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Article updated: 10/4/2012 10:58 PM
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Football: Scouting Week 7, Lake County
 

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Football: Scouting Week 7, Lake County
 

EAST SUBURBAN CATHOLIC

Carmel Catholic (2-4, 2-2) at Joliet Catholic (4-2, 3-1)

Story Continues Below

When: 7:30 p.m., today at Joliet Memorial Stadium

Last week: Carmel lost to Marist, 28-7; Joliet Catholic d. St. Patrick, 49-13.

Last year's result: Joliet Catholic def. Carmel, 32-31.

Skinny: Carmel has to win its remaining three games. Otherwise, the Corsairs will miss out on the state playoffs for the first time since 1999. They will have their hands full tonight against a Joliet Catholic squad whose only loss is to ESCC-leader Marist. The Hilltoppers boast one of the best gamebreakers in the state in USC-bound Ty Isaac, who's battled a shoulder injury this season but finally played a full game last Saturday against St. Patrick at Hanson Stadium and piled up 287 rushing yards and 4 touchdowns on 23 carries. ... Carmel closes the regular season with home games against St. Patrick and Notre Dame. Under coach Andy Bitto, the Corsairs' option offense has always produced points and rushing yards. But this season the Corsairs have scored just 101 points (16.8 per game) and average just 207.6 yards on the ground. Josh Walinski (431 yards, 4.3 average) is the Corsairs' leading rusher.

-- Joe Aguilar

FOX VALLEY FOX

Grayslake North (5-1, 3-0) at Crystal Lake Central (5-1, 3-0)

When: 7:15 p.m., today

Last week: Grayslake North def. Woodstock,42-21; Crystal Lake Central def. Grayslake Central, 38-14.

Last year's result: Crystal Lake Central def. Grayslake North, 35-24.

Skinny: Grayslake North has never beaten Crystal Lake Central, and that provides even more motivation for the Knights, who are in the midst of a school-record five-game winning streak. Last season, Crystal Lake Central tied for first place atop the FVC Fox with Grayslake Central and Woodstock North. "This is one of four games that we marked as pivotal to our season," Knights coach Steve Wood said. "They are a physical team that is going to try and control the game by keeping the ball away from our offense. Our success depends on us tackling on defense, controlling the ball on offense and winning the mental mistakes. We have had a great week of practice, the kids have been focused, and we are really excited to be playing this game." ... Crystal Lake Central forced 5 fumbles, recovering three, against Grayslake Central last Friday. The Tigers ran the ball effectively behind Tyler Jenkins (15 carries, 195 yards, 3 TDs) and Connor Hines (8-90 yards). The Crystal Lake Central defense will try to do what no team has been able to do this season: stop Knights QB A.J. Fish. Fish's 3 touchdowns against Woodstock hiked his season total to 21. He also threw his seventh and eighth TD passes of the season.

-- Joe Aguilar

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

When: 7:15 p.m., today

Last week: Woodstock North def. Dundee-Crown, 25-20; Grayslake Central lost to Crystal Lake Central, 38-14.

Last year's result: Woodstock North def. Grayslake Central, 25-0.

Skinny: Grayslake Central took a 6-0 record into Woodstock North's stadium last season and then promptly were shut out for the first and only time. The Thunder won 7 games last season in just its third as a varsity program. Coach Jeff Schroeder's squad is formidable again. Adam Haimbaugh rushed for a pair of scores and caught a 74-yard TD pass from QB Brian Loftin last Friday against Dundee-Crown. Schroeder called his team's performance its best of the season. "I expected Woodstock North to be one of the top teams in the conference, and they are," Rams coach Ben Ault said. "Coach Schroeder has done a nice job building that program. They are a hard-nosed, disciplined football team. We will need to put together excellent games on offense, defense and special teams this week." ... Grayslake Central could get LB/RB Connor Daly back tonight. Jourden Swopes scored both of the Rams' touchdowns against Crystal Lake Central last Friday.

-- Joe Aguilar

NORTH SUBURBAN PRAIRIE

Lakes (5-1, 3-0) at Grant (5-1, 3-0)

When: 7:30 p.m., today

Last week: Lakes def. Wauconda, 69-20; Grant def. North Chicago, 34-14.

