Football: Week 4 scouting, Lake County

Updated 9/18/2014 9:05 PM

By Joe Aguilar and Patricia Babcock McGraw and



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

When: 7:30 p.m., today

Last week: Warren lost to Stevenson, 33-20; Libertyville def. Lake Zurich, 20-10.

Skinny: Undefeated Libertyville is looking to build on its best start since 2006 but will need to do so while away from home for a while. The Wildcats are embarking on a stretch of three straight road games. Overall, four of Libertyville's first five games are on the road. "The scheduling gods weren't very good to us this year," Libertyville coach Mike Jones said with a laugh. "But every once in a while, you get a schedule like this. You've just got to deal with it and keep playing hard."…Jones was impressed with how hard his team played at Lake Zurich last week. The Wildcats were able to set the tone with their physicality. "Lake Zurich is always a very physical team, they always hit you hard and they always come at you," Jones said. "But I think we matched that really well. We were very physical against Lake Zurich."…Libertyville will need to flex its muscles again this week against a Warren team that features a large and punishing offensive line. Linemen Joey Zumpano (6-foot-5, 285 pounds) and Javon Burruss (6-foot-6, 335 pounds) will provide a challenging matchup for long Libertyville defensive ends Ben Kimpler (6-foot-6) and Jordan McInerney (6-foot-5). The Blue Devils have been opening up big holes for running back Darrius Crump, who had 89 yards and a touchdown last week against Stevenson…Libertyville got 3 rushing touchdowns last week from quarterback Riley Lees. He's also a serious threat to throw the ball. Lees completed 8-of-13 passes last week for 106 yards.

-- Patricia Babcock McGraw

Lake Forest (3-0) at Stevenson (3-0)

When: 7:30 p.m., today

Last week: Lake Forest def. Wauconda, 37-14; Stevenson def. Warren, 33-20.

Skinny: There will be one less undefeated team in the North Suburban Lake Division after this game. Stevenson and Lake Forest are also similar in that they are the two highest-scoring teams in the division and also the two stingiest. Stevenson is averaging 33.7 points per game and allowing just 14.7 points per game while Lake Forest is at 43 ppg and 15.7 ppg, respectively. "Lake Forest has had three really nice wins and they're just playing great," Stevenson coach Bill McNamara said. "They are very typical of Lake Forest teams. Their guys are rarely out of position, they are very well-coached and you have to execute very consistently to do well against them, otherwise they are right there to take advantage."…The Scouts run a high-flying spread offense led by quarterback Daniel Carollo but have also shown the ability to run the ball behind Wesley Janeck and Quinn Julian…Stevenson is also very balanced. Quarterback Willie Bourbon likes to target wide receivers Cameron Green and Jack Sorenson but will also make plenty of handoffs to running back Jack Joseph, who rushed for 130 yards last week against Warren. "I'm really happy with our position right now," McNamara said. "Our offensive has been very explosive at times and our defense has been phenomenal. We put great players there and they've been performing. Against Warren, we turned the ball over and put our defense in some pretty bad spots and they went out and got the ball right back for us."

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-- Patricia Babcock McGraw

Mundelein (0-3, 0-1) at Lake Zurich (1-2, 0-1)

When: 7:30 p.m., today

Last week: Mundelein lost to Zion-Benton, 20-14; Lake Zurich lost to Libertyville, 20-10.

Last year's result: Lake Zurich won, 45-0.

Skinny: It's homecoming for Lake Zurich, which hasn't lost three games in a row since it started the 2001 season 0-3. The Bears look to snap their two-game skid against a Mundelein team that last Friday looked headed to its first victory until allowing a pair of fourth-quarter scores to Zion-Benton. Lake Zurich features running backs Zane Lodico and Ben Klett, who's off to a slow start (2 TDs), after scoring more than 20 TDs in 2013. "We are excited to play Lake Zurich after performing very well last week," Mundelein coach George Kaider said. "We are maintaining a positive attitude, even though we have not won yet. Our players and coaches feel good about what we have accomplished within the scope of the year-round program. Lake Zurich is disciplined, fast and aggressive on defense. Offensively, we will have to stop their tailback and wingback. Their line fires out hard and low so it will be a physical game. I have a great deal of respect for their coaches and their program. They are what we try to emulate as a program since they win with smaller, tough kids. We plan to compete hard, play hard, be physical and make it a four-quarter game."

-- Joe Aguilar


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

When: 7:30 p.m., today

Last week: Grant lost to Lakes, 52-6; North Chicago lost to Vernon Hills, 64-28.

Last year's result: Grant won, 16-12.

