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Scouting Week 3 in Lake County
By Joe Aguilar and Patricia Babcock McGraw | Daily Herald Staff

Grant's Keion Miller just misses catching this pass against Lakes defender Josh Pohlman at Grant in Fox Lake on Friday, October 22.



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Published: 9/6/2012 10:21 PM

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Antioch (1-1, 0-0 at Vernon Hills (1-1, 0-0)

When: 7:30 p.m., today

Radio: WRLR 98.3 FM; streamed at WRLR.FM

Last week: Antioch lost to Waukegan, 6-3; Vernon Hills lost to St. Francis, 28-21.

Last year’s result: Antioch def. Vernon Hills, 10-7.

Skinny: Never mind that both teams are coming off tough losses. As Antioch coach Brian Glashagel noted, the winner of this game, historically, goes on to win the division. Antioch won the NSC Prairie title outright in 2008 (38-35 win over VH). Vernon Hills then won back-to-back division crowns in 2009 (14-0 win over Antioch) and 2010 (34-0 win over Antioch). Last season, a three-way tie atop the division featured Antioch, Vernon Hills and Grant. “Well, the task does not get any easier, by trying to beat Vernon Hills at their place,” Glashagel said. “They are well-coached. They are getting great play by their quarterback (Brett Peterson, 6 TDs) and offense, and are scoring points like the Vernon Hills of pre-2011. They always play tough, sound defense. They do not give you anything. You earn it on every down when you play those guys. We have had great battles over the years, even when one team is more talented than the other. Both of us are in playoff mode already in Week 3. A loss by either team makes it a lot tougher at making the playoffs or eliminates any hopes of winning the division.” For Vernon Hills coach Tony Monken, the respect is mutual. “Should be a great game,” Monken said. “Always a hard-hitting game when we play each other.” Vernon Hills is looking to avenge last year’s defeat, when Antioch kicked a late field goal. Monken notes three of the last five games against each other have been decided by 4 or fewer points. “I expect (tonight) to be the same,” Monken said. ... Against Waukegan last Friday, Antioch fullback Cam Corey rushed 23 times for 100 yards and the Sequoits didn’t turn the ball over, but it wasn’t enough. Waukegan also had no turnovers. “Waukegan has improved every year we have played them,” Glashagel said. “Coach (Nick) Browder has done a great job of turning that program around.”— Joe AguilarWhen: 7:30 p.m., today

Last week: Wauconda def. Chicago Orr, 28-22; Grant def. Grayslake Central, 31-14.

Skinny: Neither Wauconda nor Grant wants a replay of the game they played last year. Grant won the game 44-41, but only after frantically coming back from a 20-point halftime deficit. And of course, for Wauconda, there’s the issue of losing that 20-point lead. “I’ve tried to block that game out,” Grant coach Kurt Rous said. “We played awful in the first half and Wauconda played very well. I remember I couldn’t even say very much at halftime because I was so disgusted. But our seniors started talking and got everyone going and we played much better in the second half.”…Running back Kyle Whitman came to life for Grant. Having never played defense before, he started at safety for the second half and made some big stops for the Bulldogs. On offense, he rolled up most of his 308 rushing yards after the break. “He pretty much won the game for us single-handedly,” Rous said of Whitman…Whitman has been a showstopper so far this season, too. Now Grant’s quarterback, Whitman is spearheading an option offense that is averaging 36 points per game. Whitman and fullback Jonathan Wells are rolling up most of the rushing yards while Whitman is also having some success passing the ball. One of his favorite targets has been Keion Miller. “Grant’s quarterback and fullback might be two of the best athletes in the same backfield in our conference,” Wauconda coach Dave Mills said. “They are very long and fast. Our defense will have its hands full.”…Grant will be tested by a Wauconda offense that is rolling up the rushing yards behind an experienced line that includes a three-year starter in Will Danner and a couple of two-year starters in Jack Weber and David Lowe. Running back David Starkey scored 2 touchdowns last week against Orr while fullback Pat Kane added another.— Patricia Babcock McGrawWhen: 1 p.m., Saturday

Last week: Round Lake lost to Grayslake North, 55-13; North Chicago def. Chicago King, 29-2.

Skinny: With two sophomores and four new juniors in the lineup, it’s not surprising that Round Lake’s offense hasn’t always been smooth moving. “We are very inexperienced,” Round Lake coach John Coursey said. “We’ve struggled a bit offensively in both of our games. The good news is that the plays are there. We’re just not always executing.”…The Panthers got some confidence in the second half against Grayslake North as quarterback John Ridley engineered two successful drives. “We’re running a spread so we can run or throw,” Coursey said. “But we need to make sure we can control the ball this week. North Chicago has a lot of nice athletes who can make big plays. They’ve got a tough running back and their quarterback can run or throw. We need to keep the ball out of their hands.”…Round Lake can’t count on that kind of reprieve, though. The Panthers, led by linebacker Zach Williamson and cornerbacks Taylor Stempski and Chris Washington, will likely have their hands full on defense.— Patricia Babcock McGrawWhen: 7:30 p.m., today

Last week: Marian Catholic lost to Crete-Monee, 30-7; Carmel lost to Glenbard North, 31-16.

