No. 2 Mount Carmel (1-0) at No. 1 Loyola (1-0), 1:30 p.m. Saturday
The most anticipated game of the pandemic year also kicks off league play in the Catholic League Blue, the state’s best conference. Mount Carmel has a pair of dynamic playmakers on offense in quarterback Justin Lynch, a Temple recruit, and running back Kenenna Odeluga, who is headed to Illinois to play linebacker as Bret Bielema’s first in-state recruit. Loyola is coming off a lockdown defensive effort in a 7-3 win at St. Rita sealed by Artist Benjamin’s interception in the end zone.
St. Charles North (1-0) at No. 4 Batavia (1-0), 5:30 p.m. Friday
Coaches Dennis Piron at Batavia and Rob Pomazak at St. Charles North both are expecting to be as good as they’ve ever been. That’s saying something, given that Batavia has two state titles since 2013 and St. Charles North played for the Class 7A title in 2018. The North Stars return 17 starters including defensive back/wide receiver Jordan Nubin, who will be a preferred walk-on at Minnesota. Batavia’s playmakers include linebacker Matt Weerts (Arizona), wide receiver Trey Urwiler (Northern Illlinois) and 6-5 tight end Jack Valente (Eastern Illinois).
No. 5 Brother Rice (1-0) at No. 7 Marist (1-0), 6 p.m. Friday
The Pulaski Road Super Bowl will feature plenty of individual talent. The Crusaders have the reigning Catholic Blue Player of the Year in Toledo-bound running back Willie Shaw, quarterback Jack Lausch, linebacker Myles Jones (Georgetown), defensive end Ryan Whelan (Dayton) and an experienced offensive line. Marist has Coastal Carolina-bound quarterback Dontrell Jackson Jr., who’s protected by, among others, Notre Dame recruit Pat Coogan at left guard.
No. 13 Maine South (1-0) at Evanston (1-0), 7:30 p.m. Friday
Dual-threat quarterback Luke Leongas, whose 2019 season was cut short by injury, returned in style last week for Maine South with four passing touchdowns and a rushing score in a romp past Niles West. Another Hawk to watch is 6-5 tight end Chris Petrucci, whose offers include Illinois, Iowa, Kentucky and six Ivy League schools. Evanston has one of the state’s top juniors in four-star running back/linebacker Sebastian Cheeks and an experienced quarterback in senior Sean Cruz, who passed for four TDs against Glenbrook North last week
Morgan Park (0-0) vs. Curie (0-0) at Gately, noon Saturday
Morgan Park is young after graduating 22 seniors. Junior Aaron Warren takes over at quarterback with senior Cameron Fulton moving to cornerback, where he expects to play in college. Versatile freshman Tysean Griffin and two-way lineman Devin King, who has the highest GPA in the school, are two more to watch. Curie will lean on a defense that returns seven starters and an offensive line anchored by Marvin Phipps, Antwan Means and Malik Williams. Junior Donatus Santallanus is the quarterback.