Monday, September 21, 2015

The Fall Equinox...

...will be this Wednesday, September 23 (not today) and will pretty much coincide with the mid-point of the 2015 football season. Week Four is now behind us while Week Five looms large on the horizon.

What happened this past weekend? Well, the biggest news, I suppose, is that Nazareth got upset by Marian Central, 34-19, which caused the Roadrunners to drop out of Mike Helfgot's top ten at the Tribune and down to No. 10 in Beth Long's rankings at the Sun-Times. Neither of which was as precipitous as MaxPreps, though, which lowered the LaGrange Park school a full 29 spots to No. 38!

Why didn't I pick that as one of my Games of the Week? Because last year I saw Nazareth thoroughly dominate the Hurricanes and figured this time would be more of the same. I know kids graduate and all, but I thought the Roadrunners were still the team to beat in 6A and wouldn't be tested until Joliet Catholic in Week Seven. Friday was the first regular-season loss for Nazareth since September 21, 2013, to -- you guessed it! -- JCA.

Previously undefeated Naperville Central also fell, to Waubonsie Valley, 15-14, causing the Redhawks to drop to No. 11 in the Sun-Times, No. 19 in MaxPreps and out of the Trib rankings altogether. (Not even "On the Verge"!)

Hinsdale Central joined both Chicago papers' top ten this week and vaulted 11 spots to No. 14 in MaxPreps on the back of its 52-21 victory over York (1-3). York? Really?

MaxPreps continues to mystify. The website finally discovered Phillips, which leaped 16 spots after defeating Julian, 40-0; Brother Rice (3-1) climbed five tiers after its 46-33 victory over St. Francis; and Normal cracked the top ten after jumping eight with its 47-0 shutout of winless Manual.

Cary-Grove still doesn't get a whole lot of respect, even after the Trojans blanked previously undefeated Woodstock North, 34-0. MaxPreps has the defending 7A runners-up at No. 12, Ms. Long has them at No. 16 while Helfgot has them only "On the Verge."

My Game of the Week, Lake Forest at Libertyville (which I didn't even attend), was a bust, as the Wildcats easily handled the Scouts, 42-7. But that only sets up my next Game of the Week (yes, I'm tipping my hand early), as Libertyville travels to Stevenson (3-1).

The true Game of the Week, though, turned out to be that slugfest out in the Fox Valley, as Geneva edged St. Charles North, 42-41. I don't know anything else about that contest, but it must have been exciting!

Now, before I get to this week's rankings and the one game I ended up seeing, it's worth noting one more upset: St. Ignatius over Aurora Christian, 41-23. While St. Ignatius is known more for its academics (the Wolfpack went 1-8 in each of the last two seasons), the Eagles were undefeated going into the game and won the 3A crown as recently as 2011 and 2012.

On to the rankings! (All teams undefeated unless otherwise noted.)

Chicago Tribune

1. Homewood-Flossmoor 
2. Loyola
3. Mount Carmel
4. Glenbard West
5. Montini
6. Joliet Catholic
7. Phillips
8. Stevenson (3-1)
9. Libertyville
10. Hinsdale Central

Chicago Sun-Times

1. Homewood-Flossmoor
2. Glenbard West
3. Loyola 
4. Libertyville 
5. Montini
6. Phillips 
7. Mount Carmel
8. Joliet Catholic
9. Hinsdale Central  
10. Nazareth (3-1) 


1. Loyola
2. Montini
3. Homewood-Flossmoor 
4. Phillips
5. Sacred Heart-Griffin
6. Joliet Catholic 
7. Rochester  
8. Brother Rice (3-1)
9. Glenbard West
10. Normal Community 

I fully intended to drive up north for that Lake Forest - Libertyville contest, but the rain upset my plans (as well as everyone else's). Saturday was a three-ring circus around here (aren't things supposed to calm down once you're an empty-nester?), so I didn't make it out to River Grove for the game between Aurora Central Catholic and Guerin, which the visitors won, 37-28. (And garnered a not-so-favorable piece in the Tribune.)

I was, however, able to sneak away in the afternoon and ride my bike the eight or nine miles up to Hanson Stadium on the Northwest Side (it was a beautiful day!) for the Lindblom at Douglass tilt, which the visiting Eagles won, 52-28.

I really didn't know what to expect, even though I had written a post on Lindblom before the season. Head coach Justin Pressley seems to be having quite an impact in his first season with the West Englewood squad. The Eagles, just 2-7 last year, are out to an impressive 3-1 start with a big showdown this Saturday with Agricultural Science. The Cyclones are also 3-1 after their shutout of Longwood this weekend, 27-0, so the contest will be for the lead in the Chicago Great Lakes Conference.

On Saturday my battery died as soon as I sat down in the stadium so I wasn't able to tweet or consult the Internet or anything. I also didn't have a program so I can't tell you much about the players, except that sophomore Bryce Walker (No. 1 with fancy gold shoes) had a heck of a game at quarterback for Lindblom.

Pressley really seems to have his players performing as a team and the fan support in the stands was impressive too. The Eagles like onside kicks, punts on fourth down not so much, and going for the home run on occasion (and making it!).

I just might have to take in that game against Ag Science this weekend; I have a feeling we may be hearing a lot more about Lindblom before the season is over. (Are these guys the next Phillips?)

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