Wednesday, November 19, 2014

How often do you get to see...

...two undefeated teams, at 12-0, ranked Nos. 1 and 2 in the Tribune, Sun-Times and MaxPreps*, who have never played each other, in a setting as lovely as Duchon Field (above) in leafy Glen Ellyn? Not too often. So how could you even consider missing Stevenson at Glenbard West this Saturday? It should be everyone's Game of the Week. Heck, let's face it: it's the Game of the Year. And weather permitting -- and assuming I can get a ticket -- I'll be there. 

Now what can I possibly say about these two teams that hasn't already been said?

Well, first of all, Duchon Field won't look like that on Saturday. (I took that picture in August, before the first game of the season against Wheaton Warrenville South.) In fact, it won't look anything at all like that. The forecast for Glen Ellyn right now is a high of 47 degrees with a 60 percent chance of rain. So, as Mike Helfgot noted in the Tribune, it could be muddy. (Glenbard West has one of the last grass fields in the area -- I was told it's because it's in a flood plain -- and no lights.) So we may be kickin' it old school. And that's kind of a shame, really, because I'd like to see both teams at their best.

Which brings me to another thought: if it's raining on Saturday I may just watch this thing on -- horrors! -- my computer. Duchon Field is small so I'd have to get there early, like an hour early. And if it's raining, do I really want to sit there for an hour before the kickoff? The question answers itself. (Although there was a time, not too long ago, when I would have immediately answered, "Heck yes!")

So I may be watching the contest online (and toggling back and forth with the Providence - Mount Carmel game) but still holding out hope that I can drive down to Gately for the 3:45 kickoff of the Coal City - Phillips tilt. (The Homewood-Flossmoor - Simeon nightcap will have to take place without me; Saturday is my 28th anniversary.)

Now, as for the teams themselves, well, I can't believe I can uncover any information that hasn't been widely disseminated already. The visiting Patriots beat ten winning teams this year. Wow! (Only Zion-Benton and Mundelein failed to qualify for the postseason.) And two of those squads, Libertyville and H-F, are still very much alive in the playoffs. What if the Pats meet up again with the Vikings in Champaign for the 8A final?

Here's another look at Stevenson's 2014 schedule (home team in CAPS):

STEVENSON 35, Indian Trail (WI) 0
Stevenson 33, Warren 20 (Neutral field.)
STEVENSON 34, Lake Forest 17
Stevenson 21, LAKES 3
Stevenson 21, LAKE ZURICH 0
Stevenson 41, ZION-BENTON 0
STEVENSON 42, Mundelein 6
Stevenson 34, LIBERTYVILLE 14
STEVENSON 21, Lyons 17
STEVENSON 24, Loyola 21
STEVENSON 38, New Trier 10

Now, what's interesting to me about Glenbard West is that, for the first time (that I know of), the Hilltoppers are competing in 8A. (And doing just fine, thank you.) So Glenbard West and Stevenson haven't played a lot of the same teams over the years.

In 2014 the Hitters, as they like to call themselves (doesn't every team think they're the toughest around? See: Chicago Catholic League), have beaten eight winning teams. Only Morton, Downers Grove North, Proviso West and York finished the season with losing records.  

Lyons was the only common opponent for Stevenson and Glenbard West, and they both beat them by similar scores.

Here's the Hilltoppers' full schedule:

GLENBARD WEST 21, Wheaton Warrenville South 10
Glenbard West 42, MORTON 0
GLENBARD WEST 38, Downers Grove North 0
GLENBARD WEST 28, Lyons 14
Glenbard West 42, HINSDALE CENTRAL 7
GLENBARD WEST 28, Oak Park and River Forest 14
Glenbard West 49, PROVISO WEST 10
GLENBARD WEST 33, Addison Trail 15
Glenbard West 48, YORK 7
GLENBARD WEST 34, Fremd 14
Glenbard West 41, PALATINE 7
GLENBARD WEST 28, Barrington 21

Now before I get into who's going to win on Saturday, here's a couple of things you may not have known about these two schools. First, Stevenson was the alma mater of Ron Goldman, who, along with Nicole Brown Simpson, was killed in 1994 in Los Angeles. In the "trial of the century," O. J. Simpson was acquitted of the murders, but later found liable for Goldman's death in a civil trial.

On a lighter note, Glenbard West is the alma mater of actor Sean Hayes. As a teenager, Hayes was an extra in the film Lucas (1986), which was filmed at Glenbard West.

So who wins this game? I'm going to go with Stevenson, for a couple of reasons. First, that schedule: I mean, come on, victories over H-F, Libertyville and Loyola? (Although it could be argued that Glenbard West's is just as impressive: wins over Wheaton Warrenville South, Hinsdale Central and Barrington.) But I just think it's Stevenson's year. They really impressed me in that game against Loyola. Also, the Patriots have never won a state championship in football or basketball, and I think it's high time they brought a trophy back to Lincolnshire.

If I make it out to the game -- a big "if" -- I'll be live-tweeting it @BoringOldWhtGuy. And if I should happen to see you there, I'll buy you a hot dog from that guy selling them in Lake Ellyn Park.

* But only Nos. 2 and 3 in BOWG.

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