Analysis

Scouting the Central Suburban League

Maine South quarterback Luke Leongas throws the football during a game at Glenbard West on Saturday, Aug. 31.

CSL South

Evanston

2019 record: 3-6

Coach: Mike Burzawa

Worth noting: The Wildkits enter the season with plenty of motivation after a losing record in 2019. Junior quarterback Sean Cruz is back for his second season starting, and he will be aided by a strong offensive line that includes three returning starters. Junior linebacker/running back Sebastian Cheeks is one of the top players in the state, and earned offers from numerous Power Five conferences.

Glenbrook South

2019 record: 4-5

Coach: David Schoenwetter

Worth noting: The Titans have a strong core of seniors slated to lead them this season, which includes quarterback Michael Bauer, linebacker Michael Carney, wide receiver Tommy Gebien, linebacker Will Solis and cornerback Anthony Travlos. “We have a good number of returners on our defense, so we hope to be tough on that side of the ball,” Schoenwetter said. “Our offensive line should be a solid group this year and we hope to have a strong run game. We are a senior heavy team with great leadership from that group of players.”

Glenbrook North

2019 record: 4-5

Coach: Matt Purdy

Worth noting: The Spartans return plenty of talent on both sides of the ball, notably offensive/defensive lineman Jackson Carsello (Northwestern). Purdy is also expecting big things from wide receiver/linebacker Avery Burow, wide receiver/linebacker Luke Henry, running back/defensive back Drake Marquez, wide receiver/defensive back Ryan Henschel and wide receiver/defensive back Nicky Ullrich. “I’m very excited to see how both our lines play with a number of very talented players back, perhaps one of our biggest areas of excitement is our perimeter plays on both sides of the ball,” Purdy said. “We have great receivers and defensive backs returning, and our kicking game should be very fun to watch.”

Maine South

2019 record: 7-3

Coach: David Inserra

Worth noting: The Hawks rebounded from losing their first two games last season to win seven games. Senior quarterback Luke Leongas is finally at full strength after playing on a torn ACL in his junior season. The Hawks’ strength lies in a smart and fast defense, which includes linebackers Chris Petrucci, Joe Kinnavy and Connor Leyden. “Our wide receiver and running back crew is excellent as well as the linebackers,” Inserra said. “The offensive line is smart and ready for action.”

New Trier

2019 record: 4-5

Coach: Brian Doll

Worth noting: The Trevians are setting the bar high by competing for a CSL South championship, Doll said. With two-way threat Brody Roth, last year’s team MVP, back at running back and linebacker, the Trevians have the talent to make some noise. Senior wide receiver/defensive back Tyler Hardin is a big-play threat in the passing game, and junior quarterback Nevan Cremascoli is coming off a solid first season starting as a sophomore. In addition, junior tight end Finn Cohan is an emerging talent entering his first foray on the varsity level. “We have a strong senior group, and a fast, explosive defense and experienced skill players on offense,” Doll said.

Niles West

2019 record: 0-9

Coach: Matt Hohs

Worth noting: The Wolves are coming off a difficult season, but Coach Hohs has the program pointing in the right direction, especially after an encouraging summer participation by his players.

CSL North

Deerfield

2019 record: 10-3

Coach: Steve Winiecki

Worth noting: The Warriors have the talent to build off their long playoff run in 2019, as they bring back a strong group of playmakers and have talent and experience on all three levels on defense. Senior linebacker Chris Dawson, junior defensive back Luke Jones and junior Luke Woodson form the backbone of the defense. “We will be a team that runs well and can make plays on all three sides of the ball,” Winiecki said “On offense, the wide receiving corps will be very deep, and on defense, it will be another strong year for our linebackers.”

Highland Park

2019 record: 4-5

Coach: David Lindquist

Worth noting: The Giants have plenty of talent at several key skill positions, notably quarterback, wide receiver, running back and safety. Senior running back/safety Giovanni Volpentesta and senior wide receiver/linebacker Jaden Holzman are standouts. “Talent aside, this is a group that loves to compete and it’s evident in how they push each other,” Lindquist said.

Maine East

2019 record: 0-9

Coach: Robert Winkel

Worth noting: The Blue Demons are pointing toward a turnaround season due to a big improvement on both lines. Junior Yaser Alawadi is a premier left tackle with numerous college offers, while senior right tackle Kevin Wingate is a budding talent. Quarterback Caesar Graham, a three-year starter, has impressed the coaching staff in the offseason. “We have the potential to be a true contender this year in our conference,” Winkel said. “This year we will be a true 60-40 (percent) run-pass team.”

Maine West

2019 record: 8-2

Coach: George Klupchak

Worth noting: The Warriors closed the regular season with six straight wins before losing their playoff opener. Senior running backs Alex Peguero and Tommy Katsikaris should benefit from an offensive line that returns three starters. “We will rely on an experienced offensive line, and an aggressive defense anchored by nose tackle Louis Corey and linebacker Kamrin Hutt,” Klupchak said.

