Daily Herald's 2015 Season Coverage
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Article updated: 10/11/2012 9:37 PM
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Football / Scouting Week 8, Lake County

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Football / Scouting Week 8, Lake County


Grayslake Central (2-5, 1-4) at Grayslake North (6-1, 4-0)

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When: 7:15 p.m., today

Last week: Grayslake Central lost to Woodstock North, 39-7; Grayslake North def. Crystal Lake Central, 32-20.

Skinny: The crosstown rivalry aspect of this game always adds some electricity to the air. But Grayslake North will be juiced for other reasons. The Knights, having clinched their first playoff berth in school history last week, want to keep their six-game winning streak rolling all the way through the end of the regular season. "We keep setting the bar higher and higher for ourselves during the course of the season," Grayslake North coach Steve Wood said. "Usually, you raise the bar during the offseason, but with each week, the bar has gone higher for us, from wanting to just make the playoffs to now wanting to get eight wins so that we can host in the playoffs. The next two weeks are really big for us."…Grayslake North is coming off a signature win against Fox Valley heavyweight Crystal Lake Central. "We looked at our schedule before the season started and circled four games that we thought were games we needed to win if we wanted to win the conference. That Crystal Lake Central game was one of those games." Grayslake North sits alone atop the Fox Division standings, averaging a division-best 43 points per game. Quarterback A.J. Fish is coming off a strong effort against Crystal Lake Central in which he completed 15 of 26 passes for 259 yards and 4 touchdowns…Grayslake Central has lost 5 of its last 6 games and has been struggling with the injury bug all season. Among others, starting quarterback Alex Lennartz has missed the last four weeks with a knee injury and the Rams have also been without two of their starting linebackers: Connor Daley and Alex McCully. Daley and McCully also played offense, at running back and offensive line respectively. "Grayslake North is on the upswing this year and we've taken a dip because we've had a lot of injuries and we're very young," Grayslake Central coach Ben Ault said. "The injuries have really hurt us. The one good thing to come out of it is that we're getting a lot of other kids some really good experience."…Without their starting quarterback and their top running back, offensive continuity has been tough for the Rams. But they'll need to find some fast against North. "Last year, we had success against North by just outscoring them. That's going to be tough to do this time. We really need to keep their offense off the field. We need to have long, sustained drives and then score off them. We've had some success controlling the ball this season. It will be key against North because their offense can't score if it's on the sideline."

-- Patricia Babcock McGraw


Lake Forest (5-2, 2-2) at Warren (4-3, 2-2)

When: 7:30 p.m., today

Last week: Lake Forest lost to Stevenson, 22-16 in overtime; Warren def. Mundelein, 41-0.

Skinny: Warren is in a tough position and an enviable position all at the same time. The Blue Devils face two of the toughest teams in the North Suburban over the next two weeks in Lake Forest and Lake Zurich. But if Warren wins out, it will qualify for the playoffs. So even though the path is challenging, the Blue Devils still control their own destiny. "I think our kids understand what's going on," Warren coach Dave Mohapp said. "We've had a real good week of practice. I think the idea is we don't want to have to focus on trying to qualify on points (with five wins), we want to focus on winning games so we make it in without any question."…Warren is coming off a big win last week against Mundelein. The Blue Devils got their second shutout of the season, thanks to a defense that is finally healthy. "We've had a lot of injuries this season, probably more than our share," Mohapp said. "Two to three weeks ago, our injury sheet was 2 pages long. But in getting some of our guys back, we've gotten a lot stronger." Linebacker Bryson Eppinger had returned as has cornerback Dan Hicks. Top running back Davonte Wilcox is also back in the lineup…The Warren offensive line will need to be in tip-top shape to protect quarterback Adam Reuss. Lake Forest loves to bring the pressure. "They bring five or six blitzers at a time," Mohapp said of the Scouts. "Our offensive line is going to have to have a big game."

