The 2002 "Big
IHSFW.com "The Big Game" is
a quick rundown of the best match-ups from around the state week by
(West Central)(0-8) @ Galva
Welcome to week #9. The end of the regular season. There are 157 team
that are guaranteed a spot in one of the 8 classes of the playoffs.
There's another 99 spots left. Teams who are 5-3 will be playing tough.
Teams that are 4-4 will be playing scared. And teams that are 3-5, 2-6
or 1-7 will be practicing basketball, but teams that are 0-8 will be
scratching for their only shinning moment of the season and a reason
for why they've trained and spent the last part of their summer vacation
doing 2 a-days. Some of those teams might pull off the ultimate upset
and beat a winning team, others might take a win from a less than perfect
team with a couple of wins. But, in all of those games featuring 0-8
teams this week, no game will have a guaranteed winner. That is, with
exception to this game. By the end of this weekend there will be one
less team that is 0-8 out of the 36 teams, guaranteed. So to those of
you who were thinking that this matchup was a misprint and that the
teams records should be 8-0, you were wrong.
Who knows maybe we will be wrong. Putting this game as the game of the
week over Naperville
Union did lose to Glava last year in week #9 by a score of 49-8. Both
teams have played 2001 1A Champs Kewanee (Wethersfield)
though & Galva gave the Geese a run loosing 22-8 while the Yankees
only managed to hold Kewanne to 48 points (the most Wethersfield scored
so far this season) , but didn't score themselves. Galva has lost it's
last 2 games by a total of 3 each game, while Union has had opponents
average just over 50 a game since week 5. Galva is look to get a sure
nod for the title of best team to go 1-8, if you take away the 41-8
they've lost there other 6 games by an average of 7.5 points. Last season
Galva finished 2-7 with a win over Union &Princeville.
While Union finished 1-8 with a win overPrinceville.
(Thornton Fractional South)
(8-0) @ Oak Lawn (Richards)
The SICA (Orange)
title is on the line in this game as well as keeping an undefeated record.
Sophomore phenome Dion Foster & junior QB Sean Lewis will be looking
to get some superb blocking from everybody's All-American offensive
lineman Mike Jones. While on defense Nicholas Sykes & company will
be trying their best to slow down if not stop T.F. South's Pierre Thomas.
City(7-0) @Wilmington(7-0) 7:30
(7-0) @ Metamora
Both of these matchups are between teams that have already qualified
for the playoffs. And while both teams will be vying for a higher seed
come playoff time both of these games are conference title grudge matches
as well as well as a major implication for area bragging rights. While
Coal City & Wilmington are looking at a fairly even game, a Coalers
defense who has 4 shutouts versus a Wildcat offense who's not scored
less than 34 points. Morton will defiantly becoming into the game against
Metamora as the underdog. The Potters of Morton will face a teams that
has made the semifinals 5 of the last 6 years and is looking to make
(6-0) @Auburn(6-0) Fri 7pm
The only meeting between undefeated teams this week, sinceLaGrange
fell to 5-1 leaving the matchups they have withHinsdale (Central)&Alton
(Marquette)just your normal 6-0 team versus your 5-1 team type of game, but back
to Nokomis & Auburn. The Nokomis Redskins & the Auburn Trojans
are two of the 12 teams in class 2A vying for a shot at the title, but
of a little more current matter they both reside in the Prairie State
Conference and the winner of this matchup will be a sure bet to take
home the conference crown.
Auburn appears to have the edge. As both teams play in a self contained
conference where all 10 teams play the other nine to complete their
regular season schedule, the Trojans have been laying waste to opponents
offenses & have yet to score less than 40 points in a game. Defensive
lineman James Blair (6'4", 265) is one of the top tacklers on the
Trojan defense. Don't think that Nokomis is going to lay down for Auburn
tough. The Redskins fought a tough game against an undefeated Auburn
team last season loosing 14-6. Auburn is outscoring it's opponents by
an average of 45.1 points a game and has yet to have more than 7 points
scored against them. While Nokomis isn't bulldozing teams, they aren't
really having problems winning either. They've outscored opponents by
26.3 points a game.
(5-0) @Carthage(5-0) 7pm
Take two of the top scoring teams and two
of the best defensive teams in a class and put them together and you're
talking game of the week. Make that two of the best offenses & defenses
in the state and you have to wonder why ESPN isn't back in Illinois
this weekend. Anyway for those of you who can findCarthageon a map we suggest you go there Friday, as the Blueboys welcome the
Thunder of Northwestern. Cartahge is third in the state for least point
sallowed with 13. Northwestern is tied for fourth with two other teams
with 19. Northwestern is the top scoring team in the state with 258,
Carthage is 4th with 246.
