The 2003 "Big Game"
IHSFW.com "The Big Game" is a quick rundown of the best match-ups from around the state week by week.
#4Joliet (Catholic)8-0 @ #1Mundelein
#22 Freeport (H.S.) 8-0 @ #28Rockford
You couldn't ask for better match ups. All four of these teams are undefeated & both of these games are for a conference title. To top that off, with Boylan slipping into the Big 30 this week it puts both of these games to feature 4 of the best teams in the state facing off against each other.
Boylan will be looking to bounce back from last years lost to Freeport, where a last second missed field goal helped the Pretzels avoid overtime & seal up an undefeated regular season along with a Northern Illinois (NIC-9) Title.
Carmel will becoming in as the favorite to this East Suburban Catholic Conference showdown. While Joliet Catholic doesn't have the #1 ranking in the state, Carmel still wants something they have. That's the respect that a program gets from winning multiple state titles. While the Corsairs haven't ever even played in a state finals game, coach Andy Bitto is looking to form a Carmel dynasty. After two close calls the last two years, this team blessed with several key returning starters will be looking to add an exclamation point to a season they hopes ends with some State Finals hardware.
#9Geneseo8-0 @ #6 Rochelle 8-0
#13 Springfield (S.H.G.) 8-0 @ Jerseyville (Jersey) 7-1
The greatest thing about having to play 6 or 7 conference games a year is that you need to fill the remaining open dates with teams outside your conference. While Geneseo & Rochelle, didn't have to go to far. A cross conference game of theNorthwest Upstate Illini
Illini (South)Champs is something you would think must be a scheduled title game similar to college football, but in fact these to Northern Illinois powerhouses have been scheduling these games for the past few years now. Another reason why we love the forward thinking of the athletic directors at both schools, who aren't playing weaker opponents to pad their season record.
Another cross conference game will feature the
Western Illinois Valley (North)champsConcord
(Triopia)&Western Illinois Valley (South)champsGreenfield. Both teams come in winning games through defense. Triopia's defense got them a spot in the hit list in week 6. After they shut out their first 5 opponents. Granted those teams combined for a 7-33 record, but their last three games didn't see to much more scoring. They've yet to give up more than a touchdown in a game. Allowing only 20 points total so far. WhileGreenfieldhas given up twice as many points, 43 still puts them as one of the best in the state.
Sacred Heart-Griffin, finished off it's conference games last week, finishing 7-0 in conference play & are theCentral State EightChamps. They'll make a trek down I-55 to visit Mississippi Valley champions Jerseyville (Jersey) , who just knocked off previously undefeated Highland to claim the conference title.
#16Chicago (Brother Rice)8-0 @ #20Chicago (St. Rita)7-1
While the great Catholic League showdown of the two undefeated teams meeting in the final week for theChicago Catholic (Blue)Title, had a slight change of plans. Don't go looking for apologizes fromNew Lenox (Providence). The fact of the matter is The Crusaders & Mustangs would be a great match up regardless of their rankings or records. These two teams have been playing tough all season long, Rice's defense has only allowed 33 points all season. That puts them in the top 5 defenses in the state. Rita's Wade Weyer has been running all over opposing teams' defenses. These two schools are a stones throw away from each other & many have gone to school together prior to high school. Look for a great grudge match of neighborhood kids, as Rita will be looking to knock off Rice & claim a part of the conference title.
Park (Andrew) 7-1 @ #30Bolingbrook7-1
Island (Alleman) 7-0 @ #26 Rock
Island (H.S.) 6-1
Rock Island has been one of a hand full of larger schools from outside the Chicago land area that has been able to produce a consistent winning program over the last decade, much of that can be attributed to the arrival of head coach Vic Boblett who since stepping onto the Rocks field in 1991 has turned around the program which had just reached the playoffs twice before in it's history. Coach Boblett hasn't had a losing season since '91 on top of the Rocks have made it to the Semi Finals 3 times & were the runners up in 5A in '97. While the Rocks come into this game with a loss, that loss will surely be followed with an asterisk in the year book, as a few cases of the whooping cough caused them to forfeit their week 6 game versus against East Moline (United)
. Alleman on the other hand hasn't seen a first round playoff game since '95. Which was also the last year they had a winning season. So, while the Pioneers will be coming into Friday's game with a better record, they still have to play as a slight underdog. Either way, a cross town match up between a public & private schools, with a conference championship on the line, should bring a great crowd which will give both teams something a little more to play for. As if there wasn't enough already.
#8 Downers Grove
(North) 7-0 @ #13 Downers Grove
Another great cross town match up this weekend pits the 8th ranked Trojans against the 13th ranked Mustangs. Tom Edwards is the tough and agile field commander foe the Trojans. Edwards a QB (who steps in at linebacker) is not scared to run the ball and run it hard if his passing options aren't there. He has been the power behind the Trojans push towards an undefeated season as well as a state championship. The Mustangs have been know to pour it on when it comes to scoring, but the focal point of this team has been their defense. Led by linebacker Sam Carson. They average just over 8 points allowed a game. The 2002 8A quarterfinalist & 2001 8A State Champion Mustangs have been the better of the two teams over the last few years, the ball is in the Trojans' hands as they travel to the south side of town for this annual matchup.
