Previewing Week 9’s top high school football games

A look at this week’s five best games.

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Glenbard West quarterback Korey Tai (7) is driven out of bounds by York’s Matt Sutter (35).

Glenbard West quarterback Korey Tai (7) is driven out of bounds by York’s Matt Sutter (35).

Kevin Tanaka/For the Sun-Times

No. 4 Brother Rice at No. 12 Marist, 6 p.m. Friday

This game, known locally as the Pulaski Road Super Bowl, is one of the state’s classic rivalries. The schools are barely two miles apart and usually closely matched — Rice leads the series 22-18 and the last five games have been decided by a total of 31 points. The Crusaders (6-2, 1-1 CCL/ESCC Blue) have a Player of the Year candidate in senior quarterback Jack Lausch, heading to Notre Dame as a preferred walk-on for football and baseball. Running back Aaron Vaughn and defensive lineman Roderick Pierce, who has Illinois and Kentucky offers, also are impact players. Marist (6-2, 0-2) also has a premier quarterback in Coastal Carolina recruit Dontrell Jackson Jr.

No. 1 Loyola at No. 11 Mount Carmel, 7:30 p.m. Friday

Can anyone or anything stop Loyola? The Ramblers graduated a deep, talented senior class from the state’s top-ranked team in the pandemic spring season. And they retooled their offense around senior running back Marco Maldonado (763 total yards, 14 TDs) and junior quarterback Jake Stearney (1,391 passing yards, 13 TDs). Maldonado broke his collarbone late in an epic 46-43 win over Brother Rice in Week 4, but Loyola (8-0, 2-0) just keeps rolling along, Mount Carmel (6-2, 1-1) also has a number of new faces after some significant graduation losses. Junior Damarion Arrington, who has lined up at quarterback and running back, has helped keep the Caravan offense rolling.

No. 23 Fenwick at No. 10 St. Ignatius, 7:30 p.m. Friday

Though the Blue gets most of the attention in the CCL/ESCC superconference, these White division teams have turned some heads this season. St. Ignatius (8-0, 2-0) sprung arguably the upset of the season, beating Mount Carrnel 27-0 in Week 5 for its first win in the series since 1928 (the Wolfpack didn’t have a team between 1964 and 2005). Vinny Rugai, whose dad Rob quarterbacked Mount Carmel in the 1980s, was the star of that game as a running back and linebacker. Fenwick (6-2, 2-0), which pushed Loyola to the limit before losing 27-24 on a late field goal, is loaded with Division I talent: quarterback Kaden Cobb (Ball State), receivers Eian Pugh (Illinois) and Max Reese (Eastern Michigan), and center Jimmy Liston (Purdue). 

No. 16 Hinsdale Central at No. 24 Glenbard West, 1 p.m. Saturday

Hinsdale Central (7-1, 5-0) has a 12-game winning streak in the West Suburban Silver and is looking to win the conference outright for the second time this calendar year. The Red Devils came from 16 down in the fourth quarter to beat York, the other team still mathematically alive in the conference race. Watch Thomas Skokna, who returned kickoffs for touchdowns against Proviso East and Lyons. Glenbard West (7-1, 4-1), which lost 12-10 to York, has a typically stingy defense with three shutouts and just 65 points allowed all season.

Crete-Monee at Kankakee, 7 p.m. Friday

The de facto Southland championship game matches two of the top Class 6A teams in the state in third-ranked Kankakee (8-0, 4-0) and sixth-ranked Crete-Monee (6-2, 5-0). The Kays have a prolific pass-catch duo in quarterback Tomele Staples and receiver Pierre Allen along with multi-talented junior Jyaire Hill, who has seven Power Five offers. Crete quarterback Joshua Franklin, a state track medalist in the triple jump, had an eight-touchdown game against Thornwood earlier this season.

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