Football: Scouting the 2021 fall season in the Central Suburban League

  • Maine South's Mike Sajenko, right, and Chris Petrucci both return for the Hawks this season.

    Maine South's Mike Sajenko, right, and Chris Petrucci both return for the Hawks this season. Joe Lewnard | Staff Photographer

 
By Dick Quagliano
Daily Herald Correspondent
Updated 8/19/2021 5:30 PM

CENTRAL SUBURBAN NORTH

DEERFIELD

 

2021 spring record: 5-1

Coach: Steve Winiecki

Worth noting: The Warriors were the only CSL North team to play all six games in the spring. That experience could bode well for Steve Winiecki, who is in his 22nd year as head coach. Heading into this season, Deerfield has qualified for the playoffs in 4 of the last 5 seasons that they were held. The Warriors return Austin Layette at quarterback. The senior threw for 900 yards and 7 touchdowns with just 1 interception. He should get help from wide receivers Luke Jones and Cooper Venamore while Luke Woodson returns to play linebacker.

HIGHLAND PARK

2021 spring record: 2-2

Coach: David Lindquist

Worth noting: The Giants are looking to turn the tables after a crazy spring season winning as many games as they lost and had canceled. David Lindquist, who is in his fourth season as head coach, is looking to get is team into the playoff picture. They open their season with a road trip to Northlake to play Leyden and then home games with Lakes and Hoffman Estates. They will be led by seniors Ben Ephraim, Jason Gleyzer, Ben Greene, Jack Goldfelder and Benny Lopez.

MAINE EAST

2021 spring record: 0-5

Coach: Robert Winkel

Worth noting: There are two key questions for the Blue Demons this season: Can they break their current 32-game losing streak? The other is where will towering offensive lineman Yaser Aliwadi (6-foot-8, 300 pounds), who has nine Division-I offers, commit to? Although they have seven returning players, this Maine East team has more depth than previous years with 32 players on its varsity squad. Idarius Walton, who returns at wide receiver, and Hasan Omari, who will be back at running back, give the Blue Demons some weapons on offense. Yusef Awad will take over the quarterbacking duties.

MAINE WEST

2021 spring record: 1-3

Coach: George Klupchak

Worth noting: After a COVID spring for the Warriors canceled three games and had a last day scheduling of another, it will be good to be home. Maine West and second-season coach George Klupchak have their first three games of the fall season at home. They will open with Elk Grove, followed by Hubbard and Buffalo Grove. The Warriors will rely on senior quarterback Conor McAndrews, who did see action last season. Isaac Pittman and Claudio Castellanos will share the running back duties while the receiving corps will be made up of Syzmon Grum and Anthony Jones along with tight end Matt Lowery. Daniel Sankiewicz will anchor the offensive and defensive lines for the Warriors.

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NILES NORTH

2021 spring record: 2-2

Coach: Paul Swanson

Worth noting: Paul Swanson takes over a group that includes 20 seniors. The Vikings return 13 starters from the spring and are looking to get back to the state playoffs for the first time since 2015. Caleb Swanson is back at quarterback and has a large contingent of wideouts returning to throw to with AJ Harris, Jaylin Pruitt, CJ Hood all back. To take pressure off the passing game, the Vikings also return running back Chris Bland along with offensive linemen JK Kodavatakanti and Justin Arya.

VERNON HILLS

2021 spring record: 5-0

Coach: Bill Bellecomo

Worth noting: The Cougars will look to defend their spring CSL North title. They will look to score at will again, boasting a solid a wide receiving group that returns from the spring. Jake Peiper leads the way along with Alec Gil, Luke Lutgens and H-back Eric Rimas. Kamrin Martin will be one of the major factors at running back along with Ben Choi. Nathan Lazor, a 6-foot-3 junior will step in at quarterback and look to beam the ball to his teammates. The Cougars, who have not qualified for the state playoffs since 2016 when they were second in the state in Class 5A, wrap up their regular season with three of their final four games at home.

FIVE PLAYERS TO WATCH:

Yaser Aliwadi, Maine East, OL, sr. -- The 6-foot-8, 300-pound tackle has nine D-1 offers.

Luke Jones, Deerfield, WR, sr. -- Plays both the slot and outside and has a pair of D-1 offers.

Austin Layette, Deerfield, QB, sr. -- Threw for over 900 yards last season.

Jake Pieper, Vernon Hills, WR, sr. -- Coming off a great junior season and attracting attention.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

Eric Rimas, Vernon Hills, TE, sr. -- Great size (6-5, 240) and has an offer from D-1 St. Thomas.

FOUR CAN'T MISS MATCHUPS:

Week 1 -- Niles West at Maine East: Niles West broke their 24-game losing streak against Maine East in the final game of last spring. Maine East enters with a 32-game losing streak.

Week 4 -- Vernon Hills at Hoffman Estates: Two very athletic teams that can score points at will.

Week 5 -- Vernon Hills at Deerfield: the conference opener could decide the conference title.

Week 6 -- Deerfield at Highland Park: District rivals get to square off.

