Scouting Week 1, Northwest

 
By Dick Quagliano
Daily Herald Correspondent
Updated 8/23/2018 8:57 PM
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  • Players practice kickoff returns during practice at Elk Grove, which hosts Hoffman Estates on Friday night to start the season.

      Players practice kickoff returns during practice at Elk Grove, which hosts Hoffman Estates on Friday night to start the season. Joe Lewnard | Staff Photographer

It's like Christmas Day for 15 area high school football teams as they kick off their 2018 campaigns.

We will get to see the gifts that came from the time and hard work the players have spent in the off-season and this summer to get themselves ready for Friday Night Lights.

It is my 40th year covering high school football, and I will be at St. Viator-Prospect. There is a full slate of 13 nonconference games, with just four games being played within northwest suburban Cook County.

Take in an area game or make a short trip to watch your favorite team -- and read all about the games online at football.dailyherald.com or in Saturday's print editions.

Mundelein at Maine WestWhen: Friday, 7 p.m.

Last year's result: Did not play

Outlook: Maine West is looking to continue their winning ways by getting off to a fast start. Maine West, which qualified for the playoffs last season for the first time since 2002, is looking to make back-to-back trips to the playoffs for the first time in school history. The Warriors appear to have an excellent shot at that, thanks to 13 returning starters, including five all-conference selections from last year. They draw a stiff test from Mundelein, which has 23 seniors on its roster.

Hoffman Estates at Elk GroveWhen: Friday, 7:30 p.m.

Last year's result: Hoffman Estates 42, Elk Grove 0

Outlook: This is a battle between two teams on opposite ends of the success spectrum last season. Hoffman Estates is coming off its best team in school history, advancing to the state semifinals before losing to eventual state champion Prairie Ridge. The Hawks will have to replace 18 starters from that group, but are still flying high. Elk Grove had its second consecutive winless season. The Grenadiers are hoping to turn things around as they continue to build with a young but hard-working team.

St. Viator at ProspectWhen: Friday, 7:30 p.m.

Last year's result: Did not play

Outlook: After playing Hersey and then Rolling Meadows, St. Viator moves on to a new neighborhood rivalry with Prospect. It may be early, but based on both teams' schedules, this looks like a must-win for either team if they have playoff aspirations. It is the first game for new Prospect coach Dan DeBoeuf, who brings a wide-open style of play to the Knights. St. Viator will counter will a solid secondary as Matt Murphy, Hunter Loprino, Zach DeJohn and Nate Peters lead the charge.

Shepard at LeydenWhen: Friday, 7:30 p.m.

Last year's result: Did not play

Outlook: After just missing out on the state playoffs last season due to low points, Leyden went out and upgraded its schedule a bit this season. The Eagles are looking to flying high again this year, with their offensive line, which returns four starters, carrying them. Leyden also has quarterback Kyler Britten and Gabe Guarderas back. Shepard was 8-2 last season and has a new coach this season.

Conant at Addison TrailWhen: Friday, 7:30 p.m.

Last year's result: Did not play

Outlook: Conant looks for a reversal of fortunes that could begin in Addison. The Cougars, who were 1-8 a year ago, but lost 5 games by 8 points or less, have a senior-dominated squad on both sides of the ball. They will be led by quarterback Kevin Polaski and free safety Joey Carrell. Addison Trail is coming of its third consecutive 4-5 season and rests some of their hopes on quarterback Nick Daudelin.

Barrington at WarrenWhen: Friday, 7:30 p.m.

Last year's result: Barrington 34, Warren 20

Outlook: Barrington's nonconference schedule is a tough as anyone's in the state, with all four opponents as playoff qualifiers last season. The Broncos also begin their life after Ray Niro, with junior Tommy Fitzpatrick taking over the signal-calling duties this season. Barrington does have Michael Curran, an 800-plus rusher last season, returning at running back to take some of the pressure off. Warren returns 1,000-yard rusher Martin Walker and junior quarterback Phil Hird, who started last season as a sophomore.

Fremd at Lake ZurichWhen: Friday, 7:30 p.m.

Last year's result: Lake Zurich 21, Fremd 3

Outlook: This is the 11th consecutive year these neighbors will battle with Lake Zurich leading the series 7-3. This is not the 1-8 Fremd team from a year ago. The Vikings have had a solid summer and have looked very physical in their practices and could surprise some people. Lake Zurich, the defending 8A champion has 8 starters back on defense. Transfer quarterback Matt McGraw will look to guide the Bears on offense.

Palatine at StevensonWhen: Friday, 7:30 p.m.

Last year's result: Stevenson 14, Palatine 7

Outlook: This has become a major battle between a pair of local 8A heavyweights. Palatine comes in to the game with lots of depth, but most of it untested. The Pirates return just four players with any kind of varsity experience. Both teams have D-I offensive line prospects in Palatine's David Balanganayi (6-4, 300) and Stevenson's Ivan Gleyzer (6-4, 280). Stevenson also has Maema Njongmeta, who has 10 D-1 offers, and could play opposite of Balanganayi at times.

Schaumburg at St. Charles NorthWhen: Friday, 7:30 p.m.

Last year's result: St. Charles North 38, Schaumburg 13

Outlook: This is the fourth game in this series, with St. Charles North having won the first three. Schaumburg looks to capitalize on its speed and skill positions and use that athleticism to make plays. They are led by four-year starter Heze Trotter and quarterback Marcus Ross. St. Charles North is ranked in the top 10 of the AP Class 7A poll and returns 10 starters on offense.

Hersey at Zion BentonWhen: Friday, 7 p.m.

Last year's result: Hersey 41, Zion Benton 0

Outlook: Hersey is coming off its best season in 30 years. It all began with an impressive effort last season in the Huskies' huge win at Zion Benton. Coach Joe Pardun's group will look to mimic that performance again this season as they look to capitalize on their recent success. The Huskies defense led by Nick Steger posted 3 shutouts a year ago and allowed under 10 points per game. They will have their hands full with a Zee-Bees team that averaged 22 points last season and returns running back Jordan Chisum.

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