Thornton falls short to Downers North

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Thornton falls short to Downers North

By Tony Baranek

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Another time, another situation, and the pair of 92-yard touchdown plays Thornton quarterback JoWahn Brown combined on with wide receiver Jauan Wesley during the final three minutes might have gone down in playoff folklore.

Instead, it was window dressing in a game already out of reach.

Just started executing too late, I guess, a sad Brown quietly said after the Wildcats crash-landed Friday night in a 29-13 second-round Class 7A loss to visiting Downers Grove North.

Indeed, the two scores came too little, too late. North built a 29-0 lead before Thornton was able to find the end zone.

A power surge knocked out the scoreboard for a time, but it was running thunder that knocked out the Wildcats.

Downers Grove North (7-4), eighth-seeded and having already shocked No. 1 seed Batavia, stunned No. 5 Thornton with the powerful rushing duo of Kyle Leto and Brandon Salter, who combined for 194 yards rushing and each scored a touchdown.

The Wildcats, who turned the ball over twice in the first six minutes and trailed 19-0 at halftime, saw their season end at 8-3.

Until the late back-to-back highlight-reel plays, the best moments of the night for the Wildcats probably were their first two plays from scrimmage, runs for six and eight yards by Jamal Towns.

On the next play, Browns pass to DAndre Fuller resulted in a three-yard loss. Worse yet, on the next snap Brown was intercepted by Norths Michael Dashut.

The Trojans moved the ball from Thorntons 24 to the 7 before a fumble recovery by the Wildcats Ronnie Cross stopped the threat.

Two plays later, though, Thornton receiver Jason Towns caught a pass, but fumbled after a 12-yard gain.

This time North cashed in, scoring on its first snap on a 17-yard run by Leto.

On their next possession, the Wildcats went back to Jamal Towns for runs of 15 and two yards. But back-to-back sacks of Brown stalled the drive.

North followed with a 76-yard drive, every yard gained on the ground. One of those rushes was a crusher, as North punter Gareth Jones faked from the Thornton 49 and gained six yards for a first down.

And we were playing for the fake, but they still got it, Thornton coach Bill Mosel said later. It was just one of those things.

North later scored on the drive on a 2-yard sneak by quarterback David Edwards, and added another TD on a 3-yard run by Salter to take a 19-0 lead into intermission.

For Thornton, it was simply a frustrating night on both sides of the ball. Brown wasnt able to even target Wesley until a seven-yard play on the Wildcats first play from scrimmage in the third quarter. Brown spent a lot of time fleeing tacklers. He was sacked five times.

North added to its lead in the second half, scoring on a 30-yard field goal by Jones and a 2-yard run by Edwards.

They did a good job, Mosel said. They took it to us. They handled us up front, and youve got to take your hats off to them.

The growing problem with high school football scheduling

The growing problem with high school football scheduling

Last Friday afternoon Joliet Catholic loaded its team and coaches into "yellow rockets" and headed to Franklin, Wis., on Opening Night. Both Lincoln-Way East and Lincoln-Way Central headed to Indiana to play games.

Hinsdale Central hosted American Fork. American Fork, located just south of Salt Lake City, traveled to Hinsdale play the Red Devils.

Play in a conference such as the DuPage Valley, which needs to find non-conference games outside of the first two weeks of the season? Then much like Waubonsie Valley (Week 7 @ Fishers (Hamilton Southeastern), Neuqua Valley (Week 5 at Indianapolis Bishop Chartard) or Naperville Central (Week 6 at national power Lakewood Ohio St. Edward) you too will be on the road out-of-state.

Finding a few non-conference games to play is becoming an adventure.

Scheduling continues to be a growing problem for many IHSA football programs. Between the pressures of getting into the state playoffs along with a conference system that also seems to be imploding by the week state-wide, something needs to get sorted out sooner than later.

How about some possible solutions?

Some have suggested expanding the IHSA state playoff field, thus making the need to schedule "five wins to get in" less of a focus for teams across the state. Yet ask any high school coach and a large majority of them have a real issue with an "everyone-gets-in" system. Letting everyone into the IHSA state football playoffs would ease scheduling but also eliminates what many coaches feel makes the IHSA football playoffs special, which is making a regular season schedule actually count.

Conferences? These days more and more conferences, many of which have decades of history and tradition, are breaking apart. From the North and Western suburbs, which have already seen new realignments to the soon-to-be powder keg located in the South and Southwestern suburbs, expect even more scrambling for teams to find games.

How about letting the IHSA take over scheduling? Again some have suggested that the IHSA handle state-wide scheduling and make football much like other IHSA sports, such as football conferences becoming more like regionals. Yet this plan would eliminate well established conferences such as the Chicago Catholic League and others who would want to maintain its history.

Yet one thing seem to becoming much clearer these days as more and more schools head to all points to play games: something needs to change when it comes to scheduling.

Preview: Cubs wrap up series with Pirates on CSN

Preview: Cubs wrap up series with Pirates on CSN

The Cubs wrap up their three-game series with the visiting Pittsburgh Pirates on Wednesday night at Wrigley Field, and you can catch all the action on CSN. Coverage from the North Side starts at 7 p.m., and be sure to stick around following the final out for reaction and analysis on Cubs Postgame Live.

Starting pitching matchup: Jason Hammel (13-7, 3.21 ERA) vs. Ryan Vogelsong (3-3, 3.02 ERA)

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Preview: Chris Sale, White Sox close out series with Tigers on CSN

Preview: Chris Sale, White Sox close out series with Tigers on CSN

The White Sox close out their series against the Detroit Tigers Wednesday, and you can catch all the action on CSN. Coverage begins with White Sox Pregame Live at 11:30 a.m. Be sure to stick around after the final out to get analysis and player reaction on White Sox Postgame Live.

Today’s starting pitching matchup: Chris Sale (15-7, 3.14 ERA) vs. Justin Verlander (14-7, 3.33 ERA)

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