High School: St. Rita

Top-100 recruit Law commits to N'western

July, 4, 2013
7/04/13
2:54
PM CT
Chicago St. Rita senior forward Vic Law committed to Northwestern coach Chris Collins on Thursday and became the highest-ranked recruit in the program’s history.

Law, a 6-foot-8, 190-pound small forward, chose Northwestern over Dayton, Georgia Tech, Harvard, Stanford and VCU. He is ranked No. 66 by ESPN in the Class of 2014.

“There’s nothing like being No. 1,” Law said of becoming the first top-100 recruit ever to commit to Northwestern. “Knowing that, I really believe in coach Collins. I think [Northwestern] can go to the [NCAA tournament] this year. I think the sky’s the limit for them and they can only go up. I really believe in coach Collins. I just think he has a great basketball mind.”

St. Rita coach Gary DeCesare, a former Division I assistant coach, thinks Law and Northwestern are perfect for each other.

“I think it’s an all-around fit for everyone,” DeCesare said. “As far as Vic playing, his greatest characteristic is his versatility. He’s a very skilled wing with great size. He has an ability to knock down shots and create shots. Defensively, he can guard multiple positions, which is a huge plus.

“He’s been a three-year starter for me. Every year, he’s gotten better and better. There aren’t too many guys who are 6-8 and can knock down the deep 3 and get to the rim and finish. If he puts his mind to it, he can be one of the best players in the state.”

Law believes he is just the start for Northwestern in attracting top-100 players.

“I’m going to bring in some guys with me,” Law said. “I’m not worried about it. Being No. 1 means nothing until there’s No. 2.”

Law averaged 15 points and seven rebounds last season for St. Rita of the Chicago Catholic League.

Northwestern assistant coach Armon Gates was the lead recruiter on Law.

Collins was hired in late March to replace Bill Carmody, who was fired after 13 seasons. Northwestern has never been to the NCAA tournament.

Law is Northwestern’s first Class of 2014 recruit.
St. Rita freshman guard Charles Matthews awoke to a phone call from his high school coach notifying he had been offered by DePaul and Illinois on Tuesday.

Charles Matthews
Dave Telep/ESPN.comCharles Matthews is a young PG certainly worth keeping tabs on.
Matthews stayed home from school Tuesday because he wasn’t feeling well and had already missed one call from St. Rita coach Gary DeCesare before he was finally reached with the news.

“It was such a blessing,” said Matthews, a 6-foot-4 guard. “It’s truly an honor and a blessing to be offered these opportunities. I’m just a freshman, and I have three scholarship offers. I’m grateful.”

Matthews previously was offered by Arizona in April. DePaul and Illinois watched Matthews while he played with MeanStreets, a club team, during the April recruiting period.

“You always want to have an in-state school on your list,” Matthews said of the two offers. “My doors are going to be open to both of those schools in the long run.”

Matthews didn’t anticipate jumping on any of the offers soon. He said he has seen too many players make mistakes with early commitments.

“I’m going to take my time to look it over,” Matthews said. “I’m not going to rush into it. I notice a lot of people de-committing after they commit early. I don’t want to be one of those people to go back and forth with my college decision. I want to make a firm decision that I’m comfortable with.”

DeCesare, who was previously a Division I assistant coach, has mixed feelings about Matthews’ offers.

“I don’t think I believe in the system offering kids so early,” DeCesare said. “Who knows who’s going to be there three years from now? But I guess it’s a necessary evil because they look at who’s being offered.”

Matthews started for St. Rita’s varsity team as a freshman and averaged nine points and six rebounds.

“I think he’s got great versatility,” DeCesare said. “He could play in high school at all five positions. I think he could be an off-guard in college. I think he could be a point guard. He’s got great size to him. His size for a freshman to be a 6-4, 6-5 and handle the ball is obviously a huge plus for anybody.”

Simeon, Proviso E. lead pre-playoff rankings

February, 27, 2012
2/27/12
9:30
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As the IHSA playoffs kick off, Simeon and Proviso East remained the top teams in ESPNChicago.com's boys basketball rankings.

Read the full story.

Previewing the boys hoops brackets

February, 25, 2012
2/25/12
6:45
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The Class 3A and 4A boys basketball playoffs begin on Monday. Here’s a glance at the top games and players to see this week.

Five regional semifinals to see

1. St. Charles East vs. St. Charles North at St. Charles North on Wednesday

2. Marist vs. Brother Rice at Marist on Tuesday

3. Stevenson vs. Prospect at Stevenson on Wednesday

4. Benet vs. Bolingbrook at Metea Valley on Wednesday

5. Neuqua Valley vs. Naperville Central at Neuqua Valley on Wednesday

Five potential regional championships to see on Friday
1. St. Rita vs. Whitney Young at Whitney Young

2. Bogan vs. De La Salle at Mount Carmel

3. Farragut vs. St. Joseph at Nazareth

4. Crane vs. Riverside-Brookfield at Riverside-Brookfield

5. Minooka vs. Bloom at Joliet Central

6. Crete-Monee vs. Joliet West at Thornton

7. West Aurora vs. Naperville North at Oswego

8. Harlan vs. Morgan Park at Rich Central

9. Evanston vs. Notre Dame at Notre Dame

10. Schaumburg vs. Glenbard West at Glenbard West

Ten to players to see in regional play (alphabetical order)

There will likely be plenty of time to see Simeon’s Jabari Parker and some of the other stars in the area, but these players and teams may or may not be around come next week.

1. David Cohn, junior, York: It hasn’t been a great year for high-scoring numbers, but Cohn has been one of the exceptions. He can drop 30-plus points on any night. He had 47 points just recently. York is a No. 4 seed in the Lake Park regional.

[+] EnlargeConner
Scott Powers/ESPNChicago.comWillie Conner and Crane could be a tough out in the Riverside-Brookfield regional.

