Scouting Week 1 in the Northwest suburbs
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.
Lincoln-Way West Warriors (8-3) at Hersey Huskies (9-2)When: 7 p.m., Friday
Last year: Did not play.
Outlook: Lincoln-Way West was one of the top teams in the Southwest Suburban Conference last year and lost in the second round of the playoffs to Simeon. Hersey returns 13 starters from a team that placed second in the Mid-Suburban League East and advance to the second round of the playoffs. Quarterback Jordan Hansen has multiple Division I offers.
Downers Grove North Trojans (4-5) at Buffalo Grove Bison (5-5)When: 7:30 p.m., Friday
Last year: Buffalo Grove won the Week 1 matchup, 49-19.
Outlook: Downers Grove North is celebrating the 15th anniversary of its 2004 Class 8A state championship team. Last year, the Trojans missed the playoffs for the third time in five years. Buffalo Grove, which made the playoffs last year despite being decimated by injuries, is looking for a healthy 2019.
Elk Grove Grenadiers (1-8) at Hoffman Estates Hawks (7-3)When: 7:30 p.m., Friday
Last year: Hoffman Estates won the Week 1 matchup, 28-21.
Outlook: Elk Grove is hoping a healthy quarterback competition between Charlie Janczak and Joey Gaskill could provide the edge necessary to turn the corner and put together a winning season. Hoffman Estates boasted the most prolific offense in the competitive Mid-Suburban League West in 2018, averaging 29.8 points per game.
Prospect Knights (5-5) at St. Viator Lions (1-8)When: 7 p.m., Friday
Last year: Prospect won the Week 1 matchup, 28-13.
Outlook: After snagging a playoff berth under first-year coach Dan DeBoeuf, Prospect is looking for more in Year 2. The Knights will be led by running back Luke Zardzin, an all-conference pick in 2018. St. Viator didn't taste victory last season until Week 9, getting a 35-6 win over Marian Central.
Rolling Meadows Mustangs (10-1) at Glenbrook South Titans (2-7)When: 7 p.m., Friday
Last year: Rolling Meadows won the Week 1 matchup, 43-7.
Outlook: A whole new backfield (quarterback Carson Schiller and running backs Chris DiVito and Noah Wilson) will lead Rolling Meadows, which has its sights set on a seventh MSL East title in the last eight years. Glenbrook South made 10 straight playoff appearances from 2005 to 2014. Now the Titans are looking to rebound after missing the playoff last season for the third time in four years.
Wheeling Wildcats (3-6) at Highland Park Giants (4-5)When: 7 p.m., Friday
Last year: Did not play.
Outlook: Wheeling is looking to avoid injury and fatigue by using 22 unique starters and no two-way players. The Wildcats hope that is a winning formula for what would be their first winning season in 11 years. Highland Park missed the playoffs last year for just the second time in four years.
Maine South Hawks (10-2) at Glenbard West Hilltoppers (8-3)When: 1:30 p.m., Saturday
Last year: Maine South won the Week 1 matchup, 35-14.
Outlook: Maine South clinched its 27th straight playoff berth last season and finished with double-digit victories for the third season in a row. The 2016 team went 11-3 and won the Class 8A state championship. Quarterback Luke Leongas is the younger brother of Nick Leongas, the quarterback of that 2016 team. The Hawks will also be led by Northwestern recruit Pete Skoronski, a 6-foot-4, 275-pound two-way lineman.
Maine East Blue Demons (0-9) at Marmion Academy Cadets (4-7)When: 7 p.m., Friday
Last year: Did not play.
Outlook: Maine East is looking to improve on some key numbers this season. Last year, the Blue Demons scored the fewest points per game (7.6) in the Central Suburban North while also allowing the most points by opponents (54.6). No other team in the CSN allowed more than 33 points per game. Marmion Academy is the high school alma mater of Maine East coach Bob Winkel. Several coaches who coached Winkel are still on the staff at Marmion, including head coach Dan Thorpe. In 2018, Marmion Academy finished last (0-4) in the Chicago Catholic Green.
