Thursday, October 30, 2014

Has Warren ever played Loyola?

Yes, at least twice in recent years. Warren, the largest school in the tournament this year, traveled to Loyola, the largest private school in the state, both times and lost by similar scores:

2009: LOYOLA 21, Warren 7
2007: LOYOLA 23, Warren 3

Will Saturday's game be any different? I don't know.

Warren High School, in Gurnee, opened its doors in 1918 with 57 students. Today it has 4,262 on two campuses. Warren's most famous alum is probably William Grant Stratton (above), also known as "Billy the Kid," who was Adlai Stevenson's successor as governor of Illinois from 1953 to 1961. Stratton, whose mother's maiden name was Van Wormer (there was no Name of the Day back then), was the youngest governor in America at the time. In typical Illinois fashion, Stratton was tried on charges of tax evasion, but -- atypically -- was acquitted and lived out the rest of his life in Chicago, not some federal prison. It was a more innocent time in America back then.

As for Warren's 2014 football squad, the Blue Devils (7-2) are seeded No. 9 in the 8A tournament. While they get no love from the Chicago papers, Bryan McNulty's squad is ranked No. 17 by MaxPreps, just ahead of No. 18 Naperville Central (7-2) and right behind No. 16 New Trier (8-1). (Brian McNulty? Sounds like a Loyola coach.)

Warren played six winning teams this year, beating Lyons (5-4), Libertyville (6-3), Lake Forest (6-3) and Lake Zurich (5-4). The Blue Devils lost to New Trier (8-1) and Stevenson (9-0) early in the season. Here's the full schedule (home team in CAPS): 

WARREN 17, Lyons 14
NEW TRIER 14, Warren 7
Stevenson 33, Warren 20
WARREN 43, Libertyville 26
Warren 42, MUNDELEIN 12
WARREN 27, Lake Forest 14
Warren 44, GRANT 0
WARREN 21, Lake Zurich 17
Warren 42, ZION-BENTON 0

As you can see, Warren's offense can really rack up the points, having scored over forty in four games. But Loyola's defense is notoriously stingy. What happens when an unstoppable force meets an immovable object? We may find out this weekend.

Loyola (7-2), for its part, is seeded No. 8 in the tournament and ranked No. 3 in MaxPreps, No. 8 in the Tribune and No. 16 in the Sun-Times. There's really nothing about the Wilmette school that I could write that readers of this blog don't already know, but how about this? Loyola, founded in 1909 in Rogers Park, was actually spun off of St. Ignatius on the Near West Side.

Not to be outdone by Warren in the political realm, Loyola is the alma mater of Neil Hartigan, who ran as a Democrat for governor in 1990. (That's him in the picture above, with Nancy Pelosi. That's gotta rankle those North Shore Republicans!) Hartigan at one time was the youngest lieutenant governor in the nation and also remains unindicted for any crime.

As for this year's season, the Ramblers played -- are you ready for this? -- eight of its nine games against winning teams! (Who scheduled St. Ignatius?) Not only did Loyola beat Marquette (7-2),  Fenwick (5-4), DePaul (5-4) and St. Rita (6-3), but John Holecek's squad delivered the only losses of the year to Edwardsville (8-1) and Providence (8-1). Wow!

Loyola's two defeats came at the hands of Brother Rice (6-3) and Mount Carmel (5-4), both on the road. Here's the full schedule:

Loyola 44, MARQUETTE (WI) 0
LOYOLA 29, Edwardsville 28 (OT)
BROTHER RICE 16,  Loyola 13
LOYOLA 42, Fenwick 0
Loyola 55, ST. IGNATIUS 13
LOYOLA 10, Providence 7
Loyola 42, DEPAUL 6
LOYOLA 38, St. Rita 14
MOUNT CARMEL 10, Loyola 7

As you can see, Loyola -- despite its issues at quarterback -- can score points too. But if defense wins championships then these guys are headed for a rematch in Round Two with Stevenson (9-0).

Warren can be a dangerously underrated team, though, and capable of sneaking up on the Ramblers at Sachs Stadium. I'll say Loyola wins this one, but it could be uncomfortably close for fans of the home team. I'm thinking of something on the order of the Providence game, 10-7.

You can follow the action with me @BoringOldWhtGuy on Saturday afternoon.

What's my game for Saturday night? Check back tomorrow.

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