0.
Season: 46-of-77 passing for 971 yards and 14 touchdowns; 777 rushing yards and 18 touchdowns.
6. Josh Ferguson, SR, RB, Joliet Catholic (6)
Last week: Ferguson ran for 179 yards and two touchdowns on 13 carries in Joliet Catholic’s 45-0 win over Benet. The Hilltoppers improved to 8-1.
Season: 1,362 yards and 20 touchdowns on 104 carries.
The ESPNChicago.com Player of the Year award is his to lose.
The race is now down to eight players.
1. Wheaton Warrrenville South senior quarterback Reilly O'Toole (previously ranked No. 1)
Last week: O'Toole completed 14-of-22 passes for 207 yards and three touchdowns in the Tigers' 49-6 win over previously unbeaten Glenbard North. Wheaton Warrenville South improved to 8-0.
Season: 93-of-129 passing for 1,725 yards, 26 touchdowns and one interception; two rushing touchdowns.
2. Plainfield North senior running back Kapri Bibbs (3)
Last week: Bibbs rushed for 279 yards and three touchdowns in his team's 34-14 win over Oswego East. Plainfield North improved to 6-2.
Season: 2,166 rushing yards and 32 touchdowns.
3. Elk Grove senior quarterback Nick Meyer (4)
Last week: Meyer did all he could in Elk Grove's 42-41 overtime loss to Prospect. He was 26-for-41 passing for 282 yards and rushed for 148 yards and six touchdowns on 26 carries. Elk Grove fell to 6-2.
Season: 144-of-234 passing for 1,835 yards and 15 touchdowns; 827 yards and 17 touchdowns on 140 carries.
4. Vernon Hills senior wide receiver DaVaris Daniels (2)
Last week: Daniels and his offensive teammates were slowed down in their 21-0 loss to Lake Forest. Daniels rushed for 105 yards on 13 carries and was 3-for-11 passing for 41 yards and two interceptions. Vernon Hills fell to 7-1.
Season: 7-of-17 passing for 112 yards and one touchdown; 11 receptions for 290 yards and four touchdowns; 363 rushing yards and six touchdowns; two punt return touchdowns; three interceptions and two defensive touchdowns.
5. Simeon junior quarterback Robert Gregory (6)
Last week: Gregory didn't have to do much again in Simeon's latest lopsided win. He was 3-for-4 passing for 93 yards and two touchdowns and rushed for 82 yards and one touchdown. The Wolverines improved to 8-0.
Season: 44-of-75 passing for 880 yards and 12 touchdowns; 776 rushing yards and 17 touchdowns.
6. Joliet Catholic senior running back Josh Ferguson (8)
Last week: Ferguson was the difference in the Hilltoppers' 49-42 win over Marist on Friday. He ran for 254 yards and three touchdowns on 17 carries, caught one touchdown pass and threw one. Joliet Catholic improved to 7-1.
Season: 1,183 yards and 18 touchdowns on 91 carries; one receiving touchdown; one passing touchdown.
7. Schaumburg senior running back Shepard Little (7)
Last week: Little rushed for 178 yards and two touchdowns on 23 carries in the Saxons' 35-27 win over Palatine. Schaumburg improved to 6-2.
Season: 1,452 yards and 18 touchdowns on 178 carries; two receiving touchdowns.
8. St. Rita senior running back Jahwon Akui (11)
Last week: Akui continued to keep himself in the race as he ran for 186 yards and three touchdowns in St. Rita's 37-0 win over St. Ignatius. The Mustangs improved to 8-0.
Season: 1,103 rushing yards and 14 touchdowns.
With only a few games remaining, the ESPNChicago.com High School Football Player of the Year award is O’Toole’s to lose. Either he’ll need to have a really poor game or someone will need a really great one for that to change.
The number of candidates was cut down to 11 this week.