2. Willie Conner, senior, Crane: Conner improved his game this season and made himself a mid-major college prospect. Crane has been up and down this season, but Conner has been consistent. Crane is a No. 5 seed in the Riverside-Brookfield regional.

3. Tony Hicks, senior, St. Rita: Hicks, a Penn recruit, has been as good as any senior in the state. He’s been averaging 25 points a game. St. Rita is a No. 4 seed in the Whitney Young regional.

4. Mike LaTulip, senior, Prospect: LaTulip is headed to Illinois next year as a preferred walk-on. He’s been one of the area’s top shooters and scorers this year. Prospect is a No. 9 seed in the Stevenson regional.

5. Jahlil Okafor, sophomore, Young: Okafor is the state’s top sophomore and among the nation’s top players in the Class of 2014. The state hasn’t seen a big man as skilled as Okafor since possibly Eddy Curry. Whitney Young is a No. 5 seed in the Whitney Young regional.

6. Sean O’Mara, sophomore, Benet: O’Mara, a 6-9 center, has emerged as one of the state’s top young prospects. He’s a skilled big man and is following in the footsteps of former Benet center Frank Kaminsky. Benet is a No. 6 seed in the Metea Valley regional.

7. Michael Orris, senior, Crete-Monee: Orris, a 6-3 point guard, is headed to Illinois next season. He’s expected to help backup Tracy Abrams there. Crete-Monee is a No. 4 seed in the Thornton regional.

8. Juwan Starks, senior, West Aurora: Starks is on the verge of West Aurora’s career-scoring record of 1,613 points, which is owned by Billy Taylor (1987-1991). Starks is 60 points shy of matching Taylor. West Aurora is a No. 4 seed in the Oswego regional.

9. Tyler Ulis, sophomore, Marian Catholic: Ulis, a 5-8 point guard, is a scoring machine. He put up 38 points in a loss to St. Viator last month. Marian Catholic is a No. 7 seed and could face Andrew in the Andrew regional championship.

10. Milik Yarbrough, sophomore, Zion-Benton: Yarbrough could eventually be one of the nation’s top players in the Class of 2014. He’s a multi-skilled 6-6 guard/forward. Zion-Benton is a No. 16 seed in the Zion-Benton regional.


Five prep hoops thoughts

February, 1, 2012
2/01/12
8:39
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Here are five high school basketball thoughts for your Wednesday:

1. It’s undoubtedly hard to go undefeated for an entire regular season: Andrew fell from the unbeaten ranks Tuesday when it was upset by Thornton on a buzzer-beating shot. Proviso East remains as the area’s only unbeaten team. Proviso East’s greatest challenges will likely come on Feb. 17 and 18 when the Pirates faces Downers Grove South and Warren on back-to-back nights. It is impressive how many one-loss teams there are this season. That list includes Simeon, Curie, Plainfield East, Metea Valley and now Andrew.

2. Speaking of Andrew, it’ll likely fall a bit from the rankings after its only loss: The Thunderbolts had put together a nice run of 16 consecutive wins, but their schedule hasn’t exactly been demanding. They looked as if they might run the table after defeating Thornwood on Sunday, but Thornton had other ideas. Andrew’s overall profile took a hit with the loss.

[+] EnlargeDavid Cohn
Scott Powers for ESPNChicago.comDavid Cohn and York are on a 10-game win streak.

3. Since the holidays, York has been one of the area’s hottest teams: The Dukes have won 10 straight game, and junior star guard David Cohn has been a big reason for that. Among his feats, he scored 47 points on 13-of-17 shooting in a 75-64 win over Hinsdale Central recently.

4: The Catholic League has taken its lumps the last few weeks: First, De La Salle and St. Rita were upset last week. On Tuesday, St. Ignatius was the next top-ranked Catholic League team to fall. The Wolfpack were upset by Leo on Tuesday. It’s hard to gauge the Catholic League right now.

5. The Red-West is still a mess at the top: Marshall, Orr and Farragut all have 7-2 records right now. Whitney Young could join them at the top if the Dolphins defeat Crane later this week. All four teams could make some noise come Public League and state playoff time.


Simeon remains atop rankings

December, 25, 2011
12/25/11
3:58
PM CT
Fresh off a close win over Whitney Young, Simeon remains No. 1 in the ESPNChicago.com prep hoops rankings. Who else is moving up and down in advance of this week's holliday tournaments.

Full story.

Five prep hoops observations

December, 21, 2011
12/21/11
6:34
PM CT

Here are five thoughts on the high school boys basketball scene for your Wednesday afternoon.

1. The early scholarship offer trend is getting way out of hand: It’s been ridiculous for a while, but an offer the other day reminded me of that. Cal Poly recently became the first school to offer Simeon freshman D.J. Williams. Nothing against Cal Poly -- I’m not that familiar with the program -- but why does it need to be offering a freshman who hasn’t even played varsity basketball yet? I don’t see the point. If Williams is as good as projected, he’ll land way out of Cal Poly’s league. If he doesn’t pan out, does Cal Poly need to be offering low- to mid-major players as freshmen to secure them? Maybe the offer was given to attract publicity. If so, mission accomplished. I’m writing about Cal Poly for the first time.

2. There’s a good chance Thursday’s Simeon-Whitney Young contest could be a one-sided game in front of an empty house: Simeon has lived up to the hype so far as the No. 1 team in the country and has only gotten better with the return of point guard Jelani Neely from injury. Whitney Young fell out of ESPNChicago’s rankings after losing to Orr 45-29 last week. Orr turned around and lost to Farragut this week. Whitney Young was without Tommy Hamilton Jr., Jermaine Morgan and Jordan Smith due to injuries, but it will be without at least Hamilton Jr. for the Simeon game as well. Whitney Young, especially its guards, will have to step it up Thursday if it’s going to compete with Simeon. As for Thursday’s attendance, the price tag of $15 and $33 for seats through Ticketmaster and the fact the game was moved from its original date could lead to a small crowd.

