Cary-Grove at (10) Wheaton South 7:30 p.m.
EDGY's Take: Old school versus new school offense? Cary-Grove will reload it's option offense this season and look for the Trojans to run the ball behind junior OT Trevor Ruhland (6-foot-5, 280 pounds) who has an early offer from Minnesota. The Wheaton North Falcons will rely on Northwestern verbal commit QB Clayton Thorson and a very potent passing attack. Can the Falcons defense get the ball back from the Cary-Grove offense? Can the Trojans defense slow down the Falcons passing game? The entire Falcon Nation will hold it's collective breath once Clayton Thorson gets up from his first hard hit on Friday night. Thorson suffered a season ending injury in 2012 and had off season surgery.
Prediction: Wheaton North 27 Cary-Grove 14
(4) Glenbard West at (18) Wheaton Warrenville South 7:30 p.m.
EDGY's Take: Can the defending Class 7A state champ Hilltoppers reload on both the offensive and defensive lines? Glenbard West and NC State verbal commit OG Eric Shute is the lone returning starter on either side of the line. West will look to get the ground game on track behind senior RB Scott Andrews and FB Devonte Toney. Wheaton South will look to put the disappointing 2012 season behind them as senior QB Ryan Graham leads a very athletic and diverse offense. Can the somewhat inexperienced Tigers hit the ground running? And throwing? Can the Hitters run it's usually punishing running game with a bunch of newbies upfront on the offensive line?
Prediction: Glenbard West 17 Wheaton South 14
(18) Maine South at (5) Montini Catholic 7:30 p.m.
EDGY's Take: Expect a ton of passing and offense, over a three hour long game, and two friendly coaching staffs butting heads. Montini will rely on senior QB Alex Wills and a very strong passing game/spread offense. The Broncos defense is also strong led by senior Ohio State verbal commit DT Dylan Thompson, LB Nile Sykes, and senior DB Derrick Curry. Maine South Senior QB Alec Basso gets the start in leading the Hawks spread offense, as Basso will try to fill the shoes of current Northwestern QB Matt Alviti. Senior OT Brendan Brosnan (Vanderbilt) is another name to watch along with junior LB Vinny Labus for the Hawks. One or two defensive stops could be the difference in this one.
Prediction: Montini 41 Maine South 37
(16) Bolingbrook at (12) Hinsdale Central 7:30 p.m.
EDGY's Take: The Raiders will look toward junior QB Quincy Woods to run the veer this fall, as he is taking over the reins of the Brook's offense from current Illinois quarterback Aaron Bailey. Woods was able to gain valuable varsity experience last season filling in for an injured Bailey. Bolingbrook's defense is fast and features D-1 prospects in senior DB Parrker Westphal, junior DE Micah Dew-Treadway along with sophomore LB Tuf Borland. Hinsdale Central also has some highly prized recruits in senior TE Ian Bunting (Michigan) and senior OC Brian Allen (Michigan State). Can the Red Devils get the football back from the Bolingbrook offense? Can the Raiders defense slow down the Central offense? The potential match up here between Hinsdale Central TE Ian Bunting and Bolingbrook DB Parrker Westphal could be a dandy.
Prediction: Hinsdale Central 16 Bolingbrook 14
Simeon at (25) Homewood-Flossmoor 7 p.m.
EDGY's Take: The Wolverines might not have it's usual stable of highly sought after recruits this season, yet Simeon is still the team to beat from the Chicago Public League. Keep an eye out for Simeon senior DB Darrell Crockett and a very speedy group on both sides of the football. Homewood-Floosmoor is also an inexperienced team but the Vikings just reload under head coach Craig Buzea. Watch out for senior RB Vashon Nutt along with senior WR Aaron Gooch for H-F. Speed will be the key word of the day in this game on both sides of the field.
Prediction: H-F 24 Simeon 14
(15) Providence Catholic at (22) Joliet Catholic 7:30 p.m.
EDGY's Take: Two local powers hook up as a large crowd is expected at ATI Field in Joliet. Providence has some experience back on offense, yet the defense is a bit green. Senior RB Dominic Lagone is a key player along with senior WR Miles Boykin, plus a big offensive line led by senior OC Logan Plantz. Joliet Catholic also brings back four starting offensive linemen and senior RB Mike Ivlow (5-foot-9, 190 pounds) is the featured ball carrier. Can the Hilltoppers defense slow down the Celtics offense? Can JCA get it's running game going against the Providence defense? Providence leads the series between the two schools 7-2.
Prediction: Providence Catholic 24 JCA 21
West Aurora at East Aurora 7:30 p.m.
EDGY's Take: This is one of the oldest rivalries in the nation which dates back to 1893. West Aurora has a standout senior QB in Quintez Jones. East Aurora hasn't won this game in it's last 12 attempts and the Tomcats are looking to snap a 39 game losing streak.
Prediction: West Aurora 36 East Aurora 6
(9) Glenbard North at (24) Batavia 7:30 p.m.
EDGY's Take: Glenbard North welcomes back the 2012 Gatorade Player of the Year in senior RB/DB Justin Jackson (Northwestern). Batavia counters with some experience on both sides of the ball, including senior QB Micah Coffey, senior RB Anthony Scaccia and senior RB/LB Anthony Thielk. The last meeting between these two was a wild 42-41 Batavia win and I expect more of the same this time around. The biggest key here for North will be if they can get their running game going. For Batavia, they'll need to avoid turnovers and strike quickly against a very good North defense.
