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updated: 9/15/2011 11:38 PM

Football / Scouting Lake County, Week 4

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Marian Catholic (2-1, 2-1) at Carmel Catholic (2-1, 2-1)

When: 7:305 p.m.

Last week: Marian Catholic lost to Nazareth, 35-19; Carmel defeated Notre Dame, 26-7.

Skinny: Marian Catholic is coming off a lopsided loss to Nazareth, which the previous week lost to Carmel by a lopsided score, 27-3. Fumbles were Marian Catholic's demise against Nazareth, as the Spartans put the football on the ground eight times, turning it over four. Running back Jeruel Taylor rushed for 167 yards and a touchdown on 20 carries for Marian Catholic.

But the Spartans were burned on the ground by Nazareth running back Rudy Romagnano (3 TDs) and now face Carmel's powerful option attack led by fullback Jordan Kos (65 carries, 353 yards, 3 TDs), speedy Mike Panico (30-208 yards, 4 TDs) and quarterback Brian Brennan (48-319 yards, 2 TDs). Panico returned a kickoff 95 yards for a score and rushed for another one at Notre Dame last Friday. When the Corsairs have stalled offensively, junior kicker Steven O'Block has bailed them out. O'Block has already kicked 5 field goals, including 42-, 48- and 47-yarders. Linebacker Tyler Lees leads the defense with 38 tackles (21 solos) and an interception.

-- Joe Aguilar


Woodstock (0-3, 0-1) at Grayslake Central (3-0, 1-0)

When: 7:15 p.m.

Last week: Woodstock lost to Crystal Lake Central, 20-7; Grayslake Central defeated Hampshire, 34-0.

Skinny: Woodstock may still be looking for its first win, but Grayslake Central coach Nick Goshe says there's no way his team will be looking past this particular opponent. It was just two years ago that the Blue Streaks advanced to the semifinals of the Class 5A playoffs. "This is a very good program and (Woodstock coach) Steve (Beard) is one of the best coaches in our conference," Goshe said.

"Two years ago when they made that run, we were coming off a win against Jacobs when we had to play Woodstock. We were feeling pretty good about ourselves and then Woodstock just blitzed us. I mean, they really handled us and out-coached us. I think that win kind of catapulted them to the Final Four. Ever since then, everything they do is a worry."…The Rams are proving to be a worry themselves. The Grayslake Central defense is not only coming off a shutout but has given up an average of only 9 points per game. "We're real happy with our defense," Goshe said. "Our strength is up the middle and we're kind of built around that."

Linebackers Jake Paust and Kristian Meehan, along with defensive back Stephen Burgess lead the Rams in tackles and are the only returning defensive starters back from a year ago. … Grayslake Central also presents all kinds of headaches on offense with a balanced attack that features running back Joey Valdivia and quarterback Ray Beckman. Valdivia rolled up 176 all-purpose yards against Hampshire last week while Beckman completed 10-of-17 passes for 182 yards.

-- Patricia Babcock McGraw


Grayslake North (1-2, 0-1) at Johnsburg (0-3, 0-1)

When: 7:15 p.m.

Last week: Grayslake North lost to Jacobs, 62-21; Johnsburg lost to Woodstock North, 35-13.

Skinny: A week after scoring a school-record 49 points in a win over Round Lake, Grayslake North was on the opposite end of an offensive explosion. Jacobs' 62 points against the Knights was not a school record, however. Cary-Grove shut out the Knights 68-0 in their inaugural season in 2006 and also scored 63 points on them in 2007. Grayslake North's defense looks to redeem itself against a Johnsburg team that was shut out the first two weeks of the season (against Grant and Jacobs). The Knights' schedule is favorable the next two weeks, as after playing the Skyhawks tonight, they host Hampshire (0-3) on homecoming and visit Woodstock (0-3).

-- Joe Aguilar


Lakes (3-0) at Lake Zurich (2-1)

When: 7:30 p.m.

Last week: Lakes defeated Grant, 38-14; Lake Zurich defeated Warren, 33-14.