Last year these two teams were in similar places in state wide in scoring
and defense and Northwestern won 20-16. For those of you who weren't
following that week 6 matchup you may remember these two teams from
the 2000 1A State Finals. Look for fireworks and a carnival like atmosphere
Friday in Carthage as an overflow crowd watches a possible future 2002
2A State Champion take the field.
Rochelle is the 5A class version of Rodney Dangerfield, they can't
get any respect. Respect can be a little hard to come by when the majority
of the team you play are a class or two below you. The Hubs were also
a 5A Semifinalist last year, but suffered a 44-8 against eventual champsJoliet (Catholic).
Rochelle has knocked off non-conference teams Chicago
who are all 5A teams, but was unable to give them the 44-0 or 51-7 drubbing
they laid on Rock
& Kewanee (H.S.) .The
Hubs are getting their first chance to gain some respect with this week
6 matchup against undefeated Princeton .
The only problem is the Hubs are more likely to come out of this game
in the same place they are now unless they runover the Tigers, because
a close game with one of the better teams in 4A will surely bring up
questions of how they will handle the better teams in 5A.
Princeton on the other hand is still celebrating it's overtime victory
of 2001 3A champs Spring Valley
Rochelle faces next week) and they will be bringing that energy to Rochelle
on Friday. A victory here will propel the Tigers into a solid position
as one of the front runners in the 4A.
(5-0) @ Marshall
(4-0) @ East
St. Louis (Sr.)
(3-1) 7 pm
2001 7A Runner-up Edwardsville will face their second biggest challenge
of the season, one week after they faced their first. The Tigers travel
to East St. Louis for a Southwestern conference showdown versus the
Flyers. In a game that usually helps decide the winner of the conference.
This year the pressure will be on even more so. WithAlton (Sr.)(3-1) beating East
St. Louis (Sr.)
in week 3 and Edwardsville
delivering a 33-10 blow to Alton last week, a Flyers victory would put
a possible 3-way co-champion in effect if each team remains undefeated
after this game. Last years matchup was a 14-7 Edwardsville victory,
but even with a commanding point difference over Alton, who beat ESL,
don't think the Tiger will have an easy time in this game.
#14Buffalo Grove(4-0) @ #13 Mt.
Buffalo Grove defensive back/quarterback Tom Zbikowski is one of the
top recruited players in the state. Jared Dall is the quarterback for
the Prospect Knights, who were the best team in class 7A in 2001. They
were also the only team that beat Buffalo Grove last year & they
did it twice. Dall will takes his Knights into a heated battle this
Friday in Mt. Prospect as Zbikowski & company will be looking for
revenge from last season. This very even matchup will be the biggest
slugfest in the Mid-Suburban (East)
#5New Lenox (Providence)(3-0) @ #2Joliet (Catholic)(3-0) 7:30
This is it! What could very likely be the biggest game of the regular
season in the state, if not the Midwest. 2001 6A state champions Providence
Catholic, makes a short trip from right outside the city of Joliet to
clash with 2001 5A state champions Joliet Catholic. The Hilltoppers
of Joliet are 44-1 over the last 3 season, the winner of 3 state titles
in a row & 10 out of 12 titles games. Providence hasn't lost a game
since the 2000 5A title game versusChicago (Mt. Carmel),
and is the winner of 7 out of 9 state titles games. In what has often
turned into a cross-town bragging game over who's team is better come
season end, because of enrollment differences and conference changes,
these two teams have met only three times. Basically letting the polls
and fans argue over who's better. Providence holds a 2-1 advantage winning
their last meeting in 1997 14-0. Need another reason to watch this game?
You don't have to leave your house (unless you don't have ESPN). That's
right, ESPN will be doing live feeds during their Friday night broadcast
of College Football. Complete with highlights during scores and a half-time
history course on both schools football past. The Joliet Park District
has added extra bleachers to the already 10,000 seat Memorial Stadium,
just in case you felt like leaving the couch for this one.
(2-0) @ #8 Wheaton
OK, we've all seen this before. Two DVC teams
playing against each other and it makes the Big Game List. Why? Because
this is the best conference in the state, quite possibly the Midwest.
