2019 record: 3-6
Coach: Mike Passarella (second season)
Worth noting: DePaul had 15 sophomores earn playing time on varsity in 2019. “We were very young, but still have a great deal of experience,” Passarella said. ... Senior DB Abel Yolich missed all of his junior season due to injury, but he makes his long awaited return this spring. ... The Rams have an experienced offensive line with OL Coleton Elliot, OL/DL Damian Barrientos, OL/DL Athan Nwalozie and OL Diego Munante all returning with varsity experience. WR/CB Cole Ceravolo and TE/DE Shane O’Brien are also returning starters. ... QB Anthony Martinez and QB Oliver Vigerust will be in the mix at quarterback. ... Junior RB Andy Diaz and freshman WR Lavelle Hary are two newcomers who could see time at skill positions. ... CB Danny Kelly could see time as a freshman in the secondary. ... Sophomore OL Emmett Jeske could be added to the mix on the offensive line.
2019 record: 3-6
Coach: Michael Holmes (14th season)
Worth noting: Leo finished 3-6 in 2019 with wins over Christ the King, DePaul and St. Joseph. Only a 43-12 loss to Marian Catholic in Week 9 kept the Lions from a Red division title. ... The Lions struggled a little bit more in their crossover games. In a Week 2 nonconference game, they hung around in a 28-20 loss to Evergreen Park – a Class 5A playoff team in 2019. ... This year’s schedule should be somewhat favorable outside of tough road games at Notre Dame and at Fenwick. ... Junior WR/DB Rayion Davidson, senior RB/LB Jalen Johnson and sophomore QB James E’Akels were All-Red division performers in 2019.
2019 record: 5-5, Class 5A first round
Coach: Erick Middleton (third season)
Worth noting: Marian Catholic won the Red division in 2019 with a 3-0 record. The Spartans bring back a senior-heavy team. ... Senior WR/DE Justin Stallworth will play at FCS Division I South Dakota next year. He is one of a number of returning starters. ... RB Tajheem Lawson is a returning starter in the backfield, and will be joined by freshman RB Randall Nauden. ... RT Josh Hybert and C Craig Morrison bring experience to the offensive line. ... DE Kendall Thomas and DB Jah’Mar Daniel are two senior starters on the defense. ... K Ray Cantelo will play at Division III North Central College next year. ... Junior DT Correll Young should be in the mix on the defensive line.
2019 record: 1-8
Coach: Adam Polak (third season)
Worth noting: Senior WR/DB Tim Shannon, RB/DB JaVontay Bright and WR/DB Victor Zuno should be three of the top playmakers for the Chargers. ... Senior OL/DL Jose Garcia will lead the way in the trenches. He will be joined by varsity newcomers OL/DL Quincy Oyekanmi and OL/DL Daniel Banks. ... RB/LB Joseph Okah and WR/DB Jermaine Shephard are other newcomers to watch for the Chargers. ... The Chargers are playing an abbreviated schedule, with three games currently on the calendar. Polak said he’s still hoping to add a Week 4 game.
FOUR PLAYERS TO WATCH
- Shane O’Brien, DePaul, DB/WR, sr.: O’Brien is a returning all-conference performer for DePaul.
- Tajheem Lawson, Marian Catholic, RB, sr.: Lawson brings starting experience to the running back position. He was the Red division offensive player of the year in 2019.
- Justin Stallworth, Marian Catholic, WR/DE, sr.: A two-way player at Marian, Stallworth is committed to South Dakota.
- Tim Shannon, St. Joseph, WR/DB, sr.: Shannon will play safety in college at Division II Northern Michigan.
- Jalen Johnson, Leo, RB/DB, sr.: Johnson was an all-conference running back for the Lions last season.
|DePaul||Leo||Marian Catholic||St. Joseph|
|Week 1||vs. Carmel; 7:30 p.m. March 19||vs. St. Patrick; TBA March 20||vs. Marian Central; 1:30 p.m. March 20||Idle|
|Week 2||at Leo; 1 p.m. March 27||vs. DePaul; 1 p.m. March 27||vs. Crete-Monee; noon March 27||at Hope Academy; 7 p.m. March 26|
|Week 3||vs. Marian Catholic; 7:30 p.m. April 1||at St Joseph; noon April 3||at DePaul; 7:30 p.m. April 1||vs. Leo; noon April 3|
|Week 4||at Providence; 7:30 p.m. April 9||at Notre Dame; 7 p.m. April 9||vs. St. Rita; 7:30 p.m. April 9||TBA|
|Week 5||at Joliet Catholic; 7:30 p.m. April 16||at Fenwick; 7:30 p.m. April 16||at St. Ignatius; 7:30 p.m. April 16||Idle|
|Week 6||vs. St. Joseph; 7:30 p.m. April 23||vs. Marian Catholic; 7 p.m. April 23||at Leo; 7 p.m. April 23||at DePaul; 7:30 p.m. April 23|
THREE CAN’T-MISS MATCHUPS
Week 2 – Crete-Monee at Marian Catholic: In a year with few nonconference games across the state, this is a good one.
Week 6 – St. Jospeh at DePaul: Week 6 games will have big implications on the division standings.
Week 6 – Marian Catholic at Leo: Marian won the division last year and could be looking to do so again in the finale this year.
STEVE SOUCIE’S PREDICTED FINISH