Scouting Week 7 in the Northwest suburbs
Barrington (4-2, 1-1) at Fremd (4-2, 2-0)When: Friday, 7:30 p.m.
Last week: Barrington lost to Conant, 21-14; Fremd def. Palatine, 28-10.
Last year: Fremd def. Barrington, 14-0.
Outlook: It's always a headliner when these two perennial Mid-Suburban League West powerhouses match up. And this time, there is even some extra motivation for each team. Barrington is looking to get back on the winning side after last week's loss to Conant. Plus, the Broncos were shut out by Fremd last year. Fremd is hoping to add to its three-game winning streak so that a showdown against Conant next week could be a battle for sole possession of first place in the division.
Meanwhile, there should be an interesting game within the game happening on the line with a potential matchup between Fremd offensive lineman Jack Walsh and Barrington defensive end Lukas Van Ness. Walsh, a 6-foot-4, 285-pound junior, has interest from several Division I schools, including Northwestern and Wisconsin. Van Ness, a 6-foot-5, 240-pound senior, has committed to Iowa.
Van Ness anchors one of the stingiest defenses in the MSL West. The Broncos are allowing just 9.8 points per game (second-fewest in the MSL West) and have pitched two shutouts, against Buffalo Grove and New Trier. Walsh powers a Fremd offense that can be explosive behind quarterback Ryan Saxe, who has completed 66-of-126 passes for 954 yards and 7 touchdowns. He's also rushed for 348 yards. Barrington quarterback Tommy FitzPatrick has similar numbers, completing 60-of-104 passes for 982 yards and 7 touchdowns. He's rushed for 251 yards. FitzPatrick and the Barrington offense came just a play short in a back-and-forth battle last week against Conant. The Broncos had two chances inside the 10-yard line to tie the game with just seconds remaining but misfired.
Meanwhile, the Fremd defense came up big in last week's crosstown battle against Palatine. The Vikings rolled up 4 interceptions and scored touchdowns off two of them. Jack Hipchen had an interception for a touchdown and also caught a touchdown pass on the offensive end. Trey Castella also had a pick-six for the Vikings.
Schaumburg (2-4, 0-2) at Conant (6-0, 2-0)When: Friday, 7:30 p.m.
Last week: Schaumburg lost to Hoffman Estates 21-16; Conant beat Barrington 21-14
Last year: Conant 28, Schaumburg 10
Outlook: Schaumburg has not seemed to recover after allowing a 99-yard touchdown pass to Deerfield in Week 4. Since that time, it has dropped three in a row and the Saxons have watched their season go from high hopes to the brink of playoff elimination. They will need to play their very best to derail the Conant train. The Cougars continue to mount one of the Northwest suburbs' best rushing attack with their option-style offense. Opponents continue to scheme to slow down running back Malik Frederick, who has rushed for 1,005 yards this season. Teams also pay the price of they pay too much attention to Frederick and ignore quarterback Giuseppe Dugo, whose 27-yard scamper was the difference last week against Barrington.
Hoffman Estates (4-2, 1-1) at Palatine (1-5, 0-2)When: Friday, 7:30 p.m.
Last week: Hoffman Estates beat Schaumburg 21-16; Palatine lost to Fremd 28-10
Last year: Hoffman Estates 47, Palatine 44
Outlook: Hoffman Estates needs just one win to make the Hawks playoff eligible. But they will need to beat one of the three largest MSL West schools that remain on their schedule to do that. Hoffman has shown that it has the explosiveness to do that thanks to the play of quarterback JoJo Lovelace, who has thrown for a Northwest suburbs-leading 1,437 yards and 13 touchdowns. Jashawn Johnson has been on the receiving end of most of those scoring throws, with 11 of his 30 catches going for touchdowns. Palatine has its own threat as well. The Pirates feature quarterback Jesse Ayala, who played last week despite an injured ankle, and wide receiver Luka Popovic, who leads the NW suburbs with 32.1 yards per reception.
Hersey (6-0, 2-0) at Buffalo Grove (3-3, 1-1)When: Friday, 7:30 p.m.
Last week: Hersey beat Prospect 45-28; Buffalo Grove beat Wheeling 48-20
Last year: Hersey 48, Buffalo Grove 0
Outlook: Jordan Hansen and Hersey just continue to pile up touchdowns. Hansen, this week's Chicago Bears High School Player of the Week, upped his rushing total by better than 35 percent in a single week to 19 for the season. He also has 14 touchdown passes as the Huskies are averaging nearly 50 points per game. Buffalo Grove will need to slow Hansen down to keep its playoff hopes alive. The Bison have also been on a scoring rampage in the last four weeks. Led by Max Oberman, Cole Nixon and Mark Antonetti, Buffalo Grove has averaged nearly 38 points during that span, while winning three of those games.
