Scouting Week 8 Lake County football games
Lake County Playoff Ticker:
Automatic bids (6 wins): Antioch, Lake Zurich, Carmel
Playoff eligible (5 wins): Warren, Stevenson, Wauconda
Still in the hunt: Mundelein, Grayslake Central, Grant, Grayslake North, Libertyville
Lake Forest (4-3, 3-2) at Warren (5-2, 5-0)
When: Friday, 7:30 p.m.
Outlook: Big stakes for Warren here. The Blue Devils clinch no worse than a share of the North Suburban crown with a win (Lake Zurich has 1 loss) and also earn an automatic playoff bid. Lake Forest needs to win in order to become playoff eligible. "Lake Forest is a good team that generally does not beat themselves," Warren coach Bryan McNulty said. "Some of their recent scores do not show how good of a football team this is. We will need to control what we do best and not beat ourselves with turnovers and big plays." Last week, senior running back Javon Scott ran 16 times for 172 yards and 3 touchdowns. Sophomore Aaron Stewart ran 13 times for 152 yards and 3 touchdowns and senior linebacker/running back Donovan McNeal ran 4 times for 106 yards and a score. Stewart has rushed for 1,071 yards on 146 carries and has 11 touchdowns. McNulty has also been high on the play of sophomore corner, wideout and kick returner X'Zavion Montgomery, as well as junior offensive lineman Max Saucedo and junior tight end Andrew Slack.
Lake Zurich (6-1, 4-1) at Mundelein (4-3, 2-3)
When: Friday, 7 p.m.
Outlook: The Bears must win to have a shot at share of the NSC title (Warren is unbeaten in league play), while the Mustangs look to snap a three-game losing streak after starting the season 4-0. "Mundelein has been a program that has improved every year since coach (Vince) DeFrancesco has taken over," Lake Zurich coach Ron Planz said. "They are one win away from a playoff berth and we expect them to be fired up to play us." Planz said he's been thrilled with some players on the team that have filled in for injured players and "have really started to play at the level we need them to," he said. "It has been awesome to see guys like Jacob Clarin on the offensive line, George Fotos at linebacker and Alex Pirrone at running back step up over the last few weeks to help us win." Speaking of offensive line play, Mundelein coach DeFrancesco likes what he's seen from left tackle Brandon Hansen and center Brendan Raciak. "Brandon and Brendan continue to play well on the offensive line," he said. "They are both playing at a high level and playing with great physicality." Mundelein's defense benefits from the presence of Jake Junia, DeFrancesco added. "Jake continues to do a great job leading our defense," he said. "Whenever there is a big play, Jake seems to always be in the middle of it."
Stevenson (5-2, 3-2) at Waukegan (1-6, 0-5)
When: Friday, 7 p.m.
Outlook: Stevenson earns an automatic playoff bid with a win on the road against Waukegan. Patriots coach Brent Becker likes where things are headed with his team, particularly with its play of late. "We have had a couple tough, gritty wins," he said. "The kids are playing hard and have really come together." Stevenson's Frank Costabile ran 8 times for 146 yards and 3 touchdowns last week and also caught a 25-yard touchdown pass. He's up to 783 yards and 8 touchdowns, while averaging 7.8 yards per carry. Costabile has fumbled only once in 101 carries. Quarterback Aidan Crawley has 11 touchdown passes against only 3 picks and is completing nearly 60% of his throws.
Grayslake Central (3-4, 3-2) at Antioch (7-0, 5-0)
When: Friday, 7 p.m.
Outlook: Central must win out to become playoff eligible with 5 wins, while Antioch with a win virtually guarantees a home playoff game and moving even closer to another NLCC crown. "Antioch is a very good football team," Rams coach Brent Pearlman said. "In order to beat them or any other team we need to pay attention to the details, trust the system and our teammates and play with great intensity and pride." Pearlman noted Romeo Reyes continues to run the ball hard, while Brady Carlson was cited for a strong Week 7 performance at quarterback. Pearlman also lauded the offensive line efforts over the past two weeks, as well as the defensive leadership of Matty Jens, Sean Mullen and Alex Carter. "We have several guys stepping it up of late and I hope to see even more this week." Antioch has piled up 354 points in 7 games thus far. The next closest NLCC team in the points-scored department is Grant with 197. "Grayslake Central is scrappy and plays hard under coach Pearlman," Antioch coach Brian Glashagel said. "We need to play for 48 minutes because they, for sure, will." From Week 7, Nick Day ran for 159 yards and scored 6 touchdowns. Martin Cohen ran for 157 yards and a score. Aiden VanAlstine had 152 rushing yards and a touchdown. "Aidan lives in the shadow of Cohen and Day, but silently has been tearing it up," Glashagel said. Chris Cook had 13 tackles and a sack and Roddie Rathmann had a 60-yard interception return for a score in the Sequoits' 64-32 win in Fox Lake. "Roddy on defense has turned into a dominant player," Glashagel said. Cohen has run for 1,089 yards and has 213 receiving yards to go with 18 total touchdowns. Day is at 887 yards rushing and 19 touchdowns, while Cook has 47 tackles and 3 tackles for loss. Glashagel has been a fan of recent special teams play. "We have been winning the special teams category, which has been a deciding factor against our last two playoff opponents," he said.
Grant (4-3, 3-2) at Lakes (1-6, 1-4)
When: Friday, 7 p.m.
Outlook: A Grant win equals playoff eligibility with 5 wins and guarantees a winning conference record. The Bulldogs last made the playoffs in 2019. "Grant is a good, all-around team," Lakes coach Jason Ellerman said. "They have really improved in one year. They run the ball well and are explosive on offense. On defense, they love to blitz, so we will have our hands full." Ellerman said sophomore Ean Ankeny is getting better every week at quarterback, while sophomore Rondelle Griffin is the team's leading rusher with 644 yards. Ellerman added sophomore linebacker Nick Waterman has made "some strong improvements since moving into a starting role for us," he said. "He had a real nice game last week."
Other Lake County Week 8 games:
Wauconda (5-2, 4-1) at North Chicago (2-5, 2-3), Friday, 7 p.m.
Round Lake (0-7, 0-5) at Grayslake North (3-4, 2-3), Friday, 7 p.m.
Libertyville (4-3, 2-3) at Zion-Benton (1-6, 1-4), Friday, 7 p.m.
Niles North (3-4, 1-2) at Vernon Hills (2-5, 1-2), Friday, 6 p.m.
Niles Notre Dame (2-5) at Carmel (6-1), Friday, 7:30 p.m.