Scouting Week 8 in the Northwest suburbs
Fremd (5-2, 3-0) at Conant (6-1, 2-1)When: Friday, 7:30 p.m.
Last week: Fremd def. Barrington 14-0; Conant lost to Schaumburg 10-7
Last year: Conant def. Fremd 17-14
Outlook: This tilt could decide the Mid-Suburban League West champion. Of course, Fremd is in the driver's seat and could essentially sew up an outright championship by staying undefeated in league play. Conant, which suffered an upset loss to Schaumburg last week, has a little more work to do, and will need help from elsewhere to win an outright championship.
Interestingly, Conant and Fremd finished last season with identical 4-1 records in the MSL West. But Conant won the league title with its head-to-head 17-14 win over Fremd.
Fremd enters on a high from last week's 14-0 shutout of rival Barrington. Running back Brian Hardy had a big showing for the Vikings against Barrington. He rushed for 168 yards and accounted for 71 percent of the Vikings' total yards of offense. Meanwhile, the Fremd defense was stingy and thwarted several promising drives for the Barrington offense.
Fremd, which has won four games in a row and has already equaled its win total from 2018 (5-5), is allowing 14.4 points per game and has shutouts in two of the last three games. The offense, led by Hardy, as well as quarterback Ryan Saxe and wide receiver Jack Hipchen, who connected for a touchdown against Barrington, is averaging 21.1 points per game.
Conant is coming off its lowest-scoring game of the season by far with just 7 points against Schaumburg. The Cougars had been averaging 31 points per game, most in the MSL West, prior to the Schaumburg game. Conant still averages a league-best 27.6 points per game and boasts the stingiest defense in the league, allowing 9 points per game. The one touchdown that the Cougars got last week came from star running back Malik Frederick, who busted out an 80-yard touchdown run. But Frederick, Conant's leading rusher, was held to just 116 rushing yards overall on 15 carries.
Conant, which is a run-heavy team with its option offense, managed just 215 total rushing yards, 77 yards below its area-leading average. Schaumburg also forced a couple of key Conant fumbles to kill drives.
After this game, Conant finishes up the regular season with Palatine in Week 9 while Fremd finishes with Hoffman Estates.
Elk Grove (2-5, 1-2) at Hersey (7-0, 3-0)When: Friday. 7:30 p.m.
Last week: Elk Grove beat Wheeling 56-33; Hersey beat Buffalo Grove 42-14
Last year: Hersey 43, Elk Grove 10
Outlook: Elk Grove's Ian Ridge had a day to remember last Friday when the junior piled up 422 yards and 7 touchdowns as the Grens posted their second win of the season. Ridge's performance earned him Chicago Bears Player of the Week honors. Ridge and his Elk Grove teammates will face off against the previous week's player of the week winner from the Bears. Jordan Hansen, who committed to Northern Illinois this past week. Hansen has rushed for 1,074 yards and 21 touchdowns while throwing for 1,412 yards and 17 touchdowns. The Huskies are averaging 48.6 points per game.
Buffalo Grove (3-4, 1-2) at Prospect (5-2, 1-2)When: Friday. 7 p.m.
Last week: Buffalo Grove lost to Hersey 42-14; Prospect lost to Rolling Meadows 35-14
Last year: Buffalo Grove 27, Prospect 7
Outlook: Buffalo Grove needs wins in its final two games to become playoff eligible. The Bison have been able to run the ball quite well the past two weeks. They have averaged 287 yards per game thanks to the running of Max Oberman and Cole Nixon. Prospect has also run the ball well behind Luke Zardzin, who has gained 1,003 yards. The Knights have thrown for 1,453 yards behind Gary Moeller. The Knights are looking to break a two-game losing streak with their defense allowing 81 points during that span after allowing 74 points in their first five games.
Wheeling (0-7, 0-3) at Rolling Meadows (7-0, 3-0)When: Friday. 7 p.m.
Last week: Wheeling lost to Elk Grove 56-33; Rolling Meadows beat Prospect 35-14
Last year: Rolling Meadows 42, Wheeling 0
Outlook: Wheeling is still showing tons of life on the offensive side of the ball. The Wildcats are averaging 23 points per game. They have struggled on the other side of the ball, allowing nearly 60 points per game. Rolling Meadows has won 16 consecutive regular-season games and will try not too look past this game in anticipation of its Week 9 showdown with Hersey. Meadows just keeps getting better each week and hasn't allowed more than two touchdowns in the last 5 weeks. The Mustangs dominated the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball last week against Prospect.
Palatine (2-5, 1-2) at Schaumburg (3-4, 1-2)When: Friday. 7 p.m.
