High School Lites: Lenti looks to make history

538215.jpg

High School Lites: Lenti looks to make history

Thursday, Sept. 15, 2011
Posted: 1:29 p.m.

By Chris Boden & Scott Krinch
CSNChicago.com

Week four of High School Lites is coming up on Friday and Comcast SportsNetCSNChicago.com is the place to go for preps coverage in the Chicagoland area. We'll be bringing you highlights of over 15 games across the area and this week's marquee matchup is a showdown of unbeatens in the Southwest Suburban - Blue Conference: No. 6 Homewood Flossmoor hosts No. 4 Lincoln-Way East. Which team will come away still holding a big zero in the loss column? Tune in to find out. We'll also have highlights of Matt Alviti and the No. 1 Maine South Hawks taking on Niles North. After a 42-0 thrashing of Fenwick, No. 11 St. Rita will go to a hostile environment to take on their Catholic League rival, Brother Rice.

Here's a quick glimpse of each game we'll cover during Friday night's show at 10:30 p.m.:

Robeson (3-0) vs. Bogan (0-3), 3:30 @ Stagg

Chris Boden: The records aren't deceiving in this Prairie State division opener. The Bengals have managed just six points in each of their three losses, though things did get a little better against Lane last week, when they allowed just 28 points after giving up 54 and 51 to open the season against Tinley Park and Edwardsville, respectively. The Raiders are rolling behind RB Devon Sanders, who was Tom Lemming's MVP at a summer camp exclusively for juniors. He carried 58 times for 460 yards and 9 touchdowns in lopsided wins over Julian and Harlan before last week's 28-14 victory at Rich Central.

Young (2-1) vs. Simeon (1-2), 3:30 @ Gately

Scott Krinch: Getting their leader back was all Simeon needed. Quarterback Robert Gregory returned to lead the Wolverines to a 47-7 rout of Morgan Park last week. Before taking his talents to the University of Arkansas and the SEC, Gregory is hoping to lead Simeon to their first state title in school history. Well see if Young can contain Gregory in this Chicago Public League showdown.

Evergreen Park (2-1) @ Tinley Park (3-0), 7:00

CB: So, Mustangs, how good is your defense? The Titans were down 20-7 last week at home to T.F. North, then the Kyle Sheridan-led offense rolled up 49 second half points en route to a 56-52 thrill ride, won on a short touchdown run in the final minute by Preston Thompson. The game turned midway through the third quarter when TP returned kickoff & punt returns within about a minute of each other. That gives them 150 points in their three games. EP put up big numbers itself against Phillips and Payton to start its season, but dropped their South Suburban Red opener to Eisenhower last week, 28-9.

11 St. Rita (2-1) @ Brother Rice (3-0), 7:30

SK: Could this game be an upset in the making? The Crusaders have a powerful 1-2 running back punch of Martez Walker and Andrew Walker and the duo have combined for 14 touchdowns already this season. Will the Mustangs defense, coming off two straight shutouts be able to extinguish the Crusaders running game? Anything can happen in the Catholic League - Blue conference.

Bremen (3-0, 1-0) @ Oak Forest (3-0, 1-0), 7:00

CB: The south suburbs are the place to be this Friday, can't go wrong if you're able to pick-and-choose. Don't let the Braves and Bengals fly under your radar in the rugged, deep South Suburban Blue. The visitors snuck past Hillcrest 14-12 last week, while the hosts have been putting up 40 points per game. Their 33-21 win over T.F. South was their lowest offensive output. Each side has running backs with multiple D-1 offers, Big 10 included: Bremen's David Smith and Oak Forest's Tevin Coleman. Iowa, among others, is interested in both.

4 Lincoln-Way East (3-0, 1-0) @ 6 Homewood-Flossmoor (3-0, 1-0), 7:30

SK: If you're looking for offense this is the game to watch. The Griffins are averaging 44 PPG this season but not to be outdone, the Vikings are averaging 55. Wide receiver J.J. Robertson, an Illini commit, highlights the list of explosive players for Lincoln-Way East. While, HF's Tim Williams is one of the top quarterbacks in the state, passing for over 601 yards on the season. One costly turnover could be the difference in this game.

St. Viator (0-3, 0-1) @ Joliet Catholic (3-0, 1-0), 7:30

CB: If there's any time Lions coach Chris Kirkpatrick might want to double-check to see if Brett Basanez and Jarrett Payton have any eligibility left, this is it. His team has been on the short end of thee blowouts in the East Suburban Catholic, and now face the king of the hill at Joliet Memorial. JCA avenged last fall's 5A quarterfinal loss to Peoria Richwoods with last Friday's 63-34 win, as Northwestern-bound Malin Jones rushed for 242 yards & 4 TD's. Ty Isaac "only" ran for 3, but churned out 273 yards on the ground.

