Talk preps with Scott Powers
Welcome to ESPNChicago.com! The football playoff pairings are out and the second season starts this weekend.
ESPNChicago.com's preps writer will be here to take your questions about the playoffs.
Send your questions now and join the chat Monday night at 7:00 p.m. CT/8:00 p.m. ET!
Do you think that Wheaton St. Francis has a chance to repeat? They might need a few breaks...but having the best coach in the state doesn't hurt...
Scott Powers (7:36 PM)
You have to think St. Francis will be right there again. The Chargers' defense was stellar this season. If they do get the past the first round, the second round could be interesting match up as they'll like Marian Central again. Marian beat St. Francis 14-12 in Week 7.
How legit do you think Fremd is?
Scott Powers (7:43 PM)
Fremd's definitely legit. I don't think you can go 9-0 in that conference and not be considered legit. The Vikings' offensive line is among the area's best -- Christian Lombard could be the best in the state -- and Evan Wright has been phenomenal all season. I see them doing well in the playoffs.
How will Wheaton North do in the football playoffs this year?
Scott Powers (7:47 PM)
Wheaton North will have its hands full in the playoffs. Boylan's pretty good. I also think it's a pretty big accomplishment for Wheaton North to make the playoffs after losing Ohio State-bound quarterback Taylor Graham. I think it says something about those players.
If it came down to Fremd Vs. Main South in the state game what do you think would be the out come?
Scott Powers (7:49 PM)
That would be a one fun, wouldn't it? Fremd's obviously one of the top teams in the state, but I think Maine South is a step above everyone else. I was at the Wheaton Warrenville South game earlier in the season, and Maine South was pretty impressive. The Hawks' offense is tough for anyone to stop. I'd probably have to take Maine South in the match up.
How do you think St Pat's matches up against Loyola?
Scott Powers (7:50 PM)
It depends which St. Pat's team come out. I was at the Marist-St. Patrick game, and if the Shamrocks' defense can play like it did in that game, I think St. Pat's can compete with most teams. Against Loyola, the key is scoring. The Ramblers' defense was among the best in the state all season.
What do you think about the Fremd vs. Naperville North matchup? Could Naperville North be one of the best 5-4 teams to make the playoffs this year?
Scott Powers (7:53 PM)
I think Naperville North's schedule definitely prepares it for a game like this. The Huskies have been in some big games against some top teams. I think Fremd may just be too much for them in the end. I'll take Fremd.
Who do you think will be the champion of each class?
Scott Powers (7:57 PM)
8A - Maine South, probably everyone's pick, but they're that good.7A - East St. Louis, the Flyers may be the best team in the state regardless of class. If St. Rita's Jahwon Akui gets healthy, I like the Mustangs to maybe make a run.6A - Providence, the Celtics seem to be that team of destiny this season, they're catching all the breaks.5A - Joliet Catholic, the Hilltoppers have been dominant lately.The other classes I just don't know enough about right now to make educated picks.
What do you think the 8A state game will come down to? and what do you think the semifinal matchups will be also?
Scott Powers (7:59 PM)
In 8A, I think the semis will be Fremd vs. Hinsdale Central and Maine South vs. Stevenson. In the championship, I like Maine South over Hinsdale Central.
Who do you have in the title game for 7a and 8a? Also, who are your darkhorses for both 7a and 8a?
Scott Powers (8:03 PM)
In the 8A title game, I have Maine South over Hindsale Central. In 7A, I like East St. Louis over Glenbard West. As for possible sleepers in 7A, I like Elk Grove, Lake Zurich and St. Charles North. In 8A, I think Schaumburg and Lockport have the capability of pulling off upsets.
How good is Warren?
Scott Powers (8:06 PM)
Warren running back Greg Kennedy is one of the best in the state. He's explosive. The offense can put up points. I think as we saw in the Blue Devils' two losses they do have some defensive areas of concern. I think they win in the first round and play in a close one with Loyola in the second round.
How do you think Highland Park will fare in the 6A playoffs?
Scott Powers (8:08 PM)
I like Highland Park in the first round, but I think Cary-Grove will be a tough match up in the second round. I think a lot like Highland Park's losses to Stevenson and Warren, Cary-Grove's offense is just too explosive for the Giants.
why do you think Hinsdale Central will beat Fremd in the semis?
Scott Powers (8:09 PM)
I think ultimately Hinsdale Central will be able to out-score Fremd. It could be a shootout, but I like quarterback John Whitelaw's chances in that.
How far do you think the Stevenson Patriots will make it?
Scott Powers (8:11 PM)
I see Stevenson reaching the semis of 8A. Its offense is just too dynamic on the ground and in the air. I think they'll meet Loyola in the quarterfinals and win in a close one.
Do you think a one-dimensional (run or pass only) team can be successful in the playoffs?
