Patch sports reporter Ross Jacobson ranks the North Shore’s best football teams.
It wasn’t the best opening week for North Shore football as the region’s 11 teams combined for a 4-7 record. Maine South and Loyola won convincingly, but the middle- and bottom-tier teams struggled. With a victory over Westinghouse, Niles West had the biggest gain in the power rankings, jumping from 11th to No. 7 this week, while most teams didn’t make big moves either way.
is in parentheses.
WEEK 2 RANKINGS
1. Maine South (1) – Maine South didn’t wait long to assert itself as the top team in Illinois. Paul Preston returned the opening kickoff 97 yards for a touchdown in the Hawks’ 40-12 win over Warren. Next week comes one of the most anticipated matchups of the year, when Maine South hosts Wheaton Warrenville South, who are the defending Class 7A state champions and trounced the Hawks last season.
2. Loyola Academy (2) – Another season and another relatively easy opening-night victory over Evanston. Malcom Weaver was impressive as the Ramblers scored on five of their first six possessions. They get a good matchup with Montini at home next week and it should be an indicator of how good Loyola will be this year.
3. Glenbrook South (4) – Senior Mac Zabriskie looked like a veteran quarterback in his first varsity start. He threw four touchdown passes as the Titans dismantled Prospect, 34-10, in their home opener. Glenbrook South will have a nice test in Week 2 as it faces Stevenson, ranked No. 16 by ESPN Chicago in the area.
4. Glenbrook North (3) – It was a disappointing opening week for Glenbrook North with a . Still, the play of first-year quarterback Curt Petty was encouraging so look for the Spartans to rebound next week when they go on the road to Lane Tech.
5. New Trier (5) – QB Jack Nykaza completed only seven passes, but his two interceptions in the Trevians’ 22-17 loss to Schaumburg are the bigger issue. He’ll need to limit his mistakes if New Trier is going to be successful this year, and he’ll have another opportunity when the Trevians travel to Warren next week in a non-conference showdown.
6. Deerfield (6)– Playing without starting QB Brad Holway, Deerfield’s offense couldn’t manage much in a . We’ll have to wait until Friday when the Warriors take on Homewood-Flossmoor to get a better sense of what this team truly is.
7. Niles West (11)– The Wolves grabbed EIGHT (!) interceptions in their season-opening victory over Westinghouse. Scoff at the opponent if you want, but Westinghouse went 8-1 last season so they know how to win football game. Through one week, Niles west already matched last season’s win total.
8. Highland Park (7) – in the second half of its 39-12 victory. The play of QB Max Mordini was the biggest positive for the Giants, who need to exhibit some balance with Nate Echt’s running game. The Giants go north to face Lake Forest next week.
9. Niles North (9) – It was the same song and dance for Niles North, which found yet another way to lose in heart-breaking fashion. Special teams let them down in the form of bad long-snapping and kickoff coverage. Oshayne Brown was Niles North’s biggest star on offense and he’ll have to carry the load throughout the season.
10. Evanston (8) – Max Block had a rough go against a tough Loyola Academy defense in the Wildkits’ 40-0 loss to the Ramblers. Things get a little easier next week when the Wildcats travel to Zion-Benton, but as Deerfield learned in Week 1, the Zee-Bees aren’t a pushover by any means.
11. Maine West (10) – The Warrior defense stepped up by holding Urban Prep to only 14 points, but scoring points on offense looks like it will be a struggle all season. The Warriors travel to Fenton with another good chance at a non-conference victory.
(Covering the Patch communities of Skokie, Evanston, Wilmette, Winnetka, Niles, Highland Park, Glenview, Deerfield, Morton Grove, Des Plaines and Northbrook.)