2019 record: 8-5, Class 8A semifinals
Coach: Brian Badke (ninth season)
Worth noting: In 2019, Brother Rice went from 5-4 to the Class 8A state semifinals before coming up short against a dominant Warren defense. ... RB Willie Shaw, a Toledo commit, returns to the backfield after rushing for 1,381 yards and 14 touchdowns last season. ... Fellow RB Josh Bell rushed for 483 yards and three touchdowns on 92 carries. ... Junior QB Jack Lausch quarterbacked the Crusaders on their playoff run. Lausch is a dual-threat. He rushed for 443 yards on 79 carries in 2019. ... WR Dwayne Moorehead caught 21 passes for 235 and two touchdowns in 2019. ... QB/DB/WR Ben Somers can do a little bit of everything. ... LB Myles Jones, a Georgetown commit, had 47 total tackles, five sacks, three QB hurries and two fumble recoveries in 2019.
2019 record: 8-4, Class 8A quarterfinals
Coach: John Holecek (15th season)
Worth noting: The Ramblers have some serious depth returning on defense and at the skill positions on offense. The offensive line is a little bit more untested. Illinois commit Josh Kreutz brings experience, but is out with a knee injury. LT Cooper Tamisiea is a returning starter. ... RB Vaughn Pemberton, a Ball State commit, rushed for 935 yards and 16 touchdowns in 2019. ... In 2019, QB JT Thomas threw for 1,365 yards and 15 touchdowns with only six interceptions. ... Junior TE James Kyle has a handful of scholarship offers already, including Nebraska and Kentucky. ... K/P Nate Van Zelst is committed to Wisconsin. ... The Rambers’ pass rush is experienced with NT Mike Williams, DE Brandon Svets (Harvard commit), OLB Liam Conaghan (Eastern Illinois) and OLB Braden Mullen (Dartmouth). Svets led Loyola with five sacks last season and Conaghan had a team-high 10 tackles for loss. ... FS Marty Auer, who led the team with four interceptions in 2019, and CB Artist Benjamin bring experience to the secondary.
2019 record: 8-5, Class 8A semifinals
Coach: Ron Dawczak (fourth season)
Worth noting: Marist was one of the 2019 season’s best stories. It needed Week 8 and 9 wins to qualify for the postseason, then reached a Class 8A semifinal. ... Marist’s 6-foot-5, 290-pound senior lineman Pat Coogan is committed to Notre Dame. He leads a trio of experienced lineman including senior OL Jack Harmon and junior OL Duece McGuire. McGuire (6-5, 270) has numerous Division I offers, including Illinois and Northwestern among several others in the Big Ten. ... Junior quarterback Dontrell Jackson is already committed to Coastal Carolina. Jackson is a dual-threat running and throwing. ... The defensive line is anchored by three seniors: DL Triston Schultz, DL DeAndre Archer and DL Jalen Hill. ... Senior DB Jovan Marsh is committed to Wyoming.
2019 record: 14-0, Class 7A state champions
Coach: Jordan Lynch (third season)
Worth noting: Mount Carmel had paused in-person classes and all athletic activities until March 15, but Michael O’Brien of the Chicago Sun-Times reported that the Caravan returned to practice Saturday. That indicates Mount Carmel plans to play its Week 1 game against Montini. ... QB Justin Lynch guided the Caravan to a Class 7A state title as a junior. He’s committed to Temple. ... WR Jaali Parker is the top returning receiver. He is committed to Western Michigan. ... RB Kenenna Odeluga, a Penn recruit, rushed for more than 1,000 yards in 2019. ... Senior LB Austin Maciel-Haygood led the Caravan in tackles last season and will play at Butler. ... S Benjamin Perry enrolled early and is already off to college at Louisville. ... Mount Carmel is the defending Blue division champion after going 3-0 in 2019 against Brother Rice, Loyola and Marist.
FIVE PLAYERS TO WATCH
- Willie Shaw, Brother Rice, RB, sr.: Shaw, a Toledo commit, was a workhorse for the Crusaders last season, and should pick up right where he left off.
- Vaughn Pemberton, Loyola, RB, sr.: Pemberton nearly totaled 1,000 yards last season. He is committed to play at Ball State.
- Pat Coogan, Marist, OL, sr.: The Notre Dame commit is one of the top offensive linemen in the state.
- Justin Lynch, Mount Carmel, QB, sr.: Lynch is a threat both running and throwing. He will play college ball at Temple for former NIU coach Rod Carey.
- Kenenna Odeluga, Mount Carmel, RB, sr.: Odeluga is a workhorse for the Caravan. He will play at Penn next year.
|Brother Rice||Loyola||Marist||Mount Carmel|
|Week 1||at Providence; 7:30 p.m. March 19||at St. Rita; 7:30 p.m. March 19||at Notre Dame; 6 p.m. March 19||at Montini; 7:30 p.m. March 19|
|Week 2||at Marist; 6 p.m. March 26||vs. Mount Carmel; 1:30 p.m. March 27||vs. Brother Rice; 6 p.m. March 26||at Loyola; 1:30 p.m. March 27|
|Week 3||vs. Loyola; 4 p.m. April 1||at Brother Rice; 4 p.m. April 1||at Mount Carmel; 4 p.m. April 3||vs. Marist; 4 p.m. April 3|
|Week 4||at St. Laurence; 7:30 p.m. April 9||vs. Benet; 1:30 p.m. April 10||at Nazareth; noon April 10||at De La Salle; 7:30 p.m. April 9|
|Week 5||vs. Carmel; 6 p.m. April 16||TBD||vs. St. Patrick; 6 p.m. April 16||vs. St. Viator; 7:30 p.m. April 16|
|Week 6||vs. Mount Carmel; 6 p.m. April 23||at Marist; 6 p.m. April 23||vs. Loyola; 6 p.m. April 23||at Brother Rice; 6 p.m. April 23|
FIVE CAN’T MISS MATCHUPS
Week 1 – Loyola at St. Rita: A monster inter-division game right off the bat.
Week 2 – Mount Carmel at Loyola: If this game still happens (Mount Carmel has currently paused athletic activities), it will be a huge matchup.
Week 2 – Brother Rice at Marist: Every division game is a big one in the Blue division. Brother Rice won this one, 17-14, in 2019.
Week 4 – Marist at Nazareth: The CCL/ESCC doesn’t disappoint when it comes to theses crossover games. Nazareth won this one, 39-29, in 2019.
Week 6 – Mount Carmel at Brother Rice AND Loyola at Marist: A bonus sixth game. How could we possibly pick one of these? The division title will be on the line in Week 6.
STEVE SOUCIE’S PREDICTED FINISH
|Loyola (Week 5 opponent TBD)||3-2|