Although some conferences are really just getting started with their league slates, this week brings plenty of quality matchups to the table. Although the outcome of these games will rarely secure a team a conference title, the results often play a big part to who seizes early control.
Here are some key matchups to look for in Week 4:
Loyola (3-0) at Brother Rice (3-0); 6 p.m., Friday: Both teams are 3-0, but Loyola’s played a much more rigorous schedule to prepare it for yet another challenge here in Week 4. It’s hard to see any team having its way with the Loyola defensive front, but Brother Rice has some components in place that should test the Ramblers.
Mount Carmel (3-0) at Marist (3-0); 6 p.m., Friday: You can pretty much pick any CCL/ESCC Blue matchup as a marquee game any week they are available. The Caravan put a feather in their cap early in the season with a win against St. Rita, but Marist hasn’t really seen a stern challenge schedule-wise through the first three weeks.
Lemont (3-0) at Hillcrest (1-2); 7 p.m., Friday: This has emerged as the premier South Suburban Conference matchup. Hillcrest’s dominance of the league is relatively new, while Lemont has been a consistent player in the league race for many, many years. Hillcrest lost some explosive weapons to graduation and it will be interesting if it can stay on the top perch moving forward. This game usually declares who resides there.
Lockport (3-0) at Homewood-Flossmoor (3-0); 6 p.m., Friday: Lockport has been a whirlwind in its first three games, particularly on defense. There were signs of this coming in the spring, but one thing that got away from the Porters in the spring was a matchup with Homewood-Flossmoor, something they’d certainly like to atone for. In the process Lockport can show it belongs in the conversation for conference supremacy. Homewood-Flossmoor, along with Lincoln-Way East, are still the two hurdles that Lockport has to clear to make that happen.
Providence (2-1) at Joliet Catholic (3-0); 7:30 p.m., Friday: Despite being quite close these two powerhouses don’t lock horns all that often, but the realignment of the CCL/ESCC divisions placed the two teams in the same division for at least the next two seasons. It was questionable whether Providence would be able to fare well in what still is a loaded schedule, but a Week 3 surprise win over Fenwick shows the Celtics have a little more punch than originally anticipated. That being said, Providence will need to bring all the thunder it has to lock horns with JCA, which has been an absolute demolition crew through three games.
Other games of note: Genoa-Kingston at Byron; Maine South at Palatine; Plainfield North at Plainfield South; Gurnee Warren at Lake Zurich.