Scouting Week 1 Lake County football games

Antioch at Schaumburg

When: Friday, 7:30 p.m.

Scouting Antioch: Running backs Nick Day (senior) and Martin Cohen (junior) return 2,100 combined rushing yards with Day scoring 25 touchdowns and Cohen hauling in 700 more receiving yards to go with 10 touchdowns. "They are our 1-2 punch," Antioch coach Brian Glashagel said. Glashagel calls this Week 1 matchup a playoff-type game. "Not only being Week 1, which always gives off great energy, but we're borderline 5A/6A going to an 8A place, so this will be a huge test for us." Glashagel loves the progress his defense has made. "Huge progress from where they were to where we currently are. Our defensive speed is outstanding."

Scouting Schaumburg: Saxons coach Mark Stilling is familiar with this Week 1 opponent. "I have known Brian (Antioch coach Glashagel) for several years and have a ton of respect for their success. They are extremely good at what they do," he said. "We need to pay tremendous attention to details and play with discipline and take care of the football." Anthony DiGioia, Marcus Stewart and Daniel Uczarczk are three returning key cogs. "They are all three-year starters for us and we are depending on them," Stilling said. The Saxons went 3-6 a year ago.

Mundelein at Grant

When: Friday, 7 p.m.

Scouting this game: Grant, coming off a 3-6 season, will be led by key offensive returning starters Pryde Mendoza and Daymian Longtin. "Our biggest improvement would be our overall strength as a team due to our work in the weight room," Grant coach Tim Norwood said. "We will be young with 10 sophomores up on the varsity team, so it has been important to get them as much experience as possible." Mundelein won last year's game 22-8. "Week 1 games you don't always know what you are going to see," Norwood said. "In order to be successful, we need to take care of the football and play good team defense."

Bolingbrook at Grayslake Central

When: Friday, 7 p.m.

Scouting this game: The Brent Pearlman era officially kicks off Friday at Central when the Rams welcome a Bolingbrook team to town that went 7-3, lost to Maine South in the first round of the playoffs and then had that loss vacated due to IHSA sanctions against Maine South. "I know Bolingbrook has some very talented starters coming back," Pearlman said. "I also know over this past many years they have built a highly respected program that competes at a very high level with the utmost class. We will need every player on our team to be locked in for the entire duration of the game for us to find success." Pearlman said the biggest progress since fall practice has started is players realizing what it takes to be a member of the Rams team. "We have had a very challenging summer and preseason," he said. "We are starting to understand that being a member of the team doesn't just mean wearing the uniform. I don't think we are 100 percent where we need to be, but we are clearly growing in this area and I fully expect in the not-too-distant future to see us be united by more than just the football."

Vernon Hills at Grayslake North

When: Friday, 7 p.m.

Scouting Vernon Hills: North won last year's matchup 38-26. "Grayslake North will be well-coached," Cougars coach Bill Bellecomo said. "Last year, it came down to the team that made the least amount of mistakes. We had 6 turnovers last year. It's tough to win a game with 6 turnovers. We need to cut down the turnovers." Three-year starters Anthony Martorano and Damian Alamanza (OL-DL) are three-year starters for Vernon Hills.

Scouting Grayslake North: "Vernon Hills is a great matchup," North coach Brian Johnson said. "They are athletic and have some size on the line. They have a really good program and historically have always done a great job. It's a good game to start the season. There are still unknowns out there, but we know their coaching staff is going to have them ready to go. We need to be able to limit our mistakes, minimize their big plays and try to match their physicality. We need to try and get pressure on their QB and not give him time to throw." In that passing regard, Johnson said one key will be junior defensive back Elijah Ayiviv. Junior Mitch Hughes makes his first start at quarterback for the Knights. Johnson also likes the progress his offensive line has made this month.

Lake Forest at Lakes

When: Friday, 7 p.m.

Scouting this game: Lakes coach Jason Ellerman notes Lake Forest runs out of a 3-4 defense and deploys a zone run from the spread. "They are very well-coached and have a lot of experience," he said. "We need to be able to run the ball and when we take shots in the passing game, we need to be able to capitalize. On defense, we need to be able to tackle well, which is always an issue Week 1. Our special teams need to be clean and explosive." Lakes senior Drew Schmidt had his junior year cut short to injury, but "has had an awesome offseason and has been a problem for our offense all summer," Ellerman noted. Junior Andy Mylniec moves from guard last year to center, "and is the strongest player on the team," Ellerman said. Physicality and strength are on the upswing, Ellerman added, plus coach Kurt Rowells came out of coaching retirement and has taken over the offensive line, "and brought a new mindset to our offense," he said. "I can't wait to see what it looks like Friday."

North Chicago at Wheeling

When: Friday, 7 p.m.

Scouting this game: Two keys for North Chicago in this nonconference game will be Keymarion Campbell and Lon McLendon. "Both are two-way players who can do a lot to contribute on both sides of the ball and bring energy to the rest of our players," North Chicago coach Wilton Hill said. The two teams did not play last year. "We just want to go out there and play our style of football and compete until the last whistle. We have to execute our assignments and never get too high or too low, and play as a team for four quarters."

Round Lake at Waukegan

When: Friday, 7 p.m.

Scouting this game: New Round Lake coach Matt Milazzo said he expects an improved Waukegan team to appear Friday. "They had a lot of sophomores play varsity last year so they come back with a lot of experience," he said. "They are explosive at the skill positions and competed really well in offseason 7-on-7s. Our focus is the same each week: limit big plays, win the turnover battle and minimize missed tackles." Look for two-way junior lineman William Cole to be a disruptive force, Milazzo noted. Milazzo also has been impressed with seniors Isaac Jackson and Daevon Mays. "Two seniors who have stepped up as leaders this offseason and can help us in a variety of ways on the field," he said. Effort has been a key takeaway thus far in fall practice. "We have made many strides, setting standards for what effort looks like," Milazzo said. "On the field, being mentally prepared or how to represent themselves in the classroom." Wheeling won this bout 58-7 last year.

