countdown of the 25 best high school football teams in Illinois and -- already -- I have a problem with it.
Yesterday the newspaper featured Prairie Ridge and ranked the defending Class 6A champs only 21. To which I say: No way!
The Times makes a good case, though. The Wolves graduated a number of starters from last year's championship team and, in addition, star running back Jordan Getzelman has decided to forgo the season in order to prepare for college baseball next year. (For a good post on Getzelman, read here.)
But high school football is -- mostly -- about the head coach. And Prairie Ridge has one of the best around, Chris Shremp, above. (The Wolves also draw on a particularly effective grade school feeder program.)
I saw PR play twice last year -- against Jacobs and Nazareth -- and once on television, in the finals against Richwoods. And there wasn't a better-coached team in the state of Illinois. And there won't be one this year.
There is no way -- no way -- that Shremp won't have the Wolves ranked in the Top Ten by the end of the season.
The key games to watch will be:
August 24: Glenbard South (7-4 last year);
September 21: at Crystal Lake Central (6-4);
September 28: Crystal Lake South (10-2);
October 5: Jacobs (7-3); and
October 19: Cary-Grove (8-3) The Trojans were the only team to beat the Wolves last year. Everybody clear your calendars; this one's a Gotta!