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Football: Scouting Week 5, Lake County
 

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Football: Scouting Week 5, Lake County
 

FOX VALLEY FOX

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

Story Continues Below

When: 7:15 p.m., today

Last week: Crystal Lake Central def. Huntley, 34-27; Grayslake Central lost to Hampshire, 35-16.

Last year's result: Crystal Lake Central def. Grayslake Central, 38-14.

Skinny: After suffering its first loss of the season, Grayslake Central seeks to bounce back against a Tigers squad whose only loss was to Crystal Lake South (14-7) in Week 2. The Tigers knocked off Hampshire, 46-21, in Week 3. Against Hampshire last Friday, Grayslake Central QB Alex Lennartz threw a TD pass but was also intercepted three times. Lennartz rushed for 91 yards, as well. Against Huntley last Friday, Crystal Lake Central scored with 13.6 seconds left on a 15-yard pass from Kyle Lavand to Eric Hjerstedt, allowing the Tigers to complete a fourth-quarter rally.

-- Joe Aguilar

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

When: 7:15 p.m., today

Last week: Hampshire def. Grayslake Central, 35-16; Grayslake North def. Johnsburg, 21-13.

Last year's result: Grayslake North def. Hampshire, 54-22.

Skinny: Grayslake North is out to remain the only undefeated team (overall) in the Fox Valley Fox. The high-scoring Knights, who average a league-best 41 points per game, try to run opponents off the field with their up-tempo, no-huddle offense. "We load up our offense and we think that if we're scoring 40 or 50 points a game, we should be able to get enough stops on defense to win most of our games," said Grayslake North coach Steve Wood, whose defense is letting up 18 points per game … Grayslake North quarterback Merrick Gentile is coming off a big game last week against Johnsburg, piling up 177 rushing yards and 141 passing yards. The Knights are hoping that featured running back Titus Booker can handle more reps this week. He missed two games and then was used sparingly last week due to an ankle injury … Hampshire can also light up the scoreboard and averages 33 points per game, second-best in the Fox. The Whip-Purs are led by running back Nick Kielbasa but are effective in the passing game, especially when quarterback Nick Mohlman targets Tim Jansen.

-- Patricia Babcock McGraw

NORTH SUBURBAN LAKE

Lake Forest (4-0, 1-0) at Lake Zurich (4-0, 2-0)

When: 7:30 p.m., today

Last week: Lake Forest def. Round Lake, 49-0; Lake Zurich def. Mundelein, 45-0.

Last year's result: Lake Zurich def. Lake Forest, 1-0 (forfeit).

Skinny: While both teams are undefeated, Lake Zurich has played the tougher schedule. That should bode well for the Bears as they try to contain all-state candidate Hub Cirame and the Scouts offense. "He's a very good player, but he's not alone," LZ coach David Proffitt said. "They have a number of really skilled, good football players. Their offense is very dangerous." Cirame has scored 14 touchdowns and has three 4-TD performances. Against Round Lake last Friday, the 6-foot, 200-pound senior running back scored on runs of 39, 44, 1 and 52 yards in helping the Scouts build leads of 28-0 after one quarter and 49-0 (the eventual final) by halftime. Lake Forest's first four opponents -- Racine St. Catherines, Grant, Mundelein and Round Lake -- are a combined 6-11. Lake Zurich's first four opponents -- Fremd, Cary-Grove, Warren and Mundelein -- are a combined 9-7. Lake Zurich has 3 shutouts, with its other game being a 27-7 decision over 3-1 Warren. Syracuse-bound LB Colton Moskal is still recovering from an ankle injury, which caused him to miss last Friday's game at Mundelein. He played just a couple of series against Warren the previous week after getting injured in Week 2 against Cary-Grove. "We're hoping to have him back (tonight)," Proffitt said. "It'll be a game-time decision." Fellow defensive standout Niko McNeil is also questionable with a nagging shoulder injury. He played sparingly against Mundelein. A key for LZ's defense? Its offense, according to Proffitt. "Our offense has kept our defense off the field," Proffitt said. "I think a lot of times people lose sight of that because they just look at the score and see we didn't give up any points." .... LZ and LF did not play each other last year because of a Lake Forest teachers strike. ... Lake Zurich junior Ben Klett has been the Bears' big-play man. Klett has scored 8 TDs, 4 rushing and 4 receiving. He has just 5 total receptions.

-- Joe Aguilar

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

When: 7:30 p.m., today

Last week: Warren def. Zion-Benton, 31-0; Libertyville lost to Stevenson, 49-3.

