...and Hinsdale Central upsets Mt. Carmel, 24-21. The two teams will now meet in the 8A final on Saturday in Champaign. In 7A, East St. Louis defeated Glenbard West, 27-20, to earn the right to play Geneva. Interestingly, Glenbard West was one of only two teams that beat Hinsdale Central in the regular season, 9-0. The other was Wheaton-Warrenville South, 28-27, in week two.
In the Prep Bowl playoffs, it was Loyola over De La Salle, 23-7, and Lane Tech in an almost identical score over Hubbard, 24-7.
If you're keeping score at home, you'll notice I was 2-for-4 in the 8A and 7A games, but 4-for-6 overall if you include the Prep Bowl playoffs, which I do because it improves my record for the weekend to .667 (if you round it higher). This puts me at .625 for the playoffs. That's better than I would have expected, but this is no time to rest on my laurels. So having said that, let's give it one last shot for the season.
I like Maine South to end Hinsdale Central's Cinderella run. Besides the Charlie Goro-Matt Perez show, the Hawks demonstrated they can play defense, too, as they shut out Bartlett's high-powered offense until the closing minutes when their second-string allowed the only score. As for Hinsdale Central, you gotta love a team that upset its last two opponents on late game field goals, but I'm afraid that it's Maine South's year. I pick the Hawks to defeat the Red Devils, 28-10.
In 7A I'm going to pick East St. Louis in an upset over Geneva. Even though Geneva is undefeated, the Flyers have been underestimated throughout the playoffs. Not only are they arguably the fastest team in Illinois, but they also have a potent offense the likes of which Geneva hasn't seen all season. East St. Louis scored over 50 points in eight of its games and over sixty in four consecutive outings! Their only loss was in the first game of the season. In the playoffs, they snuck up on St. Rita and Glenbard West, the latter on the road. The Vikings of Geneva are a great team and deserve to be in this game, but they played a very "favorable" schedule and will meet their match this weekend. Incidentally, East St. Louis defeated the Vikings in last year's quarterfinals, 34-26. I look for them to win even bigger this time around, 38-14.
In the Prep Bowl I have to go with Loyola, both for sentimental and objective reasons. Lane's defense and special teams combined for three scores in the third quarter against Hubbard, but they'll need more than that to defeat the Ramblers and quarterback Lucas Ruske. He threw for 120 yards and a touchdown and ran for another 54 yards in the victory against De La Salle. Combined with the kicking of Leo Sheridan (three field goals), Loyola's offense will be too much for the Indians (PC anyone?). Final score, 35-7.