On High School Football
4:06 PM AKDT, November 1, 2012
Neuqua Valley at Bolingbrook
7 p.m. Friday
Records: Neuqua Valley 10-0, Bolingbrook 8-2.
On the offensive: Neuqua Valley has been balanced on offense. Senior RB Joey Rhattigan is a power back who also has speed and great vision. Senior QB Dylan Andrew has been a big boost. Neuqua Valley has a big and physical offensive line, led by senior linemen J.P. Quinn (Central Michigan) and Andrew Geers. Bolingbrook has been able to get its option offense on track despite injuries to QB Aaron Bailey (Illinois) and RB Omar Stover. Sophomore QB Quincy Woods has improved every week. The Raiders might have Bailey and Stover back this week, moving Woods back to receiver.
On the defensive: Neuqua Valley has been solid this season on the defensive side of the ball. Keep an eye out for Wildcats senior DL/OL Michael Casas and senior Sam Norgaard. Bolingbrook's defense was thought to be the biggest question mark heading into this season, but it has been good and consistent. Bolingbrook senior DE Chandler Piekarski leads a strong and quick defensive line and junior DB Parrker Westphal is drawing major Division I scholarship offers.
The talk: Will Bailey be back this week for the Raiders? Has Neuqua Valley played a defense as good as the Raiders' this season?
The number: 242. Average weight of the Neuqua Valley starting offensive linemen.
Edgy's pick: Bolingbrook 22, Neuqua Valley 14. The Raiders get a huge boost from key starters returning from injury and hang on for the upset.
Stevenson at Glenbard North
1 p.m. Saturday
Records: Stevenson 8-2, Glenbard North 9-1.
On the offensive: Glenbard North will look to run, play ball control and mix in just enough play action passing to keep the Patriots' defense honest. Senior QB Brian Murphy is a three-year starter who can throw and run equally well. Junior RB/DB Justin Jackson is the featured back and is capable of breaking off a big run on every carry. Stevenson has balance and a ton of young talent. Sophomore QB Willie Bourbon has improved each week. Keep an eye on sophomore WR Cameron Green and senior RB Anthony Bozin. The Patriots' offensive line is big and physical, fueled by Zach Novoselsky.
On the defensive: Glenbard North prides itself on playing team defense year in and year out. North is generally undersized up front, but the Panthers fly to the football as well as any team in the Chicago area. Keep an eye out for junior DT Jerrod Miller and Jackson, who will cover the opposing team's best receiver. Stevenson has some playmakers. Junior S Matt Morrissey is the son of former Chicago Bears LB Jim Morrissey. Sophomore Nick Dillon is a load on the defensive line.
The talk: Could the winner be considered a dark horse in the 8A upper bracket? Stevenson might have the most talented underclassmen of any school in the state. Can the Patriots dent a good, quick Glenbard North defense?
The number: 4. Combined runner-up finishes between Glenbard North (1991, 2000, 2007) and Stevenson (2002). Neither team has won a state football title.
Edgy's pick: Glenbard North 24, Stevenson 14. The Panthers find a way to slow down a very good Patriots offense for the win.
Downers Grove North at Thornton
7 p.m. Friday
Records: Downers Grove North 6-4, Thornton 8-2.
On the offensive: Downers Grove North ran its power-running offense with great success in a first-round upset win over Batavia. QB David Edwards, RB Kyle Leto and RB Brandon Salter give the Trojans a tough inside-outside running combination. Thornton is more inclined to throw behind junior QB JoWahn Brown. Also watch Illinois State-bound RB Jamal Towns and junior WR Jauan Wesley.
On the defensive: Downers Grove North has a young, talented defense, including three junior standouts, DL Vontae Diggs, DL Joe Hill and LB Danny Izewski. Thornton's defense has been up and down. Senior DB Jalen Banks (Vanderbilt) is a leader. Keep an eye on junior DL Lavon Ratcliff.
The talk: Was the win over Batavia a one-time deal or can Downers Groove North make a deep run? Can Thornton slow down the Trojans' running game? Can North keep up with the speedy Wildcats?
The number: 2. This will be just the second night game at Thornton in nearly 30 years.
Edgy's pick: Downers Grove North 24, Thornton 21. The chess match between North coach John Wander and Thornton coach Bill Mosel is worth the price of admission.
Providence at Lincoln-Way East
7 p.m. Saturday
Records: Providence 8-2, Lincoln-Way East 10-0.
On the offensive: Lincoln-Way East has gotten a great season from Northern Illinois-bound QB Tommy Fuessel. He's a dangerous runner and has become a polished thrower. East's other weapons include senior WR Justin Corbett and junior RB Nick Colangelo. East junior OC Nick Allegretti is drawing scholarship offers. Providence is led by senior RB Brandon Price and junior QB Dominic Lagone. Chad Weaver and Miles Boykin are Lagone's targets.
On the defensive: Lincoln-Way East relies on speed and a disciplined front seven. The linebackers are quick and athletic, led by Adam O'Grady and Kyle Langenderfer. Providence has speed and athleticism. Cousins and linebackers Jack Fordon and Brian Fordon, plus senior DB Kevin Ward, are keys.
The talk: Can Providence break the Griffins' winning streak? Look for a capacity crowd in Frankfort this week for this local rivalry. Many of the players know each other well.
The number: 5. East has beaten Providence in all five meetings between the schools since 2004.
Edgy's pick: Lincoln-Way East 21, Providence 14. This could wind up being an instant classic. Expect a ton of hitting and defense.
Lemont at Richards
6 p.m. Saturday
Records: Lemont 9-1, Richards 9-1.
On the offensive: Richards coach Tony Sheehan moved Division I athlete Tommy Mister from quarterback to running back midseason, and the Bulldogs have been much improved ever since. Sophomore QB Hasan Muhammad-Rogers is a capable thrower and runner, and Mister looks like he's been playing running back for years. Also keep an eye on junior WR Tacari Carpenter, who is a speedy game-breaker for the Bulldogs. Lemont will run behind an oversized offensive line. Bowling Green recruit Tim McAuliffe and LSU-bound Ethan Pocic lead the way for senior RB Chris Giatras. Lemont QB Zach Brosseau is capable and will throw when required.
On the defensive: Richards might have one of the area's most underrated defenses. The Bulldogs are lightning-quick, and getting an outside running lane is tough. Senior DE Brian Hettiger is a leader. Watch junior LB Romel Hill and junior DB Dylan Jiles. Lemont has speed and play-making ability. LB Connor O'Brien and senior DB Jake Lemming are keys.
The talk: Can Lemont run on a very good Bulldogs defense? Can Richards man up on defense and stuff a big Lemont offensive line? Can the young Bulldogs come of age this week?
The number: 2007. The last year Richards beat Lemont. The Bulldogs won 23-22 in Week 4 of the 2007 season.
Edgy's pick: Richards 28, Lemont 24. The Bulldogs find a way to slow down the Lemont running game and break open a few big plays for the win.