LPI Game Preview: Metea Valley @ Lincoln-Way Central

Metea Valley

The 2-6 record of this Metea Valley team does not do this team justice. Head coach Ben Kleinhans’ squad very well could be 5-3 after losing 3 close games decided by 3 points or less. Not only that, but this team has played some of the top teams in the state such as Neuqua Valley, Naperville North and Glenbard North. This Lincoln-Way Central team will be no different. Sophomore QB Payton Thorne already has good size at 6’2″ 170 lbs and looks to be entrenched in the role for the next few years. Junior OT Bryce Effner has good size at 6’5″ 270 lbs and is surely someone I’ll be keeping an eye on. The Mustangs run a spread offense that features a lot of pass catchers including Jayden Reed, Blake Wiliams, Ashton Creal, Michael Brown and running back Alonzo Taylor-Jones to name a few. Senior S Johnny Jones is a name I’ll be looking out for on the Mustang defense. DE Michael Robinson, MLB Evan Woods and DE Mitch Reyes are others to watch out for in the Metea front 7.

Other Players To Watch
Cordell Peoples, Ben Loutsis, Charles Anderson, Malik Johnson

Keys To The Game
Offense: This offense runs through Thorne so if he has time to throw and can get the passing game going early on I think the Mustangs will be in good shape.

Defense: Muto, Morgan and Pollack will be getting a lot of work on the ground for Lincoln-Way so if the Metea D can force the Knights to pass and throw them off their game plan, the Mustang D will be in good shape.

Lincoln-Way Central

The Knights of Lincoln-Way Central come into this tilt at 6-2. While playing in the very tough Southwest Suburban conference, the teams they lost to (Bradley-Bourbonnais and Lockport) have a combined 2 losses on the season. Head coach Jeremy Cordell does not want to make excuses for his team that is very dangerous. Senior QB Hunter Campbell leads the offense this game while Eric Hypke, Mario Rodrigues and the rest of the O-Line will look to give Campbell time to throw. Nico Muto leads the Knights on the ground while SB’s Mike Morgan and Matt Pollack also get some carries. While Lincoln-Way likes to keep it on the ground, Jake Pott and Jack Grove are 2 long and able pass catchers for the Knights. On defense, junior safety Peyton Nigro leads the charge. I had the opportunity to interview Nigro a couple weeks ago and was just as impressed with his humble answers as his great on field play. CB Bobby Palermo and S/OLB Trey Lyons are 2 more names to watch out for in the Knight’s secondary.

Other Players To Watch
Brett Widule, Nick Degregorio, Michael Cepolski

Keys To The Game
Offense: The offenseive line has to give ball carriers Muto, Morgan and Pollack room to run. Metea Valley will likely stack the box, so if the Knights can get the running game going then that will set up big plays via play action pass for them.

Defense: The Knights front 7 has to put pressure QB Thorne and throw off his rhythm early. If they can rattle the sophomore then I think the Lincoln-Way defense will do well.