8 Loyola (3-0) @ Providence (3-0), 7:30

SK: After a dominant, 48-13 victory over Lake Forest Academy, Loyola hits the road to take on Providence in their Catholic League - Blue opener. Providence has already matched their win total of last season, doing so with a balanced running game featuring Jack Klyczek, Andy Hoffmeister and Brandon Price. No one has been able to slow down Ramblers quarterback, Malcom Weaver. Weaver is a dual-threat quarterback that could make you pay with his arm and explosive scrambling ability.

Niles North (1-2) @ 1 Maine South (3-0), 7:00
CB: Who (if anyone) can knock off the three-time defending 8A champs? The well-oiled machine rolled past Deerfield last week behind 3 TD's on the ground from 5 foot 4 Paul Preston and another three through the air from junior QB Matt Alviti. It's hard to imagine anyone on the rest of their schedule putting a blemish on their record prior to the playoffs. They'll host the Vikings in this Central Suburban crossover, and their only win was by forfeit over Niles West sandwiched between losses to Oak Lawn and Waukegan.

Elmwood Park (2-1) @ Ridgewood (0-3), 7:00

SK: The Tigers offense finally started to click last Friday, with a 40-0 shutout of Carver Military Academy. Senior QB Tom Senn leads Elmwood Park into enemy territory to take on longtime rival, Ridgewood. The Rebels are winless but came up just short in 22-14 loss against King. Could this be the week that Ridgewood notches their first win?

Huntley (0-3, 0-1) @ 17 Crystal Lake South (3-0, 1-0), 7:15

CB: We'll feature the Gators this week after their dramatic, last-second, game-winning 51 field goal by a birthday boy last week at Cary-Grove. Led by an inspiring coach and a defense that's allowed just 13 points, they'll need to safeguard against a letdown versus the Red Raiders, who've had a brutal schedule this opening month (dropping a 43-2 decision last week to the newest Fox Valley "Valley" member, 12 Prairie Ridge). Despite Brad Walovitch's heroics in last Friday's win, Reese Dziedzic was the unsung hero, setting up the kick with a 16-yard run off a fake punt, and catching a pass for the Gators' lone touchdown.

Marian Catholic (2-1, 2-1) @ 10 Carmel (2-1, 2-1), 7:30

SK: The Corsairs have rebounded nicely, winning their last two games, after a heart-breaking season opening loss to Joliet Catholic. Carmel running back Jordan Kos is as dangerous as they come in the open field. Look for the Corsairs to feed Kos the rock early and often. If the Spartans have any chance of pulling off an upset, they will need running back Jeruel Taylor to have a repeat performance of his 197 yard, two touchdown game against Benet.

Record Hunting

Mount Carmel (3-0) @ St. Joseph (0-3), Saturday 1:30 p.m.

SK: Last week, Frank Lenti tied the legendary Gary Korhonen of Richards with his 306th career win. If Mount Carmel can get past St. Joseph on Saturday, Lenti will break the states all-time career wins record. The Caravan walloped De La Salle last week, 40-7. Being outscored 145-13 on the season, the Chargers have little chance of pulling off the upset. Look for Lenti to have his name atop the record books by Saturday evening.

Transfer troubles

Chicago Pubic League sports administration director Calvin Davis ruled Julian senior DaeShaun Hurley ineligible for the season on Monday. Hurley transferred to Julian from Morgan Park after head coach Lexie Spurlock was fired following the season. Hurley was highly regarded as one of the best players in the state and despite being ineligible he is still being recruited by a handful of D-1 schools.

Coaching Carousel

Rumors swirled around Fenwick High School after the dismissal of head coach Joe DiCanio on Tuesday but no one is quite sure whether he resigned or was fired. DiCanio led the Friars to a Prep Bowl title last season but his team was just (1-2) to start the season. Scott Thies, Class of 99 and Fenwick athletic director, will take over head coaching duties for the remainder of the 2011 season.

On tap

Tune in to see St. Patrick, our Muscle Milk Team of the Week as they prepare for their upcoming match-up with Nazareth Academy. Also, Chris Boden highlights Frank Lenti as he goes for career win 307. Our Flashback segment this week takes us back to Pierre Thomas glory days at T.F. South. See how Thomas went from an undrafted free agent out of the University of Illinois to a Super Bowl champion with the Saints. Well also be previewing Saturdays games.