CENTRAL SUBURBAN SOUTH

EVANSTON

2021 spring record: 3-3

Coach: Mike Burzawa

Worth noting: This could be the best Evanston team in recent seasons. The Wildkits return 11 starters including linebacker Sebastian Cheeks, who many consider the top defensive player in the state. Cheeks has committed to North Carolina. He is just one of a quartet of three-year starters that includes defensive back/running back Gio Milam-Pryor, wide receivers Kamau Ranson and Mark Canon, Jr. along with quarterback Sean Cruz. Gabe Rosen, who is 6-foot-5 and 330-pounds, along with David Sanchez, Sheldon Kinzer and Charlie Kremin return on the offensive line. Florian Feldman, who started last year as a sophomore on the defensive line, and linebacker Dylan Groff also return. The Wildkits travel to Kenosha for their season opener with Indian Trails.

GLENBROOK NORTH

2021 spring record: 2-4

Coach: Matt Purdy

Worth noting: The Spartans finished their spring season on a high note, beating district rival Glenbrook South. Now they are looking to build off that success. The Spartans return Murphy Mulvihill, linebacker James Flood, fullback/linebacker Nate Glazebrook and wide receiver Ryan Henschel. Glenbrook North opens the season by hosting Taft. The Spartans then play St. Patrick, Wheeling and Hersey in nonconference action before opening up conference play with Maine South.

GLENBROOK SOUTH

2021 spring record: 1-4

Coach: David Schoenwetter

Worth noting: The Titans return 12 starters from the spring season and are looking to get back to the playoffs for the first time since 2017. They have the entire offensive line back in Chris Fish, Drew Duffy, Ryan Cunningham, David Palkovic and Danny Liebrandt along with tight end Jack Disano. Running backs Matt Burda and Will Collins also return. Nic Swanson, who is a senior, will take on the quarterback duties. Tommy Corbett, David Palkovic, Jacque Gariepy and Etor Agbenya are back to key the defense. The Titans open at Rolling Meadows.

MAINE SOUTH

2021 spring record: 5-1

Coach: Dave Inserra

Worth noting: The Hawks have owned the CSL South, losing just one conference game in the last 21 seasons. They are coming off a great spring with their only blemish a 1-point loss to Naperville Central in the final game of the season. The Hawks will lean heavily on quarterback Rowan Keefe, who was impressive when he stepped in at the end of the spring season. Tight end Chris Petrucci, who has committed to Northwester, has also solidified himself as one area's best receivers. If that's not enough, the Hawks also return running back Mike Sajenko, who was the CSL offensive player of the year last spring. Teddy Gianaris, who is two-year starter at defensive tackle, Tony Valdez, who was an all-conference linebacker, and cornerback Kevin Wolf return to key the defense. Maine South, which plays one of the toughest schedules in the state, takes on Stevenson, Warren, Fremd and Palatine, has just three home games this season.

NILES WEST

2021 spring record: 1-5

Coach: Nick Torresso

Worth noting: Former Arena Football League player Nick Torresso is the new head coach of the Wolves. Niles West broke its 24-game losing streak in the final game of the spring season before Torresso took over. The good news for Torresso and the Wolves is that they return their quarterback and the top four wide receivers. Jack Leons, who is 6-foot-4 and 220 pounds, is a dual-threat quarterback for the Wolves. Jadden Miller, Sam Burns, AJ Mikos, Max Nauman, who all played last spring, will be back as targets for Leons. John Haskos, who started at running back last spring, also returns to give the Wolves plenty of options offensively. Anthony Sivric is the only returning lineman for Niles West. The Wolves open their fall season with Maine East, the same team they completed their spring season with.

NEW TRIER

2021 spring record: 5-1

Coach: Brian Doll

Worth noting: The Trevians are looking to get over the top in the CSL. They have a strong tool in their arsenal with 6-foot-4 quarterback Nevan Cremascoli. The senior already has a pair of scholarship offers and is hoping to play himself into more. New Trier also boasts 6-foot-5, 280-pound offensive tackle Luc Elias. The senior is just one of four offensive linemen returning for the Trevians along with seniors Jesse Mendoza, John Mcgregor and Caden Minouge. Tight end Finn Cohan also returns along with fullback Jack Cummins, wide receivers Josh Kirkpatrick, safety Alex Mendes and defensive lineman Charlie Ziezula. New Trier opens with Lyons before playing Stevenson, Barrington and Conant in nonconference games.

FIVE PLAYERS TO WATCH:

Sebastian Cheeks, Evanston, LB, sr. -- One of the top defensive players in the state and has committed to North Carolina.

Nevan Cremascoli, New Trier, QB, sr. -- The 6-foot-4 passer has a pair of scholarship offers.

Rowan Keefe, Maine South, QB, sr. -- Took over late in the spring season and blossomed.

Luc Elias, New Trier, OL, sr. -- One of the top area linemen and is attracting D-1 interest.

Chris Petrucci, Maine South, TE, Sr. -- The Northwestern-commit is coming off a terrific spring.

FIVE CAN'T MISS MATCHUPS:

WEEK 2 -- Maine South at Warren: Seeding in 8A in on the line as a pair of perennial state playoff powers battle.

WEEK 4 -- Maine South at Palatine: The preseason favorites in the CSL South and MSL West take each other on.

WEEK 5 -- New Trier at Evanston: The border war continues between these two rivals.

WEEK 8 -- Evanston at Maine South: Evanston's athletic defense against Maine South's potent offense.

WEEK 9 -- Maine South at New Trier: After a previous week showdown, Maine South travels to play the Trevians. New Trier is the only CSL school to beat the Hawks in conference play in the last 21 years.

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