Here’s a look at the top five football games in Week 3:
No. 6 Richards (2-0) at Hillcrest (1-1) 7 p.m. Friday
This South Suburban crossover could wind up being the conference’s de facto title game. It features two of the state’s premier running backs in Richards senior Leshon Williams, an Iowa recruit, and Hillcrest junior Mar’Keise Irving, who has five Big Ten offers. Richards has shown steadiness under pressure with seven-point wins over Lincoln-Way Central and St. Rita. Hillcrest has split two one-score games, losing to Brother Rice and beating Sandburg.
No. 16 Providence (2-0) at No. 8 Brother Rice (2-0) 7:30 p.m. Friday
These longtime Catholic League Blue rivals are in separate divisions of the Catholic League/East Suburban Catholic super conference now. Providence could be looking at a special season if it can avoid injuries. The Celtics have experience with 16 returning starters and talent with D-I prospects offensive lineman Jake Renfro and tight end Jameson Geers leading the way. Rice has a pair of premier defensive linemen in Denver Warren and Justin Jefferson, along with a rising offensive star in running back Willie Shaw.
No. 7 Montini (2-0) at No. 11 Mount Carmel (2-0) 7:30 p.m. Friday
Montini, last year’s Class 5A runner-up, gets its first big test after wins over Hudson (Wis.) and Collins. Quarterback Deontay Bell and receiver Nate Muersch, a Miami (Ohio) recruit, are a productive pass-catch duo for the Broncos. Mount Carmel had four takeaways in last week’s 21-7 win over Maine South and hasn’t allowed an offensive touchdown this season. Caravan quarterback Justin Lynch has passed for three touchdowns and run for two more in two games.
Notre Dame (2-0) at No. 23 Marist (2-0) 8 p.m. Friday
Both former East Suburban Catholic teams had to replace some playmakers, as Notre Dame graduated two-way star Ty Gavin and Marist graduated quarterback Mike Markett. The Dons, who outscored their first two opponents 70-21, still have junior two-sport standout Anthony Sayles at quarterback. Senior Amari Watkins has rushed for 252 yards and senior Hayden Mikesell has passed for 162 more for the RedHawks.
St. Rita (1-1) at No. 2 Loyola (1-1) 1:30 p.m. Saturday
Like Providence and Brother Rice, former Catholic Blue foes St, Rita and Loyola are now in different divisions of the CCL/ESCC. Loyola’s inexperienced defense took a big step forward last week, shutting out New Trier after its first drive en route to a 34-3 win. St. Rita’s speedy sophomore Kaleb Brown, who has multiple Power Five offers, will provide a serious test this week. On offense, the Ramblers will continue their share-the-wealth strategy by giving touches to multiple running backs and receivers.