If you have any story ideas, feel free to email us at: csnchicagowebsite@comcastsportsnet.com

Morning Update: Bulls fall to Blazers; Could Chris Sale be on the move?

Morning Update: Bulls fall to Blazers; Could Chris Sale be on the move?

Five Things to Watch: Bulls in Detroit for fourth game in five nights on CSN

Five Things to Watch: Blackhawks host Coyotes tonight on CSN+

Despite Chris Sale rumors, White Sox say they have contingencies in place for a rebuild

Kenley Jansen? Wade Davis? Cubs keeping an open mind for the ninth inning

Slow start to fourth dooms Bulls in loss to Blazers

Back from scary concussion, Leonard Floyd playing like franchise pass rusher Bears craved

Scott Darling takes the reins for Blackhawks in Corey Crawford’s absence

White Sox chairman Jerry Reinsdorf knows 'it will be very hard to trade' Chris Sale

Cubs: The next steps for Kyle Schwarber

Rajon Rondo used foul language with Bulls assistant coaches following loss to Mavs

Bears DL Akiem Hicks making the most of a chance the Saints never gave him

Bears DL Akiem Hicks making the most of a chance the Saints never gave him

Living well is indeed the best revenge, and sometimes nothing feels sweeter than proving doubters wrong. Akiem Hicks is savoring that exact feeling.

When the New Orleans Saints made Hicks their third-round pick in the 2013 draft, they typecast their big (6-5, 318 pounds) young defensive lineman as a one-trick pony.

“There were people in New Orleans that said, ‘You can’t rush the passer,’” Hicks recalled after the Bears’ win Sunday over the San Francisco 49ers. “They told me from my rookie year, ‘You’re going to be a run-stopper.’”

This despite Hicks collecting 6.5 sacks and 3 pass breakups as a senior at Regina in Canada. The Saints forced Hicks into the slot they’d decided he fit – nose tackle – then eventually grew disenchanted with him and traded him to New England last year – where he collect 3 sacks in spot duty.

Interestingly, Bears GM Ryan Pace was part of the Saints’ personnel operation. Whether Pace agreed with coaches’ handling of Hicks then isn’t known, but when Pace had the chance to bring Hicks to Chicago for a role different than the one the Saints forced Hicks into, Pace made it happen.

Pace likely saw those New England sacks as a foreshadowing or a sign that the New Orleans staff had miscast Hicks. The Bears defensive end now is under consideration for NFC defensive player of the week after his 10-tackle performance against San Francisco. Signing with the Bears last March 13 as a free agent was the career break Hicks has craved. For him it was a career lifeline.

“They have given me the ability to go rush the passer,” Hicks said. “So I love this organization – [GM] Ryan Pace, coach Fox, Vic [Fangio, defensive coordinator] – for just giving a guy the capability to put it out there and do what you feel like you can do.”

[MORE BEARS: Back from scary concussion, Leonard Floyd playing like franchise pass rusher Bears craved]

Hicks has been showing what he can do, to quarterbacks. For him the best part of win over the 49ers was the two third-quarter sacks of 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick.

Those sacks gave the massive lineman, who the Saints said couldn’t rush the passer, 6 sacks for the season – more than any member of the Saints defense this season. It has been a classic instance of putting a player in position to maximize his skills, not jam someone into a bad fit.

“Akiem has been in a couple of different types of packages before with New Orleans and New England,” said coach John Fox. The Patriots switched from a long-time 3-4 scheme to a 4-3 but “we’re more of a New England-type style. But we’re playing him more at end; he played mostly a nose tackle [in New Orleans]. He’s fit really well for us as far as his physical stature.

"But he does have pass rush ability. It shows a little about his athleticism. So he’s got a combination of both.”

That “combination” has been allowed to flourish at a new level, and the Bears’ plan for Hicks was the foundation of why he wanted to sign in Chicago as a free agent. The Bears do not play their defensive linemen in a clear one-gap, get-upfield-fast scheme tailored to speed players. Nor do they play a classic two-gap, linemen-control-blockers scheme typically built on three massive space-eaters on the defensive line.

They play what one player has called a “gap and a half” system, which requires being stout as well as nimble.

One Hicks rush on Kaepernick featured a deft spin move out of a block, not the norm for 336-pound linemen. He got one sack with a quick slide out of a double-team.

“I’m not freelancing,” Hicks said. “But I’m rushing ‘fast.’ There’s a portion of the defense where you have the [run] responsibility and don’t have the freedom or liberty [to rush]. It’s a great system for me and I love what they’ve let me do.”