Week 1: Scouting the Mid-Suburban East
Elk Grove at Hoffman EstatesWhen: Friday, 7:30 p.m.
Last year's result: Did not play
Outlook: Hoffman Estates looks ready to start a promising season. "We have had six good days of practices in a row," said Hawks coach Tim Heyse, who is making his head coaching debut. His team has 18 starters back, including nearly all of its offense which averaged nearly 30 points last year. Miles Osei is also making his head coaching debut for Elk Grove, which was winless last season. But the Grens have a new outlook and are looking to get the 2017 campaign off to a solid start.
Zion Benton at HerseyWhen: Friday, 7 p.m.
Last year's result: Did not play
Outlook: This is the first meeting between the teams. Hersey is looking to get off to a fast start this season, but the Huskies will need to be quick to slow down the speedy Zee-Bees. Hersey quarterback Owen Goldsberry leads 13 returning starters for the Huskies, who would love to get back in the playoffs after a two-year absence. Nick Wiley and Luke Cecala give the Huskies some depth at running back. Zion-Benton is coached by former St. Viator assistant and local resident Bob Moynihan.
Niles West at Buffalo GroveWhen: Friday, 7:30 p.m.
Last year's result: Niles West 28, Buffalo Grove 25
Outlook: This is the game that cost Buffalo Grove a playoff spot last year, and if the Bison want to show that they are a contender this year, they know that they have to reverse that outcome. BG returns 10 starters from last fall, giving it a roster that is hungry to end a long playoff drought. Expect the Bison to take advantage of a formidable offense led by quarterback Connor Adams and bruising running back Tom Treib. Niles West was 4-5 a year ago and has a new head coach in Jesse Pierce.
Wheeling at Glenbrook NorthWhen: Friday, 7:30 p.m.
Last year's result: Glenbrook North 45, Wheeling 29
Outlook: After getting over the hump last year and qualifying for the playoffs, Wheeling looks to rebuild under first-year head coach Brian Hauck. The Wildcats will be plug and play with their 40-man roster that figures to have many players in multiple positions. Wheeling draws a tough challenge in its opener against a Glenbrook North team that has qualified for the playoffs the last two years, and in six of the last eight seasons.
St. Viator at Rolling MeadowsWhen: Friday, 7:30 p.m.
Last year's result: Rolling Meadows 30, St. Viator 7
Outlook: This has become one of the great opening-week rivalries in the Northwest suburbs, albeit a bit one-sided as Rolling Meadows has won all three meetings. Rolling Meadows is coming off of the best season in school history with its 11-1 record. But the Mustangs graduated 17 seniors from that team and will look to quarterback Arek Kleniuk to get things started for them this year. Meadows' strength will be in its secondary. St. Viator began last season slowly but finished with a flourish to qualify for the playoffs to go 6-5 on the year. The Lions return Bryce Hellgeth at quarterback along with 6-4 wide receivers Matt Doersching and Ben Wha
Prospect at Hinsdale SouthWhen: Friday, 7:30 p.m.
Last year's result: Hinsdale South 20, Prospect 16
Outlook: Prospect looks to get out the blocks quickly to erase the memories of the 4-5 campaign last year. The Knights were primarily a running team in 2016, and that won't change with junior Michael Shaifis figuring to get most of the carries. But it will be a youthful Prospect team that has just four returning starters. Hinsdale South, which was 4-5 last year, has dangerous wide receiver Destin Talbert and quarterback Justin Kolzow, who was a part-time starter last year. The Hornets definitely have offensive potential with Kolzow and Talbert, but keep an eye on sophomore running back Marquese Garrett. The Knights are an unknown with 18 new starters, including up to four sophomores.