Tuesday, October 6, 2015
Here are the six best games...
If you live up north:
Crystal Lake South (5-1) at Huntley (6-0)
The Gators haven't lost a game since Marian Central (4-2) in the season opener. (The Hurricanes were the one team to beat defending 6A champ Nazareth in what I believe must have been a rain-drenched fluke in Week Four.) But South hasn't bested a winning team since. Huntley, on the other hand, may very well be a dark horse for 8A. If the Red Raiders get past the Gators they will probably go 9-0 with a terrific seed in the playoffs. Is Loyola coach John Holecek watching films of these guys yet?
Warren (4-2) at Libertyville (6-0)
What, another team with two losses? Yep, hear me out. The Blue Devils dropped their first two contests to Lyons and New Trier, a couple of teams with a combined 11-1 record. Warren then beat Lake Forest (4-2), Mundelein (4-2) and last year's 8A champ Stevenson (3-3). (Ever heard of them?) Meanwhile, this is the first of three 4-2 teams that Libertyville must play to finish the season. Are the Wildcats for real? Can they run the table and go 9-0? Are they a real threat in 7A? If nothing else, you should go see the most exciting player in Illinois this year, Libertyville quarterback Riley Lees.
Oh, and P. S. Warren will go deeper in the playoffs than either Lyons or New Trier.
Nazareth (5-1) at Joliet Catholic (6-0)
This really should be the Game of the Week. (Hint: It won't be mine.) As I mentioned above, Nazareth lost only one tilt, during that crazy monsoon in September. (Most of the other games were postponed that night.) Besides that, the defending 6A winners beat a bunch of middling teams until last week's 33-0 shutout of Benet (4-2). So, no matter who graduated last year, you don't want to face the Roadrunners. Unless, of course, you're Joliet Catholic, who's beaten the daylights out of everyone they've faced this year, including last year's 7A champ Providence (2-4), Wheaton North (3-3) and that Marian Central (4-2) team I was just talking about. Even though the Hilltoppers' still have to play Benet and Marist (4-2), this could be the best chance anyone has to ruin their perfect season. (And Nazareth would love nothing more.) Will this be the first time JCA appears in the 5A finals since 2011?
Thornton (6-0) at Lincoln-Way North (6-0)
I don't know much about either of these schools (except that they've both beaten three winning teams, and that's not nothing), but it's always exciting when two undefeated squads from the same conference go up against each other. One of these guys will wake up Saturday morning 7-0 and in sole possession of first place in the Southwest Suburban Red. (And one won't.) Psst: Thornton could go 9-0 this year.
Lincoln-Way East (5-1) at Homewood-Flossmoor (6-0)
My Game of the Week. (Check back tomorrow.)
Glenbard West (6-0) at Oak Park River Forest (6-0)
If anyone is going to beat Glenbard West during the regular season it will be the Huskies. (This is the last winning team the Hitters face.) Head coach John Hoerster, at top, has done a masterful job in rebuilding the OPRF program. For the second year in a row, the Huskies beat Lincoln-Way East, no small accomplishment. Glenbard West, of course, has pretty much crushed everyone they've played and may be on course to wreck Loyola's perfect season in the 8A playoffs. But I'm going to say the Hilltoppers get tripped up in Oak Park this Friday en route to the postseason. Either way, these two squads could meet up again in November.