1. Wheaton Warrrenville South senior quarterback Reilly O’Toole (previously ranked No. 1)
Last week: O’Toole only needed to play one half in Wheaton Warrenville South’s 56-0 win over West Chicago. He completed 8-of-9 passes for 145 yards and four touchdowns. Wheaton Warrenville South improved to 7-0.
Season: 79-of-107 passing for 1,518 yards, 23 touchdowns and one interception; two rushing touchdowns.
2. Vernon Hills senior wide receiver DaVaris Daniels (3)
Last week: Daniels’ 86-yard punt-return touchdown against Grant was one of the more electrifying plays of his season. According to Vernon Hills coach Tony Monken, Daniels made 10 or 11 guys miss, and a couple of those missed a few times. Daniels also had four tackles, one forced fumble, one reception for 13 yards and 12 rushing yards on three carries.
Season: 4-of-6 passing for 71 yards and one touchdown; 11 receptions for 290 yards and four touchdowns; 258 rushing yards and six touchdowns; two punt return touchdowns; three interceptions and two defensive touchdowns.
3. Plainfield North senior running back Kapri Bibbs (2)
Last week: Bibbs was slowed down -- at least for his standards -- in Plainfield North’s 35-34 loss to Minooka. He rushed for 198 yards and three touchdowns on 32 carries. Plainfield North fell to 5-2.
Season: 1,887 rushing yards and 29 touchdowns on 190 carries.
4. Elk Grove senior quarterback Nick Meyer (5)
Last week: Meyer was 18-of-20 for 225 yards and two touchdowns and ran for 71 yards and two touchdowns on 27 carries in Elk Grove’s 28-13 win over Hersey. The Grenadiers improved to 6-1.
Season: 118-of-193 passing for 1,553 yards and 15 touchdowns; 679 yards and 11 touchdowns on 114 carries.
5. Naperville North senior linebacker Nick Lifka (4)
Last week: Lifka was his usual defensive beast in Naperville North’s 49-21 win over Glenbard East on Friday. Lifka had 11 tackles to lead the Huskies. Naperville North improved to 5-2.
Season: 88 tackles, eight tackles for a loss, three sacks, four forced fumbles and one fumble recovery.
6. Simeon junior quarterback Robert Gregory (6)
Last week: Gregory was very efficient in Simeon’s 55-6 win over Lincoln Park on Saturday. He completed 2-of-2 passes for 79 yards and ran for 63 yards and three touchdowns on seven carries. The Wolverines improved to 7-0.
Season: 41-of-71 passing for 787 yards and 10 touchdowns; 674 rushing yards and 16 touchdowns.
7. Schaumburg senior running back Shepard Little (7)
Last week: Little, the ESPNChicago.com Prep Athlete of the Week, rushed for 99 yards and four touchdowns on 12 carries in Schaumburg’s 42-21 win over Conant. The Saxons improved to 5-2.
Season: 1,274 yards and 16 touchdowns on 155 carries; two receiving touchdowns.
8. Joliet Catholic senior running back Josh Ferguson (10)
Last week: Ferguson ran wild again. He scored three touchdowns, including an 80-yarder, in the Hilltoppers’ 73-27 win over St. Patrick. Joliet Catholic improved to 6-1.
Season: 929 rushing yards and 15 touchdowns on 74 carries.
9. Lake Zurich senior running back Jacob Brinlee (9)
Last week: Brinlee scored one of his team’s two touchdowns in a 14-0 win over Warren on Saturday. He finished with 114 rushing yards and one touchdown on 14 carries. Lake Zurich improved to 6-1.
Season: 949 rushing yards and 11 touchdowns on 90 carries; one receiving touchdown.
10. Loyola junior quarterback Malcolm Weaver (12)
Last week: Weaver completed 13-of-22 passes for 151 yards and two touchdowns in Loyola’s 45-7 win over Fenwick. The Ramblers improved to 6-1.