Scott Powers (8:14 PM)
I think it's harder if you're a one-dimensional passing team as the playoffs progress as the weather conditions (rain, snow, wind) can make throwing difficult. I think especially in high school a lot of teams that have success are more likely one-dimensional running teams.
wat do u think the final 2 teams will be for 6a? wat do u think the chances of cary grove winning it all is?
Scott Powers (8:20 PM)
It's hard not to pick a Providence-Cary Grove 6A championship. Both have been so impressive this season. My pick is Providence, but Cary-Grove could give the Celtics fits with its ability to run and pass the ball. I'm hoping to do a story on Eric Chandler last this week, so be sure to check out the site.
You dont think fremd's D would be able to stop Hinsdale central? only two teams have scored more then 14 on us this year. I think Fremd has one of the best D's in state and it gets overlooked
Scott Powers (8:25 PM)
No, I agree. I think Fremd's defensive is overlooked. The Vikings have proved themselves all season. I just think Hinsdale Central's offense is a special one. The Red Devils scored 30-plus points in all but one of their games.
Troy (Highland Park)
How will Deerfield fare in their first round game?
Scott Powers (8:31 PM)
I think Deerfield-De La Salle could be a good one. If Deerfield plays like it did in its 17-0 win over Glenbrook North last week, especially defensively, De La Salle will be challenged. I think in the end the Meteors' offense and the fact they will be at home will give De La Salle the game.
Do you think its all about skill in the playoffs? or does the fact of who wants it more have an affect?
Scott Powers (8:33 PM)
I think the only way "who wants it more" comes into play is in early-round games where a higher-seeded team overlook an above-average opponent. There, I could see an upset happening. But by the third round or so, I think everyone wants it the same. If a team is not getting up for a quarterfinal game, there are other problems.
What are the best round 1 matchups? What 14-16 seed has the best chance of sniffing the championship game? And can i get you to call #16 Marian over #1 Bogan in 7A?
Scott Powers (8:37 PM)
Yes, you can get me to call Marian over Bogan in the first round. ... Best first-round match ups would have to Lockport at Naperville Central (8A), Notre Dame at Glenbrook South (8A), St. Patrick at Loyola (8A), O'Fallon at Lincoln-Way Central (7A), Elk Grove at Harlem (7A), Prospect at Carmel (7A), Lake Zurich at Rolling Meadows (7A), St. Viator at Cary-Grove (6A) and Deerfield at De La Salle (6A).
How are Crystal Lake South's chances?
Scott Powers (8:44 PM)
That entire side of the bracket that Crystal Lake South is on is going to be interesting. I think the Gators win the first round, then there will be some real intriguing games. Lake Zurich and Rolling Meadows are good, and if the Gators get through that, Boylan, Prospect or Carmel will be waiting for them. I wouldn't be surprise if Crystal Lake South or any of those other teams come out of that mess.
It seemed like St. Ed's really enjoyed no longer being in just the SCC (not having to face St. Francis, Montini, Marmion, and of course Driscoll helped). But do they have any chance against Mendota?
Scott Powers (8:51 PM)
I don't know much about Mendota, but hopefully St. Edward can carry that momentum of its last game into the playoffs. It sounded like an exciting one.
Does Joliet Catholic wrap up their record 14th title this year? Or does Sacred Heart Griffin take the title? Yes nobody from the other bracket has a shot
Scott Powers (8:55 PM)
My pick is Joliet Catholic. What JCA did to Notre Dame, a good team, was pretty impressive last week. The Hilltoppers' defense has been so good all year. I think it'll be that strength that will make the difference in the championship.
Do you see East St. louis using their distance (and skill) to get to the championship game again?
Scott Powers (8:57 PM)
East St. Louis is going to be tough to beat. I was doing some research about the Flyers the other day, and it wasn't even fair when they played the in-state teams in their area. Both of their losses came to teams from Ohio. It'd be interesting if they met Glenbard West again.
Wondering why you dont have WWS in any of the 7A conversations?
Scott Powers (9:05 PM)
I'm real high on Wheaton Warrenville South. I got to see them a few times this year and was impressed. I just think they have a tough draw running into East St. Louis in the semis.
Tim (Rolling Meadows)
I would like to heard what you have to say about two players. Jim Garoppolo the QB of Rolling Meadows and second Jayme Szafranski from Fremd WR/DB/LB
Scott Powers (9:09 PM)
I think Rolling Meadows quarterback Jim Garoppolo was overshadowed being in the same conference as Prospect's Miles Osei. As Garoppolo showed in the final week, he has big-time talent. I think more people will notice him the longer Meadows is in the playoffs. I don't know as much about Jayme Szafranski, but will ask around about him.
Scott Powers (9:09 PM)
Thanks to everyone for joining us this evening. We'll do it again next week. Hopefully, we'll have some interesting playoff games to talk about.