Scouting Week 8 Cook County football games

Palatine (5-2, 3-0) at Barrington (7-0, 3-0)

When: 7:30 p.m. Friday

Last week: Palatine beat Conant 38-14; Barrington beat Hoffman Estates 35-31

Last year: Palatine 41, Barrington 14

Outlook: First place in the MSL West is at stake here. With rain in the forecast, it could come down to the running game for both teams. Palatine has won four in a row and the Pirates have only lost to St. Charles North by three and Maine South by a touchdown. It all starts for Palatine on offense with running back Dominik Ball. The Tulane-commit has been a dominating factor for the Pirates. He runs behind an offensive line that is anchored by Parker Brault, who has a pair of Division I offers, and sophomore Tony Balanganayi, who is attracting some interest from colleges. Barrington is unbeaten and is averaging 33 points per game. Dillon Fitzpatrick has rushed for 704 of the 1,260 yards that the Broncos have gained on the ground. Nick Peipert has been keeping defenses from keying on the running game by throwing for 2,403 yards and 19 touchdowns.

Niles West (5-2, 3-1) at Maine West (7-0, 3-0)

When: 6:30 p.m. Friday

Last week: Niles West lost to Highland Park 21-17; Maine West beat Vernon Hills 48-7

Last year: Did not play

Outlook: Niles West stumbled last week. Now the Wolves will need a win to possibly earn a share of the CSL North title. Maine West has been finding ways to win all season with three last minute victories. The Warriors defense continues to shine behind Ben Cooper, Kyle Ramirez, Harris Khan, David Diaz, Alex Gorbenko, Maks Makota and Frank Norman allowing just 55 points. On the offensive side both Makota and Norman stepped in quite nicely for Onell Miller-Smith who was out. Tommy Delaney is hoping to have another big game against a Niles West team that has allowed over 20 points in its last two games.

Fremd (2-5, 1-2) at Conant (3-4, 1-2)

When: 7 p.m. Friday

Last week: Fremd beat Schaumburg 42-6; Conant lost to Palatine 38-14

Last year: Fremd 21, Conant 20

Outlook: Fremd is playing its best football of the season right now. The Vikings seem to be rowing in the same direction. With wins in two of the last three games, they also have a slight chance at the playoffs if they win their final two games and then get lots of help. Johnny O'Brien came off a record-setting performance last week with five touchdown passes to tie a school record. He was 25-of-34 for 343 yards with four of those touchdowns, nine receptions and 134 yards to Brennan Saxe. Conant has lost its last two games. But the Cougars could be playoff bound with wins in their last two games. They will need to shore up their defense which has allowed 66 points in the last two games. Cooper Hanson continues to be a bright spot for the Cougars offense.

Wheeling (1-6, 0-3) at Hersey (7-0, 3-0)

When: 5 p.m. Friday

Last week: Wheeling lost to Buffalo Grove 49-0; Hersey beat Rolling Meadows 42-7

Last year: Hersey 49, Wheeling 0

Outlook: Wheeling has lost six in a row. But the Wildcats still battle hard. Hersey continues to dominate its opponents on both sides of the ball. The Huskies' high-powered offense led by Colton Gumino, Carson Grove, Logan Farrell, Nasir McKenzie and Chuck Meister has piled up 293 points. Meanwhile the defense, led by Robert Martin, Andrew Pignataro, Gus Dammann, Brandon Pflomm, Grove and Meister, has allowed just 36 points and given up only one touchdown in their last five games.

Prospect (5-2, 2-1) at Buffalo Grove (5-2, 2-1)

When: 7 p.m. Friday

Last week: Prospect beat Elk Grove 55-22; Buffalo Grove beat Wheeling 49-0

Last year: Prospect 55, Buffalo Grove 27

Outlook: This could be a high-scoring game between a pair of teams that are balanced offensively. Prospect comes in averaging nearly 31 points per game thanks to the running of Noah Easter and the passing of Jake Skoog. Buffalo Grove enters the game a touch better offensively, averaging nearly 33 points per game. Payton Diaz has thrown the ball well for the Bison while Anthony Palano and Matthew Maradkel have been effective running.