Skinny: The winner of this game will take control of the North Suburban Prairie Division by remaining the only undefeated team in division play. "This is a very big game," Lakes coach Luke Mertens said. "There is a lot at stake with the division and the playoffs coming up. This is always a big rivalry game and we're playing one of the top-notch programs in the conference. I'm sure the game will be packed and it will be a great environment for a high-school football game."…Adding to the charge in the air will be Grant's desire for redemption. Last year, the Bulldogs lost twice to Lakes, and both times convincingly. During the regular season, Grant lost its Week 3 game at Lakes, 38-14. Then, during the second round of the playoffs, the Bulldogs lost a home game to Lakes, 38-7. "We've talked about how they outscored us 76-21 last year," Grant coach Kurt Rous said. "We have a lot of new kids this year, but we do have kids who remember that. Our guys know what's at stake."…Lakes and Grant are similar in that they are high-scoring offenses who are tough to stop on the ground. Lakes averages a North Suburban-best 38.8 points per game while Grant is just behind at 33.8 points per game. Meanwhile, Lakes running back Direll Clark is a load to bring down. And Grant's weapons out of the option, quarterback Kyle Whitman and running back Jonathan Wells, are tough to catch. "Grant has a very good offense and their runners are every bit as good as Direll," Mertens said. "We're not going to stop them altogether. We're just going to have to try our best to slow them down."…While Whitman, a running back converted to quarterback, is getting more confident with his passing skills each week, Lakes quarterback TJ Edwards has been in a zone from Day One. Last week was his best showing of all with a school-record 342 passing yards. "We have to try to stop Clark, but if we focus on that too much, their quarterback will definitely beat us with the pass," Rous said. "Lakes has a well-balanced offensive machine and they can put defenses in tough positions. We're going to have to play very smart on defense. Offensively, we're going to have to throw the ball in order to win this game."

-- Patricia Babcock McGraw

Wauconda (3-3, 1-3) at Round Lake (0-6, 0-3)

When: 1 p.m., Saturday

Last week: Wauconda lost to Lakes, 69-20; Round Lake lost to Antioch, 48-12.

Skinny: Wauconda is hurting. And not just because of its decisive loss at the hands of Lakes last week. The Bulldogs will be out five starters for this game, including three who got hurt in the Lakes game. Two of the injured were top receivers Alex Schwickrath and Austin Piekarski. They were unavailable for the second half against Lakes and the normally pass-happy Bulldogs failed to put a single point on the board after halftime. "We run a 4-receiver set and when two of your receivers are on the sideline, that makes things difficult," Wauconda coach Dave Mills said. "We also had five guys out on defense and when you're trying to stop an offense as good as Lakes at about 50 percent strength you're in for a long night. I haven't seen a better offense all year. They were really tough on us."…Round Lake was tough on Wauconda last year, getting a 17-14 Week 3 triumph for its only win on the season. "Any time you give a team hope, which is what we did with Round Lake last year, you've got a dangerous team," Mills said. "We had too many mistakes last year. We had five turnovers. We can't do that this year."…Round Lake has managed to score just 31 points on the season (5.2 ppg) and is giving up 47.2 points per game, most in the entire North Suburban. Wauconda, meanwhile, is allowing 30.8 points per game, second-most in the Prairie behind Round Lake.

-- Patricia Babcock McGraw

North Chicago (5-1, 3-1) at Vernon Hills (1-5, 0-3)

When: 7:30 p.m., today

Last week: North Chicago lost to Grant, 34-14; Vernon Hills lost to Warren, 40-26.

Last year's result: Vernon Hills def. North Chicago, 43-8.

Skinny: A win for North Chicago will not only spoil Vernon Hills' homecoming but clinch the Warhawks' first postseason berth since 2006. Vernon Hills, which will miss the playoffs for the second straight year, has not won since Opening Night against Chicago Dunbar. "Our guys have had a great week of practice," Cougars coach Tony Monken said. "We talk about everyone has jobs to do during homecoming week. For some, it's float-building, (or) decorating for the dance, painting windows, etc. Our job is to prepare for North Chicago and win the game." Despite his team's loss to Warren last Friday, Monken was encouraged with what he saw in the fourth quarter. Trailing 34-0 after three, Vernon Hills scored four straight touchdowns -- including a pair by QB Brett Peterson -- to pull within 34-26, before Warren QB Adam Reuss and RB Davonte Wilcox hooked up on a 66-yard scoring play to seal the Blue Devils' victory. "Hopefully we'll come out and play with the same fire we finished with last Friday against Warren," Monken said. Cougars RB/LB Dylan McNamara continues to be sidelined with an injury, and Monken said the senior will be a game-time decision. ... North Chicago suffered its first loss of the season last Friday, but coach Glen Kozlowski has ample playmakers. "Koz has his kids playing very well," Monken said. "(They're) really impressive on film. We'll need to limit their big plays and keep their offense off the field as much as we can. We definitely want to get pressure on their QB and force him out of the pocket."

-- Joe Aguilar

NORTH SUBURBAN LAKE

Lake Forest (5-1, 2-1) at Stevenson (5-1, 3-0)

When: 7:30 p.m., today at Joliet Memorial Stadium

Last week: Carmel lost to Marist, 28-7; Joliet Catholic d. St. Patrick, 49-13.

Last year's result: Joliet Catholic def. Carmel, 32-31.

When: 7:30 p.m., today

Last week: Lake Forest def. Libertyville, 33-13; Stevenson def. Mundelein, 40-7.