Last year’s result: Carmel def. Marian Catholic, 44-20-0.

Skinny: Carmel hasn’t started a season 0-2 since 1999, which was the last time the Corsairs missed the state playoffs. After playing two state juggernauts, the Corsairs face a Spartans team that is also winless. Marian Catholic’s first two opponents, Homewood-Flossmoor and Crete-Monee, are a combined 4-0. The Spartans have been outscored 65-14. Carmel, which graduated its entire starting backfield from last season, has scored just 22 points, while allowing 31 in each of its losses. Tim Serio leads the team in rushing with 149 yards (6.0 average). Connor Lynde is the Corsairs’ top tackler with 18 stops, including two for loss. Ronald Cox and Grant Stredler each has 16 tackles.

— Joe AguilarWhen: 7:15 p.m., today

Last week: Hampshire def. DeKalb, 33-27; Grayslake Central lost to Grant, 31-14.

Last year’s result: Grayslake Central def. Hampshire, 34-0.

Skinny: With a much-needed victory under their collective belt, the Whip-Purs seek to build a winning streak in the FVC Fox opener. Last week’s win was a credit to Hampshire’s persistence. The Whips trailed by 8 points in the fourth quarter, went ahead by 7, then yielded the tying score with 40 seconds left. Undeterred, senior quarterback Kyle Anderson connected with Brandon Waterworth for a 52-yard pass play to the 1-yard line, and Anderson scored the winning touchdown on the next play with .4 seconds left. Waterworth made 3 catches for 101 yards, and seniors Tyler Crater and Phil Lapoint combined to rush for 163 yards and 3 touchdowns on 32 carries. Grayslake Central was within 10-7 of Grant at halftime last week, thanks to a fumble return for a touchdown by Connor Daly. However, the defense was burned by some big passes in the second half and the veer option offense managed only 133 total yards and 4 first downs. “They really have some guys who fly around defensively,” Whip-Purs coach Dan Cavanaugh said. “We’ll have our work cut out for us. I know they’re young, but what strikes me on tape is how hard they play that 5-2 defense.” ... The Rams’ new triple-option offense has produced just 3 touchdowns.— Jerry FitzpatrickWhen: 7:15 p.m., today

Last week: Jacobs def. Johnsburg, 41-7; Grayslake North def. Round Lake, 55-13.

Last year’s result: Jacobs def. Grayslake North, 62-21.

Skinny: The Knights don’t have to be reminded about the importance of tonight’s game. What happened to them in Algonquin last season certainly wasn’t a highlight for the program. The Golden Eagles had 55 points by halftime and led by 41. “(Tonight) is a telling game for us,” Grayslake North coach Steve Wood said. “If we hope to compete for the conference title and make our first playoff appearance, we need to show we can play with and beat the best teams around. The key to winning is controlling the ball on offense and tackling on defense. Last year, Jacobs forced multiple turnovers and ran all over us.” Knights QB A.J. Fish has scored 8 TDs, including a school-record six against Round Lake last Friday. The senior has also thrown for 302 yards, completing 63 percent of his throws. His top target has been 6-3 Anthony Diggs (11 catches, 177 yards). Sophomore Titus Booker has rushed for 133 yards and a pair of scores.— Joe AguilarWhen: 7:30 p.m., today

Last week: Stevenson lost to Homewood-Flossmoor, 35-27; Libertyville def. Chicago Urban Prep, 62-14.

Skinny: One of the best rivalries in the North Suburban Conference grabs the spotlight earlier in the season than usual. This game is often played later in the season with more of build-up to it. But the usual intensity and emotion should be there nonetheless. “This is always such a great game for both teams, a nice tradition,” Stevenson coach Bill McNamara said. “It’s always a big night and it will be that way this time.”…Libertyville, which has proven in the first two weeks that it can rally from a hefty deficit as well as cruise to a big win, has seen success in its return to the Wing-T offense that was a staple in some of the program’s most successful years. “They’ve brought back the offense that helped them win a state championship (in 2004),” McNamara said. “They run it really well. They are really athletic at the skill positions. They run the ball very well. They will really challenge our defense.”…Last week against Urban Prep, Connor Simpson ran for 133 yards on 10 carries and scored 4 touchdowns. Quarterback Jack Deichl completed 6 passes for 84 yards…Meanwhile, Stevenson is trying to right the ship after a loss to Homewood-Flossmoor last week. The Patriots were slowed by mental mistakes, a turnover and errors on special teams. “But as poorly as we played, we still had an opportunity to win the game,” McNamara said. “We were down one score with five minutes left.” Sophomore quarterback Willie Bourban kept Stevenson in it. He completed 24 passes for 260 yards and 2 touchdowns. He is one of six sophomores seeing major minutes for the Patriots. Five of them are starters.— Patricia Babcock McGrawWhen: 7:30 p.m., today

Last week: Mundelein lost to Prairie Ridge, 65-7; Lake Zurich lost to Cary-Grove, 21-6.

