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Chicago Sun-Times
Chicago Sun-Times
Mike Clark

Previewing Week 7’s top high school football games

St. Rita’s Jett Hilding (5) hurdles the last Joliet Catholic defender before scoring a touchdown. (Allen Cunningham/For the Sun-Times)

No. 15 Morgan Park vs. Kenwood, 1:30 p.m. Saturday at Gately Stadium

The winner gets South Side bragging rights and the inside track to the Public League Red title with two weeks left. Both teams are loaded with Division I talent. Morgan Park (5-1, 4-0) has multi-purpose athlete Tysean Griffin, an Illinois commit; Wyoming-bound receiver Chris Durr and three-star junior safety Jovan Clark among others. Kenwood (4-2, 4-0) got a lift when Miami-bound edge rusher Marquise Lightfoot returned to action in last week’s win vs. Taft after being out with an injury since Week 1. The Broncos also have a gamebreaker on offense in Michigan commit I’Marion Stewart, who had 60- and 79-yard TD receptions against Taft.

Phillips vs. Simeon, 7:15 p.m. Friday at Gately Stadium

These two teams are part of a five-way logjam for third place in the Public League Red with Young, Amundsen and Taft. Phillips (4-2, 3-1), the second smallest program in the 16-team conference behind the Urban Prep co-op, has lost to Batavia and Morgan Park. The Wildcats expect to be a force in the Class 3A playoffs with a pair of playmakers in quarterback Joe Winslow Jr. and running back Herschel Willie. Simeon (3-3, 3-1) has leaned on a defense anchored by two Power Five-caliber linemen: Mikeshun Beeler and Chris Burgess. 

No. 12 St. Rita at No. 20 St. Francis, 7:30 p.m. Friday

This is one of two interesting CCL/ESCC crossovers between the powerhouse Blue and underrated Orange divisions. St. Rita (4-2) has quality wins over Fenwick and Joliet Catholic, and its two losses were to the No. 1 and 2 teams in the area, Mount Carmel and Loyola. DJ Stewart averages better than six yards per carry and has scored nine TDs to lead a balanced offense. St. Francis (4-2) bounced back from a frustrating 17-16 loss to Fenwick in Week 4 by posting its fwo best wins of the season: 33-28 vs. Joliet Catholic and 35-34 vs. previously unbeaten IC Catholic. The Spartans have one of the area’s toughest schedules — only one of their nine opponents is under .500 — and one of the best quarterbacks, Ball State commit Alessio Milivojevic.

No. 2 Loyola at No. 21 IC Catholic, 7:30 p.m. Friday

Loyola (6-0) hasn’t skipped a beat during coach Beau Desherow’s first season since replacing three-time state champ John Holecek. The Ramblers have held five opponents to seven points or fewer and their closest game was last week’s 21-5 win vs. St. Rita. Junior quarterback Ryan Fitzgerald has passed for 906 yards and nine TDs with no interceptions, and has run for another 231 yards and five scores. IC Catholic (5-1), like St. Francis, has stepped up in competition by moving from the defunct Metro Suburban to the CCL/ESCC and has more than held its own despite having one of the smallest enrollments in the super-conference. Receiver KJ Parker (Iowa) and tight end Eric Karner (Texas A&M) are two to watch for the Knights.

Bradley-Bourbonnais at No. 18 Lincoln-Way West, 7 p.m. Friday

The winner controls its destiny in the Southwest Suburban Red. Bradley (5-1, 1-0), whose only loss was to Lincoln-Way East, can score points in bunches and are averaging more than 38 per game. Kevontae Sutton ran for three touchdowns in last week’s win vs. Andrew. Lincoln-Way West (5-1, 2-0) has lost only to downstate power Belleville East, and has noteworthy wins vs. Bolingbrook and Lincoln-Way Central.

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