Last year's result: Libertyville def. Warren, 42-24.

Skinny: The quick maturation of Warren's offense has been a huge factor in allowing the Blue Devils to win three of their first four games, and now QB Andrew Nickell and Co. face a Libertyville team that gave up 49 points to Stevenson last Friday. First-year starter Nickell has thrown for 923 yards and 8 TDs, and has completed 69 percent of his 97 passes. The Blue Devils boast four players with double-digit reception totals: Max Sorby (15), Caleb Reams (13), Javon Charleston (12) and Zack Rappel (11). Reams has 4 TD catches. Sorby (233 rushing yards, 4 TDs) leads the ground game. Warren's defense features Roderick Pompey (29 tackles, 23 solos), Bryson Eppinger (28 tackles, 23 solos), Kyle Whitmer (27.5 tackles, 22 solos, 3.5 sacks), Lucas Fulton (3 sacks), Mike Brierton (2.5 sacks), Nick Turner (2 sacks) and Ravon Spruill (2 interceptions). ... QB Anthony Monken and RB Conor Simpson lead Libertyville's offense, while former QB Jake Mansfield has emerged as a go-to receiver.

-- Joe Aguilar

Mundelein (1-3, 0-2) at Zion-Benton (0-4, 0-2)

When: 7:30 p.m., today

Last week: Mundelein lost to Lake Zurich, 45-0; Zion-Benton lost to Warren, 31-0.

Last year's result: Zion-Benton def. Mundelein, 32-18.

Skinny: Something's got to give. Mundelein has allowed the most points in the North Suburban Lake at 34.5 points per game. But Zion-Benton is having a tough time scoring. The Zee-Bees are averaging just 4.8 points per game and have been shut out twice. "We've played some really good teams so far, a couple of teams who went to the semifinals last year," Mundelein coach George Kaider said. "Our defense has been in some tough situations but I think we're still making good progress on defense. Zion-Benton has some really good athletes, but I think we'll match up with them well."…The Mustangs are looking to cut down on turnovers and penalties and get the ball to junior running back Emanuel Jones, who had 46 yards against a tough Lake Zurich defense last week but showed flashes of brilliance against Wheeling in the season opener with 255 yards and 3 touchdowns. "I feel confident that we can score this week," Kaider said.

-- Patricia Babcock McGraw

NORTH SUBURBAN PRAIRIE

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

When: 7:30 p.m., today

Last week: Antioch lost to Lakes, 35-0; Round Lake lost to Lake Forest, 49-0.

Last year's result: Antioch def. Round Lake, 48-12.

Skinny: Both teams are coming off shutout losses, and if either team has playoff expectations, this is a must-win game. Antioch -- which visits undefeated Lake Zurich in its NSC crossover next week -- gave up 340 rushing yards to Lakes last Friday, while gaining only 75 yards on the ground itself. Round Lake could not keep up with host Lake Forest, which built a 28-0 lead after one quarter on the strength of 3 rushing TDs by Hub Cirame. Since a 50-0 win over Chicago Prosser in Week 2, the Panthers have lost to Lakes (51-7) and Lake Forest (49-0).

-- Joe Aguilar

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

When: 7:30 p.m., today

Last week: Lakes def. Antioch, 35-0; Wauconda lost to North Chicago, 10-3.

Last year's result: Lakes def. Wauconda, 69-20.

Skinny: Look which team sits alone atop the NSC Prairie again. It's Lakes, which ran the table in the division last year for the first time in its young history. The Eagles have won 11 straight NSC Prairie contests, dating back to a Week-6 loss to Antioch in 2011. Lakes has scored an NSC Prairie-best 170 points and is led offensively by QB T.J. Edwards (525 passing yards, 197 rushing yards, 3 TDs) and RBs Cameron Johnson (391 rushing yards, 6 TDs) and Devyn Cedzidlo (342 rushing yards, 4 TDs). The Eagles should get a tough test against a veteran, physical Wauconda defense, which has been the Bulldogs' strength. Wauconda surely remembers last year's game at Lakes, when the hosts rolled up 69 points. Wauconda will play its third straight game without WR/DB Alex Schwickrath (knee). The Bulldogs managed just 172 totals yards and 7 first downs against North Chicago last Saturday.

-- Joe Aguilar

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

When: 1 p.m., Saturday

Last week: North Chicago def. Wauconda, 10-3; Grant lost to Vernon Hills, 19-17.

Last year's result: Grant def. North Chicago, 34-14.

