Sunday, November 16, 2008

We're down to the semifinals... Illinois high school football. In 8A, Maine South blanked Barrington 42-0 on the road. The Hawks scored on their first five possessions to lead at the half, 25-0. Quarterback Charlie Goro threw for 249 yards and two touchdowns and rushed for another 67 yards and a score. As dominating as Maine South was, it probably didn't help that three of Barrington's defensive starters sat out due to a violation of the school's athletic code of conduct.

In other action, Bartlett ended Schaumburg's Cinderella run, 38-35. But the Saxons gave the crowd their money's worth as they scored 28 straight second-half points to tie the game at 35-35. Bartlett was not to be denied, however, and scored a 25-yard field goal with 7 seconds remaining to end the game. Finally, Hinsdale Central upset Brother Rice, 17-14, as the Red Devils kicked a field goal that bounced on and over the crossbar with 17 seconds left.

In 7A, it was Geneva over Carmel, 35-21; Crystal Lake South beat Cary-Grove, 14-7, in OT; and East St. Louis eliminated St. Rita, 35-28.

Now before we get to next week's predictions, let's look at where we stand. After going 0-for-2 Friday night, I rallied to finish the weekend 4-for-8, for a .500 percentage. That puts me at a very respectable .600 for the playoffs. But now is when things get really dicey, because all of the remaining teams are capable of winning it all.

So here goes. Maine South will defeat Bartlett and Mt. Carmel will eliminate Hinsdale Central to set up an outstanding final game for 8A. Both of these teams will have to win on the road to advance, but they have shown they can do that. I think Bartlett is capable of beating the Hawks and I also really like the dark horse Red Devils, but I'll stick with my picks.

In 7A, I have to go with the two undefeated teams, Geneva over Crystal Lake South; and Glenbard West in a squeaker over East St. Louis. This will set up a final in which only one team will emerge undefeated and the other will suffer their first defeat. You couldn't ask for a better match-up than that.

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