Scouting Week 1 football games in Lake County
Here's a look at the top football games in Lake County for this weekend.
Zion-Benton at WarrenWhen: 5 p.m., Friday
2019: Warren 56, Zion-Benton 6
Outlook: It's finally time. Warren, the defending Class 8A state runner-up, has been waiting since November of 2019 to get back at it. The Blue Devils believed then, and still do now that they could bounce back from their loss in the 2019 state championship game with one of the best teams in the state. The defense, led by star linebacker Malachi McNeal and lineman Tommy Matheson, will again be a strong suit. Zion-Benton is young, with 15 of 22 starters being sophomores and juniors. This game was originally scheduled to be played at Zion-Benton, but was moved to Warren since Warren has a turf field.
Lake Zurich at Lake ForestWhen: 5 p.m., Friday
2019: Lake Zurich 39, Lake Forest 7
Outlook: Lake Zurich was in the midst of a four-game winning streak last year when it handily defeated Lake Forest by 32 points in Week 4. But Lake Forest went on to finish strong and advance to the Class 6A quarterfinals. The Scouts lost that quarterfinal game to Deerfield, 21-20. Lake Zurich, which will again hang its hat on defense and be led by linebacker Bryan Sanborn, a Wisconsin recruit, also was a quarterfinal team in 2019. The Bears were eliminated in that round by Willowbrook, 28-10.
Mundelein at LibertyvilleWhen: 5 p.m., Friday
2019: Libertyville 29, Mundelein 7
Outlook: Fresh off a North Suburban Conference tournament championship in basketball, senior quarterback Blake Ellingson hopes to keep the good fortune going and get the football team at Libertyville off on the right track. The Wildcats got nearly 2,300 yards out of Ellingson in 2019, either through the air or on the ground. The Wildcats will be up against a Mundelein team that boasts 15 returning starters, including Joey Foreman, Luke Pietrusiecicz, Alex Wing, Deangelo McClellan and Anthony Martinez on defense.
Lakes at WaucondaWhen: 7 p.m., Friday
2019: Lakes 33, Wauconda 7
Outlook: After just missing the playoffs last year with a 4-5 record, Wauconda seems poised to be a force in 2021 with plenty of experience returning, including junior quarterback Nick Bulgarelli, who is quickly transitioning from a solid basketball season. Last season, he threw for 1,650 yards and 15 touchdown passes. This is his third year under center. Lakes made the playoffs last year and will rely heavily on a ground game that will focus on veteran running backs Mark Hunter and Romie Johnson.
Antioch at Grayslake Central When: 7 p.m., Friday
2019: Antioch 34, Grayslake Central 0
Outlook: Coming off an 8-3 campaign in 2019, Antioch is primed for another impressive run in 2021. The Sequoits believe they may have one of their best teams in school history, with senior quarterback Athan Kaliakmanis, a Minnesota recruit, leading the way. Grayslake Central won just one game last year, but is optimistic in Year 2 of head coach Michael Maloney's tenure. The Rams have a good core, and return all five starting offensive linemen from 2019.
Carmel at DePaul College Prep, 7:30 p.m.
Grant at North Chicago, 7:15 p.m.
Waukegan at Stevenson, 5 p.m.
Round Lake at Grayslake North, 1 p.m.
Vernon Hills at Niles North, canceled