3. The location for the City-Suburban Showdown is still up in the air: It is supposed to be played at the UIC Pavilion on Feb. 18, but promoter Bob Rylko and UIC athletic director Jim Schmidt are awaiting word from the NCAA whether the event can be held at the UIC. The NCAA has been enforcing a rule this season that non-scholastic events can’t be held at Division I facilities. Every similar event around the country has had to move to another location. People may want to hold off buying tickets until the location is finalized.

4. Jabari Parker needed only 21 minutes to do something no Simeon player had done: His 40-point, 21-minute performance against Perspectives-Calumet on Monday was the most points ever by a Simeon player in a game. Parker eclipsed Tim Flowers’ record of 35 points.

5. Outside of Jabari Parker, the players who have been the most impressive in the area so far haven’t been the nationally-ranked ones: Crane’s Willie Conner, St. Rita’s Tony Hicks, Andrew’s Jubril Adekoya, Bloom’s Donald Moore, New Trier’s Connor Boehm and Curie’s Devin Foster are among those who have been the most consistent so far this season.

Hicks powers St. Rita past De La Salle

December, 2, 2011
12/02/11
11:09
PM CT

CHICAGO -- St. Rita had its excuse if it lost to De La Salle in the Catholic League opener on Friday.

The seventh-ranked Mustangs were without starters senior forward A.J. Avery, a Western Michigan recruit, and sophomore guard Dominique Matthews. Both had suffered hand injuries just before the season began and are out until at least January.

D Rita

With St. Rita’s injuries and being at home before a standing-room-only crowd, No. 6 De La Salle was expected to roll and appeared headed that way when the Meteors opened up a 14-point lead in the second quarter on Friday.

St. Rita’s Tony Hicks, however, wasn’t going down without a fight, and in the end, Hicks’ fight was too much for the Meteors.

Hicks put the finishing touches on a 31-point performance with a game-winning layup with 1:56 left in double overtime to lift St. Rita to a 66-64 win over De La Salle.

“This is a big game,” said Hicks, a Penn recruit. “A lot of people felt I couldn’t prove myself, and we couldn’t play with good teams like this and we’re for real.”

Hicks proved otherwise Friday.


<
[+] EnlargeAlex Foster
Scott Powers for ESPNChicago.comAlex Foster had 14 points in a losing effort for De La Salle on Friday.
p>After St. Rita (2-0) trailed 33-24 at halftime, Hicks put the Mustangs on his back. He scored 10 points in the third quarter, scored eight more points in the fourth quarter and added four points in the two overtimes.

“This is my third year coaching him, and Tony’s gotten better every year,” St. Rita coach Gary DeCesare said. “He’s a gamer. He kept battling, battling, battling.”

St. Rita chipped at De La Salle’s lead in the fourth quarter, and DeAires Blackwell tied the game at 59 when he scored, was fouled and sank the free throw with 28.9 seconds remaining.

De La Salle (4-1) had its chances to close out St. Rita, but struggled at the free-throw line down the stretch. The Meteors were 2-of-6 from the line in the fourth quarter and 0-for-3 in the overtimes.

De La Salle’s Alex Foster and Alvin Ellis were behind the Meteors’ rise through the first three quarters. Foster scored eight of his 14 points in the first half. Ellis scored a team-high 24 points, including 12 in the third quarter, but was shut out the rest of the game. Ellis also had 12 rebounds.

St. Rita freshman Charles Matthews came through in only his second varsity game. He had eight points and seven rebounds.

“He’s a big-time player,” Hicks said. “He’s going to be really good. He’s going to be like Mr. Basketball good.”

De La Salle’s Gavin Schilling had nine points and 10 rebounds in the loss.


Bolingbrook finishes atop prep rankings

November, 27, 2011
11/27/11
8:32
PM CT
After topping previous No. 1 Loyola in the 8A title game, the Bolingbrook Raiders finish as the area's top-rated team in the final ESPNChicago.com top-20 prep poll. They are followed in the top five by No. 2 Loyola, No. 3 Montini, No. 4 Wheaton Warrenville South and No. 5 Prairie Ridge.

Complete rankings.

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

Week 7 prep football preview capsules

October, 5, 2011
10/05/11
11:29
PM CT

Here's a look at the seventh week of action in ESPNChicago.com's top 20.

Evanston (4-2) at No. 1 Maine South (6-0)

Maine South Evanston
When:Thursday at 7 p.m.
The story: Maine South’s offense has lived up to its billing this season. The Hawks have put up 40 or more points in five games. Quarterback Matt Alviti and running back Paul Preston are an elite 1-2 punch. Evanston has won four games, but has struggled against top-tier teams. The Wildkits’ losses were to Glenbrook South and Loyola.
Evanston player to watch: Running back Ray Bahr has had some big days this season. He scored three times in the first half against Maine East.
Maine South player to watch: Quarterback Matt Alviti is coming off a five-touchdown game.
Prediction: Maine South 49, Evanston 10

No. 2 Glenbard West (6-0) at Addison Trail (6-0)

Proviso West Glenbard West
When:Friday at 7:30 p.m.
The story: Both Addison Trail and Glenbard West enter their Week 7 matchup undefeated. Glenbard West has proven itself. Addison Trail will look to accomplish that this week. The Blazers have outscored their opponents 172-13, but none of their six previous foes currently has a winning record. A win over Glenbard West -- or even a close game -- would build credibility. Glenbard West quarterback Justice Odom is expected to miss this week after suffering a knee injury last week.
Glenbard West player to watch: Running back Kendall Johnson is dangerous rushing or receiving the ball.
Addison Trail player to watch: Defensive back Vince Beltrano had two interceptions in last week’s win.
Prediction: Glenbard West 27, Addison Trail 10

