Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Add the Spartans of Sycamore...

...to the list of teams I've seen in 2014. (Also a couple of "W"s, Warren and Westinghouse, which didn't finish the Weekend with a "W" next to their name.)

Including St. Patrick and Naperville North, which didn't qualify for the playoffs, that makes a total of seventeen teams and twelve games I watched in ten weeks. (Eleven and a half games, if you're keeping score at home; I ducked out of that last one at halftime, remember?)

Of the twelve teams I ranked last week, two -- Brother Rice and Oak Park and River Forest -- were eliminated from postseason play. That leaves eleven schools I've seen that are still alive. Before I get to how I would rank them, here's the top eleven from the three news services I follow:


1. Glenbard West (10-0)
2. Loyola (8-2)
3. Providence (9-1)
4. Stevenson (10-0)
5. Maine South (10-0)
6. Nazareth (10-0)
7. Cary-Grove (10-0)
8. Joliet Catholic (8-2)
9. Sacred Heart-Griffin (10-0)
10. Edwardsville (9-1)
11. Barrington (9-1)

Chicago Tribune

1. Stevenson (10-0)
2. Glenbard West (10-0)
3. Cary-Grove (10-0)
4. Maine South (10-0)
5. Providence (9-1)
6. Nazareth (10-0)
7. Lincoln-Way East (9-1)
8. Loyola (8-2)
9. Naperville Central (8-2)
10. Homewood-Flossmoor (8-2)
11. Richards (9-1)


1. Stevenson (10-0)
2. Glenbard West (10-0)
3. Cary-Grove (10-0)
4. Maine South (10-0)
5. Nazareth (10-0)
6. Lincoln-Way East (9-1)
7. Providence (9-1)
8. Naperville Central (8-2)
9. Homewood-Flossmoor (8-2)
10. Simeon (9-1)
11. Hinsdale Central (8-2)


1. Providence (9-1)

I'll say it again: the Celtics are the best team I've seen this year. The No. 1-seed New Lenox squad travels to St. Rita for a rematch this Friday. In Week Five Providence bested the Mustangs, 41-27. I was there and it wasn't close. Look for the Celtics to win again and face either Normal Community or Wheaton Warrenville South before the big semifinal matchup with either Lincoln-Way East or Mount Carmel. I would definitely be at THAT game.

2. Glenbard West (10-0) 

Hilltoppers continue to roll. Mike Helfgot of the Trib thinks No. 10 Palatine may give the Glen Ellyn squad a game this week, but I'm already looking ahead to a quarterfinal matchup with either Maine South or Barrington.

3. Lincoln-Way East (9-1)

The Griffins have been perfect ever since that opening day loss to Oak Park and River Forest (which I saw). If all goes according to my fiendish plan, the Frankfort squad will make light work of No. 7 Reavis (8-2) this Friday en route to a showdown with Mount Carmel next week.

4. Loyola (8-2)

Ramblers at Stevenson will definitely be my Game of the Week. Can the Patriots avenge last year's one-point heartbreaking loss -- in bitter COLD -- to the Wilmette squad? Can Stevenson finally win a state championship in SOMETHING? Or will Loyola face Naperville Central in the finals again?

5. Mount Carmel (6-4)

Left for dead on the side of the road by some, the Caravan just keeps refusing to go gently into that good night. This week brings No. 11 Belleville West (7-3), whoever that is. But the Woodlawn squad can't be looking ahead to a quarterfinal game with Lincoln-Way East. (I'll do that for them.)

6. Nazareth (10-0)

These guys impressed me -- again -- with a lopsided 56-28 win over Rockford Boylan. Even though the Titans are no stranger to the postseason, they sounded like a No. 16-seed after that score. This week brings No. 9 King (8-2), which should prove nothing more than a speed bump for the Roadrunners. The quarterfinals could mean Lake Forest, but I don't think the LaGrange Park squad will be truly challenged until a semifinal matchup with No. 2-seed DeKalb

7. St. Rita (7-3)

As I said last week, I really, really LIKE this team. Since I moved to the Near West Side in June, St. Rita feels like my home team. But I'm afraid this week could be the end of the Mustangs' season (unless they can still compete for the Prep Bowl). Providence is just too good.

8. Wheaton Warrenville South (6-4)

The Tigers are just like Mount Carmel -- a 5-4 regular-season team with a great coach that you just DON'T want to face in the playoffs. (Or ever, for that matter.) If they can get past No. 5 Normal Community (8-2), whoever that is, they still have to run into Providence in the quarterfinals. I hate to underestimate Ron Muhitch, but I think the Celtics are headed for Champaign.

9. (Tie) Carmel (7-3) and Phillips (9-1) 

I still have these guys tied, don't I? And this week won't help matters any. 

I expect the Corsairs to prevail over No. 15 Fenwick (6-4) -- whatever happened to quarterback Jack Beneventi, anyway? -- and advance to the quarterfinals. (The Friars were victorious in their Week One meeting in Mundelein, 31-20, but everything's different now.) Could Carmel get past either Addison Trail or Libertyville and get to the semifinals? Why not?

As for Phillips, I'm going to make good on my promise to drive out to Johnsburg (9-1), wherever that is, to see Dewayne Collins and the Wildcats play again. Is the Bronzeville squad headed to the 4A championship game in Champaign? Sure; why not?

11. Sycamore (6-4)

Why do I rank these guys last? I don't know; maybe it's because I didn't get to see the Spartans challenged on Saturday. That game against Westinghouse was a real mismatch. No. 13 St. Viator (6-4) is next, followed by a possible quarterfinal matchup against No. 1 -- and undefeated -- Geneseo. Whoa.

By the way, that's the Sycamore Public Library, the oldest structure in town, in the picture above. Beautiful, isn't it? Apparently Sycamore, the DeKalb County Seat, has quite a number of buildings listed on the National Register of Historic Places, including the Sycamore Historic District, with over 200 properties. Cool!

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