Skinny: Despite its defensive struggles -- a North Suburban Conference-worst 151 points allowed -- Grant has shown an ability to move the football. Led by Tim Hollins (17 carries, 84 yards) and John Bettis (11-87, 39-yard TD), the Bulldogs rushed for 220 yards against Lakes last Friday night. The problem was, the Bulldogs turned the ball over five times. They fumbled it away four times, including on the opening kick deep in their own territory. North Chicago surrendered a school-record 6 TD runs to Vernon Hills quarterback Connor McNamara last Friday night. The Warhawks, who opened the season with losses to Waukegan and Chicago Robeson, have been outscored 111-36. Against Vernon Hills, North Chicago QB Jamero Shelton rushed for 94 yards, including a pair of scores.


-- Joe Aguilar

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

When: 7:30 p.m., today

Last week: Antioch def. Round Lake, 58-0; Vernon Hills def. North Chicago, 64-28.

Skinny: So far this season, the Antioch defense has been rock solid against the run. "No one (no team) has rushed for more than 100 yards on us yet," Antioch coach Brian Glashagel said. "We've been really good defending that. Now, we're going to be challenged on defense in a different way." Glashagel pointed out that his team hasn't yet seen a team quite like Vernon Hills, a spread team that likes to pass all over the place. "It's an air raid shotgun offense," Glashagel said of Vernon Hills. "This will be a good game for us to see how we handle that." Vernon Hills quarterback Connor McNamara scored a school-record 7 touchdowns last week, but he actually used his feet much more than his arm. Six of his touchdowns were rushing touchdowns. "We tried to throw the ball, we wanted to throw the ball, but it was really cold and rainy and we had some difficulty with that," Vernon Hills coach Bill Bellecomo said. "We could rely on the run more with Connor because he's also so good at just running with it. He's getting better and better each week with his decision-making."…If McNamara doesn't have the ball, look for Vernon Hills to feature running back Robby Nardini and wide receiver Kiwanne Durant…Antioch likes to run the ball behind Griffin Hill, Alan Taylor and Jacob Lanahan. They helped the Sequoits roll up 397 rushing yards last week against Round Lake. "We put our athletes at running back," Glashagel said. "We identify those kids early and part of it is our system. In a day and age where so many teams are going with spread offenses, we're one of the only teams in Lake County that still really runs the ball a lot. It just works for us."

-- Patricia Babcock McGraw

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

When: 7:30 p.m., today

Last week: Wauconda lost to Lake Forest, 37-14; Lakes def. Grant, 52-6.

Skinny: Over its two wins, Wauconda has averaged nearly 41 points per game. Lakes hasn't seen an offense quite that potent yet. Its opponents have scored an average of 12 points per game. "Wauconda can beat you equally with the run or the pass so you can't just zero in on any one thing," Lakes coach Luke Mertens said. "It puts a lot of stress on your defense. They're also very big, much bigger than us, so that poses some matchup issues for us."…Wauconda's biggest weapon on offense is quarterback Kevin Malisheski. He was tagged with 3 interceptions last week against Lake Forest, but had completed more than 75 percent of his passes the previous two weeks. He threw for more than 200 yards in the season opener. "Two of the interceptions just bounced off kids and on the other one, the kid from Lake Forest just made a really good play," Wauconda coach Dave Mills said. "We're not too worried about (the interceptions), but we do need to make sure we take care of the ball against a team like Lakes. That's a very opportunistic team. When they played Grant last week, Grant had a lot of turnovers (5) and (Lakes) took advantage."…Lakes also took advantage of a big night by running back Devyn Cedzidlo. He scored 3 touchdowns and rushed for 117 yards on 11 carries against Grant.

-- Patricia Babcock McGraw


Carmel (1-2, 0-1) at Marian Catholic (1-2, 0-1)

When: 7:30 p.m., today

Last week: Carmel lost to Joliet Catholic, 34-14; Marian Catholic lost to Marian Central, 42-0.

Last year's result: Carmel won, 41-7.

Skinny: Since opening the season with a 49-6 win over Hyde Park, Marian Catholic has dropped back-to-back games to Shepard (14-7) and undefeated Marian Central (42-0). "They're struggling with numbers," Carmel coach Andy Bitto said. "They have some athletic kids, but they're not what Marian Catholic used to be like. They usually had a pretty athletic group, plus a huge line." Carmel looks to get back on the winning track and improve to 2-0 on the road. The Corsairs have gotten a touchdown in each of their games from sophomore fullback Rondel Jamison, who leads the team in rushing (420 yards, 7.1 average). Carmel trailed visiting Joliet Catholic only 10-6 in the closing seconds of the opening half last Friday, only to allow a 44-yard TD catch. "I think in our league you got to play consistently," Bitto said. "We look brilliant in spots ... and then we give up a last-second touchdown pass with three guys around (the receiver). You got to make plays." Bitto said halfback Zavier Barnes is "probable" after missing the JCA game with an ankle injury. Halfback/starting strong safety Joe Hoy (shoulder) might miss the game, Bitto said.

