Like the North Suburban Lake Division, the North Suburban Prairie was bunched up at the top in 2011 with three teams tied at 5-1 in divisional play as the Antioch Sequoits, Grant Bulldogs and Lakes Eagles all tied for the divisional title. Antioch ran through most of their 2011 schedule with a 7-0 record before losing to Grant in regular season and then again in the first round of the playoffs to finish 8-2. The Sequoits have found themselves knocked off in the first round of the playoffs the last two years after successful regular seasons, maybe this will be the year Antioch gets deeper into the playoffs.
Grant had a rough start last season, beginning with a 1-2 record before winning five straight games and would make it to the second round of the playoffs before losing to Lakes. This season, the Bulldogs will have a start of four straight home games including a crossover with Stevenson.
Those games will decide if Grant will be a team that has the potential to go deep in 2012. The team that improved most in 2011 was Lakes, who finished 9-3 after getting to the state quarterfinals before losing to Batavia. The Eagles have a ton of talent returning including running back Direll Clark. This will be a team to reckon with in 2012.
The Vernon Hills Cougars finished 5-4 in 2011 but didn’t have enough playoff points to qualify for the postseason. It was quite the drop-off after going 10-2 in 2010 but the Cougars are still in good shape and should be competitive this season. The Wauconda Bulldogs were 2-7 while the North Chicago Warhawks and Round Lake Panthers were both 1-8 last season.
Those teams are going to have trouble getting any higher in the conference with the talent at the top of the division. The 2012 season is going to be one that sees either Lakes, Antioch or Grant once again find their way to the top of the division but this is the year for Lakes in their eighth year of existence. The Eagles have the potential to be semifinalists if not more in 2012 but will start with three tough games against Grayslake North, Woodstock North and Lake Forest. Antioch will finish with Grant coming in a close third.