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Frankfort (Lincoln-Way East) vs. Lockport (Twp.): Not Just Another "Clash on the Canal"

Another year on the calendar means another Lockport-Lincoln Way "Clash on the Canal". For the last two years, it's been a three-way showdown between the Porters and the split campus of the Knights of (New Lenox) Lincoln-Way Central and the three-year old (Frankfort) Lincoln-Way East Griffins. It's the young Griffins that get the upset try this week in Lockport for a key SICA Blue contest (iHigh.com National Webcast - 9/26 @ 6:45pm CT - also available at http://ISNet.4mg.com).

With the state championship focus squarely on Mundelein (Carmel), most folks don't know that the Porters - defending Class 8A state champs and the second ever team to hold that title in Illinois - are also undefeated at 4-0 (2-0 SICA Blue). But don't tell Jake Christensen that. The senior QB is quietly putting together a pretty good season, having passed for averages of 185 yards and 2.5 TDs per game. And as he takes over for Steve Walker, who led last year's title run, the precision that he learned from him is shining through with each pass that he's throws.

But just as Lockport is good in the air, the upstart Griffins (2-2 / 2-0 SICA Blue) are equally dangerous on the ground. Gus Olafsson leads a team that has most of the kids from its first-ever team in 2001 gone; oddly enough, LWE made the playoffs that year as well as last year's quarterfinal run. People down Frankfort way should be calling him "Gus the Bus". Olafsson - also a senior - has averaged 150 yards and 3 TDs in two SICA Blue wins this year over (Orland Park) Sandurg and Joliet; he was almost non-existent in two early non-conference losses to (Park Ridge) Maine South and (Chicago) St. Rita.

In the short series between the Griffins and the Porters, it is the Porters who have the early upper hand 2-0, with a 45-7 win at Lockport in 2001 and a 24-21 squeaker last year in Frankfort. As both teams are tied for the SICA Blue lead, look for a contrast of styles to clash just minutes away from the historic I&M Canal, where Lockport High resides. If the Griffins can confuse Christensen early with pressure from pre-season conference all-star defensive linemen Kyle Bookhout and Steve Hertzog, look for this tussle to go all the way down to the last play, considering the improvement of the Griffins last season. Also, there is a four-way tie in the division at this point, and with games against division co-leaders Lincoln-Way Central and Homewood-Flossmoor on the horizon, this could be the game to watch for the inside track at the division championship.

by Alvin Washington
























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