Elk Grove (1-5, 0-2) at Wheeling (0-6, 0-2)When: Friday, 7 p.m.
Last week: Elk Grove lost to Rolling Meadows 41-14; Wheeling lost to Buffalo Grove 48-20
Last year: Elk Grove 38, Wheeling 21
Outlook: It has been a disappointing season for both teams this year. Yet, despite the records this could be a very entertaining game between a pair of teams that have shown flashes offensively and defenses that have struggled to stop their opponents. Elk Grove has allowed nearly 30 points per game while Wheeling doubles that at 60 points per game. Elk Grove's offense has had the steady firepower of running back Ian Ridge, who has rushed for 559 yards this season. Wheeling counters with quarterback Austin Hmbed, who has thrown for 1,022 yards and 10 touchdowns.
Rolling Meadows (6-0, 2-0) at Prospect (5-1, 1-1)When: Friday, 7:30 p.m.
Last week: Rolling Meadows beat Elk Grove 41-14, Prospect lost to Hersey 45-28
Last year: Rolling Meadows 62, Prospect 14
Outlook: This is the Comcast Game of the Week and for good reason. Both teams have been able to put up huge numbers offensively with Meadows averaging 38 points per game and Prospect just over 40 points per game. Meadows' quarterback Carson Schiller has thrown for 1,289 yards and 14 touchdowns. Prospect has been explosive in its own right with quarterback Gary Moeller throwing for 17 touchdowns and 1,236 yards and running back Luke Zardzin rushing for 928 yards. The game should come down to two things. Can Prospect can neutralize the Mustangs' defensive front of Nate Pedraza, Jose Aleman and Mick Lawlor? Can Meadows, which has many two-way players, not run out of gas against Prospect's quick-tempo offense?
CENTRAL SUBURBAN SOUTH
Maine East (0-6, 0-2) at Maine West (5-1, 2-0)When: Friday, 7 p.m.
Last week: Deerfield beat Maine East 47-15; Maine West beat Niles North 49-20
Last year: Maine West 49, Maine East 14
Outlook: Maine East continues to improve each week. Unfortunately, that has yet to translate into a win for the Blue Demons. They will have another tough test when they meet district rival Maine West. With a win, the Warriors will clinch their third consecutive playoff appearance, a feat never accomplished in school history. Maine West quarterback Danny Kentgen will also be looking to continue his quest for more touchdown passes. Kentgen has 18 this season along with 1,354 yards. The Warriors also have a trio of running backs to lean on in Zack Norman (235 yards), David Jackson (181 yards) and Alex Peguero (143 yards).
CENTRAL SUBURBAN NORTH
Maine South (4-2, 2-0) at Glenbrook North (3-3, 0-2)When: Friday, 7 p.m.
Last week: Maine South beat Evanston 41-0; Glenbrook South beat Glenbrook North 21-14
Last year: Did not play
Outlook: Maine South is back in a big way. Injuries slowed the high-flying Hawks as they dropped their first two games of the season. With a healthier squad back on the field, Maine South dismantled Evanston last week. It was the 200th win for head coach Dave Inserra, who is in his 19th year as head coach and has compiled a record of 200-32. He earned Chicago Bears Coach of the Week honors as well. With a win this week Maine South becomes playoff eligible as the Hawks look to head to the playoffs for the 19th time under Inserra. Glenbrook North got off to fast start this season, winning its first three games. However, the Spartans have dropped their last three.
St. Viator (4-2) at Marmion (4-2)When: Friday, 7:30 p.m.
Last week: St. Viator defeated St. Patrick 21-20; Marmion lost to Fenwick 31-26
Last year: Did not play
Outlook: St. Viator now has the "Triton miracle" to add to its football lore. A blocked punt, an 18-yard 2-point conversion pass and a blocked extra point in the final two minutes of regulation and overtime have put the Lions on the cusp of becoming playoff eligible. The Lions need just one win in their final three games to achieve that. The only downside was an injury to quarterback Jack Mahoney, whose status is unknown. Jack Ziebka has stepped in quite nicely for St. Viator. Marmion opened the season with four wins, albeit against a soft schedule. The Cadets have followed with losses to Mt. Carmel and Fenwick.
WEST SUBURBAN GOLD
Leyden (1-5, 1-2) at Addison Trail (0-6, 0-3)When: Friday, 7:30 p.m.
Last week: Leyden lost to Lyons 34-7; Addison Trail lost to Downers Grove South 42-0
Last year: Leyden 21, Addison Trail 7
Outlook: Leyden was eliminated from state playoff contention last week. But the Eagles can still pick up some wins down the stretch and this week could be a good start to that goal. The Eagles will need to stiffen up on defense where they have allowed 29 points per game. Addison Trail has struggled on the offensive side of the ball. The Blazers have been shut out three times this season and have scored just 47 points. Addison Trail has lost 14 of its last 15 games.