Season: 97-of-172 passing for 1,513 yards and 22 touchdowns.
11. St. Rita senior running back Jahwon Akui (13)
Last week: Akui rushed for 195 yards and a touchdown on 34 carries in St. Rita’s 31-19 win over Providence. The Mustangs improved to 7-0.
Season: 917 rushing yards and 11 touchdowns on 186 carries.
An elite group of 20 players have put themselves in the running for ESPNChicago.com High School Football Player of the Year award after five weeks of play.
As of right now, Wheaton Warrenville South quarterback Reilly O’Toole is leading the pack. Over the coming weeks, check back at ESPNChicago.com to see how that changes as this list will be updated weekly with additions and subtractions and ultimately trimmed down to one player with the announcement coming at the end of the season.
Coming off a junior season where he helped the Tigers to a Class 7A state championship, O’Toole has taken his game to another level this year. He has the ability to throw short and long and remains accurate either way for the No .1-ranked Tigers. He’s committed to Illinois.
Last week: Completed 11-of-18 passes for 228 yards and three touchdowns in a 41-13 win over Naperville North. Wheaton Warrenville South improved to 5-0.
Season: 57-of-83 passing for 1,082 yards, 15 touchdowns and one interception; two rushing touchdowns.
2. Vernon Hills senior wide receiver DaVaris Daniels
Daniels’ future may be at wide receiver, but he does everything at the high school level. He passes, runs, catches, returns kicks and defends for the undefeated Cougars. He’s the state’s highest-rated college football prospect and just recently committed to Notre Dame.
Last week: Rushed for 27 yards and one touchdown, caught four passes for 70 yards and one touchdown, completed one pass for 13 yards and intercepted one pass in a 34-0 win over Antioch. Vernon Hills improved to 5-0.
Season: 4-of-6 passing for 71 yards and one touchdown; 10 receptions for 277 yards and four touchdowns; 203 rushing yards and five touchdowns; one punt return touchdown; three interceptions and one defensive touchdown.
3. Plainfield North senior running back Kapri Bibbs
Bibbs has been one of the season’s biggest surprises. A mixture of power and speed, Bibbs has been nearly unstoppable. He’s put up massive numbers despite missing the season’s first game. He’s committed to Colorado State.
Last week: Rushed for 340 yards and four touchdowns on 28 carries in 28-0 win over Romeoville. Plainfield North improved to 4-1.
Season: Rushed for 1,169 yards and 19 touchdowns on 119 carries.
Lifka is the Brian Urlacher of Illinois high school football. A combination of strength and mobility, Lifka finds a way to be around the ball wherever it may be. Against Glenbard North earlier this season, he made 18 tackles. He’s committed to Boston College.
Last week: Made 11 tackles, including one for a loss, in a 41-13 loss to top-ranked Wheaton Warrenville South. Naperville North fell to 3-2.
Season: 66 tackles, seven tackles for a loss, three sacks, three forced fumbles, one fumble recovery.
5. Elk Grove senior quarterback Nick Meyer
Few players mean as much to their team as Meyer does to Elk Grove. He does it in the air and on the ground as the Grenadiers’ quarterback, but he also is a starting defensive back. He rarely gets off the field, and his game doesn’t suffer for it. He’s uncommitted.
Last week: Rushed for 144 yards and three touchdowns on 13 carries and was 10-of-17 passing for 116 yards and one interception in a 23-7 win over Buffalo Grove. Elk Grove improved to 4-1.
Season: 76-of-132 passing for 986 yards, 10 touchdowns and four interceptions; 603 rushing yards and nine touchdowns on 81 carries.
6. Lake Zurich senior running back Jacob Brinlee
Brinlee is a threat to break one whenever he touches the ball. There’s no running back in the state that needs as few carries as he does to pile up yards. His vision puts him into that elite category. He’s uncommitted.
Last week: Rushed for a school-record 281 yards and three touchdowns on 14 carries in a 44-22 win over Libertyville. Lake Zurich improved to 5-0.
