Scouting Friday's football games in the Northwest suburbs

  • St. Viator's PJ Scales carries for yardage in a 2019 game against Marian Central. The Lions open the season Friday night against Chicago Hope Academy at Forest View Stadium.

    St. Viator's PJ Scales carries for yardage in a 2019 game against Marian Central. The Lions open the season Friday night against Chicago Hope Academy at Forest View Stadium. Mark Welsh | Staff Photographer

By Dick Quagliano
Daily Herald Correspondent
Updated 3/18/2021 12:35 PM

Here's a look at Friday's football games in the Northwest suburbs.

Maine West at DeerfieldWhen: Friday, 7:30 p.m.


2019: Maine West 29, Deerfield 6


Outlook: With new head coach George Klupchak, the Warriors should have a different look this season. After averaging 40.3 points per game last year, Maine West will lean heavily on running backs Alex Peguero and Tommy Katsikaris. They will benefit by being able to run behind an offensive line that returns three starters. Maine West is coming off three consecutive Central Suburban North titles; the last two the Warriors were unbeaten in conference play. They draw a huge test in their opener, playing a Deerfield team that advanced to the 6A state semifinals last year.

Chicago Hope Academy vs. St. Viator at Forest View StadiumWhen: Friday, 7:30 p.m.

2019: Did not play

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Outlook: A double overtime loss in its final game of 2019 not only cost Viator a conference title, but a state playoff berth. Now the Lions are ready to roar with 24 seniors back from that team. They will be led by 4-year starter Jeremiah Pittman, who has signed to play at Iowa. Jack Ziebka stepped in quite nicely at quarterback last season and threw for 480 yards and 4 touchdowns. He will have Joe Laterza (16 catches, 244 yards) and PJ Scales (21 catches, 331 yards) to throw to. Lucas Barisas (107 carries, 491 yards) will be back to run the ball for this highflying offense. Chicago Hope Academy, which is 2A school, is no pushover. The Eagles have qualified for the state playoffs for seven consecutive years.

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Niles West at Maine SouthWhen: Friday, 7 p.m.

2019: Maine South 28, Niles West 0


Outlook: With no playoffs this season, Maine South's string of 27 consecutive years as a playoff qualifier will be halted. But the Hawks should still fly high this spring with the return of a fully healthy Luke Leongas at quarterback. The senior played the 2019 season with a torn ACL and was sill able to lead Maine South another CSL South title. Niles West has won just one game in the past three years and the Wolves have lost 19 in a row.

Leyden at WillowbrookWhen: Friday, 7 p.m.

2019: Willowbrook 42, Leyden 7


Outlook: Leyden has a tough task in its opener, facing a Willowbrook team that is defending conference champs and has advanced to the state quarterfinals the last four years. Willowbrook has also knocked off the Eagles in their last three meetings. It will be a resolute flock of Eagles that look to turn things around this season. Nico Venezia, Elijah Diblich, Colin O'Neil, Julian Mendoza, Jason O'Donnell and Joel Gonzalez will all be two-way players for Leyden. With this game, Leyden coach Tom Cerasani becomes the longest tenured football coach in the 95 years of Leyden history.


Maine East at Highland ParkWhen: Saturday, 2:30 p.m.

2019: Highland Park 50, Maine East 6


Outlook: Maine East heads into the season with a 26-game losing streak. The Blue Demons have not won two conference games in the CSL North, since moving over to that division in 1999. But there is a whole different feel for the Blue Demons this season. It starts with one of the area's top juniors in Yaser Al_Awadi, a 6-foot-8, 320-pound 3-star recruit, who has an offer from Michigan State. The Demons have a solid offensive line around him which should help their offense. Highland Park is led by safety Giovanni Volpentesta.

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