Wauconda at Hinsdale South

When: Friday, 7:30 p.m.

Scouting the Bulldogs: "Offensively, we will need to establish our running game and branch off from there," Wauconda coach Chris Prostka said. "Defensively, we need to be sound in our assignments and tackle as a group. We want to limit yards after initial contact by tackling as a group and also trying to take the ball away." Connor Vanselow is coming off a banner junior season. "He has high expectations for himself this season," Prostka said. Caleb Apodaca was a producer on both sides of the line a year ago. "He has gotten even stronger and in better shape this offseason," the coach said. "We are looking for him to build on last season in a big way."

Scouting the Hornets: Sam Schuyler and Nathan Fundator are two South players that are explosive and will contribute on both sides of the ball, coach Mike Barry said. "Wauconda is a solid football program that has had success and knows how to win," Barry added. "They have some talented athletes who can break open a game quickly. In Week 1, the team that doesn't beat themselves usually comes out on top."

Warren at Barrington

When: Friday, 7:30 p.m.

Scouting this game: Last year, Warren downed Barrington 41-7. "I know Barrington is well-coached and tough," Warren coach Bryan McNulty said. "They play exceptionally hard and are one of the fastest-starting programs in the state early in the season. We have to do what we do best and eliminate all distractions when playing on the road. Barrington's stadium will be packed and it will be a great environment." McNulty said while wide receiver Jack Wolf is still somewhat new to football, he's picking up the game very well. "Jack is an outstanding athlete, and we are excited to see him live," he said. Another key for Warren this season will be cornerback Cory Burton. "Cory has been a part of our program for a while," McNulty said. "His older brother, Cray, was a starter on our 2018 quarterfinal team. Cory has all the intangibles to be an outstanding defender. He has put in the work in the offseason and now should be ready to cut it loose."

Lake Zurich at Fremd

When: Friday, 7:30 p.m.

Scouting this game: Lake Zurich won this matchup 21-7 a year ago. "Fremd is always a fast and physical team," Bears coach Ron Planz said. "They will be sound on defense and explosive on offense. You never really know too much about what your Week 1 opponent is going to do scheme-wise. For us, it is going to be about the fundamentals. We have to take care of the football, score when we have the chance and play solid defense." Lincoln Adams is a three-year starter at linebacker for Lake Zurich and a two-time all-NSC pick, while Jackson Piggott was all-NSC as a sophomore last year and has gotten bigger, faster and stronger "after a great offseason," Planz said. Lake Zurich graduated 32 seniors from last year's team. "We have had a lot of holes to fill, but our guys worked really hard this summer and preseason to step up to the challenge," Planz said.

Lemont at Libertyville

When: Friday, 7:30 p.m.

Scouting Lemont: Lemont, which reached the 6A state semifinals last year and has no current nickname (used to be the Indians), won this nonconference matchup 32-27 in 2022. "Libertyville is a very well-rounded program that continued to develop last season," Lemont coach Willie Hayes said. "They have a good, core group of kids coming back. Their kids play hard, their offensive scheme is very sound and their defense runs to the ball." Alex Pasquale is a three-year starter at nose guard, while Nate Kunickis takes over at quarterback after two years backing up all-stater Payton Salomon.

Scouting the Wildcats: Libertyville has its own talented quarterback in Quinn Schambow. "Quinn has the ability to make plays in many ways and will be the catalyst for our offense," Libertyville coach Mike Jones said. One of his weapons will be Blaise LaVista. "Blaise will impact the game by running and catching the ball," Jones said. "He is an outstanding athlete and will be fun to watch." Jones noted Lemont "is a quality program that has plenty of experience and is well-coached," he said. "Offensively, we must finish in the red zone. We didn't do that last year. Defensively, we must stop the run and eliminate big plays."

Kenosha Bradford/Reuther Central, Wis. (1-0) at Stevenson

When: Friday, 7 p.m.

Scouting The Red Devils: Wisconsin has a leg up on Illinois, starting the season a week earlier. The Bradford-Reuther Central co-op team downed Wilmot Union 35-0 at home last week. "I am sure Stevenson will be deep at most positions and will be ready to play," Red Devils coach Gazmend Osmani said. "We need to play disciplined football and eliminate mistakes. Our defense needs to play aggressive and cause some turnovers, and our offense needs to control the clock and take our shots when we get the opportunity." The combo of quarterback Devin Wheaton and wide receiver Nolan Shiplett found the endzone twice last week.

Scouting the Patriots: "We need to play fast and aggressive," Stevenson coach Brent Becker said. "Eliminate typical early-season mistakes - turnovers, big plays, etc." Ethan Aghakhan is Stevenson's only returning starter, while Becker said Armand Burris had a great offseason. "We're expecting big things from him on both sides of the ball." Becker added the Patriots are having a lot of fun, playing with high energy and are motivated to compete.

Crete-Monee at Carmel

When: Friday, 7:30 p.m.

Scouting this game: Crete-Monee reached the state quarterfinals in 2022. The two teams did not play a year ago. "Carmel of Mundelein is coming off a great season," Crete-Monee coach John Konecki said. "They are a well-coached, disciplined team that does a great job running their offense and defense. Coach Jason McKee and his staff have done an outstanding job preparing their student-athletes to compete week in and week out. Football is a difficult game. In all contests, a team needs to limit big plays and errors. Carmel of Mundelein does an outstanding job coaching their kids, and they will be well-prepared in all phases of football for the matchup in Week 1." Konecki said line play on both sides will be key for his group Friday.

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