Tuesday, September 29, 2015

The 2015 season is now...

...more than half-over; let's check in with some of the teams that submitted scouting reports to me at the beginning of the year.

My first post was on Guerin, which I predicted would finish at 5-4. The Crusaders are currently 2-3, but with home dates remaining against Elmwood Park (1-4), Walther Christian (1-4) and Ridgewood (3-2), and a season-ending visit to Chicago Christian (1-4), I could definitely see the River Grove school finishing at 5-4 with a trip to the playoffs. And, what the heck, if Guerin beats Ridgewood they would end the regular season at 6-3 with a decent seed in 3A.

Fenwick, which I figured to end the year at anywhere from 5-4 to 7-2, looks like it will fall short and miss the playoffs for the first time since 2011. The Friars are 2-3 right now and could get into the plus column with wins against Marmion (2-3) at home and St. Ignatius (2-3) on the road. But in Week Seven the Oak Park squad runs into the buzzsaw known as Montini (5-0) at home. The season finale, at St. Francis (4-1), could make all the difference. Right now, though, it's hard to see Fenwick beating the Spartans.

Lindblom, at 4-1, has been my Cinderella team this year. While I thought the Eagles might finish at a very respectable 5-4, I'm now revising it to 8-1. (Yep, you read that right.) The Englewood eleven finishes the season with TEAM Englewood (1-4) at home and road trips to Corliss (2-3), CICS/Longwood (2-3) and John Hope (0-5). (Although Corliss and Longwood are actually at Stagg Stadium, so they're not really away games.) Okay; I'll spot Lindblom one loss -- that would still give them a more than respectable 7-2 record. Keep your eye on these guys.

St. Francis, at 4-1, is right on target to finish at 7-2, which is where I had them at the beginning of the year. The Spartans host St. Laurence (3-2) at home this weekend, travel to Montini (5-0), host De La Salle (1-4) and finish up at home with Fenwick (2-3). If St. Francis loses to Montini, beats St. Laurence, De La Salle and Fenwick, that would put them at 7-2. Worst case scenario has the Wheaton squad splitting with St. Laurence and Fenwick, and finishing at 6-3.

If anything, I may have underestimated Loyola. I figured the Ramblers would finish at 7-2, but now I see them ending the regular season at 8-1, if not 9-0. In fact, I'll say it right now: this could be the best Rambler team I've ever seen -- they could go undefeated and win the whole 8A enchilada. The only thing standing in their way might be Homewood-Flossmoor.

This week Loyola travels to Providence, which is probably the best 2-3 team in the state. If they can get out of New Lenox alive, they should beat DePaul (4-1) at home and St. Rita (1-4) on the road. Mount Carmel (5-0) travels to the North Shore for Week Nine and that looks like a pick 'em right now, but I'll say Loyola gets the better of the Caravan this year.

Finally, on the basis of Coach Derek Leonard's one-paragraph scouting report, I called for Rochester to finish anywhere from 7-2 to 9-0. The Rockets are currently 5-0, and I think they can finish at either 8-1 or 9-0 if they can get past Leonard's father and Sacred Heart-Griffin (5-0) in Week Nine. In the meantime, Rochester faces Lincoln (0-5) and Jacksonville (3-2) on the road before bringing it home against Decatur MacArthur (0-5) and SHG. Will this be the first time since 2010 that Leonard beats his dad and gets bragging rights at the Thanksgiving table?

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