Season: 734 rushing yards and nine touchdowns on 57 carries; one receiving touchdown.
7. Schaumburg senior running back Shepard Little
Little sat out last season, but he’s making up for it this year. The Saxons have become a state contender thanks to the speed and vision of Little. He’s uncommitted.
Last week: Rushed for 174 yards and one touchdown on 29 carries and caught two passes for 24 yards in a 17-14 win over Fremd. Schaumburg improved to 4-1.
Season: 991 rushing yards and eight touchdowns on 120 carries; 10 receptions for 183 yards and two touchdowns.
8. Simeon junior quarterback Robert Gregory
Gregory showed signs last season that he could be a star quarterback. He opened the 2010 season with a bang throwing for three touchdowns and running for three more in an upset win over Simeon. Ever since, he and the Wolverine have been on a roll. He’s uncommitted.
Last week: Ran for 59 yards and three touchdowns and completed 1-of-8 passes for 10 yards in a 42-0 win over Curie. Simeon improved to 5-0.
Season: 34-of-61 passing for 530 yards and seven touchdowns; 497 rushing yards and 11 touchdowns.
Akui made a push for the Player of the Year award as a junior after rushing for 1,870 yards and 31 touchdowns. He did all that despite suffering a couple of injuries. Also a state wrestling champion, Akui can run with power and speed despite his 5-6, 195-pound frame. He’s uncommitted.
Last week: Rushed for 146 yards and two touchdowns in a 42-21 win over Bishop McNamara. St. Rita improved to 5-0.
Season: 652 rushing yards and eight touchdowns on 132 carries.
10. Joliet Catholic senior running back Josh Ferguson
Ferguson has all eyes on him much like Wheaton Warrenville South’s Reilly O’Toole because he’s committed to Illinois. Ferguson has a knack for finding a hole and getting to the outside. He’s already broken a handful of runs this season.
Last week: Rushed for 243 yards and four touchdowns in a 57-0 win over Nazareth. Joliet Catholic improved to 4-1.
Season: 594 rushing yards and 10 touchdowns on 57 carries.
11. Wheaton North senior quarterback Reece Butler
Butler was an emergency quarterback for Wheaton North last year and steadily improved while leading the Falcons on an unlikely playoff run. This season, he’s emerged as one of the state’s top quarterbacks. He excels because he knows his strengths and weaknesses. He’s uncommitted.
Last week: Completed 11-of-18 passes for 153 yards and rushed for 82 yards and one touchdown in a 21-13 win over West Aurora. Wheaton North improved to 5-0.
Season: 86-of-116 passing for 1,076 yards, 10 touchdowns and zero interceptions; 208 rushing yards and four touchdowns.
12. Glenbard West senior running back Nick Burrello
Opponents have to account for Nick Burrello in so many ways. He’s equally as good of a running back, wide receiver and kicker returner. He’s uncommitted.
Last week: Caught a 51-yard touchdown pass and returned a punt for a 60-yard touchdown in a 41-15 win over Proviso West. Glenbard West improved to 5-0.
Season: 542 rushing yards and six touchdowns on 58 carries; 12 receptions for 284 yards and one touchdown; 562 punt and kick return yards and two touchdowns.
13. Wheaton Warrenville South senior wide receiver Titus Davis
Davis has become one of the state’s top wide receivers after barely playing a season ago. With added confidence this season, Davis has become quarterback Reilly O’Toole’s favorite long-ball target. The two have hooked up for six touchdowns of 40-plus yards. He’s uncommitted.
Last week: Caught four passes for 86 yards and one touchdown in a 41-13 win over Naperville North. Wheaton Warrenville South improved to 5-0.
Season: 20 receptions for 507 yards and nine touchdowns.
