Scouting Week 2 in Lake County

  • Stevenson and senior Jean-Marc Etienne host Neuqua Valley Friday night in the Lake County Game of the Week.

      Stevenson and senior Jean-Marc Etienne host Neuqua Valley Friday night in the Lake County Game of the Week. Steve Lundy | Staff Photographer

Updated 9/5/2019 5:40 PM

By Joe Aguilar and Bill McLean


Neuqua Valley (1-0) at Stevenson (0-1)

When: 7:30 p.m., Friday

Last week: Neuqua Valley defeated Glenbard North 27-10; Stevenson lost 30-7 to Lincoln-Way East.

Last year: Stevenson 23, Neuqua Valley 15

Outlook: Another football game, another playoff atmosphere. That's what first-year Stevenson head football coach Brent Becker expects after Neuqua Valley arrives in Lincolnshire for a nonconference clash Friday night. Becker's Patriots fell 30-7 to 2017 Class 8A champion Lincoln-Way East in their opener in Frankfort last weekend. "They'll bring everything they've got," Becker said of NV's Wildcats. "They're physical, they play hard, and they do things the right way."

NV senior Mark Gronowski (South Dakota State commit) barks the signals, and the 6-foot-3, 205-pound pro-style quarterback likes to connect with 6-1, 185-pound senior wideout Patrick Hoffmann. The Wildcats' primary backfield threat is junior tailback Armani Moreno (6-0, 206). "Some nice offensive weapons," Becker said. "Their 'D' is solid, too, really aggressive." Neuqua coach Bill Ellinghaus welcomed back 12 starters in August.

The Patriots scored their lone TD last week on a short toss from senior QB Justin Hiller to junior wideout Jayden McFadden in the second half. The 6-1, 190-pound McFadden was fabulous, coming down with 7 receptions for 138 yards -- or 70 percent of Hiller's completions for 90 percent of Hiller's passing yardage (Hiller finished 10-of-20, 154 yards). "Explosive, with breakaway speed," Becker said of McFadden, a second-year varsity member.

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Stevenson senior safety and Eastern Illinois University recruit Jordan Vincent racked up a team-high 10 tackles and helped contain LW-E All-World, all-purpose back AJ Henning (Michigan commit) to 72 yards on 13 touches.

"Jordan did a great job running downhill and filling in the alleys," Becker noted. "Lincoln-Way East impressed me. Its coaches do an incredible job preparing their players -- their great players. It's not surprising, no matter what poll you see, you see Lincoln-Way East ranked first or second or third."

LW-E's Griffins limited Stevenson senior feature back Jean-Marc Etienne to 40 yards on 9 carries and 12 yards on 2 grabs last weekend.

A Stevenson win would snap its losing streak at four games dating to Week 8 last year. Both teams finished 6-4 and exited in the first round of the 8A playoffs in 2018, Stevenson bowing 28-6 to eventual state semifinalist Marist, NV losing 14-3 to Warren.

Becker, on how he felt minutes before the start of his first game as the Pats' head coach last Friday: "Probably a lot like our players did. My heart was racing. I was excited, ready to go. But once that toe hit leather and the ball was in the air, things began to settle down for me."


Becker coached football for six seasons at Lake Forest College (two as the Foresters' defensive coordinator, four as their head coach). He was the DC at New Trier for three seasons and served as an assistant coach at Stevenson from 2012-18.

Woodstock North (1-0) at Antioch (0-1)

When: 7 p.m., Friday

Last week: Woodstock North def. Westosha Central 21-13; Antioch lost to Lake Forest, 10-7.

Last year: Antioch def. Woodstock North, 31-7.

Outlook: The Sequoits didn't score an offensive touchdown in their season opener, and Minnesota-commit Athan Kaliakmanis (10-of-17 passing, 117 yards, 2 interceptions) took a hard hit late in the game and left the field on a stretcher. Antioch coach Brian Glashagel said Kaliakmanis is OK but will not start against Woodstock North. Woodstock North's Andrew Pena rushed 32 times for 178 yards and a TD against Westosha Central. QB Ryan Zinnen added 96 rushing yards and 2 TDs.

Grant (1-0) at Stagg (1-0)

When: 7:15 p.m., Friday

Last week: Grant def. Woodstock, 45-7; Stagg def. Chicago Little Village, 35-16.

Last year: Did not play.

Outlook: Grant unveiled the triple option in its season opener. It's an offense the Bulldogs have not run in years. John Bolton, who started at QB, led the way with 164 rushing yards and 4 TDs. Stagg went 2-7 last year.

Mundelein (0-1) at Grayslake Central (0-1)

When: 7:30 p.m., Friday

Last week: Mundelein lost to Maine West, 27-13; Grayslake Central lost to Vernon Hills, 43-0.

Last year: Did not play.

Outlook: Mundelein was in good position to win its debut game under new coach Vince DeFrancesco, leading Maine West 13-7 late in the third quarter last Friday. A blocked punt by the Warriors changed momentum, and the Mustangs never recovered. Mundelein unveiled a double-wing offensive attack. QB Isaac Wellman threw a TD pass and Shawn Patrick rushed for the Mustangs' other score.

Deerfield (1-0) at Grayslake North (1-0)

When: 7 p.m., Friday

Last week: Deerfield def. Lakes, 27-24; Grayslake North def. Waukegan, 48-6.

