Week 1: Scouting the West Suburban
Maine South at Glenbard West Nonconference
Game time: 1:30 p.m. Saturday.
Last year: Did not play.
Outlook: Could you ask for a better season opener? The defending Class 8A champion Hawks head to Duchon Field to take on a Glenbard West team that reached the 8A semifinals. The way these offenses look, they might break the scoreboard. Maine South returns third-year running back Fotis Kokosioulis, who's piled up 4,000 total yards the last two years. John O'Sullivan, whose main target is receiver Cam Stacey, takes over at quarterback for graduated Nick Leongas. Maine South breaks in five new offensive linemen, which might create opportunities for returning Glenbard West defensive linemen Marky Winters and Aidan O'Keefe. Hilltoppers running backs Ryan Diver and Dre Thomas combined for 2,000 rushing yards last season, and first-year starting quarterback Alex Hollensbe gives the offense another running option. Between receivers Alec Pierce, Ben Reifel and Sam Fenske, Glenbard West's passing game will be tough to match.
Next week: Lincoln-Way East at Maine South; Proviso East at Glenbard West.
Addison Trail at Glenbard SouthGame time: 7:30 p.m. Friday.
The quick hit: Last year Nick D'Ambrose rushed for 1,285 yards and 15 scores, and the Blazers return their entire offensive line. Raiders linemen Jake Jochums and Jon Lavin may recall last year's potential game-tying 2-point conversion run that didn't click.
Bolingbrook at Downers SouthGame time: 7:30 p.m. Friday.
The quick hit: The Mustangs did themselves no favors by switching openers from Homewood-Flossmoor to Bolingbrook. They'd love to develop a consistent run game with Nathan Strelak and Kenton Robinson to complement quarterback Matt Greenwald.
Downers North at LockportGame time: 7:30 p.m. Friday.
The quick hit: The Trojans played Lockport the last eight years and lost four times. They didn't make the playoffs in any of those seasons. A win is critical, and victory this year hinges on the defense with linebacker Blake Davis and lineman Ethan Roesch.
Grayslake North at WillowbrookGame time: 7:30 p.m. Friday.
The quick hit: We know running back Jack Jessen is capable of carrying the offensive load for Willowbrook, but it'll be interesting to see the Warriors develop their passing game around first-year starting quarterback John Taylor and receiver Sikander Zafar.
Hinsdale Central vs. St. Xavier (Ohio)Game time: 5 p.m. Saturday, Princeton High School, Cincinnati.
The quick hit: Red Devils coach Dan Hartman, who grew up in the Cincinnati area, returns to his stomping grounds as Hinsdale Central participates in the 20th Crosstown Showdown. Look for the Red Devils to set the tone on the ground with Luke Skokna.
Leyden at FentonGame time: 7:15 p.m. Friday.
The quick hit: Leyden scored touchdowns on its first seven possessions last season, a fact Fenton seniors such as Dylan Butts and Amari Baldwin will remember. Quarterback Kyle Cacioppo threw the football 28 times, which hopefully won't be required on Friday.
Leyden has controlled this series, easily winning the past two games between the teams. The Eagles, who won the West Suburban Gold and qualified for the playoffs, look to keep the train running in 2017. It will be an all-junior backfield for Leyden, with quarterback Kyler Britten and Gabe Gardenas both making their first start for the Eagles. It will be fun to watch the development of defensive linemen Trevon Thomas and how teams trying to counter the junior. Matthew Lynch takes over as head coach at Fenton.
Prospect at Hinsdale SouthGame time: 7:30 p.m. Friday.
The quick hit: The Hornets definitely have offensive potential with quarterback Justin Kolzow and receiver Destin 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.
York at New TrierGame time: 7:30 p.m. Friday.
The quick hit: The Dukes hope to shore up two positions with David Leonard taking over at quarterback and Charlie Pakenas, last season's quarterback, shifting to the secondary. The defense must slow 6-foot-7 Northwestern-bound Trevians tight end Brian Kaiser.