Monday, September 14, 2015

The regular season is now...

...a third of the way over (tempus fugit!) and the only thing the three news services can agree on is that Homewood-Flossmoor is one of the two best teams in Illinois.

There was no change this week to Mike Helfgot's top ten, but Beth Long at the Sun-Times finally relented and dropped Simeon (1-2) while elevating Phillips and Loyola (above). In MaxPreps, Sacred Heart-Griffin vaulted eight spots to No. 4 and Cary-Grove twelve to No. 6. (The Trojans are only No. 18 in the Times and "on the verge" in the Tribune.)

While MaxPreps is looking smarter and smarter with that preseason No. 1 ranking for Loyola, I don't understand why they lowered Phillips 15 spots and raised Simeon eight after the Wildcats defeated the Wolverines, 29-18. Also, Barrington fell eight places after beating Elk Grove, 42-18, and undefeated Libertyville, ranked in the top ten in both the Trib and Times, comes in at only No. 29 despite shutting out Zion-Benton, 41-0.

I'd say Helfgot has it about right at this point in the season: H-F and Loyola in the 8A final (with Glenbard West, Naperville Central and possibly Stevenson as potential spoilers.)

On to the rankings (all teams undefeated unless otherwise noted):

Chicago Tribune

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

Chicago Sun-Times

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


1. Loyola
2. Homewood-Flossmoor 
3. Montini 
4. Sacred Heart-Griffin
5. Rochester Phillips
6. Cary-Grove 
7. Joliet Catholic 
8. Glenbard West
9. Nazareth
10. East St. Louis (2-1)

What happened this weekend? I think the big news is that Loyola shut out previously undefeated Brother Rice; Phillips had a big "statement" win over Simeon; Bolingbrook and Fenwick were both upset; St. Rita may be weaker than we thought; and Lake Zurich and Providence are still looking for their first wins of the season.

(That should all end this Friday, though, as Lake Zurich takes on Zion-Benton (2-1) at home while Providence travels to 1-2 Marmion.)

As for me, I missed what may have been the best game of the week, Richards' come-from-behind victory on the road over Lemont, 28-24, and saw only the first half of the Loyola and Phillips games, the latter online. (My game selection/attendance has admittedly been less than optimal so far.)

The Rambler performance I witnessed on Saturday may have been one of the best I've ever seen. If I remember correctly, Loyola scored on three of its first four possessions with the other a punt that rolled down to the Brother Rice one-inch line. Not only did the Wilmette squad jump out to an early 21-0 lead, but their scoring drives were quick! quick! quick! (Can anyone on their schedule* beat them?) It reminded me of what Mike Helfgot said about Homewood-Flossmoor:

With 99 points and several long touchdowns to its credit through two games, H-F may actually be scoring too easily.

Quick possessions means little rest for the defense...

The only difference, however, is that Loyola's defense has been stellar as well: in three games, the Ramblers have outscored their opponents, 112-8!

(The fans in the bleachers on Saturday were positively giddy about that big win over Maine South the previous week. They said it was the first time a running clock had been used against the Hawks at home, if ever. One of the guys even said it had been important to "humiliate" Maine South. Yikes!)

Tomorrow: Pickings may be slim for Week Four, but I think I found at least a few good games worth the drive.

* While I'm sure everyone on the North Shore is looking forward to that Week Nine showdown with Mount Carmel, I wouldn't be surprised if Providence gave Loyola its best game of the season down in New Lenox in two weeks.

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