Warren (2-0) at Libertyville (1-1)
When: Friday, 7:30 p.m.
Last matchup: Warren 35, Libertyville 0 (2021 at Libertyville)
About the Blue Devils: Quite the North Suburban Conference opener here with two quality programs. “Libertyville is a much-improved football team that is big and well-coached,” Blue Devils coach Bryan McNulty said. “We will have to play our game to be successful -- that will include taking care of the football and eliminating big plays.” McNulty continues to see progress with his group coming off last week’s big 19-17 win over Maine South. “Our team showed a great deal of resilience last week,” he said. “We were able to move the football well most of the night. We will need to eliminate bad penalties and score in the red zone to be successful.” On offense, lineman Cohen Pye and quarterback Adam Behrens were top-notch against Maine South. “Cohen was physical all night,” McNulty said. “Adam managed the game and was clutch in big moments.” On the other side of the ball, two-way player Justin Kretz (linebacker and running back) and Quentin Reeves at corner drew equally high marks. “Justin was dominant in the biggest moments of the game,” McNulty said. “Quentin did a great job covering Maine South’s dominant receivers.”
About the Wildcats: A big focus for Libertyville of late is the running game, no matter who is on the field. “Warren is a physical team that is well-balanced,” Wildcats coach Mike Jones said. “We must be able to run the ball enough on offense to stay ahead of the chains. Defensively, we must try to make them one-dimensional by being physical against the run. Last week, we improved on defense by tackling better and playing stronger against the run. We need to run the ball more effectively going forward.” Quarterback Quinn Schambow had a strong Week 2, going 8-for-12 passing for 169 yards and 2 touchdowns. Kristian Gavric was right there to see most of it, hauling in 4 balls for 111 yards and 2 scores. Charlie Clark at linebacker recovered a pair of fumbles and caused one, and also had a tackle for loss.
Stevenson (1-1) at Lake Zurich (1-1)
When: Friday, 7 p.m.
Last matchup: Lake Zurich 21, Stevenson 9 (2021 at Stevenson)
About the Patriots: Also included in the North Suburban Conference openers is this neighborhood rivalry where district boundaries in the two communities overlap. “Lake Zurich week is always a great rivalry for our schools,” Stevenson coach Brent Becker said. “It’s always a hard-fought game and exciting for our communities. Lake Zurich always has a swarming defense. We will need to maintain blocks and match their physicality. Their offense has some playmakers that we will need to contain and not give up big plays.” While Stevenson piled up nearly 500 yards of total offense in its Week 2 win over New Trier, the team’s defense was equally up to snuff. The Patriots recorded a pair of 3-and-outs, picked off 2 passes and stopped 3 fourth-down plays, including one that started at first and goal. Oh, and Stevenson also had time to bring down the New Trier quarterback 5 times behind the line of scrimmage. New Trier finished the game with 77 total yards of offense, including negative rushing yards. Individually, Ethan Aghakhan (junior defensive end-tackle, 6-2, 240) had 3 sacks and 2 tackles for loss. Keegan Latulippe had 3 pass breakups, 4 tackles and a tackle for loss. Colin Schultz had 5 tackles, a sack and a tackle for loss. Luca Morelli had 5 tackles, 2 tackles for loss and a sack, while Charlie Skolnik had both 2 interceptions and 2 pass breakups.
About the Bears: “Stevenson is a team with a lot of history,” Lake Zurich coach Ron Planz said. “They are our natural rival. Our school district boundaries overlap. We are going to have to prevent the big play from their offense and control the line of scrimmage when we have the ball.” Cal Grabowski and Spencer Kuehl led the way on defense last week for the Bears against St. Charles North. “Cal has been playing really well at linebacker and Spencer has been playing really well at free safety,” Planz said. “Both have brought a physical presence to our defense. I hope that continues.”
Zion-Benton (0-2) at Mundelein (1-1)
When: Friday, 7 p.m.