No. 3 Lincoln-Way East (6-0) at Lincoln-Way Central (1-5)

Lincoln-Way Central Lincoln-Way East
When:Friday at 7:30 p.m.
The story: Lincoln-Way East survived the rough patch of its scheduled, pulling out wins over Bolingbrook, Homewood-Flossmoor and Sandburg. The Griffins should have an easy time closing out the regular season undefeated. Their next three opponents have won a combined three games.
Lincoln-Way East player to watch: Brian Bayer made a difference last week. He came through on the defensive line and as a short-yardage back.
Lincoln-Way Central player to watch: Brett Ditchman rushed for 201 yards and two touchdowns against Joliet West last week.
Prediction: Lincoln-Way East 49, Lincoln-Way Central 7

No. 4 Loyola (6-0) at Fenwick (3-3)

Fenwick Loyola Academy
When:Friday at 7:30 p.m.
The story: Loyola took a major step toward winning another Catholic League title with last week’s win over Mount Carmel. The Ramblers’ schedule doesn’t get much easier from here on out. After Fenwick, which does have its strengths, they face Brother Rice and St. Rita. Fenwick has won its last two games. In its other matchup against a Catholic League Blue opponent, Fenwick lost 42-0 to St. Rita.
Loyola player to watch: Connor Person is another one of Loyola’s top receivers. He had a 36-yard touchdown against Mount Carmel.
Fenwick player to watch: Jack Stibitch rushed for 108 yards and two touchdowns in last week’s win over Gordon Tech.
Prediction: Loyola 42, Fenwick 7

No. 5 St. Rita (5-1) at Bishop McNamara (5-1)

Bishop McNamara St. Rita
When: Friday at 7:30 p.m.
The story: St. Rita may have the state’s toughest schedule the next three weeks. Bishop McNamara leads the Catholic League White. Its only loss this season was to Brother Rice. After Bishop McNamara, St. Rita closes out the regular season with Mount Carmel and Loyola. The Mustangs haven’t allowed more than 17 points to an in-state opponent.
St. Rita player to watch: Zach Soria led the Mustangs’ rushing attack in last week’s win over Hales.
Bishop McNamara player to watch: Quarterback Channing Dolliger has come through with some key throws this season.
Prediction: St. Rita 31, Bishop McNamara 13

No. 6 Mount Carmel (5-1) at St. Laurence (2-4)

St. Laurence Mount Carmel
When:Friday at 7:30 p.m.
The story: Mount Carmel will look to bounce back from its first loss of the season. The Caravan’s offense was contained in last week’s 12-7 loss to Loyola. Quarterback Don Butkus and company will look to get it going again against St. Laurence, which lost 49-31 to Providence earlier in the season.
Mount Carmel player to watch: Brandon Greer is a major player on both sides of the ball.
St. Laurence player to watch: Andrew Javorka caught two touchdown passes in last week’s loss to Bishop McNamara.
Prediction: Mount Carmel 49, St. Laurence 10

Proviso East (1-5) at No. 7 Downers Grove South (6-0)

Downers Grove South Proviso East
When:Friday at 7:30 p.m.
The story: Downers Grove South’s last true test of the regular season may be Addison Trail in Week 9. Until then, the Mustangs should have no trouble the next few weeks. Downers Grove South has outscored its opponents 234-34 this season. Proviso East lost to Addison Trail 35-0 last week.
Proviso East player to watch: Quarterback Malcolm Hilliard has produced for the Pirates this season.
Downers Grove South player to watch: Wide receiver Kaylon Miler is one of the Mustangs’ many offensive stars.
Prediction: Downers Grove South 49, Proviso East 7

No. 8 Prairie Ridge (6-0) at No. 19 Jacobs (6-0)

Proviso East Proviso East
When: Friday at 7:15 p.m.
The story: This could be the game of the week or another Prairie Ridge rout. On paper, Jacobs should give Prairie Ridge a game, but no one has been able to do that so far. Even last week, the Wolves scored 41 points on a tough Crystal Lake South defense. Jacobs has been able to score on everyone this season. The Golden Eagles are averaging 38 points a game.
Prairie Ridge player to watch: Collin Corcoran had three tackles for a loss in last week’s win over Crystal Lake South.
Jacobs player to watch: Caz Zyks not only has a cool name, but he leads Jacobs’ rushing attack.
Prediction: Prairie Ridge 35, Jacobs 27

No. 9 Lake Zurich (5-1) at Stevenson (4-2)

Stevenson Lake Zurich
When:Thursday at 7 p.m.
The story: These two teams created one of the best games of last season. Stevenson scored in the final seconds to pull out a 24-23 upset of Lake Zurich. Lake Zurich will be favored again this season. The Bears have been dominant on the both sides of the ball since losing to Cary-Grove in Week 2. Stevenson suffered its second loss of the season last week. It lost to Lake Forest 10-7. The Patriots’ offense will need to step up this week.
Lake Zurich player to watch: Mike Shield has been key on both sides of the ball for the Bears.
Stevenson player to watch: Quarterback/kicker Matt Micucci has scored points in a variety of ways this season.
Prediction: Lake Zurich 24, Stevenson 20

No. 10 Bolingbrook (5-1) at Sandburg (5-1)

Sandburg Bolingbrook
When: Friday at 7:30 p.m.
The story: Lincoln-Way East likely has the conference crown wrapped up now, but second place still is available. Bolingbrook and Sandburg each enter this game with one conference loss. Both teams lost to Lincoln-Way East. Bolingbrook will be favored in this one. The Raiders were up 14-0 against Lincoln-Way East before surrendering 20 consecutive points. Sandburg lost 31-7 to Lincoln-Way East.
Bolingbrook player to watch: Bolingbrook quarterback Aaron Bailey is a threat to run for a touchdown on every snap.
Sandburg player to watch: Quarterback Anthony Adams completed 4-of-6 passes for 110 yards and three touchdowns last week.
Prediction: Bolingbrook 35, Sandburg 13

