LPI Game Preview: #4 Homewood-Flossmoor @ #3 Lincoln-Way East
Coming off a 10-2 season and an 8A quarterfinal appearance this team is primed for another deep playoff run. The Vikings sit at 2-0 after cruise control wins over Downers Grove South (56-6) and Hammond, Indiana (54-6). This team has a lot of returning talent and I fully expect them to play well against this tough Lincoln Way East team. This team is lead by a number of D1 recruits and prospects including seniors John Michael Schmitz, Jamezz Kimbrough, Jack Doyle, Tyrice Richie, Tyler DeMartra and junior Justin Hall. Senior QB Bryant Wright has stepped in the first few games for the Vikings and has performed admirably leading his team to 2 easy victories. Western Michigan commit John Michael Schmitz, Central Michigan commit Jamezz Kimbrough and Wyoming offeree Jack Doyle lead an exceptional offensive line that will open up running lanes for RBs Herbert Hughes, Tyler Nutall and WR/RB/S Justin Hall. On the outside, QB Wright will look to Northern Illinois commit Tyrice Richie and Central Michigan offeree Justin Hall. Both are big-time playmakers that you should look out for in this game. Seniors Montreal Blade and Tyler DeMartra are guys to watch on this Viking defense. Blade is a MLB that doesn’t have any D1 offers, but could be a great player for a D2 or possibly a D1AA school. Also keep and eye on CB/WR Tyler DeMartra on both sides of the ball.
Keys To The Game
1. Both teams are loaded on offense and defense so there is no one key to winning this game. The Vikings great OL must hold off Lincoln Way East DL Devin O’Rourke, Zack Tencza and Kyle Julius so QB Wright has time to throw. If Vikings OL can’t hold off the Griffin pass rush then Homewood-Flossmoor has to look to getting playmakers Richie, Hall and Hughes in space to combat it.
2. The 2 QB system that Lincoln Way East is bringing in has worked early on for the Griffins so Homewood-Flossmoor has to adapt early and often to combat Lincoln Way East’s ever changing looks.
Other Players To Watch
Leon Tanna, Robert Venegas, Christian Mallinger
Lincoln Way East is a very interesting team this year. The shocking closing of rival school Lincoln Way North led most of the Phoenix’ kids to transfer to Lincoln Way East. As a result of this, the already talented Lincoln Way East Griffins added a lot of talent from a 2015 6A Lincoln Way North team that went 11-1. The Griffins have come out of the gates in 2016 swinging with convincing wins of 49-12 and 35-0 over South Bend Adams (IN) and Belleville West respectively. This infusion of talent brings the Griffins a lot of depth it also brings tough decisions of who to start for head coach Rob Zvonar. The Griffins have been consistently playing returning senior QB Max Shafer as well as North transfer and senior Jake Arthur. Nigel Muhammed leads the offense on the ground here while Colgate commit Sam Diehl anchors the OL. Junior DE Devin O’Rourke is a stud for this Griffin defense holding multiple power 5 offers from Wisconsin, Northwestern, Illinois and Iowa State. Keep an eye out for him this game and also make sure to watch fellow defensive linemen Zack Tencza and Kyle Julius.
The scary thing is that some of the backups on this team could be impact starters on many other teams and guys like Ryan Scianna and Brendan Morrissey are solid players that have been getting a lot of looks at RB because of Lincoln Way East’s early blowouts. This is the deepest team in the state and it would not surprise me one bit if they ended up hoisting the 8A trophy in Champaign this year.
Keys To The Game
1. Like I said above, both of these teams are stacked and there is no one way to win this game. However, on offense, I think the Griffins 2 QB system gives them different looks to keep the Viking defense guessing. If QBs Shafer and Arthur can keep mistakes to a minimum and control the clock I think the Griffins will be in good position this game.
2. DL O’Rourke, Tencza and Julius must get to the QB so Viking signal caller Wright doesn’t have time to survey the field and find playmakers Richie, Hall and Hughes.
Other Players To Watch
C.J. Wilson-Richmond, Colton Pedersen, Kenny Anderson, Jeremy Nelson, Jaden Hacha.