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Article updated: 9/27/2012 8:18 PM
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Football: Scouting Week 6, Lake County
 

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Football: Scouting Week 6, Lake County
 

FOX VALLEY FOX

Woodstock (2-3, 1-2) at Grayslake North (4-1, 2-0)

Story Continues Below

When: 7:15 p.m., today

Last week: Woodstock lost to Woodstock North, 28-23; Grayslake North def. Hampshire, 54-22.

Last year's result: Grayslake North def. Woodstock, 49-21.

Skinny: A win for Grayslake North will make the Knights playoff-eligible for the second time in their seven-year history. They did not qualify for the postseason as a 5-4 team two years ago. Senior QB AJ Fish, who started for that 2010 team, continued to add to his amazing season stats last Friday at Hampshire. His 3-TD, 222-yard rushing effort hiked his season totals to 18 touchdowns and 884 rushing yards (9.2 per carry). Grayslake North's four-game winning streak is a school record. While Fish has been the most prolific player in Lake County, the Knights have also received great production from sophomore running back Titus Booker (384 rushing yards, 6.7 average, 7 TDs). ... Woodstock hasn't lost two in a row, nor won two straight. The Blue Streaks have been impressive in both of their wins: 52-7 over Chicago Noble Street Charter and 31-0 over Grayslake Central. Woodstock has lost to Wauconda (21-7), Crystal Lake Central (21-14) and Woodstock North (28-23).

-- Joe Aguilar

Grayslake Central (2-3, 1-2) at Crystal Lake Central (4-1, 2-0)

When: 7:15 p.m., today

Last week: Grayslake Central def. Johnsburg, 29-12; Crystal Lake Central def. Prairie Ridge, 7-3.

Skinny: Last week's win over Johnsburg was just what the doctor ordered for the Rams. After three straight losses through the first four weeks, Grayslake Central was hurting…in more ways than one. The losses weren't easy, but neither was the fact that the Rams haven't been playing at full strength. Starting quarterback Alex Lennartz went down with a knee injury two weeks ago at practice and running back Tyler Gustke was moved over to replace him. Gustke's replacement Connor Daley then promptly went down with a shoulder injury. "We've had to talk with the guys a lot about how to overcome adversity," Grayslake Central coach Ben Ault said. "When you suffer three losses in a row and then the injuries start piling up, you need to talk about how the kids react to that, and the fact that they still need to take responsibility for the way they play. I think the kids have really been listening to us, because we're still seeing progress every week."…Jourden Swopes is coming off a big week for the Rams, having rolled up 119 rushing yards on 10 carries…The stretch run of the season gets tougher for Grayslake Central as three teams with winning records loom in the last four games, including two teams with just one loss. Crystal Lake Central is one of those teams. "Most people at the beginning of the season were picking Crystal Lake Central to be at the top of our league and they have done everything to live up to that," Ault said. "Defensively, they are tough, big and athletic and offensively, their front line is big and they just run right at you."…The Tigers' top rusher is fullback Connor Hines, who is tough to take down. Quarterback Kyle Lavand has been keeping defenses honest with his ability to make plays through the air. "Crystal Lake Central has had this reputation of being run, run, run and they can certainly do that very well and will run a lot," Ault said. "But this quarterback they have is very talented and he's making them even more difficult to defend because the offense has become more multi-dimensional."

-- Patricia Babcock McGraw

NORTH SUBURBAN LAKE

Libertyville (4-1, 2-1) at Lake Forest (4-1, 1-1)

When: 7:30 p.m., today

Last week: Libertyville def. Mundelein, 40-8; Lake Forest def. Zion-Benton, 41-13.

Skinny: At 35.4 points per game, Libertyville is averaging the most points in the North Suburban Lake Division. But the scoreboard might not light up as easily against Lake Forest, one of the stingiest teams in the division. The Scouts have are allowing just 8.3 points per game. "Lake Forest has a very good defense," Libertyville coach Mike Jones said. "It's going to be really tough for our offense this week."…The rate as which Libertyville has scored in its previous five games hasn't surprised Jones. "I knew we had a lot of returning starters and a lot of experience coming back on offense," Jones said. "Whenever you have that, the potential is there to score a lot of points." What did surprise Jones in the Wildcats' last outing was the efficiency of the offense. Quarterback Jack Deichl completed all 15 of his passes and running back Brian Swift scored 5 touchdowns on 7 carries. "You just never see numbers like those," Jones said. "Those stats really stick out. I think we are continuing to give Jack a lot of time to find receivers and we're doing a good job mixing in the running game."…Lake Forest continues to get back into full swing after the school's teachers' strike forced the team to forfeit its Sept. 14 game against Lake Zurich. "I think they're back because they are a well-coached, solid team that does sound things year in and year out," Jones said. "I expect Lake Forest to execute well. They are very balanced and have a couple of receivers and a couple of running backs who can really hurt you."

-- Patricia Babcock McGraw

Mundelein (0-5, 0-3) at Stevenson (4-1, 3-0)

When: 7:30 p.m., today

Last week: Mundelein lost to Libertyville, 40-8; Stevenson def. Warren, 39-7.

