Scouting Week 9 Lake County football games

Wauconda (8-0, 6-0) at Grayslake North (7-1, 5-1)

When: Friday, 7 p.m.

Previous Matchup: Wauconda 63, Grayslake North 30 (2021 at Wauconda)

About the Bulldogs: This one is for all or some of the marbles in the Northern Lake County Conference. Wauconda wins here and it is undisputed NLCC kingpin at 7-0. A Grayslake North win creates either a two-way piece of the pie or a three-way if Antioch defeats Round Lake. All three teams would finish 6-1. "Grayslake North has good team speed on offense and defense," Wauconda coach Chris Prostka said. "They have an excellent quarterback in Jacob Donohue. He is athletic and has a good arm. Offensively, we will continue to use multiple formations to best utilize our personnel." Wauconda was awarded a Week 8 forfeit against North Chicago (second time North Chicago has forfeited this season). "Having a forfeit awarded to us at the last minute was a shock," Prostka said. "We had to alter our plans, but the team responded well with a good practice on Friday and a good week of preparation. The positives for us heading into Week 9: We like having a playoff game in Week 9 of the season. There should be a good atmosphere at North as the two best teams in the conference go at it." Prostka gave high praise to Jacob Becker, Billy Karabinis and Tyler Schmidt for their continued strong play. "They play both sides of the ball and perform well on each side," Prostka said. "This is their third year on varsity and the experience they bring has been huge."

About the Knights: "Wauconda is the best team in the conference right now," North coach Brian Johnson said. "They are the defending conference champion and deservedly so. They run the ball well from a ton of different sets and have a good play-action passing game. We need to limit their big plays, keep it close into the fourth quarter and hang onto the ball." Donohue has thrown for 1,538 yards (105-for-182 passing) and 18 touchdowns. Running back/defensive back Michael Jefferson has 10 total touchdowns, 34 tackles and 2 interceptions. Wide receiver DJ Neely has 30 catches for 541 yards and 6 touchdowns. Linebacker Tyler McBride has made 47 total tackles and defensive back Carter Barenbaum has 42 tackles and 5 interceptions. North is plus-10 in the turnover department through 8 games. "We really need to play at a high level for four quarters," Johnson said. Johnson also gave a shout out to the efforts of offensive lineman Evan McMahon, defensive back Mitchell Hughes, offensive lineman-linebacker Nathan Alfaro and tight end-linebacker Zion Hodges. Grayslake North was 3-6 a year ago.

Antioch (5-3, 5-1) at Round Lake (1-7, 1-5)

When: Friday, 7 p.m.

Previous Matchup: Antioch 54, Round Lake 6 (2021 at Antioch)

About the Sequoits: Sophomore running back Martin Cohen touched the ball 8 times for 301 yards (not a typographical error) and scored 4 touchdowns in the Antioch win over Grayslake Central last week. He ran the ball 3 times for 71 yards and had 5 catches for 230 yards. Antioch coach Brian Glashagel pointed to two key positives heading into the final regular-season game. "We are healthy and playoff-eligible," he said. Glashagel added Antioch has been boosted by the play of numerous two-way players this season. Sophomore wide receiver-defensive back Marshall Gehrke has 16 catches for 231 yards and a score. He also has 23 tackles and 2 interceptions. Senior tight end-linebacker Joey Neumann has 7 catches for 88 yards and a score and 41 tackles, 4 tackles for loss, 2 sacks, 1 forced fumble and a fumble recovery. Offensive-defensive lineman Seth Gomez, a senior, has 37 tackles, 8 tackles for loss and 7 sacks, while offensive lineman-linebacker Aiden Niemczyk has 53 tackles, 4 tackles for loss and 1 sack.

About the Panthers: "Round Lake has been struggling," Glashagel said. "We need to play a sound game, execute and use this game for momentum into the playoffs."

Grayslake Central (5-3, 3-3)

at Lakes (4-4, 3-3)

When: Friday, 7 p.m.

