Scouting Week 6 in Lake County
By Joe Aguilar and Bill McLean
NORTH SUBURBAN CONFERENCE
Libertyville (2-3, 1-2) at Lake Zurich (3-2, 3-0)When: 7:30 p.m., Friday
Last week: Libertyville def. Waukegan, 42-0; Lake Zurich def. Stevenson, 28-20.
Last year: Lake Zurich def. Libertyville, 14-7.
Outlook: Ron Planz's Physical Education students saw orange on Oct. 2. Planz, also Lake Zurich's first-year football coach, wore an orange shirt to school that day because a memo told him and other faculty members to do so. Stuff like that happens during homecoming week. "Our homecoming theme," Planz said the day before, "is an outer-space one -- 'Out of this world', or something like that. I used to work for the village of Bensenville, and the work shirt I had to wear was orange. Maybe I'll put that on tomorrow."
Planz and his Bears will see orange Friday night. And black. Those are homecoming foe Libertyville's colors. Royal-blue-and-white LZ enters the contest on a three-game winning streak after an 0-2 start; Libertyville halted its losing streak at three games last weekend.
"Lake Zurich is a good team," Wildcats coach Mike Jones said nearly a year after his 2018 squad and LZ were knotted at 7 in the fourth quarter before LZ triumphed, 14-7. "Explosive on offense, good defensively. We hope to contain them, limit their big plays."
Bears senior quarterback Jack Moses and junior running Jack Dwyer are weekly threats to amass 100 yards rushing each. Dwyer ran for 126 yards and a pair of 1-yard touchdowns in last week's defeat of Stevenson, and Moses dashed to 101 yards to go with a pair of TD tosses. Libertyville needed only 19 plays to rack up the first 5 TDs in its 42-0 rout of Waukegan last weekend. Junior QB Blake Ellingson, fully healthy again, has passed for 824 yards and 6 TDs, with senior receivers Brian Stacy (301 yards, 27 yards per catch) and Dylan Drumke (249, 21 ypc) serving as the team's most productive targets.
"Libertyville runs a dynamic offense, using a bunch of formations," Planz said. "Defensively it's a pressure team, a team that executes different blitzes and counts on big plays. Libertyville has a good football tradition. Good players -- that program always comes at you with good players."
LZ, 6-4 vs. Libertyville since 2009, has won the last three meetings between the schools. Libertyville defeated Lake Zurich by the rather odd score of 3-0 in 2012. The Bears finished 10-3 that season, reaching a Class 7A state semifinal; Libertyville (8-3) split a pair of playoff games. Libertyville's second victory of the season last weekend matched its win total (2-7) in 2018.
Moses connected with senior Justin Quast for a 22-yard TD against visiting Stevenson on Sept. 27, stretching LZ's lead to 27-7 with 1:44 left in the third quarter. Following junior Jack Rigby's extra point, the Patriots (2-3, 2-1) tallied the game's final 13 points.
"Finish better -- that's the lesson we learned," Planz said, adding a Lake Zurich TD was nullified because of a penalty. "But I like how we've been clicking, offensively and defensively, since our opener (a 24-6 loss to Fremd). We've been playing more like we should. We continue to reach that level of expectation we like."
LZ has outscored its four opponents by a combined 129-51 since the season-opening setback.
Planz, on the football buzz ringing at Lake Zurich: "It's been good, pretty loud. My students are excited; they're talking football, asking me about the team." Jones, on dealing with Friday's festive homecoming atmosphere at LZ: "It's kind of a tough place to play. It'll be a good challenge for us. We'll have to keep our poise and keep pounding away."
Zion-Benton (2-3, 1-2) at Warren (5-0, 3-0)When: 7:30 p.m., Friday
Last week: Zion-Benton def. Mundelein, 22-13; Warren def. Lake Forest, 37-0.
Last year: Warren def. Zion-Benton, 33-0.
Outlook: A win by Warren will clinch a third straight playoff berth for the Blue Devils, who have outscored their opponents 169-12 and have posted three shutouts in a row. WR/RB/QB Christian Phillips leads the area with 11 TDs (6 receiving), while RB Derrick McLaughlin has rushed for 565 yards and 7 TDs. ... Zion-Benton averages 20.4 points per game and allows 32.6 per game.
Mundelein (2-3, 1-2) at Stevenson (2-3, 2-1)When: 7:30 p.m., Friday
Last week: Mundelein lost to Zion-Benton, 22-13; Stevenson lost to Lake Zurich, 28-20.
Last year: Stevenson def. Mundelein, 43-0.
Outlook: Mundelein, which has been to the postseason only twice in its history, and Stevenson, which has made 30 straight playoff appearances, have identical records through five weeks. Stevenson RB JM Etienne has rushed for 479 yards and 5 TDs in the Patriots' last three games.
