Top 20 Rankings, Playoffs - Semifinals


Top 20 Rankings, Playoffs - Semifinals

1 Lincoln-Way East (12-0)
Last Week (Ranked 3): Defeated Edwardsville 40-10
Next Game: 7A Playoffs at Benet
PrepsTalk: NIU recruit Tom Fuessel sprinted past Edwardsville to the tune of 263 yards and three scores. Sean Doherty's 25-yard INT-TD was the cherry on top of a successful Griffins defensive effort.

2 Glenbard West (12-0)
Last Week (Ranked 2): Defeated Wheaton North 3-0
Next Game: 7A Playoffs vs. Lake Zurich
PrepsTalk: It was all defense on a muddy field in Glen Ellyn. Joe Marconi picked off two passes and Charlie Sweeny added another to seal the win. Hayden Lekacz was the offensive showcase (32-yard FG).

3 Loyola (11-1)
Last Week (Ranked 4): Defeated Palatine 19-7
Next Game: 8A Playoffs vs. Glenbard North
PrepsTalk: Linebacker Cody Sullivan dominated the game. His three interceptions helped shut down a once-dominant Palatine offense. A Danny Rafferty pick also led to an early Ramblers score.

4 Mount Carmel (11-1)
Last Week (Ranked 6): Defeated Lyons 45-10
Next Game: 8A Playoffs at Neuqua Valley
PrepsTalk: The option attack, fueled by QB Don Butkus and running backs Matt Domer and Draco Smith, paved the way. A 10-10 game was broken open by a trio of Lyons turnovers which led to MTC points.

5 Crete-Monee (12-0)
Last Week (Ranked 7): Defeated Ottawa 42-6
Next Game: 6A Playoffs at Lemont
PrepsTalk: The Warriors defense produced three sacks, three fumbles and limited Illinois-bound Miguel Hermasillo from reaching the end zone. Laquon Treadwell had two scores for C-M.

6 Neuqua Valley (12-0)
Last Week (Ranked 9): Defeated Waubonsie Valley 23-20
Next Game: 8A Playoffs vs. Mount Carmel
PrepsTalk: Ryan Mulhern's 20-yard field goal was the difference in another heart-stopping Neuqua-Waubonsie tilt. Joey Rhattigan: 41 carries, 278 yards and three touchdowns.

7 Glenbard North (11-1)
Last Week (Ranked 12): Defeated Maine South 29-23
Next Game: 8A Playoffs at Loyola
PrepsTalk: Panthers workhorse Justin Jackson rushed 36 times for 212 yards and four touchdowns. The defense was also able to limit the damage by Northwestern-bound QB Matt Alviti.

8 Maine South (11-1)
Last Week (Ranked 1): Lost to Glenbard North 29-23
Next Game: Season Over
PrepsTalk: Matt Alviti accumulated 227 yards (115 passing), but the defense could not hold Justin Jackson. The Hawks had the ball late, but could not convert on a fourth down in GBN territory.

9 Cary-Grove (12-0)
Last Week (Ranked 10): Defeated Crystal Lake Central 7-0
Next Game: 6A Playoffs at Lake Forest
PrepsTalk: Ryan Mahoney's eight-yard run to the end zone just before halftime was all the Trojans would need. Cary-Grove's defense stopped multiple Central attacks in C-G's territory.

10 Benet (11-1)
Last Week (Ranked 14): Defeated Downers Grove North 26-24
Next Game: 7A Playoffs vs. Lincoln-Way East
PrepsTalk: Another dramatic win for the Redwings, this time it came on a Jack Beneventi five-yard TD pass to Jack Toner with no time left. Beneventi: 26-42, 236 yards, two TDs.

11 Waubonsie Valley (10-2)
Last Week (Ranked 11): Lost to Neuqua Valley 23-20
Next Game: Season Over
PrepsTalk: Austin Guido rushed for 129 yards and a touchdown, but the Warriors could not stave off a late Neuqua drive and a late field goal. Demario Webb also scored for Waubonsie.

12 Lemont (11-1)
Last Week (Ranked 15): Defeated Oak Forest 21-14
Next Game: 6A Playoffs vs. Crete-Monee
PrepsTalk: Running back Christos Giatras simply owned the game. He tallied 119 yards and all three of Lemont's touchdowns. The defense kept a potent Oak Forest offense in check.

13 Wheaton North (10-2)
Last Week (Ranked 13): Lost to Glenbard West 3-0
Next Game: Season Over
PrepsTalk: Quarterback John Peltz tossed three interceptions and the rushing attack could never get going on a rain-soaked field. The Falcons missed a field goal attempt in the first half.

14 Montini (10-2)
Last Week (Ranked 18): Defeated Marian Central Catholic 42-27
Next Game: 5A Playoffs at Joliet Catholic
PrepsTalk: Mark Gorogianis had the game of his life Saturday, rushing for 240 yards and five touchdowns on only eight carries. The Broncos defeated MCC in the playoffs for the fourth consecutive season.

15 Lake Zurich (10-2)
Last Week (Ranked 19): Defeated Boylan 21-6
Next Game: 7A Playoffs at Glenbard West
PrepsTalk: The Bears put a stop to a 39-game Boylan winning streak, thanks to two Noah Allgood touchdown passes and a 55-yard run to paydirt from Sean Lynch.

16 Morris (11-1)
Last Week (Ranked 17): Defeated Washington 28-27 (OT)
Next Game: 5A Playoffs vs. Sacred Heart-Griffin
PrepsTalk: The Redskins erased a late 14-point deficit in 49 seconds (Zach Cinnamon and Collin Grogan TDs). Fernando Del Toro's extra point after a Cinnamon TD sealed the win in OT.

