Scouting Week 1 football games in Lake County
Warren (6-0) at Barrington (6-0)When: 7:30 p.m., Friday
Outlook: It's a battle of defending conference champions from two of the largest conferences in the north and northwest suburbs. Barrington won the Mid-Suburban League championship last spring, when the league held an MSL Super Bowl for the first time since 1974. Warren won its second straight North Suburban Conference championship in the spring but had to share it with Lake Forest because the COVID-abbreviated schedule did not allow for Warren and Lake Forest to play each other and settle the question of a conference champion on the field. Either way, both Barrington and Warren are two of the heavyweights in the area and return plenty. Barrington features veteran receivers Ben Cocoma, Connor Lee and Jack Serrano. They'll be working with new quarterback Harley Thompson. Meanwhile, Warren boasts one of its quickest teams in recent memory. Quarterback Aiden Lucero got a lot of experience last year as a junior and running back Maurice Edwards is one of the most talented running backs in the suburbs.
Maine South (5-1) at Stevenson (2-4)When: 7:30 p.m., Friday
Outlook: As two of the largest and most storied football programs in the state, Stevenson and Maine South often seem to wind up on each other's schedules, including come playoff time. So this is a statement game for each team right out of the gate. Maine South boasts the return of quarterback Rowan Keefe. He will connect with tight end Chris Petrucci, who has committed to Northwestern. Running back Mike Sajenko, the CSL offensive player of the year last spring. Meanwhile, the Patriots are trying to rebound from a tough spring with an uncharacteristic losing record (2-4). The Stevenson offense could get contributions from many directions. AJ Eliot is competing at quarterback and running backs Ssuuna McKitty and Jimmy Davis will team up to anchor the ground game.
Carmel (1-3) at Libertyville (4-2)When: 7 p.m., Friday
Outlook: This game has been canceled due to COVID-19 protocol.
Vernon Hills (5-0) at Grayslake North (4-2)When: 7 p.m., Friday
Outlook: It's a conundrum for Grayslake North coach Corey Atwell. Well, not really, but sort of. For many years, Atwell was on the football coaching staff at Vernon Hills. Until he shifted over to Grayslake North. Atwell probably had conflicting emotions last spring ahead of his team's season finale against Vernon Hills. But the fact that Vernon Hills pinned a 42-7 loss on Grayslake North in that game might have swept away any of that. Now, Atwell and his Grayslake North players are out to even the score. Both Grayslake North and Vernon Hills put together very successful spring seasons, with the Knights in contention for the NLCC title and Vernon Hills winning the CSL North championship. New Vernon Hills quarterback Nathan Lazor has a talented group of receivers to target in Jake Peiper, Alec Gil, Luke Lutgens and Eric Rimas. Like Vernon Hills, Grayslake North is a high-scoring offense, led by quarterback Jacob Donohue, who rolled up 1,492 passing yards in just six games last spring. He'll target Nathan Atwell and Jack Kuikis.
Waukesha Catholic (1-0 in Fall of 2021) at Antioch (6-0)When: 7:15 p.m., Friday
Outlook: Antioch engages in its first season without the talented Kaliakmanis brothers, quarterback Athan and running back Dino, who are both now at the University of Minnesota after leading the Sequoits to three straight Northern Lake County Conference championships. The new-look Sequoits will still have some familiar faces, including Andrew Bowles, a three-year starter at running back and junior wide receiver Joey Neumann, a three-year starter. Waukesha Catholic is a powerhouse in Wisconsin, having won two state championships in the three years prior to COVID-19. Antioch entered into a two-year contract with Waukesha Catholic that was supposed to start last year but last year's game was not played due to the fall season being canceled in Illinois. According to Antioch coach Brian Glashagel, when the contract was first signed, ESPN was considering the 2020 game between Antioch and Waukesha Catholic for its national game of the week.
Lake Zurich (3-3) at Fremd (4-2)When: 7:30 p.m., Friday
Outlook: While Fremd will hand its quarterback reins over to Caidan Suchy, Lake Zurich will use the two quarterbacks it used last year: Jared Meyers and Tyler Kamins. Fremd, which must navigate one of the tougher schedules in the area, returns wide receiver Archie Cox and running back Taytum Carmichael while wide receiver Leo Dlatt and tight end Aleks Popovic return for Lake Zurich.
Mundelein (1-5) at Grant (3-3)When: 7:15 p.m., Friday
Outlook: Take two for Mundelein and Grant, which had last spring's season opener canceled. Grant returns two of its top playmakers from last spring in senior running backs Alex Art and Dylan Sjong. Mundelein may be more pass-oriented with the return of quarterback Brock Paluch.
Chicago Hubbard (0-5) at Grayslake Central (2-2)When: 7 p.m., Friday
Outlook: Grayslake Central could have one of the best quarterbacks in the Northern Lake County Conference in Darryl Overstreet, who threw for nearly 1,000 yards last spring over just four games. Hubbard is looking to rebound from last year's winless season.
Sterling (5-1) at Lakes (0-5)When: 7:15 p.m., Friday
Outlook: Lakes is hoping to turn over a new leaf this season after last spring's winless campaign. Sterling is a traditional powerhouse from the Western Big Six Conference. This is the first meeting between Sterling and Lakes.
Round Lake (1-4) at Wheeling (0-4)When: 7 p.m., Friday
Outlook: Round Lake is optimistic for the season after a spring in which quarterback Cristian Castro really emerged as a leader. Castro is in a position to put together his third straight 1,000 yard passing season. Wheeling will be under the direction of new coach Peter Panagakis. The Wildcats will be looking to snap a 19-game losing streak and will be led at quarterback by either Brandon Roman or A.J. Marchetti.
Proviso West (0-2) at Wauconda (5-1)When: 7 p.m., Friday
Outlook: Wauconda pushed Antioch for supremacy in the Northern Lake County Conference last spring and returns plenty of talent, starting with returning running backs Vince Bennett and Colin Husko. Tight end Luke Hansen and wide receiver Clayton Gllashby are also playmakers. New coach Scott Ware leads Proviso West, which brings back two top receivers in Tramaine Davis and Deon Jones. This will be the first time that Proviso West and Wauconda will face off in football.