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The 2002 "Big Game" List

IHSFW.com "The Big Game" is a quick rundown of the best match-ups from around the state week by week.


Week #9

Fri

Biggsville (West Central)(0-8) @ Galva (0-8) 7pm
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 Central vs. West Chicago (H.S.). 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 thumping byToulon (Stark County), 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.

Lansing (Thornton Fractional South) (8-0) @ Oak Lawn (Richards) (8-0) 7pm
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.

Week #8

Fri

Coal City(7-0) @Wilmington(7-0) 7:30
&
Morton (7-0) @ Metamora (7-0) 7:30
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 it 6.

 

Week #7

Fri

Nokomis (6-0) @Auburn(6-0) Fri 7pm
The only meeting between undefeated teams this week, sinceLaGrange (Lyons) & Roxana both 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.

 

Week #6

Fri

Sciota (West Prairie) (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.

Princeton (5-0) @ Rochelle (5-0) 7pm
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 (Corliss), Streator (Twp.) & Dixon who are all 5A teams, but was unable to give them the 44-0 or 51-7 drubbing they laid on Rock Falls & 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 (Hall) (who 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.

Lawrenceville (5-0) @ Marshall (5-0) 7pm

 

 

Week #5

Fri

#2 Edwardsville (H.S.) (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 (H.S.) 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. Prospect (Prospect) (4-0) 7:30
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) this season.

Week #4

Fri.

#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.

Week #3

Fri.

#7 Naperville (North) (2-0) @ #8 Wheaton (North) (2-0) 7:30pm
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 (New Trier). 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.

#21 East St. Louis (Sr.) (2-0) @Alton (Sr.) (2-0) 7pm
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.) (2-0) @ Taylorville (2-0) 7pm
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 (Southeast) 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 Jacksonville (H.S.) (0-2), the Tornados will need to bring their A plus game on offense if they don't want to be playing catch-up all night.

Sat

#14 Frankfort (Lincoln-Way East) (2-0) @ #10 Harvey (Thornton) (2-0) 1pm
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 (Maine South)
in week 1, but squeaked by St. Charles (North) 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 Lockport (Twp.) week 4, New Lenox (Lincoln Way Central) 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.

#22 Mundelein (Carmel) (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 (White), 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.

Week #2

Thurs

#8 Wheaton (North) (1-0) @ Winnetka (New Trier) (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 post season.

#18 Lincolnshire (Stevenson) (1-0) @ #27 Naperville Central (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.

Fri.

Chicago (Morgan Park) (1-0) @#9 Oak Lawn (Richards) (1-0) 7 pm
Morgan Park is a front runner (along with Chicago (Hubbard)) for winning the Chicago Public, Illini (Prairie State) 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.

#26 Roselle (Lake Park) (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

Sat.

# 19 Springfield (S.H.G.) (1-0) @ Springfield (Southeast) (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.

Week #1

Friday

#16 Morris @ #29Pontiac 7:45 pm
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 hosts 7pm
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 (South) @ Lockport (Twp.) 7pm
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) 7:30 pm
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

Mundelein (Carmel) 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.

 

 

Big Games Regular Season 2001

Big Games from 2000

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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