Football: Scouting Week 4 in Lake County
Grayslake Central (3-0, 1-0) at Wauconda (3-0, 1-0)When: Friday, 7 p.m.
Last week: Grayslake Central 28, Grayslake North 25; Wauconda 42, Grant 0
Outlook: This week's Lake County blue-plate special with a pair of 3-0 squads. Wauconda has yet to surrender a point this season. "Obviously, they have not given up a point all year," Rams coach Mike Maloney noted. "This is a credit to their defense. We will be heading into this challenge with eyes open to their potency. They are quick, physical and tough. They have some relentless runners who break tackles and have the potential to go the distance. This will be a tremendous challenge for our defense." Central quarterback Darryl Overstreet averages 9.6 yards per passing attempt, while Jeremiah Poyser averages 7.8 yards per carry and Kaiden Miller is averaging 26.3 yards per reception. Overstreet led Central to scores on 4 of 6 possessions against Grayslake North last week, "and bled the clock on a gift possession," Maloney added. Poyser also made several key open-field tackles and broke up 4 passes in man coverage against Grayslake North. While Wauconda's defense has been spectacular, the Bulldogs' offensive unit hasn't been chopped liver either. Wauconda is converting third downs at a 54 percent rate. "That has allowed us to have long drives," coach Dave Mills said. Ryan "Chugga" Stephan and Colin Husko have been key on both sides of the ball for the Bulldogs. "Ryan has been creating big holes on offense and closing them on defense," Mills said. "Colin is our leading rusher on offense and leads the team in interceptions. They both perform great in big moments." Mills observed two of Central's wins have come because of fourth-quarter efforts. "They will play a full team. Grayslake Central is a tough team," he said. "Their offense has explosive players. We need to keep them from making big plays. We need to do what we have done all year, long drives that lead to points. It should be a great game between two teams that believe in themselves."
Round Lake (1-2, 0-1) at Grant (0-3, 0-1)When: Friday, 7 p.m.
Last week: Lakes 36, Round Lake 6; Wauconda 42, Grant 0
Outlook: This neighborhood battle features a pair of teams looking to come back from Week 3 setbacks. "Round Lake has some great athletes," Bulldogs coach Chris Robinson said. "Offensively, they do a nice job of getting their athletes the ball. Defensively, their athletes manage to find the ball on every play." Grant has recovered 4 fumbles over the last three games. "We currently have 18 points for and 98 against," Robinson said. "That, alone, shows us what we need to fix." A bright spot on defense for Grant has been linebacker Alex Art. "He's always in on almost every play and knows how to track the ball down," Robinson said. Round Lake quarterback Cristian Castro has passed for 521 yards and 5 touchdowns -- on track for his third 1,000-yard passing season. The Panthers are completing around 43% of their pass attempts. "We need to improve upon this in order to be successful," Round Lake coach Scott Blecha said. Marco Jimenez is a leader on defense for Round Lake with 63 total tackles, "and is consistently making plays on defense," Blecha said. Blecha noted a key will be stopping the Grant running game. "Grant likes to run the ball and we have to force them to pass in order to beat us," he said. "If we are able to stop the run, we will be successful this week. We have to do a better job this week establishing the line of scrimmage and minimizing big run plays. They run an offense that is difficult to simulate in practice, so we have to be sure to come out prepared and not let the speed of their offense catch us by surprise." Kalontae Hawkins averages 7 yards per carry and 12 yards per catch out of the backfield for the Panthers, while freshman Kevin Johnson has made a big impact already at cornerback.
Antioch (1-2, 1-0) at Grayslake North (0-3, 0-1)When: Friday 7 p.m.
Last week: Antioch 42, North Chicago 0; Grayslake Central 28, Grayslake North 25
Outlook: Antioch coach Brian Glashagel's team started defense of its Northern Lake County Conference title with a win against North Chicago last week. "It's time to see if playing the three-time Wisconsin state champs and perennial state power Morris have prepared us for our sixth conference title run," he said. "Grayslake North has a dynamic offense led by their quarterback. We need to limit their big plays and put pressure on the quarterback to be successful. Antioch quarterback Quade Moll has completed 60% of his passes with 4 touchdowns and no picks. "He's making good decisions in the passing game," Glashagel said. One of his favorite targets is newcomer Jordan DeVaughn. "Jordan DeVaughn is quickly emerging as an area top wide receiver," Glashagel said. Sophomore running back Nick Day leads the Sequoits in rushing. "He's a definite throwback bruising runner," Glashagel added. Antioch is 34-1 all-time in NLCC games. North coach Corey Atwell pointed out Antioch has won the conference title every year since it was formed and that the Knights have never beaten the Sequoits since the school opened. "To win the game, we can't have turnovers and we have to keep their offense off the field," Jacob Donohue is 51 of 96 this season for 696 yards and 6 passing touchdowns. Nathan Atwell has 22 catches for 302 yards. Ethan Case is a defensive leader for North with 17 tackles. "We still are looking for our first win and it doesn't get any easier this week," Atwell said. "We have played well enough to have won two of three games, but we have come up short. Each week we are getting better in all phases of the game."