14. Carmel junior running back Jordan Kos
Kos has had to share carries with Carmel’s other running backs for most of the season, but he has especially stepped up the last few weeks in the team’s narrow victories over Joliet Catholic and Marist. Kos has breakaway speed and has torched defenses with it this season. He’s uncommitted.
Last week: Rushed for 213 yards and one touchdown in a 20-16 win over Marist. Carmel improved to 5-0.
Season: 674 rushing yards and seven touchdowns on 76 carries.
15. Barrington junior running back Chase Murdock
Murdock is the type of back that just wears down defenses. Barrington gives him the ball time after time, and he picks up yards time after time. Murdock, who is 6-1 and 205 pounds, is uncommitted.
Last week: Rushed for 217 yards and three touchdowns on 28 carries in a 38-21 win over Conant. Barrington improved to 5-0.
Season: 740 rushing yards and 10 touchdowns on 132 carries.
16. Stevenson senior running back Joe Cassata
Cassata has taken the lead in Stevenson’s running game. Also a linebacker, Cassata, who is 5-11 and 200 pounds, is a combination of speed and power. He’s uncommitted.
Last week: Rushed for 102 yards and two touchdowns on 21 carries in a 41-20 win over Lake Forest. Stevenson improved to 5-0.
Season: 594 rushing yards and 10 touchdowns on 69 carries; six receptions for 84 yards and one touchdown.
No. 17 Crystal Lake South senior quarterback Drew Ormseth
Ormseth entered the season with high expectations and has lived up to them. Ormseth has shown off his ability to pass and run while helping the Gators to an undefeated record. He’s uncommitted.
Last week: Completed 5-of-8 passes for 156 yards, three touchdowns and no interceptions and rushed for one touchdown in a 40-0 win over Dundee-Crown. Crystal Lake South improved to 5-0.
Season: 27-of-52 passing for 604 yards, eight touchdowns and one interception; 312 rushing yards and three touchdowns.
18. Mount Carmel senior running back Michael Banks
Banks has bounced around positions at Mount Carmel, but now has found a home at running back. With incredible speed, Banks is a defensive nightmare whenever he tries to get outside. He missed the Caravan’s last game. He is uncommitted.
Last week: Sat out a 35-14 win over De La Salle due to an injury. Mount Carmel improved to 4-1.
Season: 527 rushing yards and five touchdowns on 35 carries.
19. Loyola junior quarterback Malcolm Weaver
Weaver stepped in Loyola’s quarterback position this season and has taken off with it. He’s thrown for 200-plus yards in four games and has the Ramblers again competing for the Catholic League title. He’s uncommitted.
Last week: Completed 14-of-20 passes for 216 touchdowns and four touchdowns in a 35-0 win over St. Ignatius. Loyola improved to 4-1.
Season: 66-of-121 passing for 992 yards and 14 touchdowns.
20. Thornridge senior running back Mik’ail McCall
Thornridge isn’t having the season it hoped, but McCall is. McCall has shown game after game why he’s headed to play for Michigan State next season.
Last week: Rushed for 103 yards and two touchdowns in a 27-19 loss to Bradley. Thornridge fell to 2-3.
Season: 791 rushing yards and 10 touchdowns.
“The coaches and players all did a great job preparing for them and tonight it really showed,” Tigers senior quarterback Reilly O’Toole said.
Prepared they were, even when the Huskies took a quick 7-0 lead on the game’s second play, thanks to a 77-yard Matt Lacosse touchdown run.
The Tigers answered right back as O’Toole completed one of his three touchdown passes the very next play, this one 63 yards to Travis Kern. The following drive O’Toole was at it again, hooking up with 6-3 Titus Davis to extend the lead to 13-6. Davis finished the night with five catches for 100 yards.
“Reilly did a great job of spreading the ball around, especially in the first half,” Davis said.
Another Lacosse touchdown run tie the game, but the Tigers’ offense refused to slow down, scoring 14 answered points to end the first half.
