Wednesday, September 23, 2015

If you can't find a parking spot...

...up at Stevenson on Friday night (or just don't feel like trying), there are several other good games you could catch instead.

The most obvious is Marian Central (4-0) at Joliet Catholic (4-0), for the lead in the East Suburban Catholic Conference. The Hurricanes are coming off a big 34-19 upset over previously unbeaten Nazareth, last year's 6A champion. The Woodstock eleven also bested Crystal Lake South (3-1) in Week One, 21-14.

Joliet Catholic, for its part, defeated a Catholic League Blue team (and last year's 7A winner), Providence, 35-13, in the season opener, and a DuPage Valley school, Wheaton North, 34-14, the following week.

Last year the Hilltoppers downed Marian Central, 31-21, in what I believe was the first ever meeting between the two schools. Friday night's result should be similar.

Don't like that game either? Well, how about one of the following instead.

Up north:

Johnsburg (4-0) at Richmond-Burton (3-1)
A Big Northern East Conference matchup between two programs that often go deep in the playoffs.

New Trier (4-0) at Evanston (3-1)
There was a time when this would have been a big game (when I was a kid), but the Central Suburban Conference has fallen on hard times of late. The winner of this tilt should challenge Maine South for the title. (And fall short.)

Cary-Grove (4-0) at Huntley (4-0)
The Trojans, last year's 7A runners-up, could very well be the most underrated team in the state. A victory over the Red Raiders won't change that.

Barrington (4-0) at Schaumburg (3-1)
Could the Saxons really end Barrington's perfect season? No.

Fremd (4-0) at Conant (4-0)
Neither of these programs have beaten a team with a winning record. So, what? It's always good to watch two undefeateds go at it. Remember, someone is going to go home 5-0.

Vernon Hills (4-0) at Antioch (3-1)
Another contest between two squads that haven't beaten a winning team. Vernon Hills' opponents have a combined 1-15 record! Hey, the weather forecast for Friday night is clear with temperatures in the low 70s. What else do you have going on?

Down south:

Brother Rice (3-1) at St. Laurence (3-1)
An interesting matchup between a traditional Catholic League Blue power and a scrappy St. Laurence team coming off a big 70-40 win over previously unbeaten Bishop McNamara (3-1). Can the Burbank squad upset the Crusaders at home? No, but they could give them a scare.

Curie (4-0) at Simeon (2-2) at Gately
Don't let Simeon's ho-hum record fool you. The Wolverines made it to the 8A semifinals last year and are due to break out.

Tinley Park (4-0) at Lemont (3-1)
Who? Just go with it; beautiful night, remember?

Eisenhower (3-1) at Hillcrest (4-0)

Lincoln-Way North (4-0) at Bradley-Bourbonnais (4-0)
A couple of undefeated teams in the Southwest Suburban Red go at it.

Thornton (4-0) at Lincoln-Way West (4-0)
Same. But two of these guys will go home 5-0, setting up a good showdown for the conference title.

Lincoln-Way East (3-1) at Bolingbrook (2-2)
In a way, I can't believe I'm not going to this game. I watch it every year; it's one of the first I circle on my calendar at the beginning of the season. But this time the Raiders are only so-so and the Griffins lost their opener -- again -- to Oak Park River Forest. Will either team challenge Homewood-Flossmoor for the conference championship? My Magic 8 Ball says, "Outlook not so good." 

Out west:

Marist (3-1) at Benet (3-1)
A good East Suburban Catholic pairing of two teams headed for the postseason. The RedHawks, however, should get the better of the Redwings. (And I'll let you figure out which is which.)

Kaneland (3-1) at DeKalb (3-1) 
These two schools, along with Morris (3-1), are in a three-way tie for the lead in the Northern Illinois Big 12 East Conference. Friday's tilt should clear things up a bit.

Batavia (4-0) at St. Charles North (3-1)
The Bulldogs are flying under everyone's radar right now, but if they beat St. Charles North they could surprise Naperville Central the following week. The North Stars, however, are coming off a heart-breaking 42-41 loss to Geneva and may not be in a very good mood. This could be the one everybody is talking about on Saturday.

Speaking of Saturday, there are two good games scheduled that I just might try to make:

Agriculture Science (3-1) at Lindblom (3-1) at 9:30; and
Glenbard West (4-0) at Lyons (4-0) at 1:30.

I'll have more to say about both tomorrow. Enjoy the games!

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