And these are two of the best teams in the state. Yes, the CMC hasJoliet (Catholic),New Lenox (Providence)&Chicago (Mt. Carmel),
but are they all in one conference, no. Until there is a Super CMC that
contains those three schools along withChicago (St. Rita),Wilmette (Loyola Academy)&Chicago Heights (Marian Catholic) the
DVC is the best conference in the state. With that said lets look at
the game at hand.
Zach Ullrich will
again be the key to this game. Naperville doesn't just need to stop
him from finding his receivers, they need to stop the senior QB from
scrambling, he had 2 rushing TDs last week against Winnetka
Naperville's offensive line can move some bodies when they need to.
Last weeks 46-7 trouncing of St. Charles (East)
is proof of what can happen when the Huskies are on offense. Cory McKeon
will end up running wild on the Falcons if their defense can't find
a way to get in the backfield.
St. Louis (Sr.)
(2-0) @Alton (Sr.)
The Flyers of East St. Louis are just that. What they lack in size they
make up in speed. Alton has rambled off a 144 points in 2 games, second
most in the state. This quite possibly could be one of the highest scoring
games of the year if both of these offenses click.
#19 Springfield (S.H.G.)
The Cyclone of SHG may have their last big challenge of the year on
their hands with the Tornados of Taylorville. SHG pulled out a win last
week over Springfield
while dealing with the death of a teammate. Watch for the Cyclones to
build on that as Kenni Burns looks to break loose after being somewhat
contain last week. On the other end of the ball the, seniors Sam Workman,
Zach Kirchner, Chris Williams & Zach Kettlkamp might look like the
four horsemen of the Apocalypse to most offenses, but will be seen as
the angles of Springfield to SHG fans. After last weeks narrow win over
the Tornados will need to bring their A plus game on offense if they
don't want to be playing catch-up all night.
(2-0) @ #10 Harvey (Thornton)
In a game that most likely will determine the outcome of the SICA (Blue),
Thornton places it's speed versus the wisdom of a East. The Griffins
have knocked off perennial powerhouse Park Ridge
in week 1, but squeaked by St.
last week. With 22 returning starters the Griffins are definitely well
versed in the classics of varsity football. QB Dustin Powell will be
leading his troops into battle in the first of a long line of foes including
week 4, New Lenox (Lincoln
week 5 & Orland Park (Sandburg)
week 9. A win at Thornton is a must if they plan on winning the SICA
Blue & making the playoffs. Of course the Wildcats follow a similar
schedule and face the same opponents and challenges. Junior running
back Marcus Randle El has some big shoes to fill, as many compare him
to his Pittsburgh Steeler brother Antwaan. He's had no problem so far
this season, due largely impart to the fact that no defense can focus
on him as the main threat when he's playing with QB Antonio Tribble
& WR Bradon Tobias.
(2-0) @ #3Chicago (Mt. Carmel) (2-0) 7pm
Mt. Carmel had an off year, if you can actually say that making
it to the 2nd round of the playoffs & then winning the Prep Bowl
by a 55-0 margin is an off year. With the change from theChicago Catholic (Blue)to theChicago Catholic
Mt. Carmel has lost it's annual match ups ofJoliet (Catholic)&New Lenox (Providence).
But for those who think that the Caravan are playing a watered down
schedule just step into their shoes. Although time will tell, a quick
look ahead on the MC schedule shows that this game versus Carmel may
indeed be it's biggest challenge till the playoffs.
Watch for a high powered running game as both teams hit the ground running.
The Caravan defense hasn't given up a point in it's last 5 games. Carmel
will definitely be hoping that if they can score quickly, it may make
Mt. Carmel defenders out to be human after all. The Carmel defense will
have plenty to do to keep busy as the Caravan will let running back
Greg Owens lose on the Cosairs.
(1-0) @ Winnetka
(0-1) 7:30 pm
Wheaton North makes a trip up to Winnetka to face an always dangerous
New Trier. Coach Dan Mortier & the Trevians who are coming off of
an tough 21-20 overtime loss to Libertyville,
are not going to be thrilled by the thought of going 0-2.
Meanwhile the Falcons are looking to collect as many wins as they can
before they start playing DVC conference games. Senior QB Zach Ullrich
led his team to the semifinals last season and has the experience to
guide the falcons into victory. Don't think New Trier won't be equipped
to handle the Falcons though. The Trevians aren't new to DVC teams.