Last matchup: Mundelein 45, Zion-Benton 7 (2021 at Mundelein)
About the Zee-Bees: “Zion-Benton is always a very talented team,” Mundelein coach Vince DeFrancesco said. “They have great size and team speed. For us to be successful, we must improve in our fundamentals and play assignment football.” The Zee-Bees lost to Kenosha (Wisconsin) Bradford/Reuther 40-10 in Week 1 and dropped a 17-0 game to Maine West last week.
About the Mustangs: DeFrancesco said progress was made, particularly on the defensive end in last week’s close 3-point loss to Grayslake North. “Our team did a nice job defensively last week,” he said. “We must be more assignment sound and execute in the red zone.” Marcel Siepko ran for 126 yards and a score against Grayslake North. DeFrancesco also was impressed with the play of Jayden Gomez, Vinny Rogalski and Brendan Raciak. “Jayden played a great game for the second consecutive week,” he noted. “He has been excellent both at wide receiver and defensive back. Vinny has been outstanding in our defensive backfield. He is also a big contributor on offense. Brendan as a junior is one of the leaders of our offensive line and has been very solid in his first two games.”
Lakes (1-1) at Antioch (0-2)
When: Friday, 7 p.m.
Last matchup: Antioch 24, Lakes 0 (2021 at Lakes)
About the Eagles: This Northern Lake County opener for both teams renews this annual district rivalry. “Antioch is very well-coached,” Eagles coach Jason Ellerman said. “Coach (Brian) Glashagel and coach (Dave) Proffitt ae masters of their scheme. They keep you unbalanced -- a true chess match for coach Ray Gialo and coach David Mills (Lakes offensive and defensive coordinators). It comes down to whose players are more prepared.” Ellerman said. Tavyion Pitts was a big highlight in Week 2. “Tayvion was great in pass coverage (2 pass breakups),” he said. Amir Al Hindi ran for 154 yards on 29 carries, while Tyson Dewey caught a touchdown pass from Max Bausch.
About the Sequoits: Antioch coach Brian Glashagel is well aware of this annual rivalry. “Lakes is 1-1 and we are 0-2. They are our district rival so they always come out inspired,” he said. “It’s a typical rivalry game. Sometimes records don’t mean a whole lot. To be successful we need to execute our game plan and work on ourselves. We need to stop the big play, and Lakes has a couple big playmakers.” Antioch ran up against a strong Morris team in Week 2. “Morris will compete for a 5A state title. I liked how we battled to stay in the game all the way until the end. Our kids didn’t give up,” Glashagel said. Linebacker Caleb Nobiling was among a host of Antioch defensive standouts last week, registering 14 tackles. Defensive lineman Seth Gomez had 10 tackles.
Grayslake North (2-0) at Grant (1-1)
When: Friday, 7 p.m.
Last matchup: Grayslake North 27, Grant 7 (2021 at Grayslake North)
About the Knights: “I see a lot of similarities between Grant and ourselves, multiple on offense, bend but don’t break philosophy on defense,” North coach Brian Johnson said. “We both have some athletes who are playing on both sides of the ball. Grant is well-coached and you can see it in all three phases on film. They run a lot of formations on offense and have quite a few fronts and stunt packages on defense. We need to be able to identify and align properly on defense, and make sure we communicate their fronts and stunts on offense, not let errors result in a big play for them.” Johnson noted the Knights struggled on the dropped pass front last week with seven, “and stalled drives in the first half,” he said. “A few inopportune penalties took some points off the board. Those types of things can prevent us from being successful, especially in close games.” Johnson pointed out five different receivers have caught touchdown passes this year from Jake Donohue, who has six of those total. His favorite target is Charlie Pritchard (18 catches, 227 yards). DJ Neely has been an all-around asset, with 191 all-purpose yards in two games. North had 2 goal-line stands against Mundelein.