-- Joe Aguilar


Grayslake Central (0-3) at Jacobs (2-1)

When: 7:15 p.m., today

Last week: Grayslake Central lost to Hampshire, 31-14; Jacobs def. Whitney Young, 42-0.

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

Skinny: Still seeking its first win under first-year coach Jason Schaal, Grayslake Central heads to Algonquin to take on a Golden Eagles squad that has won two straight after a 37-0, opening-night loss at Barrington. Grayslake Central has scored just 23 points, while allowing 114. "We are heading into Jacobs and know we have a huge mountain to climb on Friday night," Schaal said. "They are an excellent team and we have all the respect in the world for them. For us to have a chance to be successful, we have to limit both turnovers and negative yardage plays along with sustaining drives to eat up some clock. We have had too many turnovers in the first three games, and that has to change. I feel as if we played a much better game last Friday night. Again, turnovers put us in bad spots." The Jacobs offense is piling up points and yards. Last week the Golden Eagles rushed for 317 yards, bringing their season total to 853. The Eagles have gained 65 percent of their 1,307 total yards via the ground game. Senior Josh Walker has 441 yards and 6 touchdowns in 59 attempts. The unsung hero of the running game has been junior Sean Barnes, a highly effective lead blocker at the H-back position. The Jacobs defense is coming off its first shutout in 10 games. The Eagles will face a Grayslake Central offense that Hampshire limited last week to 126 total yards, 76 on the ground. "I'm just worried about us getting better, each player, and not taking a step back," Jacobs coach Bill Mitz said. "We want to keep progressing, keep the machine moving and keep getting better." These teams have not met since 2010. The Golden Eagles are 8-5 against the Rams since Grayslake joined the Fox Valley Conference in 1997.

-- Joe Aguilar and Jerry Fitzpatrick


Zion-Benton (2-1) at Round Lake (1-2)

When: 7:30 p.m., today

Last week: Zion-Benton def. Mundelein, 20-14; Round Lake lost to Antioch, 58-0.

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

Skinny: Round Lake should get a boost with the expected return of quarterback Cole Steger, who missed last Friday night's game against Antioch. With back-to-back wins over Waukegan and Mundelein, Zion-Benton has matched its 2013 win total. The Zee-Bees fell to Deerfield (35-12) in their season opener. "We are excited for the game," Panthers coach Jordan Eder said. "We think it will be a good test and should be a great game. Zion looks good on film, and we look forward to another home game and working to get back on track this week."

-- Joe Aguilar


Normal West (2-1) at Grayslake North (1-2)

When: 7 p.m., today

Last week: Normal West lost to Normal, 32-0; Grayslake North lost to Cary-Grove, 42-7.

Skinny: Because there is an odd number of schools in the Fox Valley Conference (7 in the Fox Division and 6 in the Valley Division) scheduling for football, and including crossovers, can be difficult. That's the easy explanation for how each team in the Fox Division has an oddly-placed nonconference game in its schedule. For Grayslake North, that game comes tonight. Grayslake Central, for instance, hosts Danville in Week 6. Meanwhile, Prairie Ridge has to travel to Crete-Monee in Week 9. "We think it'll be kind of fun," Grayslake North coach Steve Wood said of his random Week 4 nonconference game. "We can treat this like a playoff game. It's fun to play a team that you wouldn't normally see, and that is traditionally a very good team." Normal West is coming off its fourth-straight playoff berth. The Wildcats have been to the playoffs in eight of the last 10 years. Last year, they were 8-2 in Class 6A. "They are similar to us in many ways, with formations. They are no-huddle. This will be really good for us."…The Wildcats use two quarterbacks, each of whom brings something unique to the table. Arion Worthman transferred to West from Normal University High over the off-season. He's a dual threat who can run and pass effectively. Last year, he passed for 2,035 yards and 32 touchdowns while also rushing for 1,397 yards and 27 touchdowns. Worthman gets most of the snaps, but the Wildcats also give significant time to junior Mitch Fairfield, a more polished passer who isn't quite as mobile as Worthman. Fairfield started for West last year and passed for 1,160 yards and 13 touchdowns…Grayslake North also has big quarterback news. Starter Merrick Gentile, who sat out last week with a shoulder injury that he suffered against Hampshire in Week 2, is listed as probable against West. The normally high-scoring Knights missed Gentile's play-making abilities last week and the Cary-Grove defense was able to fully zero in on running back Titus Booker, who had only 57 yards on 13 carries.

-- Patricia Babcock McGraw

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