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Past 8A Champions

2005

2004Downers Grove (North)(12-2)
2003 Lockport (Twp.) (12-2)

2002 Lockport (Twp.) (13-1)
2001Downers Grove (South)(12-2)

2005 8A Playoff Central

Welcome to Playoff Central. IHSFW.com gives you an in depth look at how the playoffs may take shape, by putting you right in the middle of our information control room. We break down who we think is the best bet to win it all and who's the most likely challengers. We also give you a list of the dark horse teams, or sleepers, Those teams that are overlooked throughout the year, but may sneak up o you in the playoffs or those pesky 6-3 & 5-4 teams that don't know when to quit. You can also get the latest info on what games you should miss each weekend "The Big Game" & who the best teams in the state are regardless of class "The Big 30".

Brackets & Scores
1A / 2A / 3A / 4A / 5A / 6A / 7A / 8A

2005 Title Game Date & Time; Nov. 26th 7 pm

Last Years Champ; Downers Grove (North)(12-2) Runner-up; Park Ridge (Maine South)(13-1)

Favorites to win the title;Frankfort (Lincoln-Way East) (9-0),Lincolnshire (Stevenson)(9-0),Wheaton (W. Warrenville South)(9-0) &Downers Grove (North)(8-1)
Other Title Threats; Gurnee (Warren) (8-1),Palatine (Fremd)(9-0) &Park Ridge (Maine South)(8-1)
The Dark Horses;Chicago (St. Patrick) (6-3), Hinsdale (Central) (6-3),Naperville Central (6-3) &Bolingbrook(7-2)

Favorites to win the title;
Frankfort (Lincoln-Way East) (9-0) - Quarterback Anthony Kropp & running back Mike Anthony, along with a dominant offensive line have been the offensive force behind the Griffins winning season, but the real reason this team is undefeated is because of their defense. The Griffins started the season off allowing just 9 points in their first 4 games, with 3 of the games being against Providence, Naperville Central & Sandburg. They finished off the regular season beating Bolingbrook, Lincoln-Way Central, & Homewood-Flossmoor, yet still managed to allow just 8 points a game through the season. The Griffins are 5-0 against teams that have been ranked in the Big 30.

Lincolnshire (Stevenson)(9-0) - The Patriots went into to a double overtime game versus then #4 Warren Township, allowing 34 points and has still managed to only average to allow 7 points a game. That should let you know how good this defense, lead by Mike Morrissey (LB 6'3 210 sr.), the son of former Chicago Bear Jim Morrissey, and Kyle Crowley (DL 6'3 217 sr.). If these two guys aren't in the backfield disrupting a play, they're pursuing who's ever got the ball. If you watch closely on every tackle, you'll either see #8 or #46 somewhere near the pile. On offense the Patriots aren't to shabby either. Scoring on average 41 points a game, they lead 8A in offensive production. Combined with the defense they have out scored opponents by an average of 34 points a game. Quarterback Preston Earl (6'3 210 sr.) can hurt you if he and wide out Andrew Johnson (6'2 190 sr.) get in a rhythm. If this happens though it's most likely a result of a defense focusing to much on stopping the run, as seniors Carl Johnson (RB 5'11 205) & Michael Breckheimer (RB 5'7 186) will have been hitting gaps and getting big gains.

Wheaton (W. Warrenville South)(9-0) - The Tigers are back on top of the DuPage Valley Conference for the first time since 1998. That was also the last time the Tigers won the state title, which was their 3rd in 4 years, back when their were just 6 classes. The story all year with the Tigers has been the explosive running of Dan Dierking. With over 1500 yards so far this season, the focus of any opponent should be to contain the run. Best of luck, as the Tiger have averaged 40 points a game this year. The good news for opponents is, this may be one of the weaker seasons for the DuPage Valley, as playoff bound Naperville North & Central have both lost non-confernce games earlier in the year & South's non-confernce schedule was a little soft.

Downers Grove (North)(8-1) - North has a few strike against them, but we still had to place them in the favorites section, while we know they are the least likely to win of the 4 favorite teams, they still have a key ingredient to taking home the hardware, They've got a few returning players that know what it takes to win the championship, including one of the most important elements, their quarterback & all-around athlete Garrett Edwards (QB/FS 6'1 192 sr.).

