High School Lites: Week 5 preview

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High School Lites: Week 5 preview

Thursday, Sept. 22, 2011
Posted: 8:54 p.m.

By Joe Collins & Mike Clark
CSNChicago.com

Comcast SportsNet is your home for prep football coverage in Chicagoland. We will bring you highlights of as many as 15 games across the area, including a few marquee battles in the south suburbs. Homewood-Flossmoor tangles with Bolingbrook, while Sandburg travels to Lincoln-Way East. Who will survive in the Southwest Suburban Blue conference?

Also, Brother Rice gave St. Rita all they could handle last week. Will they have enough in the tank against Mount Carmel? And will the Maine South train keep chugging along? The top-ranked Hawks are up against a homecoming crowd at New Trier. Here is a sneak-peak of each game we will cover during Friday nights show:

THURSDAY GAMES

Mather 33, Prosser 14

So much for last years 1-8 season. Mather is off to a 4-1 start after beating Prosser (2-3) in Big Shoulders conference play Thursday at Hanson Stadium. Raheem Mills, Kendrick Watkins and Curtis Walker each found the end zone for the Rangers, who got off to a 26-0 lead and never looked back. Mather takes on Taft next Friday at Winnemac Stadium. Prosser will try to rebound next Friday against Clemente.

Robeson 56, Amundsen 0

The Raiders (5-0) continue to be a force in the Public League. Running back Devon Sanders tore through the Vikings defense with ease, scoring five touchdowns (four rushing) and accumulating 195 total yards at Stagg Field on Thursday. Robeson will look for win number six next Friday against Morgan Park. Amundsen (2-3) had, arguably, one of the greatest wins in school history last week against Morgan Park. They could not continue the momentum, as they trailed 36-0 at the half. Amundsen takes on Hubbard next Thursday at Gately.

FRIDAY GAMES

No. 14 Crete-Monee (4-0) @ Kankakee (0-4), 6:00 p.m.

The 14th-ranked Warriors have outscored their opponents by an average of 42-11. Their offense was nearly unstoppable last week against Glenbard South. Running back Kenneth Kidd piled up 108 yards and four touchdowns, while quarterback Marcus Terrell had four touchdowns himself. Crete-Monee also features Michigan-bound cornerback Anthony Standifer. If the 0-4 Kays have anything going for them, it has to be motivation: they will be looking for revenge after last years heartbreaking 21-14 loss to C-M.

Brother Rice (3-1) @ No. 3 Mount Carmel (4-0), 7:00 p.m. at Gately Stadium

Now that Mount Carmel head coach Frank Lenti has become the all-time winningest coach in Illinois history, will his Caravan ease off the gas a bit? Doubt it. Running back Brandon Greer and quarterback Don Butkus have been on a tear this season. That said, they can't sleep on this year's Brother Rice squad. The Crusaders took St. Rita to the final minute, falling 21-17. Keep an eye on the Walkers in the backfield, Martez and Andrew.

Tinley Park (4-0) @ No. 19 Lemont (4-0), 7:00 p.m.

Well, something has to give. Will it be the Tinley Park offense, guided by quarterback Kyle Sheridan, whose team is scoring 49 points per game? Or will it be Lemont's defense, who has only given up six points on the entire season? The game could be decided with the Indians offense matching up against the Titans defense. Tinley Park looks for a marquee win, Lemont looks to avoid a home upset. Lemont outlasted the Titans 37-33 last season.

Plainfield South (3-1) @ Minooka (2-2), 7:00 p.m.

Its only the fifth week, but its a critical one if youre a member of the Southwest Prairie conference. Plainfield South, Minooka and Oswego are all tied at 2-0 in league play. These two teams starred in epic battles last season, where South took a 41-31 decision in the regular season and then Minooka got even in the playoffs, winning 41-38. Kalvin Hill, the speedy running back for the host Indians, is worth the price of admission. Plainfield South has a solid, go-to receiver in Dantrell Wright.

No. 1 Maine South (4-0) @ New Trier (3-0), 7:30 p.m.