Last year's result: Stevenson def. Mundelein, 41-14.

Skinny: Stevenson's offense has hit its stride the last two weeks, torching Grant for 42 points and then Warren for 39. Sophomore QB Willie Bourbon has big, talented targets in Alan Velev and Matt Morrissey, while Danny Nowak has been reliable in the red zone (8 TDs). Figure the Patriots to have another big night offensively against a Mundelein squad that has allowed 209 points, most in the NSC Lake. During its three-game winning streak (Libertyville, Grant, Warren), Stevenson has allowed just 23 points. Morrissey and Anthony Bozin are among the leaders on defense. "Stevenson is a really good football team," first-year Mundelein coach George Kaider said. "They have excellent skilled players on offense, and their defense is the best I have seen this year. I am most impressed with the physical play of their defensive ends and safeties. They are clearly one of the top teams in the state, and it will be quite a challenge for our young team." ... Mundelein has its own young QB in freshman Gavin Graves, whose top target has been Chance Lindsey. "We are physically healthy and the players continue to practice hard and never quit," Kaider said. "I couldn't be more proud of our team considering our 0-5 start. We are getting better each week, and it shows in our technique. Our focus each week is winning the respect of our opponents while measuring our success in ways other than the scoreboard. These kids are winning each day in school, with their relationships, and their work ethic. I am proud to be their coach and wouldn't trade them for any other team."

-- Joe Aguilar

Lake Zurich (4-1, 2-0) at Zion-Benton (1-4, 1-2)

When: 7:30 p.m., today

Last week: Lake Zurich def. Round Lake, 56-0; Zion-Benton lost to Lake Forest, 41-13.

Last year's result: Lake Zurich def. Zion-Benton, 41-3.

Skinny: Lake Zurich is finishing an unusual, one-month stretch during which it essentially hasn't been challenged on the field. Since losing 21-6 at Cary-Grove in Week 2 -- which is the last and only time an opponent has scored against them -- the Bears have defeated Mundelein (49-0), won by forfeit over Lake Forest (1-0) due to a teachers strike and also shut out Round Lake (56-0). Now Lake Zurich faces a one-win Zion-Benton team that fell victim to a running clock by halftime against Lake Forest last Friday. "We just prepare," running back Connor Schrader said after scoring 3 touchdowns and rushing for 101 yards on just 9 carries against Round Lake. "We don't look at who we're playing. We just go in, try our best and try to beat our opponent. We practice hard, and practice against each other like we're playing a game." Bears freshman running back Ben Klett made his varsity debut at Round Lake and impressed, catching a 46-yard TD pass from Jake Stauner and rushing five times for 35 yards. The 6-foot-1, 185-pounder figures to get another chance to play tonight. "He's done everything we've asked and then some," coach David Proffitt said. "He has a lot of natural ability." ... After tonight, Lake Zurich's schedule gets tough. The Bears have back-to-back home games against Libertyville and Stevenson, before finishing the regular season at Warren. ... Against Mundelein two weeks ago, three-year varsity running back Alex Pasiewicz of Zion-Benton rushed for 296 yards.

-- Joe Aguilar

NORTH SUBURBAN PRAIRIE

Grant (4-1, 2-0) at North Chicago (5-0, 3-0)

When: 7:30 p.m., today

Last week: Grant def. Vernon Hills, 43-7; North Chicago def. Wauconda, 27-14.

Skinny: It's all about the blocking. As is the case for many teams, when Grant's offensive line blocks well, its offense hums. The Bulldogs were humming a fine tune last week in their decisive win over Vernon Hills, which came just a week after they took one on the chin against Stevenson, 42-7. "We got back to blocking the way we knew we could," Grant coach Kurt Rous said. "We hadn't played very well for a couple of weeks in a row and we got back on the right track and played much better, not just on offense but on defense, too. It was good to get back to our winning ways. We win games by controlling the ball on offense."…The Bulldogs got big rushing games out of quarterback Kyle Whitman and running back Jonathan Wells, who rushed for 135 and 90 yards respectively…Grant will face an offense that can also put up big numbers. North Chicago is averaging 34.2 points per game, best in the North Suburban Prairie Division. "North Chicago has some great athletes who can score even on broken plays," Rous said. "They have all kinds of guys who can make something out of nothing. Our defense is going to have to pursue, contain, chase and not give up. Probably the best thing we can do is keep their offense off the field by controlling the ball with our offense."

-- Patricia Babcock McGraw

Wauconda (3-2, 1-2) at Lakes (4-1, 2-0)

When: 7:30 p.m., today

Last week: Wauconda lost to North Chicago, 27-14; Lakes def. Antioch, 35-13.