Niles North

2019 record: 3-6

Coach: Patrik Pistorio

Worth noting: The Vikings bring back four starters on the offensive line to go with three candidates vying for the starting quarterback spot. Returning starter Chris Bland, Caleb Swanson and C.J. Hood are all vying for snaps. Senior wide receiver Jalen Butler, a Northern Illinois recruit, is a big-play threat in the passing game.

Vernon Hills

2019 record: 5-4

Coach: Bill Bellecomo

Worth noting: The Cougars have one of the most experienced teams in the conference, with 10 starters back on defense alone. Three college-bound players headline the returnees — linebacker Jackson Wiegold (Ball State), tight end Justin Morris (Ball State) and running back/safety Ryan Mann (NIU). “Our defense should be good,” Bellecomo said. “They have the potential to be one of the best units we’ve ever had here. The linebacking crew is going to be special ... We have a nice combination of skill players, but we also have some big strong kids and some kids with a lot of speed.”

FIVE PLAYERS TO WATCH

  • New Trier senior running back/linebacker Brody Roth
  • Evanston junior linebacker Sebastian Cheeks
  • Highland Park senior safety Giovanni Volpentesta
  • Maine South senior quarterback Luke Leongas

SCHEDULES

NorthDeerfieldHighland ParkMaine EastMaine WestNiles NorthVernon Hills
Week 1vs. Maine West; 7 p.m., March 19vs. Maine East; 2:30 p.m., March 20at Highland Park; 2:20 p.m., March 20at Deerfield; 7 p.m., March 19vs. Vernon Hills; 1 p.m., March 20 (canceled)at Niles North; 1 p.m., March 20 (canceled)
Week 2at Maine East; 7 p.m., March 26vs. Vernon Hills; 2:30 p.m., March 27vs. Deerfield; 7 p.m., March 26vs. Niles North; 7 p.m., March 26at Maine West; 7 p.m., March 26at Highland Park; 2:30 p.m., March 27
Week 3at Vernon Hills; 12:30 p.m., April 3at Niles North; 7 p.m., April 1vs. Maine West; 2 p.m., April 3at Maine East; 2 p.m., April 3vs. Highland Park; 7 p.m., April 1vs. Deerfield; 12:30 p.m., April 3
Week 4vs. Highland Park; 7 p.m., April 9at Deerfield; 7 p.m., April 9vs. Niles North; 7 p.m., April 9vs. Vernon Hills; 7 p.m., April 9at Maine East; 7 p.m., April 9at Maine West; 7 p.m., April 9
Week 5at Niles North; 7 p.m., April 16at Maine West; 7 p.m., April 16at Vernon Hills; 8:30 p.m., April 16vs. Highland Park; 7 p.m., April 16vs. Deerfield; 7 p.m., April 16vs. Maine East; 8:30 p.m., April 16
Week 6TBATBATBATBATBATBA
SouthEvanstonGlenbrook NorthGlenbrook SouthMaine SouthNew TrierNiles West
Week 1at Glenbrook North; 7 p.m., March 19vs. Evanston; 7 p.m., March 19at New Trier; 7 p.m., March 19at Niles West; 7 p.m., March 19vs. Glenbrook South; 7 p.m., March 19vs. Maine South; 7 p.m., March 19
Week 2vs. Maine South; 7:30 p.m., March 26at Glenbrook South; 7 p.m., March 26vs. Glenbrook North; 7 p.m., March 26at Evanston; 7:30 p.m., March 26at Niles West; 7 p.m., March 26vs. New Trier; 7 p.m., March 26
Week 3at New Trier; 2:30 p.m., April 3at Maine South; 7 p.m., April 1at Niles West; 2 p.m., April 3vs. Glenbrook North; 7 p.m., April 1vs. Evanston; 2:30 p.m., April 3vs. Glenbrook South; 2 p.m., April 3
Week 4vs. Niles West; 7:30 p.m., April 9vs. New Trier; 7 p.m., April 9at Maine South; 7 p.m.; April 9vs. Glenbrook South; 7 p.m.; April 9at Glenbrook North; 7 p.m., April 9at Evanston; 7:30 p.m., April 9
Week 5at Glenbrook South; 7 p.m., April 16at Niles West; 7 p.m., April 16vs. Evanston; 7 p.m., April 16vs. New Trier; 7 p.m.; April 16at Maine South; 7 p.m.; April 16vs. Glenbrook North; 7 p.m., April 16
Week 6TBATBATBATBATBATBA

STEVE SOUCIE’S PREDICTED FINISH

TeamRecord
CSL North
Deerfield5-1
Maine West5-1
Vernon Hills2-3
Highland Park2-4
Niles North1-4
Maine East1-5
CSL South
Maine South6-0
Glenbrook South4-2
New Trier4-2
Evanston3-3
Glenbrook North2-4
Niles West0-6