Top-ranked Maine South figures to have minimal obstacles on the road to the playoffs this year, but they might have an unsuspecting pothole or two at New Trier. First, its homecoming for the Trevians, so expect a charged-up crowd. Second, N-T is riding a three-game winning streak, including a 62-0 dismantling of Maine West last week. Jack Nykaza is one of the top quarterbacks in the Central Suburban South, as is Hawks QB Matt Alviti. The Maine South junior tossed three touchdowns in last weeks 42-6 win over Niles North.

Glenbrook South (3-1) @ Evanston (3-1), 7:30 p.m.

If it does end up being a fight for second in the Central Suburban South, then this game is nothing short of critical. The Wildkits and the Titans figure to be in the race for that spot. Evanston steamrolled Glenbrook North 35-7 last week, in large part to RBLB Ray Bahr. He scored three touchdowns, one of them off a blocked punt. GBS running back Kevin Schroeder needs to be contained, he scored five touchdowns in the Titans last game, a 63-12 win against Maine East.

Fremd (2-2) @ Conant (4-0), 7:30 p.m.

Consider it a football renaissance, of sorts, at Conant. The Cougars tallied consecutive 2-7 records in 2009 and 2010, but have sprinted out of the gate this year. Their defense, which held Hersey to 41 yards rushing last week and forced six turnovers against Buffalo Grove, is one of the many reasons theyre 4-0. Quarterback Matt Cullen has come through as well. Fremds A.J. McGhee guided the Vikings to a 31-10 win over Buffalo Grove last week.

Providence (3-1) @ No. 11 St. Rita (3-1), 7:30 p.m.

Pivotal Catholic League Blue matchup features an 11th-ranked Mustangs team who survived a scare from Brother Rice last week. Charles Elmore intercepted a pass in the final minute to preserve the victory. Providence will need to key in on Rita receiver Kenny Golladay to stay within striking distance. On the offensive side of the ball, the visiting Celtics figure to do a lot of running. They feature one of the top offensive lineman in the state, Iowa recruit Ryan Ward.

East Aurora (0-4) @ Streamwood (4-0), 7:30 p.m.

If you havent noticed, theres quite a story unfolding in northwest suburban Streamwood. The Sabres havent been to the playoffs since 2003. In fact, they havent had a winning record since 1998. Both dubious marks could come to an end this season, and they have senior running back Alex Morrow to thank for a large part of that. His 129 yards rushing and a touchdown helped Streamwood beat St. Charles North for the first time since 2001. East Aurora has to shore up their defense in order to have a chance. Theyve given up nearly 50 points per game.

No. 17 Morris (4-0) @ Yorkville (4-0), 7:30 p.m.

Say what you want about the prestige of the Southwest Suburban Blue, the Catholic Blue or the DuPage Valley. Take a look at the Northern Illinois Big 12 East conference. Incredibly, five of the six teams are unbeaten (4-0). One will have a blemish after Friday night. Will it be the Foxes, who are off to their best start since 1999 and feature talented running back Neil OBrien? Or will it be the 17th-ranked Redskins, who are a consistent well-oiled football machine having gone to nine state title games since 1979?

No. 13 Bolingbrook (4-0) @ No. 9 Homewood-Flossmoor (3-1), 7:30 p.m.

The game of the night in Chicagoland this Friday. H-F figures to be an angry bunch, coming off a loss to No. 4 Lincoln-Way East on their home field. Quarterback Tim Williams is a threat, along with running back Taje Smith and wide receiver Sean Jones. Bolingbrook is averaging 47 points per game, but their defense is anchored by one of the top linebackers in the state, Butkus Award candidate Antonio Morrison. The winner of this game figures to keep pace in the SW Suburban Blue with the winner of.

Sandburg (4-0) @ No. 4 Lincoln-Way East (4-0), 7:30 p.m.