Lakes (2-1, 1-0) at North Chicago (0-3, 0-1)
When: Friday, 7 p.m.
Last week: Lakes 36, Round Lake 6; Antioch 42, North Chicago 0
Outlook: "North Chicago is a team that has continued the last few years under coach (Wilton) Hill," Lakes coach Jordan Eder said. "We will look to get our run game going again. It has been very strong for us the last few weeks. Defensively, we will look to slow their run game down and eliminate big plays for their offense." Lakes has allowed 6 points the last two games, while the Eagles' offense has rushed for more than 600 yards in those two games. "These together have been huge for our team's success," Eder said. "We have been able to control the time of possession and keep the opposing offense off the field." Mark Hunter and Amir Al Hindi each ran for more than 120 yards for Lakes last week against Round Lake, helping the squad rack up 350 rushing yards. "They have run extremely well and our offensive line has helped open up holes for them this season," Eder said. "Our team has played well to this point and continues to improve and grow each week. We have a lot of work to do still and are a long way from where we want to be, but our team knows that and continues to work extremely hard each week to improve."
St. Viator (1-2) at Carmel (2-1)When: Friday, 7:30 p.m.
Last week: Carmel 35, Leo 32; St. Viator 41, Chicago DePaul 7
Outlook: The Chicago Catholic League/East Suburban Catholic Conference Purple opener for both teams. "This is a big game for us against our rivals," Carmel coach Jason McKie said. "They are a well-coached team that doesn't make a lot of mistakes. We have to play our brand of football: physical, fast and fundamentally sound." Carmel has forced 6 turnovers in the last two games, while offensively the Corsairs are putting up an average of 30.5 points per contest. "As a team, we are playing some good football," McKie said. "We play with a lot of passion and determination. We are playing good football in all three phases right now." Some highlights from the Leo win: Gabe Lynch ran 15 times for 115 yards and 4 touchdowns and also had 2 catches for 37 yards and a touchdown. Carmel's defense forced 4 key turnovers, McKie noted. McKie also saluted Carmel's fans. "It was great to play in front of 2,000-plus fans and get a win at home," he said. "I salute the Carmel community and student body. Their energy really helped cement this win for us."
Mundelein (2-1, 1-0) at Stevenson (0-3, 0-1)When: Friday, 7 p.m.
Last week: Mundelein 48, Waukegan 27; Lake Forest 42, Stevenson 17
Outlook: Jordan Skolmar had a strong game for Stevenson in Week 3 against Lake Forest. He ran 14 times for 65 yards and 2 touchdowns and caught 3 passes for 91 yards, including a 63-yarder. "Jordan has been our top target and makes plays in the open field," Stevenson coach Brent Becker said. Senior linebacker Ryan Hynes was huge in Week 3 with 12 tackles and 1 tackle for loss. "Ryan played his best game of the year and we will need his production to continue," Becker added. Jacob Whiting had 13 tackles, while Alex Zhekov had 14 tackles and 1 tackle for loss. "Mundelein is 2-1, we are 0-3. We will need to take care of the turnover margin and win at the line of scrimmage," Becker said.
Vernon Hills (3-0) at Hoffman Estates (2-1)When: Friday, 7:30 p.m.
Last week: Vernon Hills 41, Elk Grove 6; Hoffman Estates 53, Highland Park 20
Outlook: The last of two Central Suburban North/MSL matchups here for the Cougars. Vernon Hills coach Bill Bellecomo said a key to this Week 4 tussle is containing Hoffman's Jashawn Johnson, who is headed to Western Michigan. "Hoffman Estates is an electric team," he said. "He can score from anywhere on the field. He's a very good football player with top-end speed. We need to eliminate the big play and control the time of possession." Alex Gil and Eric Boehmer have been two bright spots for the Cougars. "Alex Gil is playing at a very high level for us right now," Bellecomo said. "He is a wrestler. His open-field tackling has been awesome. He loves to compete. Alex is a 3-year starter for us. Eric is playing outside linebacker and H-back. He is one of the most coachable players I have ever coached. You only need to give him a coaching point once. His football instincts are exceptional." Bellecomo said the second-third of the season will be a test for his squad. "We did what we had to do in the first third," he said. "Right now, we are playing against ourselves. We need to continue to get better each week. The kids have responded well thus far. Now, we have to continue to progress upward. Our kids are starting to understand their body and their minds have to be fully engaged during practice. There is room for improvement in all three phases of the game. We need everyone on board, coaches and players. If we want to be a playoff team, we need everybody all-in." Hoffman lit up fellow Central Suburban North entrant Highland Park last week.
Other GamesWarren (2-1, 1-0 North Suburban) at Lake Zurich (1-2, 0-1 North Suburban), 7:30 p.m.
Waukegan (1-2, 0-1 North Suburban) at Libertyville (3-0, 1-0 North Suburban), 7:30 p.m.