Skinny: Stevenson is bracing for the only undefeated team in the North Suburban Conference. OK, OK, so there are no undefeated teams left in the North Suburban. Technically. But Lake Forest suffered its only "loss" on a forfeit to Lake Zurich in Week 4 while the teachers in its district were on strike. "We see Lake Forest as an undefeated team," Stevenson coach Bill McNamara said. "This is a very good football team all the way around and their guys are very well-coached. We will have to play very good football in all three phases to beat them."…The Patriots will have to be ready to defend either the run or the pass because Lake Forest is balanced. But the same could be said on the flip side. Stevenson, which averages a North Suburban Lake Division-best 32.8 points per game, is also very balanced. Anthony Bozin and Danny Nowak have been reliable runners all season while sophomore quarterback Willie Bourbon directs a potent passing game in which he is consistently spreading the wealth among at least four receivers. "We have four guys who have 10 or more (receptions)," McNamara said. "It's hard for defenses to zone in on any one guy or any one area. We have a lot of guys on our team who can make plays."

-- Patricia Babcock McGraw

Libertyville (4-2, 2-2) at Lake Zurich (5-1, 3-0)

When: 7:30 p.m., today

Last week: Libertyville lost to Lake Forest, 33-13; Lake Zurich def. Zion-Benton, 34-0.

Skinny: Something's got to give. Will it be the offense, or the defense? Libertyville has scored 190 points (31.7 ppg) so far this season and trails Stevenson (197 points) only slightly for most points in the North Suburban Lake Division. Meanwhile, Lake Zurich is by far the stingiest defense in the entire North Suburban Conference. The Bears have given up only 21 points all season (3.5 ppg) and have put up shutouts in five of six games. Granted, one of those shutouts came in its Week 4 forfeiture win over Lake Forest. And three others came against teams with losing records. Still, Lake Zurich doesn't crack easily. "Overall, our entire defense has been playing well," Lake Zurich coach Dave Proffitt said. "But it's really hard to gauge exactly where we are. We really haven't had a difficult game since the Cary-Grove game, and that was in Week 2 and we lost that game. We're due for a tough game and we're going to have to be ready the next three weeks. We've got Libertyville, Stevenson and Warren. All three of those teams are playoff teams and if we want to be a playoff team, we need to win games against playoff teams."…Lake Zurich, a run-oriented team, got 242 rushing yards and 3 touchdowns last Friday out of Connor Schrader, who has been carrying the load offensively all season. Libertyville also has a tough runner with the same name. Conor Simpson is coming off an 84-yard game in which he scored the Wildcats' only offensive touchdown. Justin Guarnacccio had a 100-yard kickoff return for a touchdown against Lake Forest, which held Libertyville to its second-lowest point total (13) of the season. Proffitt doesn't take comfort in that, though. "We're playing a Libertyville team that can put points up quickly," Proffitt said. "I don't know if we can totally stop their offense, so we're going to have to control it by keeping it off the field. Our offense will have to control the ball and the clock."

-- Patricia Babcock McGraw

Warren (3-3, 1-2) at Mundelein (0-6, 0-4)

When: 7:30 p.m., today

Last week: Warren def. Vernon Hills, 40-26; Mundelein lost to Stevenson, 40-7.

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

Skinny: Warren is coming off its best offensive performance of the season, and Davonte Wilcox played a major. The running back scored a career-high 5 touchdowns. His last four were on throws from QB Adam Reuss, with the last one being particularly huge. It covered 66 yards after Vernon Hills had scored four straight times to pull within 34-26. Reuss finished 16-of-22 passing for 304 yards. The Blue Devils need to win two of their remaining three games to become playoff-eligible. ... Mundelein has scored just 62 points and surrendered 249. The Mustangs' losing streak stands at 15 games.

-- Joe Aguilar

NORTH SUBURBAN CROSSOVER

Zion-Benton (1-5, 1-3) at Antioch (3-3, 2-2)

When: 7:30 p.m., today

Last week: Zion-Benton lost to Lake Zurich, 34-0; Antioch def. Round Lake, 48-12.

Skinny: Antioch knows Zion-Benton well. And that concerns Antioch coach Brian Glashagel. "We actually played Zion-Benton multiple times over the summer in 7-on-7s. We got to know them really well and it was very competitive, even chippy at times with them. Their biggest strength plays right in to our biggest weakness." Glashagel says his team matches up just fine with big, meaty teams that like to pound the ball up the middle. But the Sequoits have had a tough time against teams that boast speed on the perimeter and big-play capabilities. "Zion-Benton is a lot like Waukegan and North Chicago in its athleticism and speed and we're 0-2 against Waukegan and North Chicago," Glashagel said. "We were bothered by the speed of Waukegan and North Chicago. Teams that can get to the edge on us have been tough for us to handle."…Speaking of tough to handle, Antioch fullback Cody Gwinn has been a handful. Gwinn was starting at middle linebacker for the Sequoits at the beginning of the season. But he was turned into the starting fullback two weeks ago when starter Austin Klotter went down with a groin injury. Gwinn has rushed for more than 100 yards each of the last two weeks and has scored a total of 4 touchdowns. "Sometimes injuries open things up for someone else and Cody has really taken advantage," Glashagel said. "Cody is like an old-school fullback. He's a strong, 215-pound kid who is really tough to bring down. Our offensive line has also been playing better lately. If we can run and block the way we have been the last few weeks, I think we'll be OK."…Antioch will also get a boost this week with the return of Klotter, who will get limited snaps as he gets his game legs back.

-- Patricia Babcock McGraw

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