Lake Zurich Bears (7-4) at Fremd Vikings (5-5)When: 7:30 p.m., Friday
Last year: Lake Zurich 20, Fremd 7
Outlook: After starting 0-3 a year ago, Fremd is looking to turn things around and get off to a good start in the 2019 season. Fremd returns 17 starters from last season. The Vikings' schedule is one of the toughest around for the first four games of the season and they look for a win against a Lake Zurich team that leads the series 8-3. The Bears have capitalized on Fremd mistakes the last few years to pull out wins and are ranked among the top teams in the state in the preseason. The game within the game could be the matchup between a pair of talented juniors in Lake Zurich LB Bryan Sanborn and Fremd OL Jack Walsh.
Conant Cougars (6-4) at Addison Trail Blazers (1-8)
When: 7:30 p.m., Friday
Last year: Conant 7, Addison Trail 0
Outlook: Conant's opening-game victory last season catapulted the Cougars into their best season in years. The Cougars tied for the MSL West title and advanced to the playoffs. Graduation hit Conant hard, but the Cougars have a new group that is ready to make their mark. Malik Frederick moves to fullback in the Conant offense while sophomore Joe Dugo steps into the role to run the Cougars' option-style offense. Addison Trail will be leaning on youth. The Blazers could start as many as eight sophomores.
Leyden Eagles (4-5) at Shepard Astros (8-3)When: 7 p.m. Friday
Last year: Shepard 18, Leyden 14
Outlook: Leyden was oh so close to the playoffs last season. And if the Eagles look back, their late-game loss to Shepard could have changed that. Leyden looks to come into this game armed with that knowledge. The Eagles also come armed with a solid running game led by Vince Fredrickson and Nick Motyka which should give them a ground and pound mentality. Shepard went on to an 8-3 mark last season and the Astros have qualified for the playoffs the last 4 seasons.
Maine West Warriors (9-2) at Mundelein Mustangs (2-7)When: 7:30 p.m. Friday
Last year: Maine West 42, Mundelein 0
Outlook: Maine West is looking to pick up where it left off last season. The Warriors will be looking to take a different approach this season. Maine West will be looking to throw the ball with returning quarterback Danny Kentgen leading the air attack. That should open up the running game with sophomore Alex Peguero leading the ground charge. The Warriors also boast a pair of solid defensive ends in Isaiah Siem-Davis and Emmanuel Ajose'. Mundelein will begin its season under new head coach Vince DeFrancesco.
St. Charles North North Stars (10-4) at Palatine Pirates (1-8)When: 7:30 p.m. Friday
Last year: Did not play
Outlook: After going 1-8 last season, Palatine opens the season with the need of a course correction. And to do that the Pirates will look to circumvent a huge storm when they host last year's Class 7A runner-up, St. Charles North. Defense will be the key for the Pirates, who surrendered an average of 39 points per game last season. It will all start up front with Peter Russchenberg, Mossimo Vardamaskos, Ricky Orozco, Jayden Houskins and Jake Wagner, who will be looking to keep the North Stars, who averaged 24.5 points per game last year, under control.
York Dukes (4-5) at Schaumburg Saxons (4-5)When: 7:30 p.m. Friday
Last year: Did not play
Outlook: It will be a battle of offensive lines when these two teams meet for the first time. With all the size that Schaumburg has this season, it would be difficult for it to sneak up on anyone. But the Saxons, who missed the playoffs last season, look to make their prescience felt this year. Schaumburg, which has the largest offensive line in the area with Allen Okanovic, Dane McMahon, Jose Parra, Tyler Madl, Malik Moore and Derek Kulak, should give the Saxons room to run. Schaumburg will need that size to counter the size of York's offensive line that averages 255 pounds.