2022 record: 7-4, 2-1 Purple
Coach: Jason McKie
Worth noting: Carmel qualified for the playoffs for the first under McKie in his third season — there was no playoff during his first year because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Corsairs lost to Sycamore in the second round of the Class 5A postseason and they’ll try to take their next step as a program with the expectation of making the postseason each year. ... Former Chicago Bear Olin Kreutz joined the coaching staff as an offensive line coach. Kreutz and McKie played together for the Bears from 2003 to 2009. ... Senior quarterback Johnny Weber returns after throwing for 1,857 yards and 15 touchdowns last season. Weber committed to Southeast Missouri over the offseason. ... Senior Torey French returns and will be a threat both as a running back and a wide receiver. Senior Kristan Coleman and junior Tommy Lamberti bring back experience on the offensive line. ... Northern Illinois commit Dev’ion Reynolds returns for his senior season. He’ll lead a strong secondary group that features seniors Harlon May and Tyshaun Campbell and junior Jordan McKie. Seniors Kyle Lynch and Camren Lang and junior Dominic Delorme all return at linebacker. ... The Corsairs will take on one defending champion in Mount Carmel and a state finalist in Providence on the road. ... Carmel will only have one close road game against Lake Forest (nine miles). The Corsairs will need to travel at least 58 miles one way each to take on Marmion, Mount Carmel and Providence.
2022 record: 4-5, 1-2 White
Coach: Dan Thorpe
Worth noting: Marmion will try to return to the playoffs after missing out last year because of a five-game losing streak in the middle of the season. The Cadets have qualified for the postseason 10 times since 2007 under Thrope, reaching the Class 6A title game in 2010. Marmion will try to jump back into the postseason with six total returners. ... Illinois High School Football Coaches Association (IHSFCA) All-State linebacker and running back Jack Lesher returns for his senior season. Lesher is also a state champion wrestler and holds collegiate offers to compete in both sports. ... Seniors Henry Garrison and Jacob Sullivan will compete at quarterback. Sullivan transferred to Marmion after being a two-time all-conference quarterback at South Elgin. ... Lesher and seniors Chris Yarwood and Christian Farvia will need to create opportunities early at the running back position with no returning starters on the offensive line. ... Seniors Alfonso Barraza and Jack Matthews both return to lead the secondary while Lesher will sure up the middle with junior Gavin Burt. Senior Charlie Reynolds brings back experience on the defensive line. ... The Cadets will need to find ways to stay healthy going through the CCL/ESCC with 33 players on the varsity roster.
2022 record: 4-5, 2-1 Purple
Coach: Luke Mertens
Worth noting: St. Patrick will try to get back into the postseason after barely not qualifying last season. The Shamrocks started the season 4-2 before dropping their last three games, including a 24-21 overtime loss to St. Viator that ended their season. The program has qualified for the playoffs once, in 2021, since 2014. ... Senior Ryan Birt and junior Colin Hay will battle for the starting quarterback spot. Birt played as a defensive back for the Shamrocks last season while Hay played quarterback for the sophomore team. ... St. Patrick will have plenty of hybrid players who can play either wide receiver or running back. Seniors Anthony Holloway, Joey Fico and Patrick Leyden and juniors Gavin Fitzgerald and Vince Curio will all be explosive targets for whoever is in at quarterback. Seniors Mikey Griffin and Kyle Morris and junior Anthony DeMarco bring back experience on the offensive line. ... The Shamrocks return eight starters on defense. Seniors Aiden Gomez and Mikey Schwab will lead the defensive line, seniors Johnny Crawford, Jack Clancy and Andre Miranda will sure up the middle while Birt and Leyden join senior Coleman Kelly and junior Leo Soriano in the secondary. ... St. Patrick will play one defending champion (Loyola) and one semifinalist (St. Ignatius) in 2023.
2022 record: 5-5, 2-1 Purple
Coach: David Archibald
Worth noting: St. Viator returned to the playoffs for the first time since 2017 last year. The Lions won their last game during the regular season in overtime to qualify for the postseason and lost 34-17 to Sterling in the first round of the Class 5A bracket. St. Viator graduated 25 seniors from last year’s team but return experience in key positions. ... Junior Cooper Kmet will be the starting quarterback after earning varsity snaps last season. Archibald is excited to see how explosive the offense can be under Kmet. ... All-conference offensive lineman Ben Konopka returns for his junior season along with senior Ryan Hutchens and sophomore Peter Lafleur. Senior Charlie Dolsen will be at different positions offensively while junior Dayvion Ellis should bring back needed experience as a wideout. ... Senior Phu Truong will lead a talented linebackers group with senior Ethan Angst and junior Michael Tauscher while all-conference safety senior Driese Raap will be a key leader. ... St. Viator will host Wisconsin’s Riverside/Meir on Sept. 1. It will be the first time the Lions will play an out-of-state opponent since 2018.