Skinny: North Chicago's only loss is a one-point loss to Antioch in Week 3. Head coach Glen Kozlowski says the vast experience on his team can be a double-edged sword. His veterans are talented and savvy, but sometimes they lose focus on the task at hand because of a "been there, done that" outlook. "We let one slip away against Antioch," Kozlowski said. "I think our kids understand now that we can't take anyone for granted." Just to be sure, Kozlowski is pounding away at that idea this week as he team visits winless Grant. "Grant is the best 0-4 team I've ever seen," Kozlowski said. "There's a reason a really well-coached team is 0-4 and that's injuries. Grant has lost some key guys to injury. But they can still do some really good things and we've got to be ready for that."…Grant had to play last week's game against Vernon Hills without starting quarterback Jake Bychowski, who is out with an ankle injury. The absence of Bychowski, a talented runner, hurt Grant's normally effective option offense. The Bulldogs managed only 42 rushing yards. However, Grant backup quarterback Simeon Tate did pass for 152 yards and a touchdown (64 yards to Joe Sadausakas) … There is no rest for the weary. Grant's offense is up for another stiff test this week as the North Chicago defense is one of the stingiest in the Prairie. The Warhawks, behind five 3-year veteran linebackers that include Khalil Rogers and Division I recruit Arnold Shead, allow just 11.3 points per game.

-- Patricia Babcock McGraw

NORTH SUBURBAN CROSSOVER

Vernon Hills (1-3, 1-1) at Stevenson (2-2, 2-0)

When: 7:30 p.m., today

Last week: Vernon Hills def. Grant, 19-17; Stevenson def. Libertyville, 49-3.

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

Skinny: It's father versus son in this North Suburban crossover. Stevenson coach Bill McNamara must figure out a way to stop his son, Vernon Hills quarterback Connor McNamara ... The Patriots must also figure out a way to keep their momentum going. After starting the season 0-2, Stevenson has been clicking over the last two weeks, particularly on the offensive end. After averaging just 17.5 points per game over the first two weeks, the Patriots have rolled up 48.5 points per game over the last two weeks. "They just have so many weapons on offense," Vernon Hills coach Bill Bellecomo said. "You shut down one and they've got someone else they can hit you with. We played them in a 7-on-7 over the summer and were just amazed at their overall speed and athleticism. I think the Stevenson we've seen the last two weeks is the real Stevenson and that they'll go pretty far in 8A (playoffs) this season" … Against Libertyville last week, Stevenson quarterback Willie Bourbon was a force both on the ground and through the air. He rolled up 91 rushing yards while completing 11-of-16 passes for 257 yards. Wide receivers Cameron Green and Matt Morrissey each caught 4 passes … Vernon Hills snapped a three-game losing streak with last week's win over Grant. The Cougars recovered 2 Grant fumbles and got 2 big field goals out of kicker Jeremy Cohen. The offense was fairly balanced with 159 rushing yards and 117 passing yards, but the Cougars are still struggling to score points. They rank last in the North Suburban Prairie in scoring with 10.8 points per game.

-- Patricia Babcock McGraw

EAST SUBURBAN CATHOLIC

Nazareth (2-2, 0-2) at Carmel (1-3, 1-1)

When: 7:30 p.m., today

Last week: Nazareth lost to Joliet Catholic, 42-0; Carmel lost to St. Viator, 17-14.

Last year's result: Carmel def. Nazareth, 13-7.

Skinny: Carmel coach Andy Bitto isn't mincing words. "We're up against it," Bitto said. "We've got to play with some urgency. We've got to win four of our last five (games)." The Corsairs will need to do at least that much to have a chance to make the playoffs, otherwise, they will miss the postseason for the second straight year and just the second time in the last 14 years … The Corsairs' loss last week was tough to take as St. Viator got a 3-point win with a field goal as time expired. Meanwhile, Carmel had plenty of opportunities to score more, but came up empty. Unlike most Carmel teams of the past, this year's team has managed just 76 total points, or a 19-point average. That's the lowest scoring average in the East Suburban Catholic Conference. "We just need to get more consistent on offense," Bitto said. Meanwhile, the Carmel defense, led by linebacker R.C. Cox and defensive back Joe Berg, has been tough and is forcing turnovers. Berg had an interception last week and the Corsairs forced 4 St. Viator turnovers overall … Nazareth averages 31 points per game behind quarterback Jake Bartel and running backs Julian Love and Justin Weller. The Roadrunners use multiple formations to confuse defenses. "Our defense is going to have to be ready and they're really going to have to pay attention to where they should line up," Bitto said.

-- Patricia Babcock McGraw

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