Previous Matchup: Grayslake Central 34, Lakes 24 (2021 at Grayslake Central)

About the Rams: Central is guaranteed to be in the playoffs with 6 wins if it is victorious in Lake Villa Friday. "Lakes plays a physical brand of defense," Rams coach Mike Maloney said. "They like to load the box and force teams to beat them on the perimeter. Their offensive line has improved throughout the season. Consequently, they have been much more consistent in their run game down the stretch." Kaiden Miller and Cole Gillette were statistical standouts in Week 8, while center/defensive tackle Andy Galan, guard Jack Kaniok, defensive lineman Nick Isaacson and wide receiver Garrett Guenther also continue to be contributors for Central.

About the Eagles: Real simple here for Lakes at home Friday. Win or go home. A win puts the Eagles at 5-4 and makes them playoff eligible. "Central runs the ball really well with Kaiden Miller and keeps you off-balance with their misdirection plays," Lakes coach Jason Ellerman said. "We need to be great tacklers and fit the run properly on defense." Ellerman loved how Lakes' offensive line performed against Grant in Week 8. That group includes Jacob Seiler, Andy Mlyniec, Dylan Swanson and Dermot Larson, as well as Jacob Perry. "Our offensive line paved the way for Amir Al Hindi to rush for 226 yards and Max Bausch for 84 yards," Ellerman pointed out.

Grant (2-6, 1-5) at North Chicago (1-7, 0-6)

When: Friday, 7 p.m.

Previous Matchup: Grant 18, North Chicago 8 (2021 at Grant)

About the Bulldogs: Grant coach Tim Norwood noted North Chicago forfeited its Week 8 game to Wauconda. "We're hoping we have a game this week," he said, earlier in the week. "We're still trying to hear back from them." Junior tailback-free safety Pryde Mendoza ran for 149 yards and a touchdown and also had 45 receiving yards. Junior quarterback Rylan Art, junior linebacker Ryan Kowalski and sophomore cornerback Vincent Hurst have also played well of late, Norwood noted. "We're hoping to end Week 9 with a victory that can carry some momentum into the offseason," Norwood said. "We need to be more consistent. We have yet to put four good quarters together." In the unsung hero category is junior guard Mason Lancaster. "He has no stats, but he has done a nice job blocking," Norwood said.

About the Warhawks: After beating Waukegan in the season opener, North Chicago has lost seven in a row, five on the field and two via forfeit.

Waukegan (0-8, 0-6) at Lake Zurich (7-1, 6-0)

When: Friday, 7 p.m.

Previous Matchup: Lake Zurich 40, Waukegan 0 (2021 at Lake Zurich)

About the Bulldogs: "Waukegan will play hard and has good team speed," Lake Zurich coach Ron Planz said. "We need to finish the season strong and continue to improve on the little things. That will make a difference for us come playoff time."

About the Bears: A win here means the Bears are undefeated and undisputed North Suburban Conference champion. Of note in last week's win against Mundelein was the play of the Bears' offensive line. "We rotate six guys," Planz noted. Bryce Sanders, Nick Panico, Jim Strojny, Richie Marmol, Trevor Schuetz and Colin Byrne in the first half paved the way for 223 rushing yards on 21 carries (10.6 yards per carry) and 6 touchdowns. Chris Pirrone ran 12 times for 137 yards (11.4 yards per carry), scored 2 touchdowns and busted off a 31-yard run. "We are finally healthy and starting to click on offense," Planz said. "We still want to be better at the details and commit less penalties." Tyler Erkman has 23 tackles, 4 interceptions, 3 passes defended and 2 fumble recoveries on defense. Danny Vuckovic is dominant in the kicking game. He averages 58.2 yards per kickoff, has boomed 22 touchbacks and has 1 successful onside kick. He also averages 40.6 yards per punt with a long of 61 yards. Linebacker Tyler Burkey has 48 tackles, 3 interceptions, 4 tackles for loss and a fumble recovery. Quarterback Ashton Gondeck has thrown for 852 yards and 10 touchdowns against only 2 interceptions. He has a long pass of 70 yards and has completed 48.3% of his passes. Gondeck also has run for 349 yards (52 for a long) and 3 touchdowns.