CCL/ESCC PURPLE DIVISION
Carmel (1-4, 0-1) at Marian Central (3-2, 0-1)When: 7 p.m., Friday
Last week: Carmel lost to Providence Catholic, 49-6; Marian Central lost to St. Rita, 44-10.
Last year: Carmel def. Marian Central, 31-13.
Outlook: Both teams are looking to rebound after blowout losses. Carmel's loss to Providence (ranked No. 3 in AP poll for Class 6A) in New Lenox was its first by more than five points. ... Marian Central started the season with shutouts over Johnsburg, Chicago Lindbloom and Marian Catholic, but the Hurricanes have allowed 72 points in their last two games.
NORTHERN LAKE COUNTY CONFERENCE
Grayslake Central (1-4, 1-2) at Antioch (4-1, 3-0)When: 7:15 p.m., Friday
Last week: Grayslake Central def. Round Lake, 56-28; Antioch def. Grant, 20-0.
Last year: Antioch def. Grayslake Central, 55-0.
Outlook: Grayslake Central picked up its first win under first-year coach Mike Maloney last Friday, as sophomore RB Maurice Edwards rushed for 265 yards and 5 TDs. The 56 points scored by the Rams were the most in a game since 2003, when (as Grayslake Community) they beat Dundee-Crown 60-7. ... Antioch ran its NLCC career record to 24-0 by beating Grant last Friday for its third shutout in four games. LB Ryan Shaputis led the defense with 13 tackles, including a sack, and a fumble recovery.
Grant (4-1, 2-1) at Lakes (4-1, 3-0)When: 7:15 p.m., Friday
Last week: Grant lost to Antioch, 20-0; Lakes def. Wauconda, 33-7.
Last year: Lakes def. Grant, 42-19.
Outlook: It's a battle of four-win teams, with Grant looking to rebound from its first loss and beat the Eagles for the first time in the four-year history of the NLCC. Grant was averaging 39.5 points per game before being shut out by Antioch. ... Lakes has won four in a row and allows just 12.2 points per game. The Eagles' defensive leaders include Brandon Burdette (team-high 34 tackles, 2 INTs), Jake Magad (31 tackles, 6 TFLs), Jim Klemm (22 tackles, 3 TFLs, 2 INTs), Isaiah Perrin (team-leading 11 TFLs, 3.5 sacks), Jake Hren (team-leading 4.5 sacks, 8 TFLs), and Leighsean Triplett (area-best 4 INTs).
Round Lake (1-4, 0-3) at Grayslake North (1-4, 0-3)When: 7 p.m., Friday
Last week: Round Lake lost to Grayslake Central, 56-28; Grayslake North lost to North Chicago, 21-20.
Last year: Grayslake North def. Round Lake, 54-6.
Outlook: It's a playoff-elimination game for both teams, each of which is out to stop a losing streak. Round Lake has lost three in a row, allowing 131 points during the stretch. Panthers QB Isaiah Nixon (320 passing yards in 4 games) returned last week after missing a game due to a concussion. He and Cristian Castro (299 passing yards) each has thrown 3 TD passes. ... Grayslake North has lost four straight, scoring only 33 points during the stretch. Knights QB Nick Fish threw TD passes to Joe Swanson and Jason Hughes against North Chicago last Saturday. Zaire Knight returned an interception 62 yards for a TD.
Wauconda (1-4, 1-2) at North Chicago (2-3, 2-1)When: 7 p.m., Friday
Last week: Wauconda lost to Lakes, 33-7; North Chicago def. Grayslake North, 21-20.
Last year: Wauconda def. North Chicago, 35-12.
Outlook: Wauconda, which went to the playoffs with 5 wins last year, needs to win to keep alive its playoff hopes. ... With back-to-back wins (Round Lake, Grayslake North), North Chicago has matched its win total from last season. The Warhawks, who are led offensively by cousins Vondarious Gordon (RB) and Remorrian Gordon (QB), also played well in a 21-20 loss to Lakes.
CENTRAL SUBURBAN LEAGUE NORTHHighland Park (2-3, 1-0) at Vernon Hills (4-1, 1-0)
When: 7 p.m., Friday
Last week: Highland Park def. Maine East, 50-6; Vernon Hills def. Niles North, 34-9.
Last year: Highland Park def. Vernon Hills, 42-32.
Outlook: A win by Vernon Hills makes the Cougars playoff-eligible. The Cougars average 33.6 points per game and their 56 points allowed are the fewest among the six teams in the CSL North. ... Highland Park snapped a three-game losing streak last week against Maine East.