A lot of people figured the 4th-ranked Griffins would be undefeated at this point. But Sandburg? The Eagles got a huge road win last week against Lincoln-Way Central off a late touchdown from Anthony Adams to Nick Lehnerer. The Sandburg running game is solid, with Lemont Booker a constant threat. And solid would be an understatement in describing the Lincoln-Way East offense, who feature quarterback Blake Winkler and receiver J.J. Robertson. They had their way with a talented Homewood-Flossmoor team in week four.

Aurora Christian (4-0) @ Montini (2-2), 7:30 p.m.

We should find out where Montinis 2011 season is heading after Fridays game against Don Beebes Aurora Christian Eagles. A win, and WR Jordan Westerkamp and company figure to have a turnaround at hand. A loss, and the two-time state champs are in tailspin mode, with winning teams (St. Francis and St. Edward) lurking. Aurora Christian is the real deal: they have already blanked two opponents and feature an offense that is putting up over 45 points per game. (NOTE: these highlights will be shown exclusively on csnchicago.com)

Also: tune in to check out our Muscle Milk Team of the Week, the 4-0 Streamwood Sabres. SHS went a combined 8-56 since 2004. What has been the key to the dramatic turnaround? We will spend some time with head coach Cal Cummings and his players who are starting to believe.

We will also tell you how text messaging can actually help prevent injuries on the high school football field this season. Well have scoreboards from across Chicagoland and take a drive down Memory Lane in our Flashback segment.

We invite you to share your story ideas as well. Check us out at: csnchicagowebsite@comcastsportsnet.com

White Sox draft pick Zack Collins wins Johnny Bench Award

White Sox draft pick Zack Collins wins Johnny Bench Award

This June just keeps getting better and better for Zack Collins.

Collins was selected by the White Sox with the No. 10 pick in the MLB Draft, made it to the College World Series with the University of Miami, signed his first professional contract and now he is the Johnny Bench Award winner.

The Johnny Bench Award was created in 2000 and is given to the top college catcher in Division 1. Previous winners include Buster Posey and Kurt Suzuki.

Collins already had a haul of first-team All-America honors from Baseball America, D1Baseball, the NCBWA, Perfect Game and Rawlings.

Collins hit .363 with 16 home runs, 59 RBIs and a .668 slugging percentage. He also led the nation with 78 walks this season for the Hurricanes, which went 0-2 at the College World Series. Collins started 62 of 64 Miami games and made 59 of those starts at catcher.

How Bulls could land a max free agent and re-sign E’Twaun Moore

How Bulls could land a max free agent and re-sign E’Twaun Moore

Quick note here because we are all eager to get back to our twitter feeds and wild speculation. Even though the Bulls will only have approximately $24 million in cap space, there is one situation in which they can sign a Tier 1 max player AND re-sign E’twaun Moore.

This all hinges on the deal (and discount) that Moore would give the Bulls. The Bulls have Early-Bird rights with Moore; that means they can potentially sign him to a deal and not eat into their cap space. There are a lot of rules into how this works and I won’t bore you with details, but the bottom line is that the Bulls can offer a 3-year deal for approx. $21 million or a 4-year deal for appox $28 million. If Moore accepts this contract, the Bulls just to have account for his ‘cap hold’ of $980,431 in free agency until the actual deal is signed. 

This potential deal would leave the Bulls approximately $23 million to spend, well above the $22.2 million it would take to land a Tier 1 (0-6 year NBA player) in free agency. This includes restricted free agent Harrison Barnes. Again, this only works if Moore doesn’t want to test free agency, or doesn’t receive a better offer in free agency. If Moore wants more money, the Bulls have to use their cap space to sign him to a larger deal.

One important key to any restricted free agent like Barnes, the Warriors will have 3 days to match any offer sheet that Barnes signs. Barnes can’t sign an offer sheet until July 7th, so the Warriors effectively will have until at least July 10th to make that decision. This prevents any team like the Bulls ‘swooping’ in and landing Barnes while Kevin Durant conducts his meetings in the Hamptons.