Libertyville (5-3, 4-2) at Stevenson (5-3, 4-2)

When: Friday, 7:30 p.m.

Previous Matchup: Libertyville 22, Stevenson 21 (2021 at Stevenson)

About the Wildcats: The winner earns a guaranteed playoff spot. "Stevenson is a well-coached, physical team," Libertyville coach Mike Jones said. "They play very good defense and their offense can be explosive. Defensively, they are very sound and run to the ball well. Offensively, they run the ball well and are effective in the pass game." Libertyville has won 2 games in a row. "We must continue to build on that momentum," Jones said. The Wildcats have received big production from the likes of senior offensive tackle Theo Schmidt and junior linebacker Charlie Clark. "Theo has been improving on the offensive line," Jones said. "Charie has been one of our most consistent players on defense."

About the Patriots: "Conference rivalry with Libertyville," Stevenson coach Brent Becker said. "Both teams are 5-3 and looking to lock up win No. 6 to head into the playoffs." Daniel Castro and Jake Youkhanna were named the team offensive players of the week for their efforts against Waukegan. Castro ran the ball 4 times for 85 yards and 2 touchdowns, while Youkhanna carried 7 times for 78 yards. Becker noted those two seniors "came in and ground out 163 yards on 11 carries and scored 2 touchdowns," he said. Jacob Heald earned the team's defensive player of the week accolade. He had 1 tackle and 1 tackle for loss. Let's let Becker take it the rest of the way. "With Waukegan threatening in the fourth quarter and moving the ball into Stevenson territory, we needed a spark and that came from the energy and intensity of Jacob Heald," he said. "On the final drive, Jacob tracked a ball carry from his opposite defensive end spot to make a critical tackle for loss. A play later, what looked to be an open lane to the end zone was stifled by Jacob's pursuit from across the field to put Waukegan in a fourth-down situation where we held strong to secure the shut out." Charlie Duffin was named the practice-scout team player of the week.

Zion-Benton (1-7, 1-5) at Warren (7-1, 5-1)

When: Friday, 7 p.m.

Previous Matchup: Warren 56, Zion-Benton 0 (2021 at Z-B)

About the Zee-Bees: "We need to play our game against Zion," Warren coach Bryan McNulty said. "Their record may not show it, but that is not a bad football team. Their quarterback is dangerous with both is arm and feet."

About the Blue Devils: McNulty said the great thing about heading into Week 9 is his team is still improving. "As a team we are coming together, which is great to see at this time of the year," McNulty said. McNulty is high on the play of quarterback Adam Behrens. "Adam continues to be outstanding in running our offense," he said. Justin Kretz has been a stalwart at linebacker and tight end. And sophomore lineman Anthony Soto continues to make progress. "Anthony is getting better each snap," McNulty said. "He is a tough guy."

Lake Forest (2-6, 2-4) at Mundelein (3-5, 2-4)

When: Friday, 7 p.m.

Previous Matchup: Lake Forest 29, Mundelein 13 (2021 at Lake Forest)

About the Scouts: "Lake Forest is a team that plays extremely hard," Mundelein coach Vince DeFrancesco said. "They are always well-coached and disciplined in their scheme."

About the Mustangs: Left tackle Brandon Hansen has been a difference-maker for the Mustangs. "Brandon has been great up front for us all season," DeFrancesco said. Marcel Siepko also has been key at his linebacker and running back spots. "As a two-way starter, Marcel doesn't come off the field," DeFrancesco said. "He plays with amazing passion and energy." Also of note lately have been Braelon Grant and Adam Bogenski. "Braelon has done a nice job at right tackle for us and is starting to step up on defense," DeFrancesco said. DeFrancesco is encouraged by his team's continued competitive nature. "Our seniors have led by example and have responded well to adversity," he said. "Our players have stepped up to fill voids. We knew we would be a young team this season, so it's exciting to see some of the sophomores and juniors gain quality experience."

Other Friday Lake County games

Maine East (1-7, 0-4) at Vernon Hills (2-6, 2-2), 6 p.m.

Carmel (5-3, 1-1) at Chicago Heights Marian Catholic (4-4, 0-2), 7:30 p.m.

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