17 Palatine (10-2)
Last Week (Ranked 8): Lost to Loyola 19-7
Next Game: Season Over
PrepsTalk: Quarterback Ethan Olles could not get anything going against Loyola, throwing four interceptions. Palatine's lone score came on a 47-yard punt return TD by Cam Kuksa.

18 Marian Central Catholic (11-1)
Last Week (Ranked 5): Lost to Montini 42-27
Next Game: Season Over
PrepsTalk: Minnesota-bound quarterback Chris Streveler racked up 360 yards of offense (251 passing) and three touchdowns, but the Hurricanes fell victim to Montini. Again.

19 Lake Forest (9-3)
Last Week (Not Ranked): Defeated Notre Dame 31-19.
Next Game: 6A Playoffs vs. Cary-Grove
PrepsTalk: How about the game for Trent Williams-- 6 sacks, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery. Andrew Clifford found Nick Giordono on two TD receptions; Stephen Cirame had two rushing TDs.

20 Joliet Catholic (8-4)
Last Week (Not Ranked): Defeated Lincoln-Way West 21-20 (OT)
Next Game: 5A Playoffs vs. Montini
PrepsTalk: Michael Ivlow produced the game-winning touchdown run in overtime and Zach Rezin saved the game with a tackle on a two-point conversion attempt. Ty Isaac: 178 yards, two TDs.

Looming and Lurking: Aurora Christian, Evergreen Park, Oak Forest, Lyons, Notre Dame, Brooks, Downers Grove North, Crystal Lake Central, Lincoln-Way West, Kaneland, Bolingbrook, Providence, Lakes, Richards, Coal City, Wilmington, Simeon.

Be sure to follow @JoeCSN and @PrepsTalkCSN for prep football coverage.

High School Lites airs this Saturday night at 10:30pm and is streamed live at

Morning Update: Bulls win season opener; World Series returns to Wrigley

Morning Update: Bulls win season opener; World Series returns to Wrigley

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Bulls physicality a new wrinkle from last season

Bulls physicality a new wrinkle from last season

College teammates Jimmy Butler and Jae Crowder made plans to go to dinner after Thursday’s game in Chicago but for a few short moments they weren’t just competitors but unexpected combatants, getting tangled up in the second quarter.

There looked to be some harsh words exchanged after Butler took a charge on an unsuspecting Crowder near three-quarter court, with Crowder putting the basketball in Butler’s chest while Butler was still on the floor, causing players on both teams to convene for some tense moments.

Celtics guard Isaiah Thomas got involved and then before Butler could blink, Bulls guard Rajon Rondo joined the proceedings, as pushing and shoving ensued before technical fouls were assessed to both teams after an officials’ review.

If one wondered whether these Bulls—a team that touts itself as young with so many players having three years or less professional experience—could play with some bark and bite, perhaps the season opener provided a bit of a positive preview for the next 81 games.

Nearby, an unbothered Dwyane Wade took a practice 3-point shot, much to the delight of the United Center crowd, as observers witnessed the first sign of tangible proof the Bulls have intentions on regaining a bit of an edge on the floor.

Wade joked and took it as a sign of respect between the two teams.

“It looked like it, right? Yeah. It was a little something out there,” said Wade when asked if there was some chippy play. “Every time we play them it’s gonna be like that. Two teams finding their way in the Eastern Conference. We know we gotta see each other a lot. They never give up. They can be down 30 with 15 seconds left and they’re still gonna fight.”

The Bulls have externally preached toughness from the start of camp. Although Wade didn’t participate in that meeting of the minds, he isn’t exactly running away from such matters.
And Rajon Rondo is competitively ornery enough to have his voice hard no matter the setting.

[SHOP: Gear up, Bulls fans!]

“It’s been a big theme of practice,” Bulls coach Fred Hoiberg said. “We want to play with physicality and toughness. I think it was evident on the glass tonight.”

Yes, the Bulls outrebounded the Celtics by 19, but that could’ve been a by-product of the Bulls’ crashing the offensive glass on a porous shooting night. And yes, the slightly tense moment between Butler and Crowder probably won’t be an expected occurrence.

But when’s the last time one had multiple examples to dissect to discern this team’s level of toughness—or lack thereof.

“That’s something to show that the guys are out there fighting for each other,” Hoiberg said. “That they were playing with an edge. It happens with this game. You have to be competitive.”

Competition boiled over slightly, but considering the NBA isn’t exactly UFC, one doesn’t have to do much to display a little physical resolve.

“The fact that nothing escalated was good,” Hoiberg said. “The fact that those guys are out there and playing for each other and have each other’s back, that’s a huge thing right now.”

Too many times last season, it seemed the Bulls would submit in situations like those. Not that they were particularly soft, but it didn’t appear they had the collective will to fight for one another if an altercation arose.

Half the time, they looked like they could barely stand to be in the room with each other.

“It’s people’s will to win. Not saying a bad thing about anybody from last year,” Butler said. “To tell you the truth, I study the game and put in a lot of work but Rondo studies the game a lot. Every time I’m in the gym, he’s in the gym. That lets me know, these (dudes) are going to war with you. Every day. When I hit that deck, Rondo was right there. I wanna play with guys that’s gonna play hard, that’s gonna fight.”

And it didn’t take long for Butler to realize he has at least a couple teammates willing to jump in the foxhole with him.