Prediction: Glenbard North 36 Batavia 35
Marian Central Catholic at Crystal Lake South 7 p.m.
EDGY's Take: Terrific early showdown between two great McHenry County area programs. The Hurricanes will need to replace standout QB Chris Streveler (Minnesota) but senior RB Ephraim Lee will help ease the offensive load early this season. The Gators will rely on a big offensive line along with senior QB Austin Rogers and senior RB/LB Chris Ivers. Can the Gators establish the run and control the football? Can the Hurricanes find it's big play/quick strike capabilities again in 2013?
Prediction: Marian Central Catholic 21 Crystal Lake South 14
(2) Lake Zurich at Fremd 7:30 p.m.
EDGY's Take: The preseason bullseye has been put firmly in place on Lake Zurich. The Bears welcome back 8 starters on defense, a defense that was one of the best in the state in 2012. For Lake Zurich, keep an eye out for Syracuse verbal commit LB Colton Moskal and a punishing ground game led by senior QB/LB Noah Allgood. Fremd looks to be loaded with experience and the Vikings have a huge offensive line back in 2013. Fremd senior QB Sam Beutler will be a rare four year varsity starting quarterback this season. Can the Bears defense handle a physically huge Fremd offensive line? Can the Vikings find the football on defense against the Bears veer option?
Prediction: Lake Zurich 20 Fremd 7
Plainfield South at Lemont 7 p.m.
EDGY's Take: Plainfield South features one of the top linebacker recruits in the nation in senior Clifton Garrett (6-foot-2, 222 pounds). Yet for the Cougars to win games this season, the offense needs to come to life. Senior QB Kody Voda played receiver in 2012 and his development is a real key for South in 2013. Lemont and head coach Eric Michaelsen will need to reload in 2013 as the Indians will be very green on both sides of the ball. Senior LB Drew Hayes and junior LB Frank Pignone are players to watch for on the Indians in 2013.
Prediction: Lemont 17 Plainfield South 13
(19) Waubonsie Valley at (20) Naperville Central 7:30 p.m.
EDGY's Take: Waubonsie Valley will try to reload after heavy graduation losses this past spring. Senior WR Christian Gibbs (Illinois State) is a big time target for the Warriors and senior DE Jon Harris (6-foot-5, 220 pounds) makes the move from offense to defense in 2013. Naperville Central is led by senior QB Jake Kolbe (Illinois State) and WR Ben Andreas. The Redhawks have very solid overall talent at the offensive skill positions this season. The biggest question? Can Waubonsie Valley get it's offense on track AG (After Guido) and can the Redhawks offense show it's summer swagger in live action?
Prediction: Naperville Central 27 Waubonsie Valley 21
(8) Stevenson at Kenosha/Indian Trail (Wis.) 7:30 p.m.
EDGY's Take: Stevenson will head up North for it's season opener. The Patriots will look toward it's offense led by junior QB Willie Bourban. Also keep an eye on senior WR/S Matt Morrissey (Michigan State), senior OT Zach Novoselsky (Western Michigan) and junior Cameron Green. On the defensive side of the ball, Patriots junior DT Nick Dillon is a name to watch. Indian Trail went 2-7 in 2012, yet the Panthers won their opener last Friday 35-14 over Plymouth as QB Kollin Nellis passed for 245 yards in the win. Getting a game under your belt is always an advantage and look for Indian Trail to be sharp right out of the gates on Friday night.
Prediction: Stevenson 35 Indian Trail 21
[More: The Drive: Stevenson Football]
(1) Mount Carmel vs St. Patrick at Soldier Field 10 a.m., Saturday
EDGY's Take: The Caravan will look to establish it's veer option game with senior QB Marko Boricich and standout RB Matt Domer (Illinois). The Mount Carmel defense features two D1 defensive tackles in Enoch Smith Jr. (Michigan State) and Steve Richardson (Minnesota). St. Pats and veteran head coach Dan Galante will need to find a way to get the football back from the Caravan, who love to control the ball. Senior SS Mike Warner and junior QB Zach Fuller are names to watch in 2013 for the Shamrocks. Biggest question? Can the Caravan offense and QB Boricich get up to speed in the opening game?
Prediction: Mount Carmel 27 St. Patrick 13
(21) St. Rita vs (13) Marist at Soldier Field 7 p.m., Saturday
EDGY's Take: The Mustangs and head coach Todd Kuska are trying to put a disappointing 2012 season behind them and nothing would fire up Da Neighborhood more than an opening win here. St. Rita features senior ATH Tommy Mister (Iowa State) who transferred from Richards. Mister, along with a deep group of backs and receivers will have an offense capable of running several different looks. The defense is also a strength and senior DB Lamar Dawson (Syracuse) along with senior LB John Connolly are just a few names to watch. Marist can put up some points in a hurry as well. The Redhawks have two standout receivers in senior Nic Weishar (Michigan) and junior WR Flynn Nagel (Illinois/Indiana offers), as well as senior RB Peter Andreotti (Purdue/wrestling). Also, keep an eye on senior QB Jack Donegan for Marist. Can St. Rita's defense slow down a very explosive and versatile Marist offense? Can the Redhawks defense figure out the Mustangs offense?
Prediction: Marist 34 St. Rita 24