No. 11 Crete-Monee (6-0) at Rich Central (3-3)

Rich Central Crete-Monee
When:Friday at 6 p.m.
The story: Crete-Monee had a battle on its hands for a bit in last week’s win over Bloom. Ultimately, it won 32-7. The Warriors should have an easier time this week. Rich Central hasn’t beat a team with a winning record this season.
Crete-Monee player to watch: Marcus Terrell has been one of the area’s premier quarterbacks this season.
Rich Central player to watch: Wide receiver Brandon Fowler caught six passes for 103 yards last week.
Prediction: Crete-Monee 49, Rich Central 10

St. Viator (1-5) at No. 12 Carmel (4-2)

Carmel St. Viator
When:Friday at 7:30 p.m.
The story: Carmel is back in the East Suburban Catholic race with Joliet Catholic’s loss. The Corsairs do still have to face Marist, but otherwise shouldn’t be tested. St. Viator has allowed 50-plus points in four games this season. Carmel’s high-powered offense will be another challenge for it.
St. Viator player to watch: Quarterback Mickey Macius has the potential to be one of the area’s best next season.
Carmel player to watch: Quarterback Brian Brennan was impressive running and throwing the ball last week.
Prediction: Carmel 49, St. Viator 17

Hillcrest (0-6) at No. 13 Lemont (6-0)

Lemont Hillcrest
When:Friday at 7 p.m.
The story: Lemont’s defense continues to be one of the best in the state. The Indians shut out their fourth opponent last week. They’ve allowed 26 points in six games. They should have a good shot at another shutout this week. Hillcrest is winless and is averaging just over 10 points a game.
Hillcrest player to watch: Devonte Brewer will look to give the Hawks an offensive spark.
Lemont player to watch: Mike Anzalone rushed for 183 yards on 24 carries in last week’s win.
Prediction: Lemont 35, Hillcrest 0

Elgin (1-5) at No. 14 Batavia (6-0)

Batavia Elgin
When:Friday at 7:30 p.m.
The story: Batavia should win the Upstate Eight River after defeating Geneva last week. The Bulldogs’ remaining games shouldn’t be too difficult. This week’s opponent Elgin has lost its last five games. Batavia quarterback Noel Gaspari’s shoulder injury wasn’t as bad as it appeared last week. He’s expected to play this week.
Elgin player to watch: Running back/defensive back Dennis Moore has scored nearly every way possible this season.
Batavia player to watch: Dom Guzaldo came through last week with 92 rushing yards and three touchdowns.
Prediction: Batavia 45, Elgin 10

Notre Dame (3-3) at No. 15 Nazareth (5-1)

Nazareth Notre Dame
When:Saturday at 1:30 p.m.
The story: Nazareth shocked the area with a win over Joliet Catholic last week. The Roadrunners have put themselves in position to make a run at the conference title. Their toughest games are likely behind them. Notre Dame has been good and bad this season. The Dons lost their first three games, but have won their last three.
Notre Dame player to watch: Nick Pieruccini ran for a touchdown and threw for one in last week’s 14-0 win over Benet.
Nazareth player to watch: Joshua Moore rushed for 176 yards and one touchdown on 37 carries in last week’s win.
Prediction: Nazareth 31, Notre Dame 14

Marian Catholic (3-3) at No. 16 Joliet Catholic (5-1)

Joliet Catholic Marian Catholic
When:Friday at 7:30 p.m.
The story: Joliet Catholic’s offense looked invincible until last week’s loss to Nazareth. With the loss, the Hilltoppers dropped into a four-way tie for first place in the East Suburban Catholic Conference. Their offense will certainly be motivated to pick it back up this week against Marian Catholic. The Spartans lost to Marist 52-27 last week.
Marian Catholic player to watch: Running back Jeruel Taylor has more than 1,000 yards on the season.
Joliet Catholic player to watch: Running back Ty Isaac is in the mix for the ESPNChicago.com Player of the Year.
Prediction: Joliet Catholic 49, Marian Catholic 31

Streamwood (5-1) at No. 17 Geneva (5-1)

Geneva Streamwood
When: Friday at 7:30 p.m.
The story: Geneva and Streamwood suffered their first losses of the season last week. Geneva lost to Batavia, and Streamwood fell to St. Charles East. Geneva had its chances against Batavia, but its defense couldn’t contain the Bulldogs in the end. Streamwood’s defense had its own troubles in its 49-34 loss. St. Charles East had been winless.
Streamwood player to watch: Dalton Lundee threw for 274 yards and three touchdowns last week.
Geneva player to watch: Parker Woodworth rushed for more 100-plus yards again in last week’s loss.
Prediction: Geneva 42, Streamwood 20

No. 18 Antioch (6-0) at Round Lake (1-5)

Round Lake Antioch
When:Thursday at 7:30 p.m.
The story: Antioch is getting closer and closer to an undefeated regular season. The Sequoits’ only challenge is likely next week’s opponent Grant and should be able to take care of business the other two weeks. They were sharp in last week’s victory over Lakes. Round Lake has been out-scored 206-86 this season.
Antioch player to watch: Danny Arden was unstoppable last week. He rushed for 248 yards and three touchdowns.
Round Lake player to watch: Daniel Vega has been one of the team’s main offensive weapons.
Prediction: Antioch 42, Round Lake 7

Naperville Central (4-2) at No. 20 Wheaton North (5-1)

Wheaton North Naperville Central
When:Friday at 7:30 p.m.
The story: The DuPage Valley race is heating up. Wheaton North took sole possession of first place with Glenbard North’s loss to Naperville Central last week. Wheaton North is 4-0 in conference, but four teams trail by just one game. Naperville Central pulled off a major upset last week and will be looking to carry that momentum into this week. Its defense has been its strength this season. Wheaton North has been averaging 32.7 points a game.
Naperville Central player to watch: Senior linebacker John Dulleck is one of the defense’s key pieces.
Wheaton North player to watch: Quarterback John Peltz has had the Falcons’ offense rolling this season.
Prediction: Wheaton North 24, Naperville Central 17

Week 6 football preview

September, 28, 2011
9/28/11
10:39
PM CT
Here's a look at the sixth week of action in ESPNChicago.com's top 20.

