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High School Lites Podcast

NBC Sports Chicago


United States




Ep. 21: What is the best high school boys basketball conference in Chicagoland?

Chicago Public League or Catholic League? North Suburban or South Suburban? Does the West Suburban Silver or Gold enter the fray? Joe Collins and Scott Phillips dive into a polarizing topic: which Chicagoland high school boys basketball conference is the best? Does it only matter about the current season’s wins and losses or is it more about consistency and the overall legacy of the conference? How does a league’s star power play into the equation? For help on the topic, we reached out to...


Ep. 20: Why Conant (top of Santa’s list) and Frank Lenti (lump of coal) made the holidays memorable

It was pretty clear who got the best presents this holiday season—Conant, St. Rita, Orr, Morgan Park were among the flurry of holiday basketball tournament winners. They received shiny new first place trophies for their hallway case. But for others, especially Mount Carmel’s head football coach Frank Lenti, the news wasn’t as good. The 11-time state champion coach was relieved of his duties last week. Was Coach Lenti treated fairly by Mount Carmel? Can Jordan Lynch take the Caravan back to...


Ep. 19: Holiday tournament talk with Benet coach Gene Heidkamp

The Pontiac Holiday Tournament field is loaded with talent every year; however, this year may have the best lineup, top to bottom, seen in quite some time. Top-ranked Simeon, West Aurora, Bloom, Bloomington, Curie and several other teams will be competing for the prestigious title. One of the teams that will undoubtedly be in the mix is Benet. The Redwings, currently ranked #20 in our Preps Power Rankings, drew Peoria Manual in the opening road. Benet head coach Gene Heidkamp breaks down the...


Ep. 18: Chicago basketball Q&A with DePaul Prep head coach Tom Kleinschmidt

From his playing days at Gordon Tech and DePaul University-- and now as a coach at DePaul Prep, Tom Kleinschmidt has become a legend on the local basketball scene. His Rams were a force to be reckoned with in 1990, as he led Gordon Tech to the state championship game. Now, as a coach at his newly-renamed alma mater, he plans on taking the Rams to the same lofty heights. We catch up about the past, present and future of his mark on the Chicago basketball landscape. The panel also discuss the...


Ep. 17: Best HS basketball rivalry in Illinois? Simeon coach Robert Smith has an idea

What is the best high school basketball rivalry in the state? Simeon head coach Robert Smith shares his thoughts on the topic. Oh, did we mention that Simeon and Morgan Park play each other this week? Joe Collins and Scott Phillips talk about why this matchup is so meaningful on the prep basketball scene. The panel also discuss the @NBCSPreps Power Rankings, as several new teams are in the mix. They also break down the next High School Lites episode, which features several high-caliber...


Ep. 16: “Elite” status? Which Chicagoland HS basketball teams are title-worthy?

Can Whitney Young repeat as 4A state champs? Or Morgan Park in 3A? Can the same be said for Orr in 2A? Joe Collins and preps basketball contributor Scott Phillips discuss this and set the table on the high school basketball season. And speaking of the Whitney Young Dolphins, head coach Tyrone Slaughter joins the discussion, reflecting on his team’s 6-0 start. He also previews the Dolphins’ involvement in the upcoming Chicago Elite Classic at the UIC Pavilion, where they will face Vashon High...


Ep. 15: Rules, regulations…and repeat champions?

Can Prairie Ridge repeat as state champions? Will Rochester and IC Catholic Prep do the same? It’s championship weekend at Huskie Stadium in DeKalb for IHSA football. Joe Collins and “Edgy” Tim O’Halloran wrap up the 2017 prep season and discuss the games on NIU’s campus this weekend. Could some contests go down to the last play? A lot of playoffs games have done just that in recent memory. And referees are the ones who keep a continuous rundown of checks of balances as plays/game flow...


Ep. 14: The revenge game of… “The Revenge Game”

What will “Lincoln-Way East vs. Maine South, Part III” be like? We’re about to find out. On September 1, Lincoln-Way South made a statement in a revenge game (of sorts) in a 28-26 victory in Park Ridge. The win erased the sting of a loss on their home field the previous season to those same Hawks. Fans will be treated to the third such battle in a year. Joe Collins and “Edgy” Tim O’Halloran will catch up with special guest Maine South head coach Dave Inserra about Saturday. The panel will...


Ep. 13: Solutions to help keep football fans “all-in” for the playoffs

Around this time of year, radio stations start to play, “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year.” The song spreads holiday cheer, but the song title alone lends itself to the high school football landscape in November. The road to a state championship could easily be the most wonderful time of year for high school football fans, but attendance numbers say otherwise. How to fix this issue? Joe Collins, Jared Storck and “Edgy” Tim O’Halloran offer their solutions. The panel also dives in to...


Ep. 12: The great football playoff debate: expansion or no expansion?

Should the IHSA keep its 256-team football playoff field? Or should it be doubled, guaranteeing (virtually) all Illinois high schools a postseason berth? This playoff realignment, where teams play eight regular season games instead of nine, is part of a proposal that has been sent to the IHSA. Expanded discussions on the topic by the IHSA Legislative Commission take place later this month. Joe Collins, Jared Storck and “Edgy” Tim O’Halloran weigh each side of the debate. They also open the...


