Scouting Week 1 in Lake County

Updated 8/29/2019 8:33 PM

By Joe Aguilar and Patricia Babcock McGraw


Barrington Broncos (7-4) at Warren Blue Devils (10-2)

When: 7:30 p.m., Friday

Last year: Barrington won the Week 1 matchup, 31-14.

Outlook: Warren's only losses in 2018 were its first game to Barrington, and its last to Brother Rice in the state quarterfinals. And in those two games, the Blue Devils gave up more total points than they did in their other 10 games combined. In fact, the 31 points Warren gave up to Barrington were the most points the Devils gave up in a game all season. Otherwise, the Blue Devils were all about defense in 2018. Warren, easily the best defensive team in Lake County, recorded a whopping 5 shutouts last season. And not including their first and last games, the Blue Devils allowed an average of 4 points per game. The Blue Devils return most of the core of that stingy defense, including Iowa State-bound defensive tackle Willis Singleton (6-foot-2, 285 pounds). Outside linebacker Juan De La Cruz, the Daily Herald's Lake County All-Area Team Captain in 2018, safety Josh Turner and lineman Seamus Mellican, all return as all-conference selections from last season. Junior linebacker Malachi McNeal, who started last year as a sophomore, is also back. Offensively, Indiana State commit Derrick McLaughlin will be the primary running back while junior quarterback Phil Hird returns after starting last year as a sophomore. Hird rolled up 1,208 passing yards and 12 touchdowns last season. Barrington boasts one of the most experienced teams in the area with 13 starters back from a team that went 7-4 and advanced to the second round of the Class 8A state playoffs. The Broncos are hoping to duplicate their success in last year's season opener against Warren for numerous reasons. For starters, getting a second-straight win over Warren, one of the top teams in 8A, would be a statement victory for Barrington. On top of that, the Broncos would make a bit of history. Barrington's very next win will be the 500th in program history. The Broncos have compiled a mark of 499-313-30 since they began playing football in 1924. Quarterback Tommy Fitzpatrick returns after throwing for 1,300 yards and 13 touchdowns last season. Many of those yards and touchdowns went to speedy receiver EJ Darlington, who is also back for his senior year. Defensively, Barrington is anchored by big-time college recruit Lukas Van Ness, a tackle who had 30 Division I offers before settling on Iowa.

Antioch (11-1) at Lake Forest (5-5)

When: 7:30 p.m., Friday

Last year: Antioch def. Lake Forest, 27-14.

Skinny: Perennial playoff teams meet for second year in a row. The nonconference game features ample star power. Antioch boasts QB Athan Kaliakmanis (Minnesota commit), WR Dino Kaliakmanis (Minnesota commit) and WR/S Tre Watson (14 Division-I offers). Lake Forest counters with DL Rylie Mills (Notre Dame commit), ILB/RB Mac Uihlein (offers from Purdue, Wisconsin, Iowa, Louisville, Northwestern) and P Kai Kroeger (South Carolina commit).

Libertyville (2-7) at Carmel (4-5)

When: 7:30 p.m., Friday

Last year: teams did not play each other.

Skinny: The "Battle of Route 176" resumes for the first time since 2010, when Carmel won, 55-27, defeating Libertyville for the third year in a row. Libertyville's 2-7 mark last season was its worst since posting the same record in 1974. Wildcats junior QB Blake Ellingson broke his leg in Week 2 last year and missed the rest of the season. Carmel boasts junior RB Syone Usma-Harper. Under first-year coach Blake Annen last season, the Corsairs won three of their last five games.

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Lake Zurich (7-4) at Fremd (5-5)

When: 7:30 p.m., Friday

Last year: Lake Zurich def. Fremd, 20-7.

Skinny: Former Elmhurst College coach Ron Planz makes his coaching debut for Lake Zurich, which boasts senior QB Jack Moses, senior WR James Piggott and junior LB Bryan Sanborn. Fremd, which started 0-3 a year ago, returns 17 starters from last season. Lake Zurich leads the series 8-3.