No. 1 Maine South (5-0) at Niles West (2-3)

Niles West Maine South
When: Saturday at 1:30 p.m.
The story: Maine South showed it wasn’t invincible last week by trailing New Trier until the second half. The Trevians’ offense got going in the final two quarters and kept their 10-year conference winning streak alive. Maine South will be looking to end this week’s game early. Niles West has lost its last two games.
Maine South player to watch:Linebacker Luke Lenti has been a key defensive player this season.
Niles West player to watch:Wide receiver Jeremiah Jordan can be a threat.
Prediction:Maine South 49, Niles West 7

Proviso West (3-2) at No. 2 Glenbard West (5-0)

Glenbard West Proviso WestWhen: Saturday at 1 p.m.
The story: Glenbard West looks more impressive every week. The Panthers have out-scored their opponents 187-30 this season. Quarterback Justice Odom has continued to improve for the Hilltoppers. Proviso West lost to York 31-8 last week. The Panthers weren’t able to score many points in their two losses.
Proviso West player to watch: Running back Jamaal Payton scored his team’s lone touchdown last week.
Glenbard West player to watch: Tight end Nathan Marcus had two touchdowns in last week’s win.
Prediction: Glenbard West 42, Proviso West 10

No. 3 Lincoln-Way East (5-0) at No. 12 Bolingbrook (5-0)

Bolingbrook Lincoln-Way EastWhen: Friday at 7:30 p.m.
The story: All eyes will be on this game on Friday. Both teams have shown few flaws this season, and both took care of Homewood-Flossmoor to set up this undefeated matchup. The game will have plenty of star power. Bolingbrook quarterback Aaron Bailey and Lincoln-Way East quarterback Blake Winkler are two of the area’s best. Lincoln-Way East wide receiver Jason Robertson is headed to Illinois, and Bolingbrook linebacker Antonio Morrison is committed to Florida. This game may come down to which team makes the fewest mistakes.
Lincoln-Way East player to watch: Justin Corbett is one of the Griffins’ many receiving targets.
Bolingbrook player to watch: Omar Stover rushed for 118 yards in last week’s win over Homewood-Flossmoor.
Prediction: Lincoln-Way East 45, Bolingbrook 42

No. 4 Mount Carmel (5-0) at No. 6 Loyola (5-0)

Loyola Mount CarmelWhen: Saturday at 1:30 p.m.
The story: Loyola, Mount Carmel and St. Rita are all in position to make a run for the Catholic League Blue title again. They shared it last season with one loss each. One of the reasons that happened was Mount Carmel defeated Loyola 31-24 in overtime at Gately Stadium. Now, they meet again at Loyola. Both teams have played well on both sides of the ball. Mount Carmel looks to keep the ball on the ground, and Loyola looks to pass it.
Mount Carmel player to watch: This is one of the biggest games of junior quarterback Don Butkus’ young varsity career.
Loyola player to watch: Wide receiver Charlie Dowdle had two touchdowns in last year’s meeting.
Prediction: Mount Carmel 31, Loyola 28

Nazareth (4-1) at No. 5 Joliet Catholic (5-0)

Joliet Catholic NazarethWhen: Saturday at 7:30 p.m.
The story: Joliet Catholic hasn’t been challenged since Week 1, and this could be its toughest game since then. The Hilltoppers are the lone remaining undefeated team in the East Suburban Catholic Conference. Nazareth is 4-1 in conference with its lone loss to Carmel. Nazareth’s defense will have to find a way to stop Joliet Catholic’s run game. Nazareth has scored 30 or more points in its last three games.
Nazareth player to watch: Rudy Romagnano is capable of breaking a run any time he touches the ball.
Joliet Catholic player to watch: Quarterback Craig Slowik has thrown the ball well when needed to this season.
Prediction: Joliet Catholic 42, Nazareth 17

No. 7 St. Rita (4-1) at Hales (3-2)

Hales St. RitaWhen: Friday at 7:30 p.m.
The story: St. Rita gets a break from the Catholic League Blue for the next two weeks. If everything goes according to plan, the Mustangs should be 6-1 headed into their final games against Loyola and Mount Carmel. St. Rita’s defense was stellar again in last week’s 19-0 win over Providence. Hales has scored 44 points in each of its past two games. The problem has been containing opponents. Hales allowed 80 total points in those same games.
St. Rita player to watch: Ryan Leonard and Max Kurucar each returned interceptions for touchdowns last week.
Hales player to watch: Joe Morrow is Hales’ primary offensive weapon.
Prediction: St. Rita 42, Hales 14

No. 8 Downers Grove South (5-0) at Willowbrook (0-5)

Willowbrook Downers Grove SouthWhen: Friday at 7:30 p.m.
The story: Downers Grove South’s win over rival Downers Grove North wasn’t as pretty as it would have liked. A fumble at the goal line and a couple late touchdowns ruined Downers Grove South’s day. The Mustangs look for a cleaner game against winless Willowbrook. The Warriors have allowed 221 points this season.
Downers Grove South player to watch: Scott Daly is committed to Notre Dame as a long snapper, but he also plays tight end for the Mustangs.
Willowbrook player to watch: Dom Battaglia has been Willowbrook’s main offensive threat. He’s scored in most games this season.
Prediction: Downers Grove South 49, Willowbrook 7