Last week: Palatine beat Hoffman Estates 21-0; Schaumburg beat Conant 10-7
Last year: Schaumburg 30, Palatine 29
Outlook: Palatine put it all together last week as the Pirates were able to get their second victory of the season. Palatine was impressive on both sides of the ball, especially with the running game. Ronald Todd posted a career-high 172 yards of the Pirates' 247 rushing yards. Schaumburg was equally impressive in its win over Conant. The Saxons played their best defensive game of the season, forcing a pair of turnovers. They also ran the ball well, putting up 251 rushing yards thanks to Shamaree Brown and Mike DiGioia. Schaumburg needs a win here and one next week against Barrington to keep its playoff hopes alive.
Barrington (4-3, 2-1) at Hoffman Estates (4-3, 1-2)When: Friday. 7:30 p.m.
Last week: Barrington lost to Fremd 14-0; Hoffman Estates lost to Palatine 21-0.
Last year: Barrington 41, Hoffman Estates 15
Outlook: Both teams were shut out last week and need to find their offense with both teams turning the ball over three times. Barrington has lost two in a row and needs a win to become playoff eligible. The Broncos have struggled in the red zone the past two weeks. They also have missed middle linebacker Dayven Shinhoster, who is out for the season with an injury. Hoffman also needs a win in the next two weeks to clinch a playoff spot. The Hawks have not beaten Barrington since 2007. JoJo Lovelace did throw for 231 yards last week, but Hoffman will need to run better than it did last week when the Hawks rushed for just 12 yards.
Glenbrook South (3-4, 3-0) at Maine South (5-2, 3-0)When: Friday, 7 p.m.
Last week: Glenbrook South beat Niles West 70-8; Maine South beat Glenbrook North 40-10
Last year: Maine South 44, Glenbrook South 7
Outlook: This is a surprising first-place showdown in the Central Suburban South. Glenbrook South had played poorly, losing its first four games by a combined score of 137-56. The Titans have won their next three by a margin of 107-29. They run into a Maine South team that looks fully charged, winning its last five games. With the return of Luke Leongas at quarterback, the Hawks have scored 179 points during that streak. With a win, Maine South will clinch its 28th consecutive trip to the playoffs.
Maine West (6-1, 3-0) at Vernon Hills (4-3, 1-2)When: Friday. 7 p.m.
Last week: Maine West beat Maine East 47-6; Vernon Hills lost to Deerfield 23-20
Last year: Maine West 54, Vernon Hills 0
Outlook: Maine West continued its winning ways last week and the Warriors have won 18 of their last 21 regular-season games. They also clinched their third consecutive playoff spot for the first time in school history. Danny Kentgen has thrown for 1,615 yards and a Northwest suburbs-best 21 touchdowns. Jaden Dolphin has been one of the top receivers with 28 receptions for 583 yards. Vernon Hills has lost its last two games. Maine West has shut out Vernon Hills the past two seasons.
Maine East (0-7, 0-3) at Niles North (2-5, 0-3)When: Friday. 7 p.m.
Last week: Maine East lost to Maine West 47-6; Niles North lost to Highland Park 57-25
Last year: Did not play
Outlook: This is a pair of teams on losing streaks. Maine East's dates back to Week 1 of 2017, and has reached 24 games. The Blue Demons have looked good at times and have stayed close to their opponents a number of times this season. With a solid defensive effort, the Demons could overtake Niles North, which does have a pair of wins, albeit against subpar teams. The is the first season in the CSL North for Niles North, which played in the CSL South for the past few seasons.
Mt. Carmel (7-0) vs. St. Viator (4-3) at Robert MorrisWhen: Friday. 7 p.m.
Last week: Mt. Carmel beat De La Salle 28-21; St. Viator lost to Marmion 14-10
Last year: Did not play
Outlook: This is the first meeting between the teams and it couldn't come at worse time for Viator. Lions starting quarterback Jack Mahoney is out with a broken ankle and backup quarterback Jack Ziebka is also out with an injury. PJ Scales, who has been a wide receiver, will move to quarterback. Viator has been in every game this season and the Lions are hopeful that trend will continue against the Caravan. Mt. Carmel is ranked one of the top teams in Class 8A and it is making its second trip to the Northwest suburbs after beating Maine South 21-7 in Park Ridge in Week 2.
Downers Grove South (4-3, 3-2) at Leyden (2-5, 2-2)When: Friday. 7 p.m.
Last week: Downers Grove South beat Morton 40-6; Leyden beat Addison Trail 25-6
Last year: Downers Grove South 35, Leyden 7
Outlook: Leyden broke a three-game losing streak as the Eagles look to complete their season on a high note with their final two games at home. Leyden got its ground game going with quarterback Jim Lonogro and running back Vince Fredrickson combining for 233 yards last week. The defense had a huge game as well, only allowing one touchdown. Downers Grove South, which has won three of its last four, needs at least one win in its final two games to become playoff eligible. The Mustangs have allowed just 6 points in their last two games.