Skinny: With at least three to four starters having missed every game so far due to injury, Lakes is certainly banged up. And the Eagles know they won't be getting a reprieve from the hard knocks this week. "Whenever we play Wauconda, it's just a tough, tough, physical game," Lakes coach Luke Mertens said. "Wauconda has some of the toughest kids in the conference and we know it's going to be a hard fight the entire game."…Mertens, whose injured players have been mostly linemen and defenders, says his players will have to be ready for anything against the Bulldogs. "They are a very dynamic team," Mertens said of Wauconda. "They can beat you through the air or on the ground. There are not a lot of teams that can pass the ball in our division the way they can, so it's a total adjustment to how you defend. Wauconda is balanced, but for our division, they pass a lot."…Wauconda quarterback Austin Swenson is coming off another 100-plus yard passing performance. He completed 10 of 24 passes for 105 yards, including a touchdown…Lakes rolled last week against Antioch, putting up 21 first-quarter points and taking a 35-7 lead into the locker room at halftime. Once again, running back Direll Clark and quarterback T.J. Edwards put up big numbers. Clark racked up 158 yards and 2 touchdowns on 18 carries while Edwards completed 10 of 15 passes for 236 yards and 2 touchdowns. "We've actually been doing well in all three phases so far," Mertens said. "We've really come together as a team. Besides the injuries and our one loss, we're where we want to be at this point in the season."

-- Patricia Babcock McGraw

Round Lake (0-5, 0-2) at Antioch (2-3, 1-2)

When: 7:30 p.m., today

Last week: Round Lake lost to Lake Zurich, 56-0; Antioch lost to Lakes, 35-13.

Last year's result: Antioch def. Round Lake, 34-6.

Skinny: Back-to-back losses have put Antioch almost in must-win mode. The Sequoits need to win three of their remaining four games to be playoff-eligible, but 5 wins might not be enough to earn an at-large bid since the Sequoits' NSC crossover is against Zion-Benton (1-4), while their two nonconference opponents, Lake Forest Academy and Waukegan, are only 2-3. Antioch hosts Zion-Benton next Friday before visiting Wauconda in Week 8 and playing at home against Grant in Week 9. Sequoits RB Austin Klotter missed last Friday's game against Lakes and will be out again tonight, coach Brian Glashagel said. Klotter has been slowed by a severely pulled groin that he has been battling since Week 1. "He needs rest and hopefully will be good to go for our homecoming game vs. Zion Benton," Glashagel said. In Klotter's place, Cody Gwinn received his first rushing attempts of the season and gained 111 yards. Gwinn had been starting at linebacker. He was the backup fullback last year and the starting fullback when he was a sophomore. Gwinn played tight end last season. "He actually has practiced once a week with the offense since the beginning of the season, so the transition was easy," Glashagel said. "The issue is that Cody is an excellent linebacker, as well -- physically, but also emotionally and spiritually for our young defense. He may find himself on both sides of the ball the remaining of the season." After surrendering 35 points each of the last two weeks to North Chicago and Lakes, Antioch will face a Round Lake team that has been shut out its last two games and has been blanked three times overall. Junior QB John Ridley missed his second straight game last Friday with an injury to his thumb on his throwing hand and could sit again tonight. Round Lake was minus six players overall against Lake Zurich. With Ridley sidelined, the Panthers have relied heavily on Tyler Hernandez, who's been starting at QB and carrying the ball often. "It's like last year with Anthony Burton," coach John Coursey, referring to his former all-area QB. "The guy who's in there (at QB) is supposed to be our best athlete. If that's your best guy, he's got to take care of things for us."

-- Joe Aguilar

NORTH SUBURBAN CROSSOVER

Warren (2-3) at Vernon Hills (1-4)

When: 7:30 p.m., today

Last week: Warren lost to Stevenson, 39-7; Vernon Hills lost to Grant, 43-7.

Last year's result: Teams did not play each other.

Skinny: Both of these perennial Lake County powers are in jeopardy of not making the playoffs, and both are trying to snap losing streaks. Vernon Hills has dropped four in a row since an Opening Night win over Chicago Dunbar and must win out in order to have a shot at making the playoffs. And that still might not be enough. The Cougars finished 5-4 last year but were denied a postseason berth. Since Vernon Hills started playing varsity football in 2000, it has never missed the playoffs in consecutive seasons. Last Saturday's game against Grant, on the Bulldogs' homecoming, didn't get out of a hand until almost halftime. The Cougars were trailing only 14-0 late in the first half, when they fumbled inside the Grant 5. The home team's Joe Sadausakas returned the fumble 98 yards for a backbreaking TD. By the end of the third quarter, a running clock had commenced. That hadn't happened to Vernon Hills, coach Tony Monken believes, since the team's state quarterfinal loss to Rochelle in 2001. Things were going badly enough against Grant that the option-oriented Cougars attempted 15 passes (high for them). "Couldn't run it," Monken said. "We were getting whipped up front at times." Sam Maloof busted off an 18-yard run on his first carry but finished with only 10 official rushing attempts (38 yards). "Every time we'd get something going, we'd get an illegal motion penalty, a holding call," Monken said. "It's the same stuff that's been killing us all year. You get into a game with a good team, make a couple of mistakes in a row and the next thing you know you're working your way toward a running clock." ... Warren has had its hands full the last two weeks with Libertyville and Stevenson, two teams that share identical 4-1 records. Warren surrendered 42 points to Libertyville and 39 to Stevenson. Warren was without its game-breaking running back Davonte Wilcox against Stevenson. Without him, the Blue Devils rushed for just 41 yards.

-- Joe Aguilar

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