No. 9 Glenbard North (5-0) at Naperville Central (3-2)

Naperville Central Glenbard NorthWhen: Friday at 7:30 p.m.
The story: Glenbard North’s schedule isn’t easy the rest of the way. Naperville Central could easily be 4-1 if it weren’t for last week’s narrow 14-7 loss to Wheaton Warrenville South. Naperville Central’s offense has struggled in its two losses. Glenbard North’s defense is among the area’s best. The Panthers have shut out three opponents this season.
Glenbard North player to watch: Collin Hansen returned an interception for a touchdown in last week’s win.
Naperville Central player to watch: Running back Matt Randolph looks to bounce back from last week’s 60-yard game. He has rushed for 762 yards this season.
Prediction: Glenbard North 28, Naperville Central 14

No. 10 Prairie Ridge (5-0) at No. 16 Crystal Lake South (5-0)

Crystal Lake South Prairie RidgeWhen: Friday at 7:15 p.m.
The story: No one has been able to stop Prairie Ridge yet. The Wolves have out-scored their opponents 224-14 this season. This will be their greatest test to date. Crystal Lake South’s defense is also among the area’s best. The Gators have allowed 31 points this season, and no one has scored more than 12 points in a game. Something will have to give in this one.
Prairie Ridge player to watch: Running back Connor Greenwald is normally good for at least a touchdown a game.
Crystal Lake South player to watch: Brad Walovitch is one of the state’s most versatile players. For the Gators to have a chance, he’ll need to come through in some way.
Prediction: Prairie Ridge 21, Crystal Lake South 14

No. 11 Lake Zurich (4-1) at Libertyville (3-2)

Lake Zurich LibertyvilleWhen: Friday at 7:30 p.m.
The story: Lake Zurich’s schedule picks up from here. If the Bears are going to win the conference, the next three weeks will decide that with games against Libertyville, Stevenson and Lake Forest. Lake Zurich has looked good on both sides of the ball the last few weeks. Libertyville lost to Stevenson 13-0 last week. It was the second time this year the Wildcats had been shutout. Their offense will have to step up against Lake Zurich, which hasn’t allowed more than 14 points this season.
Lake Zurich player to watch: Jack Lynn may be going to Minnesota to be a linebacker, but he can catch the ball, too. He had four receptions for 106 yards last week.
Libertyville player to watch: Wide receiver Austin Williams is a consistent target for the team’s quarterbacks.
Prediction: Lake Zurich 24, Libertyville 10

No. 13 Carmel (3-2) at St. Patrick (3-2)

St. Patrick Carmel When: Friday at 8 p.m.
The story: Carmel is coming off a loss to a top team from Minnesota. The Corsairs are still in the East Suburban Catholic race with one loss. They’ll need Joliet Catholic to eventually lose, but they can only control themselves right now. They could be in for an offensive shootout against St. Patrick. The Shamrocks have put up 30-plus points in four of their five games. They’ve lost the last two weeks by a combined 10 points.
Carmel player to watch: Tyler Lees is one of the area’s top linebackers.
St. Patrick player to watch: Guy DiBalsamo is a threat rushing or catching the ball for the Shamrocks.
Prediction: Carmel 45, St. Patrick 31

No. 18 Batavia (5-0) at No. 14 Geneva (5-0)

Geneva BataviaWhen: Friday at 7:30 p.m.
The story: Week 6 is definitely not short of marquee matchups. This should be another good one. Geneva had a couple close calls early, but has taken care of business the past few weeks with lopsided wins. Batavia hasn’t had a close game yet this season -- its smallest margin of victory has been 22 points. No opponent has scored more than 13 points against it. This game could very well decide the conference title.
Batavia player to watch: Quarterback Noel Gaspari threw for 247 yards and two touchdowns in last week’s win.
Geneva player to watch: Senior Matt Williams is one of the area’s best quarterbacks.
Prediction: Geneva 27, Batavia 21

Bloom (1-4) at No. 15 Crete-Monee (5-0)

Crete-Monee Bloom When: Friday at 6 p.m.
The story: Crete-Monee hasn’t been troubled yet this season, and that will likely be the case again this week. The Warriors have been steamrolling teams through five weeks. Their offense and defense have been dominant. Bloom has been in some tight games this season, including last week’s 6-2 loss to Rich South, but will have to play at a whole other level to compete with Crete-Monee.
Bloom player to watch: Wide receiver Jason Mendez can make plays.
Crete-Monee player to watch: Linebacker John Fasel recovered two fumbles in last week’s win over Kankakee.
Prediction: Crete-Monee 42, Bloom 7

No. 17 Lemont (5-0) at Bremen (5-0)

Bremen LemontWhen: Friday at 7 p.m.
The story: This game will likely decide the South Suburban Blue. Both teams enter undefeated. Lemont has been more impressive in its wins, but Bremen can’t be overlooked. Bremen hasn’t allowed an opponent more than 13 points this season, and its offense is led by all-area candidate running back David Smith. Lemont was challenged last week by previously-undefeated Tinley Park, but prevailed 49-20. It was the most points the Indians’ defense had given up this season.
Lemont player to watch: Quarterback Damon Aleman was 7-of-10 for 150 yards and three touchdowns in last week’s win.
Bremen player to watch: Davis Smith is one of the area’s top running backs. He has a several Division I schools after him.
Prediction: Lemont 24, Bremen 13

Jacobs (5-0) at Huntley (1-4)

