Marist’s Dontrell Jackson Jr (1) runs against Nazareth. | Kirsten Stickney/For the Sun-Times
A look at this weekend’s five best games.
No. 15 Marist at No. 1 Loyola, 1:30 p.m. Saturday
It’s round two of the CCL/ESCC Blue schedule and while this game isn’t going to make or break either team’s season, it has some interesting story lines nonetheless. Loyola (5-0, 1-0) has been in dogfights two weeks in a row, winning a 46-43 thriller at Brother Rice and then edging Fenwick 27-24 on sophomore Michael Baker’s field goal as time expired. The Ramblers proved they could win without star running back Marco Maldonado, who is out at least till the playoffs with a broken collarbone suffered in the Rice game. Mike Regan was the next man up, running for 172 yards and a TD. Marist (4-1, 0-1), led by Coastal Carolina-bound quarterback Dontrell Jackson Jr., is looking for a signature win after dropping its league opener 28-16 to Mount Carmel two weeks ago.
No. 2 Brother Rice at No. 14 Mount Carmel, 7:30 p.m. Friday
The question here is how Mount Carmel (4-1, 1-0) comes out after last week’s historic upset loss to St. Ignatius. The Caravan offense was shut out for the first time since a 7-0 playoff loss to Glenbard West in 2015 after looking sharp in wins over powers St. Rita, Phillips and Marist. Rice (4-1, 0-1) presents a significant challenge with a defense that has allowed just 26 points outside of the Loyola loss. Junior lineman Roderick Pierce, who has Illinois and Kentucky offers, is a force on that unit, while Notre Dame-bound Jack Lausch is one of the state’s premier quarterbacks.
York at No. 5 Glenbard West, 1:30 p.m. Saturday
Glenbard West (5-0, 2-0 West Suburban Silver) has yet to be tested, with an average victory margin of 47 points. Joey Pope has put up some big rushing numbers for the Hilltoppers, whose schedule is backloaded with conference tests against York (5-0, 3-0), Downers North (4-1, 1-1) and Hinsdale Central (4-1, 2-0) in the final four weeks. York hasn’t qualified for the IHSA playoffs since 2011, but seems to have turned the corner under fourth-year coach Mike Fitzgerald. The Dukes have an experienced offensive line and a solid linebacking corps headed by senior Jeff Coglianese.
No. 11 Batavia at Wheaton Warrenville South, 7:30 p.m. Friday
Three weeks into DuKane play, Batavia (5-0, 3-0) is the last unbeaten team. The Bulldogs have a knack for winning the close games this well-balanced conference specializes in, beating No. 12 Wheaton North in overtime and stopping a potential game-winning conversion try by No. 24 Glenbard North last week. As usual, it’s offense by committee for Batavia: sophomore quarterback Ryan Boe has completed 43 passes to seven different receivers for 759 yards and Jalen Buckley has rushed for a team-high 551 yards and five TDs. WW South (3-2, 2-1) had three interceptions and four sacks — two by senior lineman Charlie Hoover — in last week’s win over St. Charles East.
Morgan Park vs. Kenwood, 10 a.m. Saturday at Lane
Kenwood (5-0, 2-0 Illini Red Bird) gets its first serious test in its bid to win one of the Public League’s top two sections. The Broncos have Division I prospects on both sides of the ball in defensive back Diego Oliver (Eastern Illinois commit), receiver Logan Lester (Nebraska, Kansas offers) and linebacker BJ Mayes, among others. Morgan Park (3-2, 2-0) has one of the state’s top sophomores in receiver Tysean Griffin, who owns SEC offers from Arkansas and Tennessee.