Skinny: Take a little bit of Grant, a lit bit of Antioch and a little bit of Vernon Hills and you've got Lake Zurich. At least, that's how Lakes coach Luke Mertens sees it. "They're a combination of three of the best teams in our conference," Mertens said of Lake Zurich. "They have the physicality of a Grant, they're really well-coached like Vernon Hills and they are really hard to stop like Antioch. And they've got a lot of guys who play with passion. You can just tell they're a good team."…Lake Zurich is coming off a win over Warren in which its special teams looked awfully good.

The Bears scored 12 points off 4 field goals (courtesy of kicker Mike Leiva), blocked a punt and returned a punt for a touchdown (courtesy John Orlando). The defense got in on the action, too. Mike Shield, the Bears' top rusher (70 yards against Warren), also plays defense and scored a touchdown by recovering a Warren fumble in the end zone. … Lakes has beautifully weathered a rash of injuries, including the loss of starting running back Mike Pfeiffer, who has been out since doubles with a knee injury. Direll Clark has more than picked up the slack. He had 3 touchdowns last week. "We're missing people and we're still running our offense effectively," Mertens said. "I'm really proud of our guys." It also helps that the Eagles can run behind a big line, anchored by 6-foot-5, 265-pound tackle Dan Pawlak, who is receiving attention from Big Ten colleges.

-- Patricia Babcock McGraw


Vernon Hills (2-1) at Antioch (3-0)

When: 7:30 p.m.

Last week: Vernon Hills defeated North Chicago, 43-8; Antioch defeated Libertyville, 21-0.

Skinny: The champion of the North Suburban Prairie Division over each of the last three years has been either Vernon Hills or Antioch. And it looks like the division championship might just have to go through one of those programs again, starting with whichever team comes out on top in this game. "This is what you play for, this is what it's all about, these are the games you look forward to," Antioch coach Brian Glashagel said. "Our place is going to be packed. You're looking at not only two of the better teams in Class 5A, but also in all the suburbs."

Vernon Hills and Antioch share many of the same strengths, particularly on offense with their love of the option. "We are very similar with the Xs and Os," Glashagel said. "We both play good, sound defense and we run the ball a lot." … Antioch fullback Dan Arden ran up 179 yards on 32 carries last week against Libertyville. He also scored 3 touchdowns. … Vernon Hills showed nice balance in a 43-point outburst against North Chicago. Quarterback Steve Nelson ran for 2 touchdowns as did junior running back Dylan McNamara. Running back Jarret Wood also scored 2 touchdowns but one was on a 28-yard pass from Nelson.

-- Patricia Babcock McGraw

Grant (1-2) at Wauconda (1-2)

When: 7:30 p.m.

Last week: Grant lost to Lakes, 38-14; Wauconda lost to Round Lake, 17-14.

Skinny: Two straight losses for both Grant and Wauconda make for two hungry teams. Or … "These are two angry teams," Wauconda coach Dave Mills said. "Both teams need a win and for us, we really want to break our streak against Grant. I've been here 11 years and we've never beaten them. I think that bothers our guys. We also share a boundary with Grant and we even have common mascots. I don't think there's any love loss between our two teams." … Speaking of losses, Wauconda is coming off a painful loss to Round Lake last week. The Panthers kicked a field goal with 30 seconds left to secure the victory. "It's been easy for us to keep the tempo up in practice this week," Mills said. "Our guys don't want to go through that again. It was very disappointing for them to lose like that."

But there were some bright spots for Wauconda. Quarterback Branden Rowe passed for 230 yards and 2 touchdowns, both to Jake Ziolkowski, who racked up 9 receptions for 184 yards. "They run that spread and they throw the ball quite a bit," Grant coach Kurt Rous said of Wauconda. "(Ziolkowski) is very good and their quarterback has a good arm." … Rous' Bulldogs had most of their success on the ground last week. Jonathon Wells rushed for 97 yards and 2 touchdowns on 16 carries. But, in the meantime, Grant couldn't stop Lakes' potent rushing attack. "I thought we just got outplayed (against Lakes). We didn't play very physical. I thought we got beat up on both sides of the ball. It was disheartening."