-- Patricia Babcock McGraw

Stevenson (6-1, 4-0) at Lake Zurich (5-2, 3-1)

When: 7:30 p.m., today

Last week: Stevenson def. Lake Forest, 22-16 in overtime; Lake Zurich lost to Libertyville, 3-0.

Skinny: Watch out as the top two teams in the North Suburban Lake collide. A win for Stevenson would give the Patriots their fourth straight Lake Division title in a row. "It's going to be a war out there. I expect nothing less," Stevenson coach Bill McNamara said. "Lake Zurich always has great players and has a great tradition and they always play us tough. I expect nothing but their best and for them to bring their A-game."…Lake Zurich has played a Grade-A defense throughout the entire season. The Bears lead the North Suburban in points allowed at 3.4 points per game. "Their defense is very impressive," McNamara said. "They are physical, they have athleticism and size and speed and strength. They will challenge our offense, and we just played a game where we weren't really steady and we didn't convert on third down or get as much on first down as we wanted to."…Stevenson had to put together a frantic drive in the final moments last week against Lake Forest to tie the game and force overtime. "We struggled offensively, but the good thing is that we were resilient," McNamara said. "It would have been easy for us to hang our heads, but we had a never-say-die attitude and we put points on the board at the end."…Stevenson leads the North Suburban Lake in scoring at 31.3 points per game. Libertyville is just behind the Patriots at 27.3 points per game but was held to just 3 points last week by Lake Zurich's stingy defense. The problem for the Bears is that they missed on opportunities to score off of potential turnovers. "Our defense did a good job," Lake Zurich coach Dave Proffitt said of his team's performance against Libertyville. "But we had some chances to turn the game and we just didn't do it." The Bears nearly intercepted Libertyville quarterback Jack Deichl three times and Proffitt said they had three more possible interceptions in their grasp. But all six passes were dropped by the Bears. Meanwhile, on offense, Lake Zurich fumbled five times and lost three of them. "We really believe we can beat Stevenson," Proffitt said. "But obviously, we can't do what we did last week in terms of losing the ball and not capitalizing on opportunities. We've worked a lot on ball control this week and on putting our defense in better positions to make plays."…The Bears are also working on getting their roster back to full strength. They saw two key players banged up last week: quarterback Jake Stauner and running back Connor Schrader. Stauner finished the Libertyville game but has been hurting since. He is day-to-ay. Schrader will not play this week. "It was a very frustrating game last week because of all the missed opportunities, the turnovers and then we had injuries," Proffitt said. "It was just that type of game where all the problems we had were like an epidemic. But we're moving on because this game against Stevenson is a big game for us. A lot is on the line. We're trying to get that sixth win so that we can get into the playoffs. We don't want to be down to our last game needing a win."

-- Patricia Babcock McGraw

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

When: 7:30 p.m., today

Last week: Zion-Benton def. Antioch, 42-0; Libertyville def. Lake Zurich, 3-0.

Skinny: Libertyville scored a season-low 3 points last week but is not hitting any alarms about the productivity of its offense. "We were moving the ball, we just weren't doing it as consistently as we needed to," Libertyville coach Mike Jones said. "We're not (panicked about it). You kind of always look at your offense as a work in progress anyway."…Quarterback Jack Deichl, who was nearly intercepted multiple times in the Lake Zurich game, has been very precise with the ball otherwise. He's thrown only 5 interceptions on the season and averages 23 attempts per game. "Lake Zurich put a lot of pressure on Jack," Jones said. "He had some bad throws, which is uncharacteristic for him. But overall, he's done very well this season (of being efficient)."…Defensively, the Wildcats turned in one of their best performances of the season in recording their first shutout. "We did not play very good defense the week before against Lake Forest," Jones said. "It was good to see that as bad as we were in that game, the kids turned it around the very next week and really gave a great effort against Lake Zurich. It was good to see that kind of rebound."…Libertyville will need another sound defensive effort against a Zion-Benton team that can score in a hurry and has big-play potential. The Zee-Bees lit up the scoreboard for 42 points last week. "Zion-Benton is very big and very physical and they can run the ball very well," Jones said. "We are going to have to be really tough against the run on defense."

