IHSA Quarter Finals
Kankakee (McNamara) has their hands full tonight, with the Bulldogs. If there's one weakness on just about any team, it's the pass defense. Why? Well anyone who watches high school football will tell you that the majority of the game is run & defense, Smash mouth football. Is McNamara any different, yes & no. They got a better than average defense, but are susceptible to the pass, but they have the advantage of playing in one of the top five conferences in the state this year, as in the past also, the Catholic Metro Blue. They also happen to be one of 3 schools to ever win a state championship game after having 3 regular season losses.
IHSA Playoffs Round 2
Noon Saturday 11/4 @Gateley Stadium
NCIC (Southwest) foes Spring Valley (Hall) and Princeton take on each other in Princeton Friday night.
Hall is 5-0 is looking to make the 3A playoffs after going 4-5 last year, but to get there they'll have to beat 4A Princeton (4-1) Friday night in Princeton. How important is this game? If Hall looses here it makes a week 8 & 9 match up against two very good 4A programs in Rochelle & Bloomington (Central Catholic), must win situations if it wants to make sure it will get in the playoffs. On top of all that, there's the NCIC Southwest title on the line also.
Princeton went 5-4 last year and is looking to make it's first playoff appearance since the '97 playoffs. With one non-conference game lose to Byron during week 2 Princeton can ill afford to lose another and this game vs. Hall is no different. Princeton has a chance to win the title if it can beat Hall and then take out Rochelle next week. A non-conference game in week 9 vs. Dixon could spoil the Tigers chances of going undefeated for the rest of the season so a win here tonight could mean the difference between a playoff nod with the title or a bubble team at 6-3.
Seneca (5-0) @ Wilmington (4-1)
@ Kankakee (Bishop McNamara)
Week #3 marks the beginning of conference games for almost all of the Illinois teams. In a sense, everything up till now was just practice.
Right now a lot of people are wondering why these two teams are up for the game of the week and the answer is simple; they need to win here! And it doesn't matter if they do it ugly or if they win big, a W in this game could mean the playoffs or basketball season for these two teams. Both Mac & Marist have started off 2-0 and they both face defending 4A State Champ Joliet (Catholic) & 5A Runner-up Chicago Heights (Marian Catholic). Barring an unforeseen upset this will put both both Marist & Bishop Mac in the 7-2 category come playoff time. Enter stage left this weeks game in Kankakee.
Chicago (Marist) was a conference champion team about 5 years ago, but as of late has faltered. Marist has already equaled it's '99 season victory total and is looking to make a run for the playoffs this year. A win here will prove they can play with the rest of the Catholic Metro White as well as helping them from becoming the cellar team of this conference.
Bishop Mac coached by Richard Zinanni, is 224-64 in his 25 years at Bishop Mac and has 5 state titles in (82, 85, 86, 87 all 3A) out of 7 appearances (3A 78, 81 & 4A 98). Bishop McNamara took a bow out of the 4A playoffs last year to semifinalist Geneseo (Darnall) 42-21. Although Mac went 7-2 last year and got a 22nd seeding. Winning this game would defiantly stop them from going 6-3 and possibly meeting up with Joliet (Catholic) or Metamora in round one or worse missing the playoffs.
Things to watch for:
The Defense; Last week it shut out Chicago (Leo) and had 6 turnovers.
The element of surprise.
This year the Carmelites schools waited till week two (due to conference changes) to play the most anticipated game of the year. What more could you ask for, than a 5A Champ vs. 4A Champ match-up? Maybe you could ask that the schools share a common bond, kind of like brothers do.
Although, it's most likely that none of the students at MC or JC come in contact with each other outside these games, they are for most purposes brother schools. Which above all things adds a little excitement to the game year in and year out, as if they needed it. Anybody who's from Illinois know these are the two most fabled teams in High School Football in the state. Anybody who wasn't dead last Thanksgiving, knows they both walked away with the highest possible honor from their classes, and they did it in a take no holds barred style. Winning by large margins in their championship games.
This is ninth straight year that MC and JC have been playing since they renewed their rivalry back in 1991. The game was set up between the two schools after each won their respective class championship in '90. That '91 match up could be one of the greatest non-playoff games ever. It featured two future NFL'ers in Joliet Catholic senior fullback Mike Alstott (Tampa Bay Bucs) and Mt. Carmel junior quarterback Donovan McNabb (Philadelphia Eagles). The game went into double OT after MC lead 24-6 with 5 minutes remaining. JC won the game 37-31.
That year JC was in 5A , making most believe that a JC, MC state finals was immanent. As things would go JC fell to Wheaton (Central), Wheaton (Warrenville South) now, who would lose their next game to MC in the finals.
The next big JC Vs MC game would be the following year in the '92 playoffs, when JC, who had lost it's first game to MC would eliminate them from the playoffs, and stop their streak of four state titles at 4. Tied with none other than Joliet Catholic (that record is also held by New Lenox (Providence) now). Joliet lost to W.W.S. In the finals.
In 1996, once again the two would square off in a big game, but this time around nobody was predicting it to be in the state finals. A 6-3 Joliet Catholic bruised it's way to the playoffs to meet heavily favorite Mt. Carmel. It turned out to be MC's 3rd state title for the 90's, in 4 attempts, as they beat the Cinderella JC 17-6.
Mt. Carmel has had the advantage since that playoff loss in 92. Although most games have been close, there was the 48-0 trouncing of JC, in coach Dan Sharps first season as the head of JC's team. Sharp may have gotten his revenge last year when his team walked away with a 10-7 discussion. Giving MC it's lone blemish on a stellar '99 season.
Where does this leave us? Well for starters, ground zero at what, quite possibly, could be the most exciting game of the year.
Things to watch for:
RB - J.R. Zwierzynski - had 141 yards last week
QB - John Mulchrome - 3 TD passes