Carthage 7-0 @ Sciota (West
Apart from the drive from Chicago to Carthage or Sciota to see this game, this match up has been a favorites of IHSFW since the two teams met in the 1A State finals in 2000. That game saw the Blue Boys of Carthage win their 3 straight title in a row & avenge their only loss of the season which was to a then Sciota (Northwestern-LaHarpe) team. These two West Central Conference teams are the monsters of the Midwest when it comes to the smaller schools. Carthage hasn't missed the playoffs since 1990 & has been to 5 of the last 8 title games for it's class, while placing state records for most points scored in a season. "The Boys" placed 4 teams in the state record books for most points scored in a season. Including the top spot of 694 in 2000. Carthage is on it's way to leading the state in points scored again. As of week 7 they have a massed 362 points. But West Prairie isn't far behind with 311. Since 1995 head coach Tim Lafferty has been on a roll. After going 9-18 his first three year, his Sciota teams have been a playoff team qualifier every year since '95. They were runners up in '96 & 2000 and have made it to the quarterfinals the last 4 seasons. Those of you in the area who haven't seen these two titans class on the gridiron should make your way to LaHarpe Friday night, because, while these may be the two best teams once again in 1A, with the new regional playoff format, you probably won't see a state finals' game between these two again.
#23 New Lenox (Providence) 5-2 @ #11 Chicago (St. Rita) 7-0
Providence has yet to qualify for the playoffs & could be facing an uphill battle in their quest to defend their state title. St. Rita is poised to win theChicago Catholic (Blue)conference & will be more than happy to get in some good shots on the conference powerhouse in what appears to be an off year for coach Matt Senffner's Celtics. This game will be as much about staying undefeated for next week's match up against Brother Rice as it will be about a changing of the guard. Rita head coach Todd Kuska is a relative new comer to this conference of coaching heavy weights, but has a chance to establish him self with the likes of Frank Lenti & Senffner if he's able to bring home not only the conference title but a state title as well. Something Rita hasn't done since 1978. A victory in this game will be their second step towards that goal.
(Driscoll) 7-0 hosts Woodstock
#2 Chicago (Hubbard) 7-0 Host #17 Chicago
(Morgan Park) 6-1
#23 Morris 5-1
@ #25Oswego (HS)5-1
Oswego and Morris face off for a what should be
a determined game by both teams. Morris comes in with it's only blemish
from a 44-27 dousing by previous top rankedRiverside (R.-Brookfield)
The Panthers enter tonight's nights game after losing their only game
by 2 points to #24 Minooka.
Minooka's 3 point loss to Morris in a game that was played over 2 days
because of weather was their second. Their first loss was in week 1
Anyway you play this game one team will leaving the Big 30 next week
& the conference title will either be sealed by Morris (baring unforeseen
losses to the Plainfields) or wide open in a three way race by Morris ,
(Maine South)6-0, 2-0 @ #30Skokie
(Niles West) 5-1, 2-0
Brothers working together to help bring an underdog team up from the
depths of the cellar is always a good story. Now that Walter & Rashard
Mendenhall plus the rest of the team are ranked, the pressure to keep
winning will be strong. The Hawks are no slouches themselves & are
use to the pressures of winning. While Maine South may have one of the
toughest schedules in the state, it still has two tough games left if
they plan on going undefeated. This match up being one of them. Either
way the Central Suburban (South)
title will be closer to having a champion after tonight's game, as both
teams will come in undefeated in conference play.
Carlinville5-0 @ Roxana
The two top teams in the
South Central (West)Conference go at it this Friday in a game that should determine who
gets the conference title. And as with the rest of the state, all teams
that make it to 6 wins are a lock for the playoffs.
St. Louis (Sr.)5-0 @Edwardsville
The Tigers & Flyers have been at it for quite some time no win the
conference. And while East St. Louis has claimed all the glory from
it's state finals dominance in the 1980's.Edwardsville
(H.S.)and the Tigers have been the only other large class team to make it
to the state finals from the south sinceEast
St. Louis (Sr.).
The two teams have split the last 2 meetings and you can bet that the
Tigers will be looking for some pay back after last years lost to the
Flyers almost cost them the conference title.
5-0 @Spring Valley
When it comes to being the big bully on the block Rochelle fits in the
mold in the NCIC (Southwest)
conference. They have the highest enrollment in the conference &
have run the field on the other teams, including the Red Devils of Hall
since 1998. Winning all the conference titles & not losing any conference
games since week #8 of 1997 (a 26-16 loss to Princeton ).
But while the Hubs have a 27 game winning streak during conference play,
this weekends game can be reminded of their only down fall during their
last few years of accomplishments. Spring Valley has won a state title
while the Hubs have gone home from two different semifinal games. So
while Rochelle may once again keep the conference bragging rights after
Fridays game. Don't think Hall will pack up it's season, instead of
heading out for the road to Champaign again this year.