Highland Park (4-3, 2-1) at Maine East (1-6, 0-3)

When: 7 p.m. Friday

Last week: Highland Park beat Niles West 21-17; Maine East lost to Niles North 35-20

Last year: Highland Park 46, Maine East 7

Outlook: Highland Park had a huge win over Niles West last week. That kept the Giants not only in the playoff hunt, but also an opportunity at the conference title. Maine East scored the most points last week since the first week of the 2017 season. Adam Awad threw for 217 yards and three touchdowns.

Maine South (6-1, 3-0) at Deerfield (4-3, 1-2)

When: 7 p..m. Friday

Last week: Maine South beat Glenbrook South 45-36; Deerfield lost to Evanston 32-25

Last year: Did not play

Outlook: Constatine Coines has the Hawks offense right back where it is being feared again by opponents. After coming on in relief in the first game of the season, Coines has settled in quite nicely. He has the Hawks averaging over 38 points per game in the last six games. And it is no coincidence that Maine South has won all six of those games. Other than the second half of last Friday's game when they gave up 36 points, the Hawks defense has been very good, allowing just 63 points in the other six and a half games. Deerfield opened the season with three consecutive wins. But the Warriors have fallen on tougher times, losing their last two and three of their last four.

Hoffman Estates (4-3, 1-2) at Schaumburg (2-5, 0-3)

When: 7:30 p.m. Friday

Last week: Hoffman Estates lost to Barrington 35-31; Schaumburg lost to Fremd 42-6

Last year: Hoffman Estates 49, Schaumburg 7

Outlook: Hoffman suffered a tough loss last week and the Hawks look to rebound in a big way. The Hawks' line played excellent on both sides of the ball last week against Barrington. On the offensive side, that enabled the Hawks to put 31 points against a very good Barrington defense. Schaumburg could have its hands full trying to run the ball against a Hoffman defense that surrendered just 12 rushing yards last week. The Saxons will look to get their ground game on track behind Marcus Stewart and Daniel Uczarczyk.

Rolling Meadows (2-5, 1-2) at Elk Grove (2-5, 1-2)

When: 7:30 p.m. Friday

Last week: Rolling Meadows lost to Hersey 42-7; Elk Grove lost to Prospect 55-22

Last year: Elk Grove 41, Wheeling 21

Outlook: The annual cereal bowl hopes not to be a soggy one. For the seventh year in a row, fans for both teams are being asked to bring cereal to be donated to the Elk Grove food bank. The game on the field should still be snap, crackle and pop for a pair of teams that will miss the playoffs and are playing for pride. Meadows had some tough early season losses and has been regrouping to win two of their last four games. Elk Grove has lost its last two and three of its last four. But the Grens are hoping to make a late season surge.

St. Ignatius (4-3) vs. St. Viator (4-3)

When: 7:30 p.m. Friday at Forest View

Last week: St. Ignatius beat Marian Catholic 50-28; St. Viator beat Montini 21-14

Last year: St. Ignatius 50, St. Viator 20

Outlook: The winner of this game gets to that magical five-win mark and playoff eligible. St. Ignatius blasted Marian Catholic last week as the Wolves had 442 yards of offense. They are led by 6-foot-4, 310-pound defensive lineman Justin Scott, who is committed to Ohio State. St. Viator came up with a huge win last week over Montini with 349 yards of offense. Cooper Kmet was 26-of-32 passing for 241 yards while rushing for two touchdowns. Dayvion Ellis, who had a touchdown run, and Jaylan Szlachetka each had interceptions for a Lions team that forced three turnovers. Viator beat Marian Catholic earlier this season 36-14.

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