(Spoiler alert: Naperville Central is as good as any team I've seen this year, including, yes, Mount Carmel. And Jake Kolbe and Mikey Dudek are -- if anything -- underrated. But more on that later.)
In the meantime, the question of the day is, What's the least worst game I could attend while waiting for the Notre Dame - Bartlett matchup tonight?
Would it be Lincoln-Way West (0-1) at Bloom (1-0)? Maybe; I could always meet my buddy Kevin down there for breakfast like we did last year before the Crete-Monee game. But it's kind of far and I doubt I could drag him to another game there.
How about Morton (0-0) at Glenbard West (0-1)? No, even though Duchon Field in lovely Glen Ellyn is one of the nicest places around to watch a game, Morton was only 2-7 last year and the Hilltoppers will be out for blood after losing their opener last week to Wheaton Warrenville South. (And you don't want to see these guys when they're in a bad mood.)
There's Libertyville (0-1) at Westinghouse (0-1). Both teams had winning records last year but MaxPreps has Westinghouse ranked No. 411 in the state. Do I really want to drive all the way into the city to see the Wildcats take out last week's loss on the hapless Warriors? Nah.
So whom does that leave?
Let's see, how about Niles West at Niles North (above), a.k.a. the "Skokie Skirmish"? Why not? According to Google Maps it's only nine minutes from my house. If the game stinks I can just go home and take a nap. (And I'll need one after last night.)
Niles West was 5-5 last year, losing to Palatine in the first round of the Class 8A playoffs. The Wolves are ranked No. 214 by MaxPreps and beat Ridgewood (No. 398) in Week One, 56-35. Head coach Scott Baum is in his fourth year and has junior quarterback Tommy Galanopoulos and senior running back (and defensive back) Nick Johnson leading the attack.
Niles North, for its part, was 4-5 last year and haven't advanced to the postseason since 1992. Yikes! The Vikings are ranked No. 276 in the state by MaxPreps and beat Amundsen (No. 526) last week, 54-0. Head coach Mark Egofske is entering only his second year at the helm and is trying to turn around the North Shore school's program.
Leading the charge for North will be junior running back Julian Garrett and senior wide receiver J. J. Myles (I think I remember him from basketball). Both athletes double as defensive backs.
Last year West beat North, 30-21.
What the heck, if I can't make it downstate to that awesome double-header in East St. Louis at least I might see a good game right here at home.
Yep, Niles West at Niles North. That's the ticket!
P. S. As an added benefit, Niles West will feature the Illinois high school Name of the Day, Andy Loathaveerungsawad, a junior lineman on both sides of the ball whose parents are from Bangkok, Thailand. Cool!
P. P. S. And as always, I'll be live-tweeting the game @BoringOldWhtGuy.