2007 Season "The Big Game" Preview
The start of the 2007 Illinois high school football season is finally here and teams across the state are gearing up for their first match up of the year.
IHSFW.com has prepared a break down of the season's schedule to show when & where some of the most important games are going to be played this season. Everything from conference titles that may hang in the balance, yearly grudge matches between schools & great non-conference games.
All the preseason hype in the world can't make up for a unexpected loss in week 1, but it happens every year. If it's not two ranked teams battling it out in non-conference match ups the first two weeks, it's a top ranked team that falls to an underdog who was over looked. While picking which games may be a possible surprise, is close to impossible (that's why they're called surprises) this list below is of all the games from week one to nine, that we think will help define a the 2007 season.
(Centennial) @ Normal
Centennial returns highly recruited running back Mikel LeShoure for his third season on varsity, while NCW returns QB Ross Schmillen from last season's playoff qualifying team. Both will be battling in a tight race for second place in the conference or maybe even the title.
(M.-Seymour) @ Fairbury
This is the third year in a row we've picked this week #1 matchup as a top game of the week. Prairie Central is a favorite to win the conference, but this game could make things interesting in the Corn Belt.
The Soldier Field Triple Header
Once again Soldier Field will be hosting a triple header of high school football. This time on Sunday. Joliet (Catholic)vs.Chicago (Mt. Carmel), at noon, Oak
Park (Fenwick) vs Chicago (Hubbard) at 3:30 and topped off with Chicago (St. Rita) vs. Chicago
(Simeon) at 7pm . Game one puts the Joliet Catholic Hilltoppers vs. the Mt. Carmel Caravan, a combined winners of 22 state titles LB Nick Clancy will be a big key for the Hilltoppers on defense, but maybe shown up by Notre Dame bound LB Steve Filer of Mt. Carmel.
Springfield (S.H.G.) @ Lombard
The Cyclones of SHG are the two time defending 5A State Champs. Since these two teams have faced off in week #1 over the last 5 seasons, Montini is 0-5 against them SHG, but Montini head coach Chris Andriano has three division one players in Dex Jones (RB), Chuck Porcelli (OL) & Garret Goebel (OG). The 5 starting linemen for Montini combine for 31 feet 3 inches and 1,200 pounds, or a 6'3 240 lbs average.
Aurora (East Aurora) vs.Aurora (West Aurora)
As of the 2007 season this match up is officially the state's oldest. As the Tomcats of East and the Blackhawks of West have been pushing each other around on the turf since the 1893 and are almost dead even in overall games won.Now that Chicago's Englewood is no longer open, the rivalry between Hyde Park & Englewood, who have been playing since 1889 will never be able to meet again.
New Lenox (Providence) @ Frankfort
The Celtics just missed this year's Preseason Big 30 and Lincoln-Way East is our #1 team. Dan Cebula will be a third year starter at RB and Blake Hammond should impress plenty of fans with his play at QB. The Celtics will be hoping that their size improvements this season will help them compete with some of the bigger schools. Running back Drew Abernathy will most likely benefit from the big line anchored by Paddy O'Connell.
Harrisburg @ Mt. Carmel
This is one of the best down state rivalries and Mt. Carmel's stadium, lovingly referred to as teh "Snake Pit" is no easy place to play. So you can't go wrong. This meeting has been going on forever. You can always guarantee each year in week #1 there is a caravan of cars traveling up or down Illinois Route 1 to see these two teams clash.
Belleville (Althoff) @ Lexington Catholic, Kentucky
Third year starting runing back Jason Ford will get his first shot this season at the record books as the Crusaders take aim at the 2005 Kentucky 3A state champs and their own impressive running back Shane Israel. Lexington Catholic finished 10-2 last year.
(Neuqua Valley) @ Naperville
No, it's not Central versus North, but this cross town rivalry is turning into quite the show as Neuqua Valley has developed it's program.
Bolingbrook @ Downers Grove
Downers Grove will be looking to make a point right off the bat after a off season in 2006.
Zurich @ Palatine
Our #5 team LZ versus the #23 team Fremd.
Other must sees conference & non-conference games
(Driscoll) @ Rock
Island (Alleman) at Augustana College
(Central) @ Maple Park (Kaneland)
(North) @ Mt.
Harvey (Thornton) @ Country
Club Hills (Hillcrest)
Metamora @ Riverside (R.-Brookfield)
Hinsdale (Central) @ Wheaton (W.
New Lenox (Lincoln
Way Central) @ East
St. Louis (Sr.)
St. Charles (East) @ Batavia
Pontiac @ Morris
Wilmette (Loyola Academy) @ Lincolnshire
Weeks #2 thru #9 coming soon
by Vincent Johnson