Cubs aren’t sweating loss to Mets or NLCS flashbacks: ‘Big-boy games are totally different'

Cubs aren’t sweating loss to Mets or NLCS flashbacks: ‘Big-boy games are totally different'

NEW YORK – The Cubs didn’t overreact to getting swept in last year’s National League Championship Series, but the New York Mets did expose some underlying issues while a deep playoff run created a sense of urgency in Wrigleyville.

The Cubs spent like crazy on the free-agent market (almost $290 million) and wore T-shirts around spring training that literally put targets on their chests, knowing the look would go viral on social media and spark love/hate responses.

Making a statement? Sending a message? That’s so last year, when the Cubs were a team still trying to find an identity and learn how to win. The Mets are now the ones feeling the season-on-the-brink anxiety, desperate for offense and crossing their fingers that all those talented young pitchers stay healthy.

Maybe this becomes a turning point for the defending NL champs, beating the Cubs 4-3 on Thursday night at Citi Field to kick off a marquee four-game series in front of 40,122 and a national TV audience. Not that John Lackey – the playoff-tested veteran the Cubs signed to lengthen their rotation for October – felt any added significance in facing the Mets.

“None,” Lackey said. “It’s June, who cares? Big-boy games are totally different.”

Yes, Lackey was “pretty surprised” and a little miffed that manager Joe Maddon pulled him with a runner on and one out in the seventh inning and the Cubs holding a 3-1 lead. Joel Peralta failed this bullpen audition, walking Alejandro De Aza (.158 average) and giving up an RBI single to just-promoted-from-Triple-A Las Vegas rookie Brandon Nimmo.

Neil Walker put the pressure on highlight-reel defender Javier Baez, who fielded a chopper at second base, didn’t have a play at home plate and made the split-second decision to throw toward backpedaling third baseman Kris Bryant. The Mets showed last October that little things matter in big-boy games, and the throwing error from a Gold Glove-caliber player suddenly gave them a 4-3 lead.  

“Getting beat’s one thing,” Lackey said. “But when you feel like you kind of gave one away – or let one go – that’s a different kind of loss.”

The Mets (41-37) might not have must-win games in July, but they needed some good news in “Panic City.” Steven Matz, who set off alarm bells this week with the disclosure he’s been pitching with a bone spur in his left elbow, managed to work into the sixth inning and throw 104 pitches, giving up homers to Bryant and Baez but limiting the damage to only three runs.

Yoenis Cespedes, who revived a lifeless lineup after last summer’s trade-deadline blockbuster, energized the Mets again with a big swing in the sixth inning, drilling a Lackey pitch 441 feet out to left field and onto the third deck, creating a 110-mph exit velocity with his 19th home run.

“New year, different team, different circumstances,” said Jake Arrieta, who lost Game 2 here last October, watching Daniel Murphy reach so far down for a curveball that his left knee almost scraped the dirt, driving it out for a momentum-shifting, first-inning, two-run homer. “We’ll probably relive some memories that weren’t very exciting.

“You never want to lose one step from a World Series. But, again, we had a team that was very young with a lot of rookies contributing. We gained a lot of valuable experience from those games, regardless of the outcome. And we’re obviously better for it this season with some new pieces. We look forward to ending in a little different fashion this year.”

The Cubs (51-27) still don’t have the answer for Mets closer Jeurys Familia, who finished off all four NLCS wins last October and is now 27-for-27 in save chances this season. Miguel Montero led off the ninth inning with a pinch-hit walk and Ben Zobrist followed with a double into right field before those all-or-nothing contact issues resurfaced.

Familia responded by striking out Bryant swinging – all six pitches were marked as sinkers clocked between 97 and 98 mph – and intentionally walking Anthony Rizzo to load the bases. Maybe this exposure will pay off in the playoffs, but Familia struck out Willson Contreras swinging and got Javier Baez to pop out to end the game. The Citi Field sound system started playing Ace Frehley’s “(I’m Back, Back in the) New York Groove.” Not that the Cubs were having flashbacks.

“We know the feeling of getting eliminated, getting swept, but I think we’re onto bigger and better things,” Bryant said. “We’re ready for it. Different year, different players here, different attitude.”