Thursday, October 31, 2013
Here's that list again...
Willowbrook (7-2) at St. Rita (8-1) 7 pm
St. Francis (5-4) at Glenbard South (9-0) 1 pm
Warren (6-3) at Glenbrook South (7-2) 6 pm
Let's start with Friday night. Why Willowbrook at St. Rita? Why not No. 9-seed Notre Dame (6-3) at No. 8 Fremd (6-3)? That would be a good matchup and another chance to see the Dons' star running back, Chris James. It's also Pat Disabato's best first-round game in 8A. Or No. 13 Dundee-Crown (6-3) at No. 4 Oak Park River Forest (8-1)? That would be an opportunity to see the Huskies' wide receiver Simmie Cobbs, who's committed to Purdue. Or No. 11 Conant (6-3) at No. 6 Jacobs (7-2)? That's Mike Helfgot's best first-round contest in 7A. It's also at Jacobs, which is a great place to see a game. What's more, the Golden Eagles are coached by Bill Mitz, who had a long and distinguished career at Stevenson. What about No. 13 Prairie Ridge (5-4) at No. 4 Lakes (8-1), or No. 12 Hampshire (6-3) at No. 5 Kaneland (8-1)? Do I smell an upset? Or two?
Those should all be good games, but I'll be driving down to 77th and Western in the city tomorrow night to see two of the most exciting quarterbacks in the state. Willowbrook's Brian Johnson, above, passed for a record 675 yards and 7 touchdowns against Lyons (5-4) in Week Two. Wow! And St. Rita's Tommy Mister is a dual-threat QB who has been putting up some big numbers lately, especially last week against previously unbeaten Loyola (8-1). This potential shoot-out will be my Game of the Week.
While Lyons was the only winning team that Willowbrook beat this year, the Warriors lost to Glenbard East (2-7) and Downers Grove South (6-3). The Mustangs bested Loyola, of course, Marist (6-3) and Providence (5-4). Their lone defeat came at the hands of -- who else? -- Mount Carmel (8-1).
The only time I can find when these two programs met was in the 2007 playoffs, when the Mustangs clobbered Willowbrook, 43-7.
On Saturday afternoon I could see No. 11 St. Charles East (6-3) at No. 6 Stevenson (7-2), but it's at 3:00; that would prevent me from seeing a second game in its entirety. No. 11 Lyons (5-4) at No. 6 Simeon (6-3)? Same problem; the game starts at 3:30 at Gately on the South Side. No. 8 Providence (5-4) at No. 1 Crete-Monee (8-1) at 1 pm? That seems to be on everyone's Game of the Day list but I've seen both schools play and, quite frankly, neither one is that much fun to watch.
So that leaves No. 14 St. Francis at No. 3 Glenbard South. That's on both Mike Helfgot's and Pat Disabato's lists of the best first-round game in 5A. In addition, I'll get to see star running back James Butler.
Can the Spartans upset the undefeated Raiders? Well, they already beat Plainfield South (6-3) and St. Edward (5-4), while losing to four winning teams, Montini (9-0), Marian Central (7-2), Marmion (7-2) and Aurora Christian (6-3) before the Eagles lost everyone to injuries.
Glenbard South beat Antioch (5-4), Fenton (6-3) and Bloom (5-4) -- not exactly a Murderers' Row. I can see why the papers picked this game; it should be a good one.
Finally, there's Warren at Glenbrook South.
I'd really like to see Nos. 1 Richards and Evergreen Park; they face No. 8 Yorkville (5-4) and No. 16 Richmond-Burton (5-4), respectively. But I just don't think either one of those contests will be worth the drive. So how about No. 10 Nazareth (7-2) at No. 7 Brooks (8-1)? Tempting, as I think the Roadrunners may be a dark horse in 5A. But I could probably see them next week against No. 2 Sycamore (9-0).
So that leaves me with the Blue Devils at GBS. Hard to believe, but I can't find a meeting between the two in the last ten years. (I would have sworn they'd met in the playoffs.) While Warren lost to three good teams -- Lake Zurich (8-1), Stevenson (7-2) and Lake Forest (7-2) -- they beat Lyons in overtime and New Trier (5-4). The Titans lost to Maine South (7-2) and Evanston (5-4) and defeated New Trier and Niles West (6-3). Will it be the most exciting game I've ever seen? Probably not, but it's a No. 10 against a No. 7 seed and a 6-3 squad against a 7-2 school. And, besides, it's only four miles from my house.
As always, I'll be live tweeting the games @BoringOldWhtGuy. Enjoy the weekend!