Scouting Week 3 football games in Lake County
Grayslake North (0-2) at Grayslake Central (2-0)When: Friday, 7 p.m.
Last week: Deerfield 45, Grayslake North 20; Grayslake Central 34, Mundelein 33
Outlook: Central is coming off a thrilling last-second victory over Mundelein. "Grayslake North will present a number of challenges for us. It all begins with their quarterback Jacob Donohue," Rams coach Mike Maloney said. "He distributes the ball quickly and accurately. Our coverages will need to be on point and our three down linemen will have to manufacture some pressure." Kaden Miller had what Maloney labeled a blockbuster performance against Mundelein. "Look for four to five other playmakers to step up as he draws more attention," Maloney said. Senior center Devin Racho continues to improve for Central. "He never played before high school," Maloney said. "He has taken to the game naturally. Though not massive in stature, he plays with great power and violence. He is a true student of the game who handles all our calls up front, keeping the other four working cohesively." Freshman Jonnie Lindberg-Sage and sophomore Matty Jens provide the Rams with long-term depth at the linebacker position. "A mainstay wrecking crew," Maloney said. North was stung by a fumble and interception, plus a blocked punt for a score against Deerfield. "We gave Deerfield two short fields and they blocked a punt for a TD," North coach Corey Atwell said. "You can't do that against a good team and think you can win." Highlights from the Deerfield game: Donohue was 14-for-21 for 180 yards and 2 touchdowns. Jaha Collins ran 15 times for 73 yards, while Nathan Atwell caught 4 passes for 71 yards and a score. Dominic Jankowski had a rushing touchdown and a receiving touchdown.
Lakes (1-1) at Round Lake (1-1)When: Friday, 7 p.m.
Last week: Lakes 20, Highland Park 6; Round Lake 26, Maine East 7
Outlook: Round Lake's Week 2 win over Maine East was impressive. On defense, Round Lake held the Blue Demons to 10 passing yards in the game, no points after the first quarter and 18 different Panther players logged at least one stick. Round Lake had 142 passing yards and 137 yards on the ground. "A balanced offensive attack was the key to putting points on the board," coach Scott Blecha said. Five different players had 8 total receptions. Cristian Castro threw for 142 yards and 2 scores and ran for 79 yards. Kalontae Hawkins ran for 60 yards and 2 touchdowns and had 42 receiving yards and a score. Jamariel Brown also had 42 receiving yards and a touchdown. Marco Jimenez had 15 solos and 7 assisted tackles, plus 2 tackles for loss. "It was truly a team effort all the way around," Blecha noted. Jimenez's 46 total tackles ranks as tops in the start according to the Max Preps Illinois rankings, Blecha pointed out. Castro (337 passing yards) looks to be on his way to a third 1,000-yard passing season in a row. Blecha also is high on offensive line captain Saul Ugarte. "Saul is doing the dirty work," the coach said. "He is taking charge and getting everyone on the same page on run and pass plays." Jaylnn Burton also was lauded for his blocking prowess at receiver. "He's a big reason for our success running the ball," Blecha said. "His route running opens up the field for his fellow receivers." Mark Hunter (RB) and Max Bausch (QB) led Lakes in its win over Highland Park. Hunter ran for 220 yards and 2 scores on 27 carries, while Bausch had 50 rushing yards and 1 TD. "Mark continues to be one of the best players in the conference and has been vital to our team," Lakes coach Jordan Eder said. Lakes' defense held Highland Park to 6 points and made several late stops in the second half. "We came out slow and made some mistakes early, but were able to clean things up and play pretty well on both sides of the ball," Eder said. Lineman Josh Sullivan, who plays on both sides, has been a critical cog as well for Lakes. "He is the leader on both our lines and has been outstanding this season, as well as the spring," Eder said. Round Lake won the spring meeting against Lakes.
Wauconda (2-0) at Grant (0-2)When: Friday, 7:30 p.m.
Last week: Wauconda 20, Riverside-Brookfield 0; Taft 41, Grant 14
Outlook: The Northern Lake County opener for both teams. Wauconda has yet to allow a point this season and has outscored its first two opponents 89-0. Grant looks to get back on track and has been bolstered by the play of Daymian Longtin of late. "Daymian is our Swiss Army knife," coach Chris Robinson said. "So far, we have had him rep at backup quarterback, receiver, tailback and outside linebacker because he is so knowledgeable about football that he can fill in at virtually any skill position and execute his job well."
Elk Grove (1-1) at Vernon Hills (2-0)When: Friday, 7:30 p.m.
Last week: Vernon Hills 47, Waukegan 0; Schaumburg 27, Elk Grove 20
Outlook: "Elk Grove is a talented football team," Vernon Hills coach Bill Bellecomo said. "They could easily be 2-0 on the season. They were stopped four times on the 1-yard line against Schaumburg to end the game. We will have to play a complete game. We need to get better in all three phases of the game this week." Ben Choi went over the 100-yard mark again against Waukegan. He has 240 rushing yards and 3 touchdowns this season. Right guard Max Acceutura and wideout Kam Martin also had strong games in Week 2. "Their blocking helped us break many big plays," Bellecomo said. "They are unsung heroes doing the dirty work. It is difficult as a wide receiver to hold a block out in open space for as long as our wide receivers do, and it's difficult to hustle down the field to get those second- and third-level blocks as a lineman. Little things make a big difference on Friday nights."
