After teams have worked out some of the bugs in Week 1, Week 2 is where teams really start to take their shapes for what is likely to come over the course of the season. For many, Week 2 also marks the end of the nonconference slate, and some schools have scheduled some real doozies to close out that portion of the schedule. Here’s a look at some potential key games in Week 2:
Phillips (9-2) at Mount Carmel (14-0); Friday, September 4, 7:30 p.m.: Billed as a the Southside Super Bowl when the two squared off in the Class 7A quarterfinal round last fall, the two stalwarts decided to make it an annual affair with a nonconference matchup. Mount Carmel went onto win the state championship and is blessed with a ton of returning talent to try to repeat. One thing Phillips never seems to lack is talent. In any case, this is a matchup with some real early season intrigue.
Simeon (7-2) at Loyola (8-4); Saturday, September 5, 1:30 p.m.: Yet another Chicago Public League/Catholic League showdown that is intriguing on paper. Simeon has never backed away from scheduling challenging games in the regular season, but last year that practice almost cost it a playoff slot as a out-of-state nonconference game fell through and another game lost to a teacher’s strike put the Wolverines one game below the threshold required to qualify for the postseason (a rule that has since been eliminated). In any case, this should still be an interesting early season matchup between two schools hoping to make a big impact.
IC Catholic (10-2) at Joliet Catholic (8-4); Friday, September 4, 7:30 p.m.: It’s a focus on the running game in this one as both teams feature highly productive running backs that should easily be worth the watch. IC Catholic’s Kyle Franklin has been posting big numbers since his freshman year, when he averaged double-digit yardage per carry and looks to finish off a highly productive high school career. Joliet Catholic will counter with junior Jordan Anderson, who burst onto the scene in his sophomore season and posted well over 1,000 yards rushing. Now as the featured back, look for him to post even gaudier numbers.
Naperville Central (4-5) at Lincoln-Way East (14-0); Friday, September 4, 7:30 p.m.: Lincoln-Way East will obviously have a little bit of a different look to start the season with all-everything A.J. Henning off to Michigan, but the Griffins didn’t win two state championships in three seasons only because of Henning’s contributions. The cupboard is almost never bare in Frankfort and although things will certainly look different, it would be stunning if East wasn’t ready to lock horns with the talented core that Naperville Central possesses.
Bishop McNamara (8-4) vs. Coal City (12-1); Friday, September 4, 7 p.m.: Two squads that have definitely made their mark in recent postseasons, but both graduated a significant amount of talent from their ranks. Both programs have long histories of reloading rather than rebuilding, so it will be interesting to see if history holds to form in both of these programs' camps.
Other games of note: Homewood-Flossmoor at Canton McKinley; Friday, September 4, 7 p.m.; St. Charles North at Bolingbrook; Friday, September 4, 7 p.m.; Lake Zurich at Marist; Friday, September 4, 7:30 p.m.; Maine South at Gurnee Warren; Friday, September 4, 7:30 p.m.; Richards vs. Lemont at Benedictine University; Saturday, September 5, 6 p.m.