Skinny: Mundelein coach George Kaider believes that his players could win or lose this game before they even step on the field. “A lot of it will depend on how we practice during the week,” Kaider said. “We’ll need a great week of practice to be able to win this game.” Performance at practice hasn’t always been up to snuff in Mundelein’s 0-2 start. “We’ve talked a lot about practicing better,” Kaider said. “We lift like a winning team. We give the effort of a winning team. But we are not holding each other accountable like a winning team does for bad reps in practice. We have too many of them. We’re also not practicing as physical as a winning team does. We’re not adjusting to the difference between the speed and hitting of practice to the speed and hitting of games.”… Dillon O’Donoghue seems to have made that transition well. The Mundelein safety is leading the team in tackles and has also been used on offense to serve as a blocker for freshman quarterback Gavin Graves. “We’ve been really impressed with Dillon. He’s the most physical guy on our defense,” Kaider said. “He’s proved to us and his teammates that he is a tough, hard-nosed kid.”...Lake Zurich was busy at practice this week, too. The Bears were trying to correct some errors that cost them in their loss last week to Cary-Grove. “We had some alignment mistakes,” Lake Zurich coach Dave Proffitt said. “We didn’t defend the run well at all because we were lining up incorrectly. We also played too high on defense. We need to play better. Mundelein has some skills kids I think are really good football players and we’re going to have to be ready.”…Senior running back Kody Schaar won’t be ready for Lake Zurich. He is out with a leg injury.— Patricia Babcock McGrawWhen: 7:30 p.m., today

Last week: Warren def. New Trier, 21-6; Zion-Benton lost to Evanston, 27-13.

Last year’s result: The two teams did not play each other.

Skinny: Warren looks to make it two straight wins and build off last Friday’s stellar road effort in Winnetka. Bryson Eppinger (13 solo tackles), Ryan Sweeney (11 solos, interception) and Eric Johnson (9 solos) stepped up defensively in the win. “Our defense played very well against New Trier,” coach Dave Mohapp said. Davonte Wilcox led the Blue Devils on the ground, rushing for 136 yards and 2 TDs, with a long of 72 yards. Zion-Benton is led on the ground by veteran Alex Pasiewicz and Eric Gilmore, both of whom scored a TD against Evanston. The Zee-Bees dropped a 14-12 decision to Deerfield in their season opener. “Zion looks like a much-improved team this year,” Mohapp said. “They played tough versus a good-sized Evanston team. We need to try to contain the Wing-T misdirection offense. On defense, they have great team speed and do a good job in pursuit of the football. We need to try to keep the ball away from their speed and eliminate turnovers. The kicking game will be very important.”— Joe AguilarWhen: 7:30 p.m., today

Last week: Lake Forest def. Highland Park, 23-0; Lakes def. Woodstock North, 21-7.

Skinny: Every year come crossover time in the North Suburban Conference, the coaches at Lakes wind up scratching their heads. “We’ve been trying to figure out what happens to us,” Lakes coach Luke Mertens said. “No matter who we play or what the situation is, we never seem to play very well in crossover games.” Lakes lost its crossover game to Lake Zurich last year, 28-0. Over the seven-year history of the school, Lakes has won just one crossover game. The Eagles defeated Zion-Benton in 2010, 14-7. “We’re playing bigger schools in the crossovers, but I don’t think we ever go in intimidated or scared,” Mertens said. “We just haven’t played well and we need to get past that. One of our goals this week is to just play well in this game.”…The Eagles will try to do that against a Lake Forest team that could be relevant to them outside of conference play as well. “We’ll both be Class 6A so we could see them in the playoffs,” Mertens said. “We have a lot of respect for Lake Forest and the coaches there. They’ll be one of the best teams we face this year. This is a big game for us.”…Known mostly for its prolific passing game in recent years, Lake Forest isn’t necessarily a one-trick pony this season. “I think one of the toughest things about them is that they are very balanced this season,” Mertens said. “They make you defend both the run and the pass.”…Lakes is making defenses do the same thing with dynamic runner Direll Clark and quarterback T.J. Edwards. Clark rushed for 147 yards on just 17 carries last week while Edwards completed 14-of-19 passes for 182 yards in the season opener against Grayslake North…Mertens says that Clark’s carries are being monitored closely (almost like a pitcher’s pitch count is) so that he isn’t overused and then exhausted by the end of the season. Clark hasn’t had more than 20 carries in a game yet this season.— Patricia Babcock McGraw