 

Other Title Threats;
Gurnee (Warren) (8-1) - The Blue Devils gave Stevenson just about everything they could take, but Warren fell 1 point shy at the end of an incredible double overtime game, to finish the season 8-1. The Blue Devils should be in the Favorites section, but without one semi-final appearance by the Devils, they have a lot to prove before they are the team to beat.
The Blue Devils have been wining their games on offense this year. Quarterback Joe DeVries (6'4 185 sr.) loves to connect with Marcus Lewis (WR 6'3 185 sr.). Watch out for the option play though. The Blue Devils can put the word speed in speed option like it's nobodies business. If you can't get back Marvin Bembry (6'0 190 sr.) & Mitchell Moore (6' 205 sr.) to run east west and forced them to the sidelines or contain them and make them run up the middle, you could see a lot of big gains, some of which will undoubtedly be for 6 against your defense. Bembry & Moore, on occasion play both ways and could wear down from a prolonged offensive drive.

Palatine (Fremd)(9-0) - At 9-0 and being a preseason favorite, you have to give the Vikings a little credit, the hard part is is how much credit do you give a 9-0 team that has only faced 3 playoff caliber teams and hasn't made it past a quarterfinal. Collectively in the playoffs Fremd is 5-15, but then again these kids weren't even playing Pop Warner when the Vikings made their only quarterfinals appearance in 1996. However, head coach Mike Donatucci, was and has been there ever since. His game plan will be a key to getting to the state finals.

Park Ridge (Maine South)(8-1) - It's just not 8A if you're not talking about Maine South being in the title hunt. The Hawks are lead by senior QB Tyler Knight, who'll be looking to help the Hawks erase the the pain of being the runner-up for the last two year. The Hawks come in 8-1, this year hoping to finish like they have the last two years at 13-1, this time already having their 1 loss in the regular season.

 

The Dark Horses;
Chicago (St. Patrick) (6-3) - For those paying attention, the Shamrocks could have had the upset of the season. In week 8, they held a 4th quarter 18 point lead on nationally ranked & state wide #1 Joliet Catholic. The Hilltoppers came back to win it, part of the reason why they're ranked #1, and the Shamrocks would fall to St. Viator the following week, dropping to a 6-3 record. The Shamrocks are the ultimate dark horse. At 6-3 they'll have to face the best of the best each week, just to think about the title. They also have an added hardship of playing with a multiplier to their enrollment, placing them up a class to 8A.

Hinsdale (Central) (6-3) - QB Brett Morse (6'4 220 sr.) is the leader of this team that was a preseason #3 in the state. An injury to his non-throwing arm took him out of their first loss to Oak Park-River Forest, which they lost by 3. He returned for their loss to #13 ranked Downers Grove North and then the Red Devils where upset in triple OT by another possible 8A dark horse,Elmhurst (York)by a field goal.

Naperville Central (6-3) - Naperville Central is a dangerous team anytime they make the playoffs. Add to the fact that the Red Hawks are trying to win one last title for retiring head coach Joe Bunge, who has a career record at Central of 171-57 over 20 years, including 3 title games, with a championship in 1999 in 6A.

Bolingbrook(7-2) - Bolingbrook has plenty of talent in Carl Fisher (WR 6'1 198 sr.), Sean Hughes (WR 6'3 200 sr.), Dominique Collins (LB 6'2 210 sr.), Maurice Hill (DT 6'1 265 sr.) & Javon Stewart (QB/CB 5'7 165 sr.). Stewart who may be small, has speed & moves that can kill, making him a very elusive QB and a quick to the ball DB. Fisher may be one of the fast players in Illinois this year and will force a defense to set up in a cover 2 or 3 to help stop the big gain after Fisher catches the ball. Altogether the Brook has the possibility of have 4 to 6 seniors get D-1 scholarships. If former NFL player & current Bolingbrook head coach can get his team in sink, this team could make a run at the title. Their only two losses came at the hands of Maine South 23-20 & Lincoln-Way East 38-15.

 

 

8A Team stats

 

 

 

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