Monday, November 9, 2015

This was the view...

...from the concession stand before the New Trier - Homewood-Flossmoor game Saturday night. In case you didn't hear, H-F positively crushed the visiting Trevians, 55-7. It was so bad that rather than kick the extra point after their last touchdown early in the fourth quarter the Vikings took a knee instead. I don't think I've ever seen that before.

And here's a panoramic view of Duchon Field in Glen Ellyn before the Mount Carmel - Glenbard West contest that afternoon:

Looking northwest from the home side.
Looking north.
And looking northeast.
Again, unless you live in a closet and didn't hear, the home team Hilltoppers held off the visiting Caravan, 7-0.

You can read about both games here, here and here. But I'll give you the main takeaways. From the H-F game (all emphasis mine):

"Speed is just one of those things you can't replicate," New Trier coach Brian Doll said. "They had a ton of it. Even though our defense [is] fast, it's just not at the same level as what they're able to do offensively."

Devonte Harley-Hampton finished with seven carries for 147 yards and three touchdowns against New Trier (9-2). His twin brother, Deante Harley-Hampton, finished with 11 carries for 128 yards and three touchdowns. 

The Vikings finished with 10 plays of 20 yards or more.

"Even some of the good running backs that we saw this year aren't even close to these two kids," Doll said. "Whether it's [Darrius] Crump from Warren, [DJ] Penick from Highland Park or even the little sophomore from Maine South [Fotis Kokosioulis], it's just not even close. They're so much faster. They're stronger. The [Homewood-Flossmoor offensive] line is better."

As I tweeted Saturday night: While Loyola may be the best high school football team I've ever seen, Homewood-Flossmoor has tremendous speed and athleticism. I'll pick the Ramblers to win this weekend, but the Vikings will definitely be the best team Loyola has seen this year. Not even close.

As for the earlier contest, it's always easy (for me, at least) to dismiss Glenbard West during the season, but when they play teams like Stevenson last year and Mount Carmel this year, I gain a whole new respect for the Hitters. Take this sentence from Mike Helgot's report:

The Caravan ran 28 plays in the second half, 26 of which were in Glenbard West territory.

Here's a question for you: How many teams have shut out Mount Carmel? And when was the last time? I don't know the answers, but it hasn't been for at least ten years.

And, tellingly, from Michael O'Brien at the Sun-Times:

Mount Carmel quarterback Anthony Thompson, a Northern Illinois recruit, was 8-for-20 for 66 yards.

When was the last time a Mount Carmel quarterback threw twenty times in a game? I don't know the answer to that one, either, but a good Caravan team runs the ball. As Oak Park and River Forest coach John Hoerster told me about his days as an assistant under head coach Frank Lenti

At Mount Carmel we had some giant offensive linemen and some great tight ends. They just pound you, pound you, pound you. They throw the ball maybe six times a game. They just run it and run it and play super defense.

And this clearly wasn't that kind of Mount Carmel team. In fact, dare I say, it wasn't one of Lenti's better squads. And so I still think Loyola would beat Glenbard West this year, although we'll never find out.
I've now seen fifteen games and twenty-four different teams. If I had to rank the nine that are still standing, this would be it: 

1. Loyola (11-0)
Again, perhaps the best high school team I've ever seen.

2. Homewood-Flossmoor (10-1)
Their speed and athleticism will give Loyola a heck of a game this week.

3. Glenbard West (11-0)
The best of the rest.

4. Libertyville (11-0)
Has the most exciting player of the year in quarterback Riley Lees.

5. Naperville Central (10-1)
Defeated Batavia in Week Six. Has an interesting matchup this Saturday against the one team that beat them this year (by only one point!), Waubonsie Valley.

6. Batavia (10-1)
Beat Oswego in Week One.

7. Oswego (9-2)
Also lost to Plainfield North (6-4) before beating previously undefeated Huntley on Saturday. Will face Marist (7-4) in one of the more interesting matchups this week.

8. Lincoln-Way North (11-0)
The Phoenix has beaten every team they've faced. Might have to play Sacred Heart-Griffin in the semis, though.

9. Brother Rice (10-1)
The Crusaders have to be -- just have to be -- better than the team I saw against Loyola in Week Three. The good news (or bad news)? Rice may get another "bite at the apple" in the semifinals in two weeks.

Tomorrow: Homewood-Flossmoor travels to Loyola.

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