Go big or go home: Neuqua vs. Carmel

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Go big or go home: Neuqua vs. Carmel

Tashara Parker
CSNChicago.com Contributor

Tomorrow is the night that weve all been waiting for. The do or die games of the week.

Take a deep breath: There are only a few more hours until the top teams square off for a chance at the state championship game only a week away from tomorrow.

Perhaps one of the biggest games Saturday night is ten-time state champion Mount Carmel vs. Neuqua Valley.

Two teams familiar with one another from their matchup two years ago when the Caravan knocked the Wildcats out of the playoffs in the second-round with a 21-14 victoryso its safe to say the Wildcats are seeking revenge in Saturday's matchup.

Mount Carmel has definitely taken high school football fans on an incredible ride the last few years. Although, they have ten state championships in school history, the majority of their titles were during the 90sand they havent won a state championship game in the last five seasons.

The Caravan heads to their fourth-straight semifinals in the last six seasons when they battle Neuqua Valley in a Class 8A matchup on the Warriors' turf.

If you have been a part of Mount Carmel football in the last 20 years, you know better than most that they are one of the most storied Catholic League schools around.

They have been under the guidance of head coach Frank Lenti since 1984 and he owns nine of Mount Carmel's 10 state championships.

And as much as the team wants another state title, its rare that any other team in the country has won 10 state championships in less than three decades, so theyre already ahead of the game.

Its easy to say the Caravan are dominant in their sport and its run in the game of football is unmatched throughout the stateso fans can only wonder what will happen tomorrow night as they take the field against unbeaten Neuqua Valley.

One thing for sure is itll be a good game. Both teams have speed and are looking to control the ball at all costs, so itll come down to who makes the least mistakes and puts up a solid defensive effort.

CSN's Dan Hayes meets the White Sox Dan Hayes

CSN's Dan Hayes meets the White Sox Dan Hayes

Is the White Sox clubhouse big enough for two Dan Hayeses?

We're about to find out this spring training as CSN White Sox Insider Dan Hayes covers the team, which includes first base prospect Danny Hayes.

The Sox prospect Hayes battled .250 with 10 homers and 42 RBIs in 55 games for Charlotte last season.

The big-league hopeful and White Sox beat reporter spoke with CSN's Chuck Garfien about the similarities the two (don't) have.

No word yet on whether they'll battle the two Rougned Odors and Geovani/Geovany Sotos to an Anchoman-style duel.

Check it all out in the hilarious video above.

Ryan Hartman defends teammate, but fight proves to be turning point in Blackhawks loss to Oilers

Ryan Hartman defends teammate, but fight proves to be turning point in Blackhawks loss to Oilers

The NHL implemented the bye week for the first time this season in an effort to give teams a five-day break before the stretch run of the regular season.

Entering Saturday's game, teams were 3-10-3 coming out of those games with many of those losses coming in convincing fashion.

Despite a 3-1 loss to the Edmonton Oilers on Saturday night, the Blackhawks weren't one of those teams. They appeared to be reenergized more than rusty, and it showed in the opening 20 minutes of the game when they fired off 30 shot attempts (12 on goal) compared to the Oilers' 10 (four on goal).

But early in the second period, momentum shifted after Ryan Hartman came to the defense of teammate Tanner Kero, who was leveled by Oilers defenseman Eric Gryba in the neutral zone.

Hartman skated over to Gryba and dropped the gloves near the goal line, afterwards getting tagged with a two-minute penalty for instigating, five minutes for fighting and another 10 for a misconduct.

"It's kind of a no-brainer for me," Hartman said of sticking up for Kero. "I tried waiting long enough so it wasn't an instigator but it's kind of a judgment call I guess, some refs call it different ways. Unfortunately it ended up in a power play for them, but it's something you've got to do."

Hartman said he and the official had a discussion about the instigator penalty for clarity, which was handed to him due to the distance traveled after the hit.

Hartman said after the game that he respects the decision, but teammates and coaches didn't necessarily agree with the call.

"Thought they both had an agreement," Jonathan Toews said of the fight. "It looked like they were both going to go at it. Don’t think Hartsy jumped him by any means. But I guess just because there’s a previous hit immediately before that, then he got the instigator there."

Said Joel Quenneville: "I don't necessarily know that he was going to start the fight. I think he went over there to talk to the guy, so you lose Hartsy there."

And it proved to be the turning point.

Less than two minutes later, the Oilers capitalized on the power play after Matt Benning's shot ricocheted off Blackhawks defenseman Trevor van Riemsdyk's skate and into the net, putting Edmonton out in front first.

They wouldn't look back, hanging on to beat the Blackhawks 3-1, and getting revenge on a team that beat them last week 5-1 in their first game out of the bye.

While it may not have been an opportune time to do it, the Blackhawks appreciate Hartman's game and know more times than not, his energy will result in a positive outcome.

"We haven’t seen a lot of fights this year so, no matter what, it always gets us going, especially in our own building," Toews said. "I think the fans love that sort of thing, too, and Hartsy’s been going after guys who are a lot bigger than him this year. We love that fearless play and definitely helps our guys feed off it."

"Hartsy's a competitive guy," Quenneville said. "We like him to have that a little bit of abrasiveness and unpredictably so there's nothing wrong with that. We like the way he competes and what he brings us."