Talk preps with Scott Powers
Welcome to ESPNChicago.com! We're through to the third round of the state football playoffs.
ESPNChicago.com's preps writer will be here to take your questions about the rest of the tournament.
Send your questions now and join the chat Monday at 7 p.m. CT/8 p.m. ET!
Scott Powers (7:43 PM)
Hello, all. It's a little early, but let's start the chat anyway.
Alex (Park Ridge)
Who has the biggest chance of knocking of Maine South?
Scott Powers (7:46 PM)
Personally, I don't think anyone's going to beat Maine South. If someone can knock off the defending 8A champs, it could be Loyola and its defense. I think if the Hawks are going to lose, it would have to be against a defensive dominating team. Maine South quarterback Tyler Benz and running back Matt Perez are just too much offensively for most teams.
thoughts on fremd?
Scott Powers (7:49 PM)
Fremd is one of the better running teams I saw all season. With such a massive offensive line and a talented back in Evan Wright, the Vikings are where they are for a reason. They also know how to win tight games. I think that's a plus at this time of the year. They're not going to panic.
JD (Orland Park)
Who's going to be the best basketball player in the city this year?
Scott Powers (7:53 PM)
In the state, there's no doubt that it's Waukegan's Jereme Richmond. In the city, that's harder. I think Morgan Park's Wayne Blackshear is going to be dominant this season. He really started to take over games this summer. I think Whitney Young backcourt of Ahmad Starks and Anthony Johnson is going to be tough. Sam Thompson could have a breakout year for Young, too. Foreman's backcourt of Mike McCall and Lavonte Dority is right up there, too.
What will be the determining factor in the Loyola / Mt. Carmel matchup?
Scott Powers (7:55 PM)
I think it comes down to turnovers. The first time these two teams met Loyola forced Mount Carmel into a handful of turnovers and created scoring opportunities off of them. I saw Loyola do it again against Warren this past Saturday. If Mount Carmel can take care of the ball, this game could be decided by a play or two in the end.
Why does it seem that the system tries to screw the catholic league every year in 8A? Mt. Carmel should not be anywhere near a ten seed after playing in that conference. It is the best in the state and it just seems they were placed that close to loyola, maybe the best team in the state, on purpose in fear that two catholic teams might meet in the state championship. any thoughts?
Scott Powers (7:59 PM)
The seeds are determined by wins and playoff points, so I don't think the IHSA has it out for the Catholic League. It just ended up that way this season.
Who do you like in 8A?
Scott Powers (8:11 PM)
I like Maine South to repeat. I think the Hawks' offense is just potent. They can run and run which makes them even tougher.
How good is Will Forsyth? I havent seen him play, but I see him on the cover of this chat. Is he the real deal?
Scott Powers (8:12 PM)
I think Will Forsyth has a lot of skill. His big thing is he can keep a play going as he's very mobile. Against Warren, there were a couple times where the play looked like it was going to end, and Forsyth found a way to avoid tacklers and get a pass off.
who are your picks for this weekend in 8A?
Scott Powers (8:15 PM)
This should be a great week, and I think almost any of these games could go any way, but for what it's worth I got Fremd over Marist, Glenbard North over Downers Grove South, Maine South over Glenbrook South and Loyola over Mount Carmel.
Who do you think is the best hoops coach in the city?
Scott Powers (8:21 PM)
That's tough. I don't think I could pinpoint one guy. Brooks coach Chris Head is up there. Simeon coach Robert Smith has done a real nice job in the past five years. Young's Tyrone Slaughter won a state championship last year. Loren Jackson is back at Julian, and he's had plenty of success in the past. I think Terry Head has proven the past few years he should be in the discussion.
Do you like the IHSA home/away team system? I think Loyola got screwed for having to go to Gately again this season.
Scott Powers (8:25 PM)
Yeah, I'm not a huge fan either. I know they're trying to give everyone a shot to host a home game, but I'm more of the believer that if a team is the higher seed it should be the home team no matter what. They earned that right.
Dan (Villa Park)
What are your thoughts on Angel Maldonado from Leyden?