Ep. 11: Which round one games have the biggest upset potential?

Which games have the biggest upset potential? Who has the toughest path out of the early rounds of the playoffs? Joe Collins, Jared Storck and “Edgy” Tim O’Halloran break down the opening round of the IHSA football playoffs. And they have some help: coaching legend Terry McCombs joins the group for some analysis. McCombs, now in his 48th year of high school football coaching, leads his Minooka Indians into play Friday night against Notre Dame. He gives his synopsis on the matchup, the 8A...


Ep. 10: Bracket fever? Time to visit the bracketologist!

Which teams are on the right side of the IHSA playoff bubble? What seems to be the magic number for playoff points? Shaw Media’s Steve Soucie, our resident bracketologist, puts the IHSA football playoffs in perspective. He is joined by hosts Joe Collins, Jared Storck and “Edgy” Tim O’Halloran. For some teams, a win puts them in the playoffs. For others, it’s win…and hope that a few other teams across the state help shape the standings in their favor. All this, plus a look at the Week Nine...


Ep. 9: Why it’s time to get excited about the IHSA football playoffs

October is the most fascinating month on the sports calendar-- all of the major sports overlap in some capacity. Illinois’ high school football schedule peaks in its own way around the middle of the month: pairing show night. Joe Collins, Jared Storck, “Edgy” Tim O’Halloran and IHSA broadcaster Dave Bernhard reflect on why this time of year is so special on the high school football landscape. Also, the panel explores key storylines in each of the classes and predict possible matchups. All...


Ep. 8: Fly the flag: will CPS’ flag football league keep the high school game relevant?

The Chicago Public League has initiated a flag football league, due in large part to 12 schools dropping traditional football from their athletic programs. Is this the answer for low football participation numbers? Is it the beginning of a larger trend across the city/state? “Edgy” Tim O’Halloran and High School Lites producers Joe Collins and Jared Storck debate the topic. The panel also welcomes Daily Herald writer Kevin Schmit, who discusses the past, present and future of the DuPage...


Ep. 7: Catch ‘em if you can: how is Peoria High School scoring 70 points per game?

Peoria High School scored 94 points –in football—against Bloomington on Friday. They are averaging close to 70 points on the season. Will they score 100 points in a game this year? Can the Lions repeat as 5A state champs? Joe Collins, Jared Storck and “Edgy” Tim O’Halloran catch up with their head coach, Tim Thornton. Also: Niles North (hazing) and Whitney Young (low participation numbers) have suspended their football programs for the rest of the season. How does this impact the future of...


Ep. 6: What is the greatest high school football rivalry in Illinois?

Excellent teams. Tradition. Locality. Fan base animosity. They’re the cornerstones of what make a great high school football rivalry. In this edition of CSN Chicago’s High School Lites podcast, Joe Collins, Jared Storck and “Edgy” Tim O’Halloran dive into this topic and discuss which ones stand out above the rest in Illinois. The panel also break down the newly-released IHSA playoff outlook and discuss the early candidates for offensive player of the year. They’ll also look ahead to Friday’s...


Ep. 5: Black and Blues Brothers—East Aurora Head Coach (and former Bears’ Super Bowl XX champion) Kurt Becker talks IHSA football with the HS Lites panel

In this edition of CSN Chicago’s High School Lites podcast, Joe Collins, Jared Storck and “Edgy” Tim O’Halloran catch up with East Aurora head coach (and former Super Bowl XX Champion Chicago Bears guard) Kurt Becker. Discussion points include the new state-of-the-art playing field at the school and how it could serve as a building block for the Tomcat program. Also: Kurt describes how an NFL background has helped bridge the gap between football and parents who are questioning if their sons...


Ep. 4: Road Trip! IHSA football teams seek to distance themselves from the competition on the road to the playoffs

In this edition of CSN Chicago’s High School Lites podcast: Homewood-Flossmoor went road tripping last week --777 miles to be exact—from Chicago’s southern suburbs to Durham, North Carolina. We catch up with Vikings head coach Craig Buzea on how the team pulled off the trip…and got a win to boot. “Edgy” Tim O’Halloran and High School Lites producer Jared Storck joined Joe Collins to preview Week Three on the IHSA calendar and examine the biggest surprises thus far on the 2017 season. Scott...


Ep. 3: Parity or Parody? Will the Real McCoys show up after Week One chaos?

In this edition of CSN Chicago’s High School Lites podcast: is it a matter of parity…or parody? Is it a changing of the guard among the prep football elite or is it simple a matter of heart, hustle and muscle? There were quite a few upsets –and eye-opening scores—in Week One IHSA football action. One of those head-turning games was Phillips’ huge win over Loyola at Gately Stadium. Wildcats head coach Troy McCallister checks in on the podcast with Joe Collins, Jared Storck and “Edgy” Tim...


Ep. 2: Matt Bowen instills football goals, life goals in athletes

In this edition of CSN Chicago’s High School Lites podcast, we hear from a guy who has made waves on the Chicagoland and Midwestern football scene for decades: Matt Bowen. He was a three-sport athlete at Glenbard West, an All-Big Ten star at the University of Iowa and a key contributor on several NFL teams including the Rams, Packers, Redskins and Dolphins. Over that time, Matt has learned vital football and life lessons that he now instills on the young men he coaches at IC Prep in...