Football: Scouting the 2021 fall season in the CCL/ESCC Purple
2021 spring record: 1-3
Coach: Jason McKie
Worth noting: McKie, the former Chicago Bears fullback who took over the program following the 2019 season, finally gets to coach his first full year after guiding the Corsairs to 1-3 record in the shortened spring season. ... Carmel will be young on the offensive and defensive lines, but it returns a substantial amount of talent at the skill positions. ... McKie called RB Gabe Lynch, who ran for 493 yards in the spring, "tough as nails." WR Jon Buckley had 30 receptions for 416 yards. McKie feels Buckley has Division I talent. Dual-threat QB/WR Ashton Gondeck (578 passing yards, 113 rushing) also will have WR Luke Daniels (15 catches) back. QB Johnny Weber saw limited varsity time in the spring, but McKie said he is a name to watch. Patrick Jewell will anchor the offensive line, and transfer Will Meier brings great size at 6-5, 285 pounds ... Defensively, LB Spiros Pissios returns after leading the team in tackles with 25. LB Matt Ortega, who can also play running back and full back, will be counted on for his physicality.
2021 spring record: 1-4
Coach: Erick Middleton
Worth noting: The Spartans snapped an eight-year playoff drought in 2019, going 5-4 during the regular season with a 3-0 mark in CCL/ESCC Red Division play. They followed it up with a 2-0 divisional record this past spring, but they now move into the Purple division. ... Standout RB Tajheem Lawson is now at Northern Illinois. ... Sophomore Randall Nuaden will see an expanded role in the backfield along with junior QB Kyle Thomas, who started one game in the spring. WR Zion Horn should be a dependable option for Thomas, and junior center Craig Morrison is entering his third season as a starter. ... Marian returns six seniors on defense, including DL/OL Demarcus Jackson, DB/WR Isaiah Johnson, DL Leo Mendez, LB/DB Wande Oluwibe, LB Dylan Ross and DL Correll Young. ... Middleton said his team is young but gained valuable varsity reps during the spring.
2021 spring record: 2-3
Coach: Adam Guerra
Worth noting: The Shamrocks haven't reached the postseason since 2013. They came close in 2018 with a 5-4 record but missed due to a lack of playoff points. Guerra, however, feels confident this senior group, which went 8-1 as sophomores, can get the program back into contention with the help of a strong junior class. ... Guerra said the offensive and defensive fronts will be strengths, starting with senior LB Alex Goworowski (6-3, 220). The reigning Purple Division Defensive Player of the Year is receiving interest from the Ivy, Patriot and Pioneer Leagues and will also serve as the team's starting running back. ... Dual-threat senior QB Jermaine Young (6-3, 235) is being recruited by MAC and MVC programs, and he'll have seniors Joey Thornton (6-2, 265), Charlie Redman (6-2, 280) and Carl Verde (6-0, 260) to protect him.
2021 spring record: 4-1
Coach: David Archibald
Worth noting: The Lions enjoyed a productive spring with a Purple Division title and their only loss coming to state power Mount Carmel. St. Viator averaged 37.4 points per game, but the roster will look quite a bit different this fall after graduating 24 seniors. The Lions return three starters on offense and two on defense ... Senior LB Carson Eggebraten (6-0, 210) enters his third season as a varsity starter and Archibald expects Eggebraten to draw Division I interest. ... QB Alex Konopka, LB Justin Mirski, OL Ryan Ziebka and OL/DL Dave Orecchio will join their fellow senior as captains.
FIVE PLAYERS TO WATCH
Jermaine Young, quarterback, St. Patrick: Coach Adam Guerra called Young one of the best dual-threat quarterbacks in St. Patrick history.
Alex Goworowski, running back/linebacker, St. Patrick: The reigning Purple Division Defensive Player of the Year, Goworowski will also act as the team's starting running back.
Carson Eggebraten, linebacker, St. Viator: All-conference linebacker has good speed to anchor the St. Viator defense.
Gabe Lynch, running back, Carmel: Lynch averaged nearly 5 yards per carry during the spring and will be critical to the Carmel offense.
Jon Buckley, wide receiver, Carmel: Buckley showcased his playmaking ability during the spring, including a 220-yard receiving effort against Joliet Catholic.
THREE CAN'T-MISS MATCHUPS
Week 1 -- Carmel at Libertyville. The Corsairs believe they can make the playoffs. An early win against a solid Libertyville program would go along way to achieving that goal.
Week 4 -- St. Viator at Carmel. St. Viator rolled to a 47-8 win during the spring, but this matchup will give us a better sense of how the Purple Division will play out.
Week 9 -- St. Patrick at St. Viator. The division title -- and possibly a postseason berth -- could be on the line during the final week of the regular season.