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Top 5 Chicagoland high school football games to watch in Week 4

10 months agoEdgy Tim

“Edgy Tim” O’Halloran provides the Top 5 Chicagoland high school football games to watch in Week 4. Head to EdgyTim.Rivals.com for more coverage.

With a quarter of the 2023 IHSA Football regular season completed, the Week 4 slate of top games in Chicagoland focuses on conference matchups along with several key rivalry showdowns. 

St. Rita (3-0) at Mount Carmel (3-0)
Friday 7:30PM 

This will be the 102nd meeting between these two storied rivals from the Chicago Catholic League, which began back in 1924. Mount Carmel and head coach Jordan Lynch is off to a strong start including last Friday’s 35-0 win over Niles Notre Dame. The Caravan’s offense is led by junior QB Jack Elliott who has been highly effective taking control of the high powered Mount Carmel spread offense and is a threat with his arm and his legs. Mount Carmel senior 4 star ranked RB Darrion Dupree (Wisconsin) is a game breaker threat with every carry and the remaining offensive skills are speedy, deep and talented with senior RB Alonzo Manning Jr. (Navy), senior WR Maurice Densmore and senior WR Darrion Gilliam (Kent State). The Caravan’s defense is also equally as talented and keep an eye on senior ILB Parker Startz (Ohio University) and a speedy and talented secondary led by senior DB Charles Miles (Western Michigan) and senior DB Dillon Conway.

St. Rita and first year head coach Martin Hopkins are off to a strong start, but needed to come behind to beat Joliet Catholic 20-10 last Friday night as the Mustangs rattled off 20 unanswered second half points for the win. The St Rita offense is led by senior QB Jett Hilding while the backfield is also a strength led by senior big back DJ Stewart and junior RB Nick Herman.The St Rita defense is once again a strength and keep an eye on senior DL Raymond Saffold and junior DE JP Danaher while junior LB James Kingsbury is a terrific finisher and leader this fall. 

Can the St Rita offense get on track early this Friday and finish off longer drives with points? Can the Mount Carmel defense take away the Mustangs power run game and make them throw the football in unwanted down and distance? 

Pick: Mount Carmel 

Nazareth Academy (0-3) at IC Catholic Prep (3-0)
Friday 7:30PM @ Plunkett Park Elmhurst

This CCL/ESCC Orange opener is a dandy. Nazareth Academy, the defending Class 5A state champions for the second straight season find themselves needing to dig themselves out of an early hole starting the season with three straight losses. The Road Runners however have lost close games to three quality opponents in state ranked Kankakee, York and Montini Catholic and are in a nearly must win mode Friday. Nazareth Academy will rely heavily on junior QB Logan Malachuk along with junior 4 star ranked OLB/DE Gabe Kaminski and an experienced roster which has a rare combination of being underclassmen with lots of big game varsity experience.

IC Catholic prep, the defending Class 3A state champions also has a ton of big game experience back this season led by senior QB Dennis Mandala along with senior WR/DB KJ Parker (Iowa) plus senior 4 star ranked TE/DE Eric Karner (Texas A&M) and a deep and experienced line play on both sides of the football. 

Can the Road Runner find a way to close out tight games with wins this season? Can IC Catholic Prep defense continue to lock down all comers much like they have for the first three weeks of the season? 

Pick: IC Catholic Prep 

Kenwood Academy (1-2) vs Simeon (1-2) @ Gately Stadium
Saturday 1:30PM

This opening week play in the CPL Red conference features two of the bigger programs in the city. Kenwood Academy and head coach Sinque Turner posted a lopsided win last week over Clark after losing two straight games to state powers Lincoln Way East and St Rita. The Broncos will look towards several key playmakers including senior 4 star ranked  WR/DB IMarion Stewart (Michigan) along with senior 4 star ranked TE/DE Marquise Lightfoot (Miami Fla.) and senior 3 star ranked RB Ethan Middleton.

Simeon and first year head coach Derick Hunter also has some highly ranked talent on the field this season with senior 3 star ranked DE Mikeshun Beeler and junior 4 star ranked DE Christopher Burgess Jr. and the Wolverines defense is no question a strength this season. The Wolverines offense has been trying to find its groove and both junior QB Keshaun Parker and senior QB Kaleb Sims have shown flashes of positives so far this season. 

Can the Kenwood offense dent a very good Simeon defense? Can the Simeon offense find its identity, put together some long time consuming drives and win time of possession? 

Pick: Kenwood Academy 

Batavia (2-1) at St. Charles North (2-1)
Friday 7PM 

Batavia and head coach Dennis Piron’s only loss came in Week 2 to Lincoln Way East 14-13 as the Bulldogs missed making a two point conversion at the end of the game. Batavia is getting an All-State season so far from senior QB Ryan Boe (North Dakota State). Boe has been a major threat all season long with equal ability to beat all comers with the run and pass and has several key weapons in RB Charlie Whelpley along with WR Luke Alwin. The Batavia defense also has some key playmakers in senior DL Jordan Buckley (Ball State) and senior LB Ben Fiegel (SIU).

St. Charles North is coming off a disappointing 35-23 loss last Friday to Wheaton North. The North Stars have an up and coming standout in junior QB Ethan Plumb who will look towards sophomore WR Keaton Reinke along with senior TE/LB Jake Furtney (Army) who is a team leader for St Charles North. 

Can the North Stars defense limit and contain Batavia QB Ryan Boe for four quarters? Can the Batavia defense zero in on the passing attack led by Ethan Plumb for four quarters?

Pick: Batavia 

Huntley (3-0) at Prairie Ridge (3-0)
Friday 7PM  

Huntley was able to get a great performance from junior QB Braylon Bower who completed 11 passes for 136 yards and two touchdowns in leading the Red Raiders to a 42-21 win over Jacobs. The Red Raiders offense also will rely on RB Haiden Janke while the Huntley defense has been able to make big stops when they’ve needed them so far this season.

Prairie Ridge and head coach Chris Schremp continues to run all over the Fox Valley again this season led by its vaunted triple option ground game led by QB Luke Vanderwiel along with FB Jack Finn while the Wolves defense has been strong all season and keep an eye on junior DT Gavin Tinch is a name to watch this fall. 

Can the Huntley defense get the football back from the ground and pound Prairie Ridge offense? Can the Huntley offense quickly strike against the Prairie Ridge defense and get the Wolves back on their heels early on in this huge showdown? 

Pick: Prairie Ridge 

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