-- Patricia Babcock McGraw


Antioch (3-4, 2-2) at Wauconda (4-3, 2-3)

When: 7:30 p.m., today

Last week: Antioch lost to Zion-Benton, 42-0; Wauconda def. Round Lake, 37-16.

Last year's result: Antioch def. Wauconda, 28-12.

Skinny: Both teams are in must-win mode. Antioch needs to win its remaining two games to become playoff-eligible, while Wauconda can clinch a playoff berth with wins tonight and next Friday at home against Libertyville. "Getting our fifth win to be playoff- eligible is a big deal," Wauconda coach Dave Mills said. "Playing Antioch is a big deal to our team. We have had several close games with Antioch over the years, but been a play short. We are getting very health. Several players who sat out vs. Round Lake will be back for Antioch. We should have all players, except (linebacker) Keith Blomberg, ready to play (tonight). Antioch is a team who has been battling the injury bug also, so their team health will play a big factor in the game. They have a bruising fullback and a bruising middle linebacker. We need to be very physical to give ourselves an opportunity to win. The reality is both teams need the win to keep working toward the playoffs. I think it will be a close-played game. The team that plays mistake-free and aggressive will be the victor." ... Despite being shut out on its homecoming against Waukegan last Friday, Antioch got a big game from fullback Cody Gwinn, who rushed 37 times for 174 yards. Wauconda spoiled Round Lake's homecoming last Saturday, overcoming a 16-0, second-quarter deficit. The Bulldogs outscored the Panthers 29-0 in the second half, receiving a pair of touchdown runs from backup Garrett Keeton.

-- Joe Aguilar

Grant (5-2, 3-1) at Round Lake (0-7, 0-4)

When: 7:30 p.m., today

Last week: Grant lost to Lakes, 42-14; Round Lake lost to Wauconda, 37-16.

Last year's result: Grant def. Round Lake, 48-13.

Skinny: Grant received a devastating blow this week with the news that quarterback Kyle Whitman suffered a torn ACL in the second quarter against Lakes last Friday, ending the senior's season and high school football career. Whitman (576 rushing yards, 11 TDs) was having another all-area-caliber season. Meanwhile, starting fullback Jonathan Wells (750 rushing yards, 9 TDs), who did not play against Lakes, was scheduled to have an MRI on his shoulder Friday. "Hopefully, he'll be back for the playoffs," said Grant coach Kurt Rous, whose Bulldogs will clinch a third-straight postseason berth with either a win tonight or next Friday at Antioch. Jason Bach, who started the season as the Bulldogs' fourth-string QB (behind Whitman, Jake Bychowski and Wells), will start behind center. Taylor Zielinski will back up Bach and possibly rotate in as well, Rous said. Andy Cacchione, the Bulldogs' fourth-string fullback (behind Wells, Bychowski and Chris Bautista), will start in place of Wells. "We are running low on ball carriers," Rous said. "We're like a MASH unit here. At least our O-line is intact and should be able to open up some holes no matter who's running the ball. Our defense needs to hold its own and help out the offense -- unlike what we did against Lakes." ... Round Lake has scored just 47 points all season, but 28 have come in the last two weeks.

-- Joe Aguilar

Vernon Hills (1-6, 0-4) at Lakes (6-1, 4-0)

When: 7:30 p.m., today

Last week: Vernon Hills lost to North Chicago, 9-6; Lakes def. Grant, 42-14.

Last year's result: Lakes def. Vernon Hills, 7-6.