About the Bulldogs: “Grayslake North is very athletic and has an explosive offense,” Grant coach Tim Norwood explained. “We need to slow down their passing game.” Norwood said. Grant ramped up the physicality last week. “Week 2 we were more physical than we were in Week 1,” he said. “We need to continue that trend.” Norwood also liked the scoreboard output. “We scored 24 points, which is something we need to continue to do.” Juniors Pryde Mendoza (tailback and free safety) and Rylan Art (quarterback) continue to play well, while senior defensive lineman Cameron Lattimore and junior linebacker Ryan Kowalski also drew high praise. “Cameron was injured in Week 1. His presence was felt in Week 2,” Norwood said. “Ryan did a nice job playing physical and downhill.”
Round Lake (0-2) at Wauconda (2-0)
When: Friday, 7 p.m.
Last matchup: Wauconda 56, Round Lake 12 (2021 at Wauconda)
About the Panthers: This will be the first time in the conference’s history that someone not named Antioch will defend the crown. “Wauconda will be looking to have a statement game early in their season for their title defense,” Panthers coach Scott Blecha said. “They are a well-coached team in all parts of the game, and we need to be prepared to play a competitive game against them. We were down multiple players last week due to injury from Week 1 and during the Week 2 game, so we are looking forward to getting some players back for Week 3 so we can play to our full potential, which is something we haven’t done so far this season.” Blecha continues to rave about the offensive line’s progress. “The entire offensive line is starting to learn how to play together after being moved around a bit to solidify starting positions,” he explained. That group includes sophomore William Cole, sophomore Elian Barrera, senior Saul Ugarte, junior Gael Aguilar, sophomore Isac Mercado and senior Raul Casco. “They have all stepped up in the last few weeks to help improve the run game,” Blecha said. “Being extremely young, each week will be a learning opportunity and a step in the right direction for future success.”
About the Bulldogs: Wauconda coach Chris Prostka knows Round Lake will be prepared for battle in Week 3. “Coach Blecha and his staff will have a good game plan ready to go,” he said. “We will need to secure tackles on their quarterback and running back. Our offensive line will need to play well. Round Lake has some good size up front on the defensive line.” Prostka liked how his team played with the chips on the line in key moments a Week 2 win over Riverside-Brookfield. “Our team responded well to adversity,” he said. “Riverside-Brookfield played a physical game and just kept coming. Offensively, we came up with big scores when we needed them and we had a 9-play touchdown drive in the fourth quarter. Our defense had 2 takeaways and 2 fourth-down stops. Our defense got put into some bad spots and responded tremendously.” Zac Johnson is second on the team in tackles with 17 (he had 6 against R-B). He also kicks extra points and kickoffs for the Bulldogs. Conlan Roth also was a factor on defense in Week 2 with a pair of sacks.
Vernon Hills (0-2) at Rolling Meadows (1-1)
When: Friday, 7 p.m.
About the Cougars: As is Central Suburban League custom, Vernon Hills heads into play the next two weeks against a pair of Mid-Suburban League teams in Rolling Meadows and Conant. “Rolling Meadows has a nice football team with a good quarterback who isn’t afraid to take his shots,” Vernon Hills coach Bill Bellecomo said. “We have to be disciplined on defense.” Bellecomo said the Cougars have been hard at work on multiple identified areas of improvement. “Currently, we are finding ways to lose games,” he said. “We need to cut down on the turnovers and stop making crucial mistakes at the worst possible times. This week, we are focused on ourselves and getting better. We need to clean up the mental errors this week.”
About the Mustangs: Rolling Meadows came back strong after an opening week loss. Evan Grace has thrown for 657 yards and 7 touchdowns. Most of that has gone to Ben Petermann, who has 13 catches for 393 yards and five touchdowns.
Other Lake County games
North Chicago (1-1) at Grayslake Central (2-0), 7 p.m.
Chicago Leo (1-1) at Carmel (2-0), Saturday, 7:30 p.m.