Stevenson (6-4) at Lincoln-Way East (12-1)

When: 7:30 p.m., Friday

Last year: teams did not play each other.

Skinny: Former Lake Forest College coach Brent Becker makes his coaching debut for Stevenson, where he's served as an assistant coach. Senior RB JM Etienne, a three-year starter, leads the offense. A year after going 14-0 in winning the Class 8A state championship, Lincoln-Way East advanced to the state semifinals last year. The Griffins boast RB/WR/QB AJ Henning, who's committed to Michigan.

Maine West (9-2) at Mundelein (2-7)

When: 7:30 p.m., Friday

Last year: Maine West def. Mundelein, 42-0.

Skinny: Former Vernon Hills star Vince DeFrancesco makes his coaching debut for Mundelein. He coached Lincoln Park to the playoffs the last four years in a row. It's the second year in a row Mundelein and Maine West are playing each other to start the season. Maine West has gone to the state playoffs two years in a row after not advancing to the postseason since 2002.

Woodstock (2-7) at Grant (3-6)

When: 7 p.m., Friday

Last year: teams did not play each other.

Skinny: Grant has not won its season opener since 2012, which was the last time the Bulldogs went to the state playoffs. The Bulldogs return four all-conference players in RB Noah Lautner, RB/WR/QB/DB John Bolton, DE Luke Bedrosian and LB Ben Kiesgen. Woodstock, which hasn't been to the postseason since 2009, returns 6-3 QB Michael Purkey.


Grayslake Central (2-7) at Vernon Hills (3-6)

When: 7:30 p.m., Friday

Last year: Vernon Hills def. Grayslake Central, 38-21.

Skinny: Former Marian Central coach Mike Maloney makes his coaching debut for Grayslake Central. Vernon Hills is trying to beat the Rams for the fifth year in a row on the opening night of the season. Libertyville-transfer Thomas Monken, the son of former Vernon Hills coach Tony Monken, starts at QB for the Cougars.

Lakes (8-3) at Deerfield (4-5)

When: 7:15 p.m., Friday

Last year: Lakes def. Deerfield, 21-14.

Skinny: Lakes is trying to beat Deerfield to open the season for the third year in a row after losing to the Warriors in 2016. Lakes returns five all-conference players in QB Chris Selig, DL Isaiah Perrin, OL Nate Goodson, OL Tylor Gunther and LB Jake Magad.

Wauconda (5-5) at Richmond-Burton (11-2)

When: 7 p.m., Friday

Last year: Richmond-Burton def. Wauconda, 41-7.

Skinny: It's a tough opener again for Wauconda, which returns athletic QB Nick Bulgarelli. Former Grayslake North coach Steve Wood is an assistant for Richmond-Burton, which went to the Class 4A state semifinals last year. Wood's two sons, Dalton (senior LB/FB) and Brock (sophomore LB/FB), both play for the Rockets.

Amundsen (5-5) vs. Round Lake (1-8) at Grayslake Central

When: noon, Saturday

Last year: teams did not play each other.

Skinny: Round Lake's new stadium is not completed yet, so the nonconference game is being played on Grayslake Central's artificial turf. Former Wauconda assistant Scott Blecha makes his coaching debut for Round Lake, which returns all-conference players Isaiah Nixon (QB) and Kevonne Peterson (WR). Amundsen coach Nick Olson played three seasons of varsity football as a linebacker/running back for Round Lake from 2007-09. His Vikings, who went to the state playoffs last year, have won 19 games in the last three seasons.

Grayslake North (5-4) at Waukegan (0-9)

When: 1:30 p.m., Saturday

Last year: teams did not play each other.

Skinny: It's the first meeting between the two Lake County schools since Grayslake North started playing varsity football in 2006. The Knights started 0-4 last season, before winning its last five, only to fall short on playoff points. Junior Nick Fish, who started as safety last year, takes over at QB for the Knights.

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