Skinny: Lakes sits atop the NSC Prairie and has clinched a fourth-straight postseason berth, but the Eagles know they still have work to do. Despite the fact Vernon Hills has lost six in a row, coach Tony Monken's Cougars have always played well against Lakes. Vernon Hills has won five of the seven meetings between the two teams. Three of the games. including last year's, have been decided by 3 or fewer points. The Eagles also host North Chicago next Friday and winning out will give them their first outright division championship. They earned a share of their first NSC Prairie title last year. "It is another important conference game for us," Lakes coach Luke Mertens said. "Traditionally, our games with Vernon Hills have been very tough, hard-fought games going down to the wire. Coach Monken and his staff are one of the top staffs in the NSC. Defensively, they have always shut down our offense, and they are going to give us problems again this year, especially their defensive line. Offensively, they are difficult to prepare for because it is almost like preparing for two offenses -- when they are under center compared to when they are in the gun." ... Lakes QB T.J. Edwards ran for 3 touchdowns and threw for a pair against Grant last Friday. In his last two games, including a blowout win over Wauconda the previous week, the junior has completed 17 of 22 passes for 468 yards and 5 TDs. Eagles running back Direll Clark surpassed 1,000 rushing yards for the season last Friday. Lakes, which has scored an NSC Prairie-best 275 points (39 per game), has won four straight since a Week-3 loss to Lake Forest.

-- Joe Aguilar


Mundelein (0-7) at North Chicago (6-1)

When: 7:30 p.m., today

Last week: Mundelein lost to Warren, 42-0; North Chicago def. Vernon Hills, 9-6.

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

Skinny: It's another tough game for Mundelein, which faces a playoff-caliber opponent for the fourth straight week. The Mustangs have scored just 62 points and were shut out last Friday night for the second time. North Chicago, which sits in second place in the NSC Prairie behind Lakes, has allowed just 95 points this season. "This is a very difficult game to assess," Mundelein coach George Kaider said. "We feel like we can compete with North Chicago, however, it will depend on how our much ownership our seniors are willing to take for the outcome. We continue to address the issues that are keeping us from being a competitive football team. That has taken time away from the development of this year's football team, but is crucial for the future success of our football program. I firmly believe that we will win when we deserve to win. Coaching a winless football team creates many teachable moments and more opportunities for growth, but losing isn't acceptable and I am looking for winners."

-- Joe Aguilar


St. Patrick (4-3, 2-2) at Carmel (2-5, 2-3)

When: 7:30 p.m., today

Last week: St. Patrick def. Marian Catholic, 41-14; Carmel lost to Joliet Catholic 31-24 in overtime.

Skinny: Carmel boasts the most playoff points (41) in the rugged East Suburban Catholic Conference. But because the Corsairs won't finish with at least five wins, they won't be able to use them for a trip to the playoff. Carmel, which played a brutal schedule that includes four top-10 teams, will be missing the playoffs for the first time since 1999. The Corsairs' fate was sealed when they lost a heartbreaker in overtime to Joliet Catholic last week. "It's hard and the kids are torn up about it," Carmel coach Andy Bitto said. "We had a tough schedule this year and we had a couple of games that were in our hands but they just kind of fell through. It just goes to show you that it is really hard to win consistently. But we're not giving up on this year. We have a lot of really good seniors who have been great to work with. We want to play hard for them and we want to catapult this team into next season on a strong note."…Carmel will be in for battle against a St. Patrick team that will be just as determined. The Shamrocks are fighting for their playoff lives. "They're going to be jacked to play us because they want to get to the playoffs," Bitto said. "They'll be tough, but they're always tough on us anyway. They're a physical team that really likes to hit you hard."…Offensively, St. Patrick features a strong passing game with quarterback Octavio Penteria and wide receiver Steve Galiardo. "Our defense has been playing really well lately. I think they'll be ready," Bitto said. "We're getting great play out of our linebackers."…Carmel also had one of its most productive rushing games of the season last week against Joliet Catholic. The Corsairs rushed for more than 300 yards behind Josh Walinski (168 yards) and Tim Serio (146 yards).

-- Patricia Babcock McGraw

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