Wheaton Warrenville South (5-0) opened the third quarter in similar fashion, putting together an 11-play, 80-yard drive that was capped off by Matthew Rogers’ 1-yard touchdown run. Rogers, who ran for over 140 yards, fueled a second-half rushing attack that wore down the visiting Huskies (4-1).
“We have a very balanced offense,” Rogers said. “Once Reilly and the receivers get going and start spreading the defense out, then it’s time to run the ball.”
The Tigers finished with more than 400 yards of total offense.
Player of the game: Reilly O’Toole, QB Wheaton Warrenville South. The senior signal caller was phenomenal all night, but especially in the first half, completing 9 of 12 passes for 192 yards and three scores.
Stat of the game: The normally stout Naperville North defense was torched by the Tigers’ offense, giving up over 250 yards in the first half alone.
It was over when… Wheaton went 80 yards in 11 plays to start the second half, extending its lead to 21.
Quote of the night: “Everyone is just doing a great job making big play after big play that it’s a special thing to be a part of.” --O’Toole
WHEATON, Ill. -- Wheaton Warrenville South senior Reilly O’Toole hesitated when asked whether he was surprised by the margin of victory in the Tigers’ 44-7 win over Maine South on Friday.
His mind began processing the answer. There was the politically correct response -- yes, he was shocked to beat a team he respects by so much. And then there was the likely truth -- no, it’s what he expected.
When O’Toole spoke, his answer fell somewhere in the middle.
“Um, kind of,” O’Toole said. “I thought we could beat them. I knew our defense would limit their offense because our defense is just awesome. Offensively, we really stepped up from Week 1 to Week 2. I thought our offensive line took a huge step.”
“This whole week I’ve just been excited with a smile on my face,” Wheaton Warrenville South senior Matt Rogers said. “Our whole thing was ‘no fear’ and embrace it. Thrive off all the people here and thrive off the energy and block out all the extra stuff.”
Rogers’ smile stayed with him throughout Friday. He provided much of the Tigers’ offense against the Hawks, rushing for 94 yards and three touchdowns on 18 carries.
O’Toole, an Illinois recruit, did much of the rest. He completed 18 of 25 passes for 230 yards, three touchdowns and one interception. He hooked up with Titus Davis for touchdowns of 16 and 41 yards and also one with Ryan Crowe for 12 yards.
While the game got out of hand in the second half, it was Maine South (0-2) that almost jumped on Wheaton Warrenville South first. Maine South senior Rocco Marchiori picked off an O’Toole pass at the Tigers’ 40-yard line and returned it all the way to the 7 midway through a scoreless first quarter. Just as the Hawks were looking to put the game’s first points on the board, Maine South quarterback Matt Alviti fumbled the ball on the first play and Wheaton Warrenville South senior Casey Armbrust recovered it.
The Tigers took advantage of the gift. They drove 86 yards on 13 plays and capitalized with a one-yard touchdown run by Rogers. They would add one more touchdown and a 32-yard field goal by Brian Welker before halftime to go ahead 17-0.
Maine South’s offense struggled throughout the game. It picked up 59 yards in the first half and only scored in the fourth quarter with the Tigers’ first team sitting out.
“Our defense is outstanding,” Wheaton Warrenville South coach Ron Muhitch said. “Our defense is quick and built for that. It always has been at this high school. We’re defensively very quick and [it’s] an athletic group of kids. What a great opportunity to display that on national TV.”
For Maine South, it was a difficult game to swallow. After winning 28 games in a row and back-to-back state championships, the Hawks have begun the 2010 season with two losses.
“I thought we came ready to play,” Maine South coach David Inserra said. “The boys were focused. They knew what they had to do. I think we’re going to be a good enough team. Right now, we’re not a good enough team to make those mistakes. We’re going to have fight for everything this year. We’re going to try and coach them up.”
Scott Powers covers high school and college sports for ESPNChicago.com and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.