Huntley JacobsWhen: Friday at 7:15 p.m.
The story: Jacobs proved it was legit with last week’s win over Cary-Grove. It will have a chance to further show that with upcoming games against Crystal Lake South and Prairie Ridge. For now, it should be able to remain undefeated for one more week as its travel to Huntley. Jacobs coach Bill Mitz has quickly turned the program around in two years. Huntley dropped its first four games and defeated Dundee-Crown last week.
Jacobs player to watch: Quarterback Jason Judson has the Golden Eagles’ offense averaging more than 30 points a game. He’s had a long touchdown pass in almost every game.
Huntley player to watch: Junior Ethan Connor rushed for four touchdown in last week’s win.
Prediction: Jacobs 38, Huntley 10

No. 20 Antioch (5-0) at Lakes (4-1)

Lakes AntiochWhen: Friday at 7:30 p.m.
The story: Antioch hasn’t been the most dominating undefeated team in the area, but the Sequoits have found a way to get it done every week. They haven’t scored more than 28 points in a game, but they haven’t allowed more than 12 points. They’ve also prevailed in tight games with a two-point win over Lake Forest Academy and a three-point victory over Vernon Hills. Lakes could present a similar type of game. Lakes has a loss to Lake Zurich, but is undefeated in the North Suburban Prairie. The winner of this game will likely win the division.
Antioch player to watch: Danny Arden has rushed for 100-plus yards in every game this season. He had 121 yards and a touchdown in last week’s win over Wauconda.
Lakes player to watch: Andrew Spencer returned a punt for an 80-yard touchdown, which proved the difference in Lakes’ 7-6 win over Vernon Hills.
Prediction: Antioch 23, Lakes 14

St. Rita guard Hicks commits to Penn

September, 26, 2011
9/26/11
5:18
PM CT
St. Rita senior guard Tony Hicks has committed to Penn.

Hicks, a 6-foot-2 combo guard, chose Penn over offers from Dayton, George Mason, Loyola, South Florida and Wright State.

“I wanted to go somewhere I was wanted the most,” Hicks said on Monday. “I felt Penn wanted me the most. They called me every day they could. It was just a really good feel. The team are a bunch of cool guys. The coaches had the same type of environment as St. Rita. You can’t get much better than them academically.”

Hicks averaged a team-high 16 points for St. Rita last season.

“I think he’s one of the most underrated players around,” St. Rita coach Gary DeCesare said. “He’s done a very, very good job this summer working on his game. He’s a scoring guard, but he could also play the point.”

Coaches rountable: Which rule to change

September, 22, 2011
9/22/11
11:39
PM CT

Each week we’ll be presenting a unique question to all of the coaches in ESPNChicago.com’s top 20 poll. It’s a new feature we’re calling Coaches Roundtable.

This week’s question: What one IHSA rule would you like changed?

Loyola’s John Holecek: The first three practice days of fall camp being non-padded; it’s completely without merit because summer practices can be whatever a coach chooses. It should be changed to no contact all summer when there are less medical personnel and incomplete supervision at schools.

Batavia’s Dennis Piron: The kids on the team said "touchdown celebrations"! I think that the rules are fine the way they are.

Geneva’s Rob Wicinski: Offensive pass interference – why is this a bigger ‘punch in the gut’ than a personal foul? Fifteen-yard penalty and loss of down and enforced at the line of scrimmage? C’mon.

Crystal Lake South’s Chuck Ahsmann: I would like to see the IHSA do a true seed for the state series. I do not like that we seem to play the same teams from our regular season in the playoffs because of proximity.

Glenbard West’s Chad Hetlet: Playoff seeding should be 1-32 regardless of travel to be fair to those that earn high seeds.

Crete-Monee’s Jerry Verde: The seeding of the playoffs. Just seed 1-32, no North and South and no quadrants. The current system penalizes the Chicagoland area.

Maine South’s David Inserra: Onside kicks. We put all 10 guys on one side of the ball and ‘get 'em’ because it is legal. I proposed several years back that we should adapt the pro or college rule of only five guys on one side for safety reasons.

Lemont’s Eric Michaelsen: I am okay with the IHSA. Maybe having to go three days in August with no pads after the 25 days in the summer.
Bolingbrook’s John Ivlow: Playoff system. I would like to see a seeding system.

St. Rita’s Todd Kuska: The IHSA needs to abolish the regional quadrants. The playoffs should be seeded like they were in the old days -- based on wins and not geography. Some of the best experiences in the playoffs comes from playing teams that you have never played before -- getting on the road and traveling is a great experience. We are depriving our student-athletes of this experience. As a coach, I also enjoyed scouting teams from all across the state and matching up with teams that we had never played before.

Lake Zurich’s Bryan Stortz: I would like to see the playoffs seeded 1-32 and not by region or traveling distance. The reason would be that you may have the true No. 1 and No. 2 seeds in the same quadrant.

Prairie Ridge’s Chris Schremp: I wish the IHSA would have more control over club and travel sports. I would like to see more kids playing two and three sports. I feel too many club and travel coaches are influencing kids into specializing in one sport.

St. Rita moves into national rankings

October, 19, 2010
10/19/10
3:09
PM CT
St. Rita became the second Chicago-area football team to enter ESPN RISE’s FAB 50 in the latest rankings.

Along with No. 20 Wheaton Warrenville South (8-0), which did not move this week, St. Rita (8-0) was ranked No. 50 this week.

In the Midwest Region Top 20 rankings, Wheaton Warrenville South remained at No. 2 behind top-ranked Glenville (Cleveland, Ohio). St. Rita (ranked No. 8 in ESPNChicago.com's rankings) and No. 17 Glenbard West also stayed put.

Glenbard North (7-1) fell out of the Midwest rankings after its loss to Wheaton Warrenville South, and Carmel (8-0) and Simeon (8-0) were on the Midwest bubble.

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