#13Chicago (St. Rita)5-0 vs. #18Chicago (Mt. Carmel)4-1
Wilmette (Loyola Academy)4-0 @ #16Chicago (St. Rita)4-0
#1New Lenox (Providence)4-0 @Chicago (Brother Rice)4-0
Something has to give. Only 2 out of the 6 teams on theChicago Catholic (Blue)Conference have lost a game. And we mean just that, a game. The conference
has an amazing 22-2 record and if things work out just right, all six
teams could make the playoffs. Marking what may be the first time in
IHSA playoff history all the teams from a given conference made the
playoff. By the end of week #5 2 teams in this conference will almost
certainly have a lock for the state playoffs. While chances are looking
a little slimmer now that Chicago (DeLaSalle)
lost it's final nonconference game to River
Grove (Holy Cross),
it now needs to win at least 2 more games versus the above teams &Chicago (Mt. Carmel).
Either way the two games listed above will be the exclamation points
for the chase of the CMC Blue title. # 16 St. Rita with it's running
attack lead by Wade Weyer, while Loyola running attack will be fueled
by Tregg Duerson and the Ramblers desire to win a state title in memory
of their former coach John Hoerster.
Providence is the top team in the CMC Blue & the state. Brother
Rice will have it's hands full in just about every aspect in this game.
While some highly ranked teams can falter at times once they think they're
unstoppable, Celtics head coach Matt Senffner has is getting use to
the #1 spot and after last weeks victory overChicago
(Leo)not going quite as he planned it. Coach Senffner will have his players
in line for this crucial first conference game.
(Lincoln-Way East) @ Lockport (Twp.)
Read the ISNet game preview
St. Louis (Sr.)
4-0 @ O'Fallon
East St. Louis holds the record for the most victories in the state.
While they're not the scary dominant power house they were back in the
1980's, they are still on the top when it comes to the southern state
teams. And as usual they are in the hunt for the Southwestern
Conference title once again. O'Fallon
is entering new territory here both with second year head coach Todd
Moeller & being in the conference title hunt. While O'Fallon has
posted two shutouts so far this season, 26 points total, East St. Louis
is averaging 52 points a game even after last weeks 27-3 victory over
defensively strong & previously undefeatedAlton (Sr.).
Sophomore RB Jaious Singleton is part of the super speedy offense of
the Flyers with 25 carries for 207 yards last week.
#8 Harvey (Thornton)
@ #30Hinsdale (Central)3-0
Central has started with a bit of a surprise this season.
Not that 3-0 is a big deal for 30th ranked Red Devils, but with a new
head coach, Tony Lombardi (head coach atFlossmoor
year) & the loss of plenty of talent to graduation. A repeat of
last years 8A semifinal appearance and near trip to the state finals,
they were 4 points shy of beating State Champs Lockport (Twp.),
seemed a bit of a long shot. So it is with a little surprise that the
Red Devils upset a then 7th ranked Downers Grove
North will be looking to stop this from becoming a trend for Downers's
teams. The Trojans may have only made it to the 2nd round of the playoffs
last, but are looking to be a top candidates for the 8A title. While
the Trojan offense may still have some fine tuning, it's their defense
that will pose the biggest problem for the Red Devils. Look for linemen
Richard O'Rourke & Cody Cielenski to put pressure on Central's passing
game. This should a close game as these two teams battle for supremacy
in the West Suburban (Silver)
Alton (Sr.)3-0 @East
St. Louis (Sr.)3-0
The Alton defense has yet to give up more than 9 points in any of it's
games this season. But it's run heavy offense had trouble last week
and with no real passing attack could face problems versus the Flyers
defense. East's QB Julius Denzmore has passed for close to 600 yards
in three games. While it's not quiteRiverside (R.-Brookfield)
it's still the key to this high powered offense. The strong passing
game does not an offense make and with RB Jaious Singleton putting up
good numbers, a strong Alton defense with have to cover the complete
3-0 @Park Ridge
One of the best stadiums to be at in northern Illinois on a Saturday
is Wilson Field, unless you're the visiting team. Few other schools
can pack a stadium on a Friday night the way Maine South can on a Saturday
afternoon. South is coming back from another solid year. And while most
of the nonconference teams they had lined up to play are starting to
look a little lackluster, the Hawks have had solid victories in each
of those games. Deerfield, is coming off to be the contender in the
Central Suburban (North),
but only by default as the other teams appear to be headed for sub par
seasons. Deerfield's recognition in the "Big Game" this week
comes after a pretty unexpected upset ofSkokie
(Niles West) who
was poised to enter the "Big 30"
if they had a dominant game over Deerfield. The Hawks have won the last
5 games between the two teams, who will be meeting for the first time
since the 2000 season.
2-0 @ #15Riverside (R.-Brookfield)
Morris has one of the best defenses in the stats. It will be put to
the test Friday night as the Bulldogs take with field with one of the
most insane passing offenses in the state.Morris hasn't allowed a point
so far could have the flood gates open tonight.
Big Games From
Games Regular Season 2001
Big Games from