-- Patricia Babcock McGraw

North Chicago (0-3) at Round Lake (1-2)

When: 1 p.m. Saturday

Last week: North Chicago lost to Vernon Hills, 43-8; Round Lake defeated Wauconda, 17-14.

Skinny: Round Lake made a major breakthrough last week with its dramatic win in the final minute over Wauconda and hopes to keep that trend going. The victory was the first for the Panthers in a North Suburban Conference Prairie Division game since a Week 7 victory over Antioch in the 2006 season. That snapped a 26-game losing streak in Prairie Division action. Now, Round Lake can get a second Prairie Division win in the same season for the first time since 2001. That year, the Panthers went 6-3 on the season, 4-2 in the Prairie and qualified for the playoffs.

Meanwhile, North Chicago is trying to snap its own losing streak. The Warhawks haven't won a game since defeating Round Lake in Week 5 of last season. "We've got a lot of young guys playing in key spots," North Chicago coach Glen Kozlowski said. "But they're going to continue to grow and be very good." Arnold Shead starts at quarterback for North Chicago. He is just a sophomore but is fast and elusive. Three of the best defenders on the team -- Jamal Dixon, Khalia Rodgers and Richard Cunningham -- are also sophomores. They are all linebackers and lead the team in tackles. They'll be charged with trying to contain Round Lake quarterback Anthony Burton, who rolled up 121 yards and a touchdown and also kicked the winning field goal last week against Wauconda.

"I don't think there's a thing that Anthony Burton doesn't do," Kozlowski said. "He's also playing defense for them, doing the kicking, I bet he ties everyone's shoes and gets the water if they need him to. I loved him last year as a player and he's only gotten better." One of Burton's favorite targets in the passing game is Daniel Vega, who had 6 catches against Wauconda. … Defensively, the Panthers got 2 sacks out of Jorge Venegas last week.

-- Patricia Babcock McGraw


Libertyville (2-1, 0-0) at Mundelein (0-3, 0-1)

When: 7:30 p.m.

Last week: Libertyville lost to Antioch, 21-0; Mundelein lost to Lake Forest, 49-0.

Skinny: Mundelein High School is celebrating its 50th anniversary this weekend, so the football team should be especially motivated to win. Not that the Mustangs should need any motivation, since they're playing Libertyville. The problem is, the Wildcats are coming off their first loss by shutout since the 2000 playoffs."Libertyville will be a team on a mission this week," Mundelein coach Bob Stone said. "I am sure they planned on being 3-0. Antioch is the real deal and played a very good game last week."

Libertyville's offense features quarterback Hutch Herchenbach and running back Brian Swift. The defense has lots of experience. "Libertyville is well-balanced on offense and attacking on defense," Stone said. "They have some very good people in their linebacking crew. They read fast and come downhill hard. They will present a real challege to us on both offense and defense." ... Running back L.D. Frison (239 yards, 7.7 average, 3 TDs0 and quarterback Gable Leppert (15-of-22 passing, 121 yards, 47 rushing yards) lead Mundelein offensively.

-- Joe Aguilar

Stevenson (2-1, 1-0) at Warren (0-3, 0-1)

When: 7:30 p.m.

Last week: Stevenson def. Zion-Benton, 31-7; Warren lost to Lake Zurich, 33-14.

Skinny: Warren isn't used to being in must-win mode this early in the season, but the Blue Devils know an 0-4 start will mean they would have to win their remaining five games in order to have a shot at earning an at-large playoff berth. The Blue Devils' schedule has been tough, as Maine South, New Trier and Lake Zurich are a combined 7-2. Now Warren, which has managed only 33 points with its new spread offense, faces a Stevenson squad that has won two straight since an Opening Night loss on the road to Lyons. With senior fullback Nate Kahn (ankle) expected to miss the rest of the regular season, junior Chris Peters has stepped up for Stevenson. Peters has scored 3 touchdowns in the last two weeks. He rushed 17 times for 95 yards and 2 scores against Zion-Benton. Patriots senior offensive tackle Jake Hurcombe recently committed to Eastern Michigan.

-- Joe Aguilar