Defense helps Grayslake North start 2-0
And just like that, Grayslake North is 2-0 on the young season.
One thing Knights coach Brian Johnson points to as a contributing factor to the strong start is the team's defensive play, particularly in the Week 2 win over Mundelein (17-14). North started the season with a 38-26 win over Vernon Hills. A win in Week 3 against Grant would equal the team's victory output from 2021 with six weeks still to play in the regular season.
"I am really happy with our defense," he said. "Coach (Collin) McKillip (defensive coordinator) did an outstanding job making some halftime adjustments. We came out after halftime, forced a 3-and-out, responded with a field goal and then our defense had their second goal-line stop of the game, and we drove 99 yards to go up two scores."
Some North stalwarts against Mundelein included Gavin Mercier and Tyler McBride leading the defense with 11 tackles each. Charlie Pritchard had his second game in a row with more than 100 receiving yards and Gavin Congalton was all-world with his foot, connecting on his second field goal of the year, this time from 35 yards out, hitting a pair of extra points and booting three kickoffs for touchbacks.
The Patriots tore it up on offense in last week's 35-7 win over New Trier.
Stevenson racked up 495 yards of total offense with Ben Snider accounting for 236 of that with a new school record for single-game receiving yards. He had 6 catches for 236 yards and 3 touchdowns. Quarterback Matt Projansky completed 17 of 25 passes for 343 yards and 4 scores. His other TD pass went to R.J. Dent, who had 5 catches for 46 yards.
Stevenson also ran for 152 yards on 29 carries with Michael Maloney leading the way with 9 carries for 85 yards and a score.
Bulldogs coach Chris Prostka saw a few things that needed fixing after his team's non-conference win over Riverside-Brookfield.
"We have got to take better care of the ball," said Prostka, who noted his team lost 3 fumbles in the game. "Defensively, we need to secure tackles with the first and second defenders to the ball carrier. We gave up too many extra yards at contact."
On the flipside, there have been many positives in this two-game sample size thus far. The offensive line of Jake Becker, Tyler Schmidt, Liam Carney, Billy Karabinis, Caleb Apodaca and Chase Groelle have helped Wauconda average 286 rushing yards per game, "as a result of their work up front," Prostka said.
Jackson Rudolph was a standout on defense against R-B with 5 tackles out of his linebacker spot. "Jackson played a nice game," Prostka said.
A couple quick-hitters from the Wildcats' 42-17 non-conference win over Evanston.
Coach Mike Jones liked the play of Kristian Gavric, who caught 4 passes for 111 yards and 2 touchdowns. Equally helpful on the other side of the ball was linebacker Charlie Clark who recovered 2 fumbles, caused a fumble, had 2 tackles, 2 assists and 1 tackle for loss.
The Blue Devils took a trip to Park Ridge and came away with a big 19-17 on-conference win against Maine South to improve to 2-0.
Coach Bryan McNulty, whose squad opens North Suburban play Friday against Libertyville, gave huge props to strong safety Jaden Turner. He had 9 tackles, 6 tackles for loss and 4 quarterback sacks in the win. "Jaden Turner stood out," he said.
Charley Thompson also was a difference-maker for Warren. "Charley ran the ball well, eclipsing the century mark," McNulty noted.
Round Lake update:
In last week's game against Maine East, the Panthers racked up 128 rushing yards, averaging 4.3 yards per carry.
"We ran the ball well," Round Lake coach Scott Blecha said. "This is largely in part to our offensive line that is starting to settle into starting positions with three sophomores starting on varsity for the first time. If we can keep that up, we will see some success in future weeks. We may not have the explosive plays this year, so we have to be able to grind out long drives and minimize mistakes to capitalize. We need to continue to work on our passing game and not be one-dimensional moving forward."
Blecha liked the way Anthony Bishop played on both sides of the ball in Week 2. "Anthony continues to be a force on both sides of the ball, scoring a rushing touchdown and adding an interception on defense," he noted.
Also on the navy and maize superlatives list, William Cole started at nose for the first time against Maine East. He led the Round Lake defense with 9 tackles, including 2 tackles for loss.
Lake Zurich update:
Doing a post-mortem on the Bears' 21-10 non-conference loss to St. Charles North, coach Ron Planz was thrilled with his team's approach.
"We played hard," he said. "We were physical and gave great effort, we just made too many mistakes and were unable to overcome them. We can't play our opponent and ourselves at the same time."
But Planz noted there is a sliver lining as his team prepares to open North Suburban action against Stevenson in the annual neighborhood rivalry game.
"The great thing is all the mistakes are fixable," he said.
Eagles coach Jason Ellerman saw one major intangible flashing in neon lights that led to a nonconference win over Vernon Hills in Week 2.
"Our positive energy of celebrating or picking each other up won us the game," he said.
Ellerman also was a fan of Lakes' offensive line play.
"Our big fellas up front did a good job of reestablishing the line of scrimmage," he said.
The Sequoits dropped a 31-14 non-conference game at home to Morris, a team coach Brian Glashagel feels will compete for the Class 5A state title.
On the positive side, Antioch didn't commit a turnover and returned a kickoff for a touchdown, "which almost always gets you in the win column," noted Glashagel, whose team is preparing to open Northern Lake County action Friday against district foe Lakes.
Alex Bueno had 10 tackles, a pair of tackles for loss and a sack as one of several Antioch standouts on defense. Glashagel also liked how Marshall Gehrke looked with multiple key catches and executing a pair of reverses in the game for big gains.