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Mid Season recap

The Illinois high school football regular season is two thirds of the way through, as of week six and after week seven it will have reached the half way point for the entire playing season. Some things have remained the same , but many things have changed as well.

 

The most noticeable of which is the implementation of the 8 class playoff system, which has dropped the bar for entry into the playoffs. Last year and all previous years till 1980 (the first year of the six class system) a 7-2 record was a sure bet into post season play and most 6-3 teams made the mark. Occasionally a 5-4 team would slide in as well but every season you could count on coaches and fans getting nervous with a 4-2 record after week six.

This year, even teams like 2A state champsStillman Valley, who's 4-2, are sitting pretty even with a week nine match up with undefeated Huntley . Granted it's a far cry from the 14-0 record they had last year, but none the less if the can win two more games they are almost guaranteed a playoff berth and a chance to defend their title or in this case have a shot at the 3A title.

Speaking of the 3A title last years champs Harrisburg are having a little different results than 2000. Even though the Bulldogs lost a lot of their starting line up, a high scoring offense and a steel curtain defense enabled a lot of underclassmen to get playing time. Often through most of the fourth quarter. Unfortunately that hasn't helped the defending champs who are 2-4 and must win their next 3 in a row to have a chance in 4A.

Speaking of 4A, 1999 & 2000 4A champsJoliet (Catholic)lost it's first game since 1998's Prep Bowl defeat by Chicago (Hubbard), to rival brother schoolChicago (Mt. Carmel). That loss to the 3 time defending 5A state champs ended a 29 game winning streak and bumped them from the #1 spot on the big 30. Joliet Catholic which is now 5-1 may get to fulfill a wish Frank Lenti's Mt. Carmel Caravan team would have liked to come true last year. That's a chance to face the Hilltoppers again after the season. With the 8 class system, nowChicago (Mt. Carmel),Joliet (Catholic)& 5A runner upNew Lenox (Providence)are all in 6A for the moment.

4A runner up Metamora will be looking to end it's dry spell of state champion gold in a Joliet Catholic less 5A class. Not that traditional powerhouses Morris , Rochelle, &Geneseoare just going to roll over, as most of the 4A talent from last year bumps up to 5A. To make it one of the most interesting classes out of the 8.

6A has always been one of the more wide open classes in Illinois. With only two teams ever winning back to back titles since it's implementation in 1980.East St. Louis (Sr.)&Wheaton (W. Warrenville South). And East St. Louis being the only team to ever have a real dominant run. You can always count on a dark horse sneaking in the finals if not winning it. In 1999 it was Schaumburg . In 2000Carol Stream (Glenbard North). And even Nostradamus didn't pickPark Ridge (Maine South)to make it and win last years 6A title.

This season the city of Chicago will be looking to make history. No Chicago Public League team has ever won a state title and only one has ever even made the finals. That would beChicago (Robeson) , who was the 5A runner up, just shy of 20 years ago in 1982. The team most likely to do that this season (or next) Chicago (Hubbard). At 6-0 with two of those wins over against strong suburban Chicago teams, the Greyhounds are looking better than ever and are looking to surpass last years semifinal finish.

8A will most likely be the biggest crap shoot of all the classes. 1999 champsNaperville Central , 2000 champsPark Ridge (Maine South), Hinsdale (Central)& Harvey (Thornton) are all looking like final four candidates, butNew Lenox (Lincoln Way Central),Carol Stream (Glenbard North),Winnetka (New Trier)& Orland Park (Sandburg), all hiding like snakes in the grass waiting to strike.

One thing is for sure, come week #14 the difference will be clear between those who can & those who can't. Along with those who did last year, but didn't this year.

Vincent Johnson

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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