FIVE PLAYERS TO WATCH
- Dev’ion Reynolds, Carmel, DB, sr.: Reynolds’ speed will be tough for opponents to keep up with as he tries to lock down some of the best wideouts in the state.
- Jack Lesher, Marmion, LB/RB, sr.: Lesher should use his physicality and wrestling skills to bring players down and also escape defenders as a running back.
- Ryan Birt, St. Patrick, QB/DB, sr.: Birt should show off his versatility on both sides of the ball with his speed and strength.
- Cooper Kmet, St. Viator, QB, jr.: The quarterback impressed as a sophomore and has the traits to continue growing.
- Johnny Weber, Carmel, QB, sr.: A dual-threat quarterback who can throw deep or take it in himself.
|Carmel||Marmion||St. Patrick||St. Viator|
|Week 1||vs. Crete-Monee; 7:30 p.m., Aug. 25||@ Maine West; 6:30 p.m., Aug. 25||@ St. Ignatius; 7:30 p.m., Aug. 25||@ De La Salle; 7:30 p.m., Aug. 25|
|Week 2||@ Lake Forest; 7:30 p.m., Sept. 1||@ Curie; 7 p.m., Sept. 1||vs. Niles Notre Dame; 7:30 p.m., Sept. 1||vs. Riverside/Meir, Wisc.; 7 p.m., Sept. 1|
|Week 3||vs. DePaul, 7:30 p.m., Sept. 8||vs. Leo; 7:30 p.m., Sept. 8||vs. De La Salle; 7:30 p.m., Sept. 8||vs. Marian Catholic; 7 p.m., Sept. 8|
|Week 4||@ Marmion, 7:30 p.m., Sept. 15||vs. Carmel; 7:30 p.m., Sept. 15||@ St. Viator; 7:30 p.m., Sept. 15||vs. St. Patrick; 7:30 p.m., Sept. 15|
|Week 5||@ Mount Carmel, 7:30 p.m., Sept. 22||@ St. Rita; 7:30 p.m., Sept. 22||@ Loyola; 1:30 p.m., Sept. 23||@ Brother Rice; 7 p.m., Sept. 22|
|Week 6||vs. St. Viator; 7:30 p.m., Sept. 29||@ St. Patrick; 7:30 p.m., Sept. 29||vs. Marmion; 7:30 p.m., Sept. 29||@ Carmel; 7:30 p.m., Sept. 29|
|Week 7||@ Providence; 7:30 p.m., Oct. 6||@ St. Laurence; 7:30 p.m., Oct. 6||@ Benet; 1 p.m., Oct. 7||@ Montini; 7:30 p.m., Oct. 6|
|Week 8||vs. Niles Notre Dame; 7:30 p.m., Oct. 13||vs. Joliet Catholic, 7:30 p.m., Oct. 13||vs. Marist; 7:30 p.m., Oct. 13||vs. St. Ignatius; 7:30 p.m., Oct. 13|
|Week 9||vs. St. Patrick; 7:30 p.m., Oct. 20||vs. St. Viator; 7:30 p.m., Oct. 20||@ Carmel; 7:30 p.m., Oct. 20||@ Marmion; 7:30 p.m., Oct. 20|
FIVE CAN’T-MISS MATCHUPS
Week 2 – Niles Notre Dame at St. Patrick: The rivalry lives on and the Shamrocks will try to break a seven-game losing streak to the Dons.
Week 5 – Carmel at Mount Carmel: The Corsairs will get a good midyear test against one of the best teams in the state.
Week 6 – St. Viator at Carmel: This midseason matchup could decide who take control of the Purple heading toward the final stretch of the season.
Week 8 – Marist at St. Patrick: The Shamrocks meet up with an old ESCC rival as they make their push toward playoff qualification.
Week 9 – St. Viator at Marmion: Both teams might need to win this game in order to reach the playoffs.
STEVE SOUCIE’S PREDICTED FINISH