Last year: Deerfield def. Grayslake North, 21-20.

Outlook: Grayslake North looks to avenge last year's 1-point loss, which was part of the Knights' 0-4 start. The Knights had an auspicious start to their 2019 campaign, getting 3 TD passes from new-QB Nick Fish to WR Joe Swanson at Waukegan last Saturday. Deerfield rallied to win its opener, overcoming two early TDs by Lakes. Trailing 24-19 late in the fourth, Warriors QB Ryan Nagelbach threw a TD pass to Adam Pottinger.

Highland Park (1-0) at Lakes (0-1)

When: 7:15 p.m., Friday

Last week: Highland Park def. Wheeling, 69-13; Lakes lost to Deerfield, 27-24.

Last year: Highland Park def. Lakes, 42-14.

Outlook: Lakes is looking to avoid its first 0-2 start since 2016, when the Eagles opened with losses to Deerfield and Highland Park. The Eagles scored a pair of early TDs against Deerfield last Friday, but surrendered the go-ahead score (on a TD pass) late in the fourth quarter. Highland Park's Zion Griffin rushed for 2 TDs and returned a pair of kicks for TDs -- all in the first half -- against Wheeling last Friday.

Round Lake (0-1) at Maine East (0-1)

When: 7 p.m., Friday

Last week: Round Lake lost to Amundsen, 30-29; Maine East lost to Marmion Academy, 41-7.

Last year: Round Lake def. Maine East, 50-12.

Outlook: Trailing Amundsen 30-7 late in the third quarter, Round Lake responded with 3 touchdowns, including runs of 52 and 6 yards by QB Isaiah Nixon, but fell short when the Vikings were able to run out the clock late in the fourth. Round Lake's only win last season came against Maine East.

Riverside-Brookfield (1-0) at Wauconda (0-1)

When: 7 p.m., Friday

Last week: Riverside-Brookfield def. Morton, 40-28; Wauconda lost to Richmond-Burton, 48-12.

Last year: Wauconda def. Riverside-Brookfield, 35-7.

Outlook: For Wauconda, it's the back end of its "R-B" doubleheader, and the Bulldogs are looking for their second win in as many years over Riverside-Brookfield, whose nickname is also the Bulldogs. R-B beat Wauconda the previous three seasons. Wauconda QB Nick Bulgarelli threw for a TD pass and scored one against Richmond-Burton last Friday.

Glenbard North (0-1) at Warren (1-0)

When: 7:30 p.m., Friday

Last week: Glenbard North lost to Neuqua Valley, 27-10; Warren def. Barrington, 16-6.

Last year: Warren def. Glenbard North, 19-0.

Outlook: Due to stormy weather, it took Warren three trips to Carol Stream to beat the Panthers last season. The season never got better for Glenbard North, which went 0-9. Warren dominated defensively against Barrington last Friday, as LB Malachi McNeal (interception, sack, 2 tackles for loss) led the way. LB Juan De La Cruz (4 TFLs, sack) and Iowa State-commit DT Willis Singleton (2 TFLs, sack) also played big for the Blue Devils.

Marist (1-0) at Lake Zurich (0-1)

When: 7:30 p.m., Friday

Last week: Marist def. Chicago Dunbar, 42-0; Lake Zurich lost to Fremd, 24-6.

Last year: Did not play.

Outlook: Lake Zurich looks to rebound from its season-opening loss but will have a tough task in its home opener. Marist has won 11 games in each of Ron Dawczak's two seasons as coach. Ron Planz looks for his first win as Lake Zurich's coach.

Waubonsie Valley (1-0) at Libertyville (1-0)

When: 7:30 p.m., Friday

Last week: Waubonsie Valley def. Oak Park, 23-14; Libertyville def. Carmel, 35-34.

Last year: Waubonsie Valley def. Libertyville, 15-6.

Outlook: Libertyville surrendered a 24-10 halftime lead against Carmel last Friday but won it on QB Blake Ellingson's last-second TD pass to Sam Paden and Ellingson's ensuing PAT run. Ellingson was 16-of-29 passing for 237 yards, 3 TDs and no interceptions, and also rushed 23 times for 121 yards and a TD.

Carmel (0-1) at St. Charles East (1-0)

When: 7:30 p.m., Friday

Last week: Carmel lost to Libertyville, 35-34; St. Charles East def. Lemont, 12-6.

Last year: St. Charles East def. Carmel, 38-7

Outlook: Carmel trailed Libertyville most of the night last Friday, took the lead in the fourth quarter, then lost in heartbreaking fashion, as the Wildcats scored on a last-second TD pass and ensuing PAT run. RB Syone Usma-Harper rushed for 308 yards and 2 TDs on 26 carries. The Corsairs got 2 fields goals from Grant Wickremesekera and 4 PATs kicks from Jillian Walsh.

Vernon Hills (1-0) at Waukegan (0-1)

When: 1:30 p.m., Saturday

Last week: Vernon Hills def. Grayslake Central, 43-0; Waukegan lost to Grayslake North, 48-6.

Last year: Vernon Hills def. Waukegan, 15-6.

Outlook: Vernon Hills got a huge game from RB Ryan Mann in its season opener, as the junior RB had 15 carries for a game-high 130 yards and 3 TDs. Libertyville-transfer Thomas Monken had a great debut for the Cougars, completing 16 of 25 passes for 227 yards and a TD.

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