Warren (1-1) at Zion-Benton (2-0)When: Friday, 7:30 p.m.
Last week: Maine South 10, Warren 2; Zion-Benton 42, North Chicago 0
Outlook: Warren went toe-to-toe with one of the state's long-standing juggernaut programs in Maine South last week. "We just need to bounce back," Blue Devils coach Bryan McNulty said. "We need to finish on offense. Defensively, we need to rally to the ball and be disciplined. Currently, Zion is the top team in our conference, being 2-0 with two decisive wins. We respect that and look forward to the challenge." Offensive lineman Kole Weinberg has excelled at guard and center for Warren. "He is kind of the heartbeat of our offense," McNulty said. "He's an all-day tough kid who sets the tone for our offense." Junior cornerback Quentin Reeves had a key pick in the Maine South game. "Quentin has been very consistent these last two weeks and is a bright spot on an already good defense."
Lake Zurich (1-1) at Libertyville (2-0)When: Friday, 7:30 p.m.
Last week: St. Charles North 24, Lake Zurich 0; Libertyville 35, Evanston 13
Outlook: Lake Zurich coach Ron Planz knows his team will have to be on its toes Friday in Libertyville. "This is always a tough game because they have good players and great coaching," he said. "We are going to have to be more fundamentally sound than we were last week if we are going to have a chance to win." A recent bright spot for the Bears has been Tyler Erkman, who pulls double duty at corner and wide receiver. "Tyler has been playing both ways all year and doing it at a high level," Planz said. "It's not showing in the stats, but he has been our most consistent player." Wildcats coach Mike Jones lists several keys to success against Lake Zurich. "Offensively, possess the ball and do not turn it over. First downs are the key," he said. "Defensively, limit their run game and the big plays. We must tackle well in space." Nose tackle Caleb Christensen was cited for strong recently play. "He is key because he can hold his own against double teams and free others members of the defense up," Jones said. Tommy Latka continues to help drive the Wildcats offense. "The guy on fire is Tommy Latka because he is an all-purpose back," Jones said. "Running the ball, catching the ball, he can do it all."
Stevenson (0-2) at Lake Forest (1-1)When: Friday, 7 p.m.
Last week: New Trier 32, Stevenson 14; Carmel 26, Lake Forest 14
Outlook: Stevenson junior Matt Projansky had his first start at quarterback last week against New Trier, completing 10 passes for 121 yards. Jordan Skolmar ran for 79 yards and a score and Michael Maloney had a 59-yard rushing touchdown. Skolmar also had 3 catches for 28 yards, while Justin Lucas had 3 catches for 59 yards. Alex Zhekov had a game-high 15 tackles.
Mundelein (1-1) at Waukegan (1-1)When: Friday, 7:30 p.m.
Last week: Grayslake Central 34, Mundelein 33; Vernon Hills 47, Waukegan 0
Outlook: Mustangs coach Vince DeFrancesco said his squad will see a different Waukegan team Friday. "Waukegan is a much improved team with several very good athletes," he said. "For us to be successful, we must limit big plays and play fundamentally sound football. If we play disciplined and execute, we will have a chance." Mundelein is averaging 200 rushing yards per game. "Jake Prejna and Raytheon Hamblin have been great up front for us," DeFrancesco said. "They are a big part of the reason why we have averaged 200 yards per game rushing and they have also done a great job giving quarterback Brock Paluch plenty of time in the pocket. I am really happy with their leadership and consistent effort. They have been great captains for our program." Omari Rhinehart leads Mundelein with 3 touchdowns. "He has been outstanding so far this season," DeFrancesco said. "Anytime he has the ball in his hands, he has an opportunity to score. He plays with relentless effort on every snap. He's a special player and I absolutely love coaching him."
North Chicago (0-2) at Antioch (0-2)When: Friday, 7:15 p.m.
Last week: Zion-Benton 42, North Chicago 0; Morris 31, Antioch 21
Outlook: Antioch has won the Northern Lake County title five years in a row. "Conference play starts this week for us," Sequoits coach Brian Glashagel noted. "We are going to scratch and claw to make it six." Up first for Antioch is a North Chicago team that has been outscored 67-12 so far. "Against North Chicago, it's all about stopping the big play," Glashagel said. "Make them take 10 snaps to score." Caleb Nobiling is Antioch's leading tackler so far. "He's an undersized linebacker at 5-9 and 150 pounds. He makes plays all over the field." Wide receiver/tight end Jordan DeVaughn also continues to excel. "Jordan continues to make one big play after another, and is turning into one of the most dominant wide receiver in the area," Glashagel said.
Other Friday GamesChicago Leo (1-1) at Carmel (1-1), 7:30 p.m.