They have faced a DVC team in the last three playoffs, beating 2000
6A RunnerupCarol Stream
(Glenbard North)in the first round last year, going 1-3 versus DVC opponents in the
(1-0) @ #27 Naperville
(0-1) Thur. 7:30
QB Bob Gianini's & RB Brian Shust of Stevenson
are in for their biggest test of the season, trying to out score state
powerhouse Naperville Central's Dan Passarelli (WR) & Cory McKeon
(RB). Naperville Central hasn't had two or more losses total since the
1998 season. Don't think for a second that coach Joe Bunge and his Red
Hawks are going to let that happen without one heck of a fight. This
is Stevenson season right here, they will not have a better opponent
till the playoffs.
(1-0) @#9 Oak Lawn (Richards)
Morgan Park is a front runner (along with
for winning the Chicago Public, Illini (Prairie
conference this season. Richards is looking to be the front runner for
the 6A state title. Morgan Park is a speed dominated team, with a big
break possibility. Richards has the size, with offensive tackle Mike
Jones & defensive end Nick Sykes.
(1-0) @ Orland Park (Sandburg)
(0-1) 7:15 pm
The Lancers are riding high after their upset of Naperville Central
last week and while they might be feeling like they can accomplish anything
Sandburg is not going to be a push over. Sandburg has one of the toughest
schedules of any team this season and will not be looking to help snap
their 18 consecutive playoff streak by going 0-2 to start the season.
If Lake Park isn't careful they could be on the losing end of an upset
in week #2
# 19 Springfield (S.H.G.)
(1-0) @ Springfield
(1-0) 2 pm
Kenny Burns returns for his 3rd and final varsity appearance. Burns
may have lost a lot of his supporting cast, but don't think that means
this years Cyclones are shabby. Southeast is looking to be one of the
better non-SHG teams to come out of Springfield since... Well since
as long as we can remember. Southeast has talent and they're going to
have to use it if they want to hang with the Cyclones.
Benji Kennedy will be a thorn in the side of many teams this season,
Pontiac will be one of the few teams that are prepared on defense, but
so was Joliet Catholic in last years 5A finals. JC won, but Kennedy
only needed one more big play to reverse the tide. Pontiac may find
itself in a similar position & with a year of experience under his
belt Indians beware of the Redskins.
Geneseo@ #26 Metamora
Geneseo finished up last years regular season on a slide after coming
out of the gate strong beating the 4A Runner-up Metamora in week #1.
Geneseo is just on the verge of being one of the Big 30 and a win over
Metamora will do that, but don't think Metamora won't be looking for
revenge. Get to the stadium early for this one this is shaping up to
be the nextChicago (Mt. Carmel)vs.Joliet (Catholic)and Illinois high school football can always use another rivalry.
#1 Downers Grove
@ Lockport (Twp.)
South has some shoes to fill behind the offensive line. Fortunately
they can't find shoes big enough to fill on the line with two 300 pounders
in Kevin Gage & Martin O'Donnell. Lockport is coming out as an early
favorite for many as they return QB Steve Walker who passed for close
2,000 yards last season. This will be Downer's toughest game of the
year and Lockport's chance for recognition.
#5 Chicago (Hubbard)
hosts Orland Park (Sandburg)
The Grey Hounds have been looking to be the first Chicago public school
to be a State Champ. They came close in 2000, making the 5A Semifinals.
And they've never had a better chance than this year. With a talented
returning offensive crew and some size on defense & on the O-line.
Sandburg will be no pushover. These teams battled into OT to decide
last years contest. Hubbard will have it's hands full with Sandburg,
who's made the playoffs for the last 18 years.
#22Chicago (St. Rita)@ #6New Lenox (Providence)7:30 pm
In one of only two meetings of ranked teams this week, the Mustangs
of St. Rita will be looking to show they deserve all the preseason press
they've been getting as one of five preseason CMC teams to be ranked
in the Big 30. Look for Steve Parker to start off the Mustangs season
running. The Celtics are always a tough team, not a lot of return starters
may make coach Matt Senffner job of return to the State Finals rough,
but this in no way means other schools will be happy to play Providence
hostsWilmette (Loyola Academy)7:30pm
Part two of the CMC crossover battle, Carmel brings back some talent
from it's 6A semifinal team, Loyola who loss to 7A State Champs Prospect
in a 17-10 2nd round game, once again has one of the toughest schedules
in the state. Look for them to come out gunning early in this game.
They don't have time to experiment with their game plan, they face Joliet
Catholic next week then St. Rita week 3.
Games Regular Season 2001
Big Games from