Scott Powers (8:26 PM)
I didn't get to see Angel personally play, but I think he proved throughout the season, and especially late into it, that he can run against any level of competition.
of QB's in 8A, who do you think has the best arm?
Scott Powers (8:29 PM)
Of the 8A teams left, I think Downers Grove South's Chandler Whitmer is the best one. He could have a chance of being a good one at Illinois. I think he's closely followed by Marist's Mike Perish. From what I've been told, Western Michigan's coaches believe Perish could be an impact quarterback in the MAC.
With all this talk about Loyola and Mt. Carmel, do you believe the Catholic Blue is the best in state year in and year out?
Scott Powers (8:31 PM)
The Catholic League Blue is certainly among the best every year. I think this year it has to be among the top one or two with Loyola, Mount Carmel, Providence and St. Rita all in the quarterfinals. Plus, you have De La Salle from the Catholic League White in the quarters. Pretty impressive.
Rubio (Downers Grove)
This may be a little early, but who do you think will be the top football teams in the state next year?
Scott Powers (8:32 PM)
Man, I don't even want to think about next year, but ... St. Rita could be the favorite with running back Jahwon Akui and defensive end Bruce Gaston both coming back. Both have been among the state's best this season.
Drew (Glen Ellyn)
Do you think Glenbard West is building a dynsty? and do they have the talent to keep up the success they've had in the last two years?
Scott Powers (8:34 PM)
It appears that way. I know when I talked to coach Hetlet at the start of the season we discussed a lot about building a program. Piece by piece, he's been taking the necessary steps to create a dynasty. I think we'll see Glenbard West among the state's best for years and years to come.
hwo far do you have fremd going?
Scott Powers (8:37 PM)
I have Fremd going to the championship game. I think if the Vikings get past Marist and if they end up facing Glenbard North, that could be a real entertaining semifinal. Fremd can score points, and Glenbard North has been one of the area's best defensive teams.
How good is coach Holecek's defense at Loyola? And can their O-line create the holes they need to on Mt. Carmel's defense this week?
Scott Powers (8:40 PM)
Loyola's defense is one of the best I've seen all season. They have a star in Chance Carter and a lot of very good players around him. As for Loyola's offense line, I think it showed during their match up with Mount Carmel that it can open holes. The Caravan's defense has improved since I saw them early in the season, though.
Who is the best player pound for pound in the state?
Scott Powers (8:44 PM)
Proviso West wide receiver Kyle Prater is pretty special. I saw him make some incredible catches against Proviso East earlier in the season. From the scouts I've talked to, they believe he's an NFL talent. I think Johnsburg tight end C.J. Fiedorowicz, Fremd offensive lineman Christian Lombard and Maine South's Matt Perez are right up there, too.
What is the key to high school football, speed or size?
Scott Powers (8:46 PM)
My belief is size. If you have a large offensive line and can create holes, you don't have to have a whole lot of speed to get through them. I've seen teams win with great offensive lines and just average running backs.
I personally believe Mike Pollano of Glenbrook South has the best arm. if he wasn't so short he would easily be a Div 1 QB, because he can make every throw. what do you think?
Scott Powers (8:48 PM)
I haven't seen Mike Pullano much, but his numbers have been impressive. Just this past week, he threw for five touchdowns. I'm hoping to get out to the Maine South-GBS game this week and can probably give you a better scouting report next chat.
Big C (Normal)
Which is better to have a great running game or great passing game?
Scott Powers (8:50 PM)
I was just talking about this with someone today, and we agreed it's probably better to have a great running game, especially this time of year. With weather conditions being possibly rainy, windy or even snowing in Illinois in November, it's a lot easier to have success on the ground than in the air.
mark (La Grange)
Why isn't QB ryan mitchell of Lyons Township being highly recruited? i've seen alot of D1 qbs this year and nobody made as many plays with his legs and feet as Mitchell. He's really fast
Scott Powers (8:55 PM)
I didn't get a chance to Mitchell play this season, but I know he's a very capable quarterback. Sometimes, it's just hard for a senior quarterbacks to be recruited by D-I teams. A lot of times teams are done looking at quarterbacks by the fall and have moved on to the junior class.
Scott Powers (8:58 PM)
Thanks everyone for your questions. We'll do it the same time next week.