Tuesday, November 12, 2013

My two Games of the Week...

...for Round Three will be No. 4-seed Joliet Catholic (10-1) at No. 1 Montini (11-0) and No. 2 Lincoln-Way North (10-1) at No. 1 Richards (10-1).

While I'd like to see No. 5 Maine South (9-2) at No. 1 Loyola (10-1) at noon or No. 6 Lincoln-Way West (10-1) at No. 2 Sycamore (11-0) at 1:00, I feel like I've been waiting for that JCA-Montini game ever since the brackets first came out. Also, I haven't seen either one of these teams and that's a glaring omission on my part.

As for the Lincoln-Way North - Richards game, well, I've been meaning to see both schools ever since I wrote about them here and here last summer. Besides, how can you resist a No. 2-seed at a No. 1?

Joliet Catholic is led, of course, by running back Mike Ivlow (above). The Hilltoppers played only one team with a losing record this year, Carmel. They beat Providence, St. Thomas Academy (MN), St. Viator, Nazareth, Marist, Notre Dame, Benet, Englewood and Kaneland. Wow! (They only lost to St. Patrick in Week Six, 22-21.)

In addition, JCA is the alma mater of basketball great George Mikan and Daniel "Rudy" Ruettiger.

Montini has won the last four 5A titles. The Broncos also played only one losing squad, Wheaton Academy, with victories over Maine South, East St. Louis, St. Francis, Marmion, IC Prep, Marian Central (twice), Aurora Christian, Aurora Central Catholic and Morgan Park.

In the last few years it's been mostly Montini in head-to-head matchups (home team in CAPS):

2012: Montini 40, JCA 37
2011: Montini 70, JCA 45 (Champaign)
2010: JOLIET CATHOLIC 21, Montini 7
2009: Montini 29, JCA 28 (Champaign)

Will the Hilltoppers end Montini's reign atop 5A? I'll say yes.

Saturday evening's game pits the Phoenix of Lincoln-Way North against the Bulldogs of Richards in a great 6A showdown. While the Frankfort school only opened in 2008, Richards in Oak Lawn dates back to the 1920s and has had a storied football program. It's also the alma mater of Dwyane Wade of the Miami Heat.

The Phoenix beat Andrew in double overtime, Bradley-Bourbonnais, Thornton Fractional South and Rich Central. Its lone defeat was to cross-town rival Lincoln-Way West.

The Bulldogs, meanwhile, beat Batavia, Reavis, Argo (twice) and Yorkville. Their only loss came at the hands of Evergreen Park, 35-34.

As far as I can tell, the two schools have only met once, in 2012, when Richards bested North, 36-14.

What happens on Saturday? I'm going to go with the Bulldogs.

P. S. I mentioned yesterday that three Lincoln-Way schools are still in contention this year. And I wonder, what must it be like to go to Lincoln-Way Central?

"Where do you go to school?"

"Lincoln-Way Central."

"Are they the ones in the race for 7A?"

"No, that's Lincoln-Way East."

"Oh. Then you must be the guys in the hunt in 6A."

"No, that's Lincoln-Way North."

"Oh. 5A?"

"Lincoln-Way West."

"Oh. So where do you go again?"

"Lincoln-Way Central. We were 4-5 and missed the playoffs."


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