Wednesday, November 4, 2015

I should get my ticket... the Mount Carmel - Glenbard West game today so my backup plan won't be necessary.

What was it? Had I gotten shut out at Duchon Field (above) in Glen Ellyn on Saturday I would have doubled back to Oak Park to watch No. 13 Palatine (8-2) at No. 4 Oak Park and River Forest (9-1).

OPRF's stadium seats close to 6,000 so there wouldn't be any problem getting in. It's also historic, built in 1924, and unlike most stadiums, is laid out east to west. It's a great place to see a game.

And what kind of a contest would it be on Saturday afternoon?

Well, the Huskies defeated five playoff-caliber teams this year: Lincoln-Way East (for the second year in a row) in Week One by a point, Downers Grove North, Lyons, Hinsdale Central and Fremd. Their only loss came at the hands of undefeated Glenbard West (ever heard of 'em?).

Palatine, for its part, may be a sleeper. The Pirates only lost to Stevenson (narrowly) and Fremd while beating Rolling Meadows, Barrington, Schaumburg, Conant and Sandburg. Oh, and that win over Barrington was the lone defeat on the Broncos' schedule.

What other games did I consider for Round Two?

No. 15 Oswego (8-2) at No. 2 Huntley (10-0), also in 8A.

Huntley is just too far from my house -- over fifty miles. (It's past Elgin for crying out loud!) But I am intrigued by a team that has gone undefeated so far. The Red Raiders beat Hampshire, Jacobs, Crystal Lake South, Minooka and positively crushed Cary-Grove, 29-8, the Trojans' only loss of the season. Are these guys for real?

As for Oswego, they have Steven Frank, the No. 1-ranked quarterback in the state according to I've seen this kid twice, in Week One against Batavia, and in last year's second-round playoff loss to Bolingbrook, in which Frank almost single-handedly led the Panthers back from a 14-point deficit in the fourth quarter (I think) to force overtime. He's an exciting player to watch, especially when the pressure is on.

And, finally, the 7A game I thought I'd attend:

No. 14 Lincoln-Way East (8-2) at No. 3 Libertyville (10-0).

Why? Because the Wildcats have Northwestern-bound Riley Lees at quarterback, the most explosive player I've seen all year. Not only is Libertyville undefeated, but their closest margin of victory was twenty points! And they didn't beat a bunch of patsies, either: Lake Forest, Stevenson, Warren, Lakes and Downers Grove North.

But if anyone can tame the Wildcats it would be Lincoln-Way East. These guys are no strangers to the postseason. And this year, besides bowing to Homewood-Flossmoor (the best team in the state?) and that one-point loss to OPRF in Week One, the Griffins defeated Lincoln Park, Bolingbrook, Sandburg and Jacobs.

Not only should this be a great game, but the winner could easily find itself in the 7A finals (against Glenbard West).

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