Thursday, September 3, 2015

While everyone else... up in Lincolnshire for the rematch between Homewood-Flossmoor and Stevenson or out in Park Ridge for the Loyola - Maine South showdown, I'll be in Niles to see Evanston (1-0) at Notre Dame (1-0).

Why? Well, yesterday I said that Week Two was a good time to avoid the crowds and check out a rising team or player you've never seen before. And, even though I drove past Notre Dame a thousand times to and from the airport (and Maine South) when I lived in Glenview, I've never actually been to a game there. But the contest tomorrow night will pit two teams who both feature quarterbacks mentioned in Beth Long's list in the Sun-Times, Matt Little of Evanston and Tyler Tsagalis of Notre Dame. In addition, even though both schools often make the playoffs, neither has been known to go deep in recent years. But if these two signal-callers are for real that could change in 2015. So I want to get a look at these guys now.

Evanston Township High School was founded in 1883, and I was surprised to read that "it is the largest high school facility under one roof in the United States." (Bigger than even Lane Tech or Schurz?) While the school has several distinguished alums, such as George Ball '26, Lester Crown '43, Jeremy Piven '83 and the Cusack siblings, Joan '80 and John '84, I found this tidbit the most interesting:

John T. Riddell was a football coach at the school and invented the removable cleat, and later invented the plastic suspension football helmet. He later founded Riddell, the sporting goods company.

The Wildkits were 3-6 last year (ouch!) but are coached by Mike Burzawa, who won three consecutive Class 4A championships at Driscoll. I have to think it's only a matter of time before he repeats that kind of success at Evanston. In the first game of the season, the North Shore squad defeated Proviso West, 42-21.

Notre Dame is a relative newcomer compared to ETHS, having been founded in 1955. The Niles school also boasts a number of famous alums, such as the McCaskey brothers and Greg Luzinski '68, and at least one infamous one, Steve Bartman '95. They also include the current mayor of Des Plaines, Matthew Bogusz (my Name of the Day) and -- not least -- James Pankow '65, trombonist for the band Chicago. Pankow also composed the song "Make Me Smile," among others, which explains why I've included it at the top of this post. (Also, I couldn't find one decent picture of Notre Dame on the Internet; can you believe it? I'll try to take some snapshots if I get there early. But I never need much excuse to listen to that tune.)

The Dons, who compete in the tough East Suburban Catholic Conference, are coming off a disappointing 4-5 season in 2014. Last week they beat McHenry, 27-7.

What do I think for tomorrow night? I have no idea; I don't know if these two teams have ever even met before. I just hope the weather holds out and the two quarterbacks put on a good show. 

Don't like my choice? No problem; go to one of these games in your area.

Also up north:

Phillips (1-0) at Carmel (0-1)
Will the 2014 Class 4A runners-up be out for revenge after last year's lone regular-season loss to the Corsairs, 20-13?

Lake Zurich (0-1) at Cary-Grove (1-0) 
A great regional rivalry.

Lake Forest (1-0) at Niles North (1-0) 
Can running back Barrington Wade lead Niles North to the postseason?

New Trier (1-0) at Warren (0-1)  
Are the Trevians for real?
Burzawa, who lives in Bartlett, has won three consecutive Class 4-A IHSA state football championships during his current tenure as head football coach/offensive coordinator at Driscoll Catholic High School in Addison, IL, - See more at:
Burzawa, who lives in Bartlett, has won three consecutive Class 4-A IHSA state football championships during his current tenure as head football coach/offensive coordinator at Driscoll Catholic High School in Addison, IL, - See more at:

Out west:

Oak Park-River Forest (1-0) at Addison Trail (1-0)
After beating Lincoln-Way East for the second year in a row, the Huskies may be the most underrated team in Illinois.

Neuqua Valley (1-0) at Naperville Central (1-0)
For crosstown bragging rights.

Providence (0-1) at Oswego (0-1)
The two best winless teams in the state?

Down south:

Geneva (1-0) at Richards (0-1)
Always a good matchup.

Wheaton North (0-1) at Joliet Catholic (1-0)
Can the Falcons avenge last year's 41-13 drubbing and avoid another 0-2 start?

And on Saturday:

Montini (1-0) at East St. Louis (1-0)
Best game of the day if you feel like making the drive.

Champaign St. Thomas More (0-1) at Guerin (1-0)
Keep an eye on the Crusaders.

Glenbrook South (0-1) at St. Patrick (1-0)
Must-win for GBS; may have trouble finding five victories in a resurgent Central Suburban Conference.

I might have to check out that last one. Hanson Stadium is a great place to see a game. It's about eight miles from my house; if there's no rain it could make for a nice bike ride.

Enjoy the games!

P. S. As usual, I'll be live-tweeting the action @BoringOldWhtGuy.


Ed Crotty said...

Neuqua @ Naperville Central - the first time as a DVC conference game. Welcome to the black and blue division, wildcats! DVC becomes an even tougher meat grinder of a conference. Go Redhawks!!

Ed Crotty said...
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