Chicago Fire

Guido gives Warriors new dimension

Guido gives Warriors new dimension

Wednesday, Nov. 3, 2010
11:17 a.m.
By Jim Owzcarski
YourSeason.com
In winning its first playoff game since 2001, the Waubonsie Valley Warriors may have become an even more dangerous offensive team than the one that averaged nearly 30 points per game during the regular season.

On a chilly Friday night, the Warriors passing attack grounded itself with several dropped passes including one sure touchdown meaning the option running game was going to have to carry the load.

That said, one key contributor to that running game RBLB Devon Morgan had to focus more energy on defense to try and contain Brother Rices own two dynamic running backs.

That meant 5-foot, 8-inch sophomore Austin Guido suddenly became a workhorse. The 180-pounder proved he could be a feature back against a physical Crusaders defense, carrying the ball a career high 22 times for 211 yards and a touchdown in a 33-7 win.

Ive never gotten this many carries before, Guido said. Me (and Morgan) usually switch, but he didnt go in much so I knew that I had to carry my load and just run the ball hard.

While not a burner, Guidos initial burst through the line helped him average nearly a first down per carry, and he was able to run away from everyone on a 96-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter when he got to the edge and turned it up the field.

I could sense a guy behind me so I tried cutting in a little bit and he got an arm on me, but I broke it and scored, Guido said.

You have to assume Northwestern-bound tight end Mark Szott wont drop as many passes as he did Friday, and same with receiver Demitrius Gray. Guido proved he could carry the load, which will make QB Tommy Kolzow even more dangerous on rollouts and keepers.

A scintillating second round

This weekends games feature several contests that could be confused for semifinal games in all classes. In Class 3A, Aurora Christian (6-4) hosts title favorite Wilmington (10-0). Just two weeks ago, the Wildcats beat 4A Sandwich 34-14 and for the year, Wilmington is 5-0 against teams with larger enrollments.

In 4A, Geneseo (9-1) travels to Sandwich (9-1) in a game that could determine who goes to the state finals in that bracket. The Maple Leafs have won four state titles and finished second five other times, including last year. Expect a huge crowd Geneseo told Sandwich they would be bringing 1,500 people Saturday night.

In 6A, Geneva (8-2) travels to Lemont (10-0), but the Vikings might now be the favorite having won eight straight games. The Vikings have found a groove offensively averaging 44.5 points during that win streak including two consecutive 69-point efforts against Larkin in Week 9 and Oak Forest last week. The winner of that game will face the winner of Marmion Academy (9-1) at T.F. South (9-1), a game that will feature the Cadets power against the Rebels explosiveness.

Mr. Efficiency

Everyone knew Kaneland senior QB Joe Camiliere had a complete understanding of the Knights offense hes been running it on varsity for three years. But what hes been doing lately is truly unbelievable.

In the last two weeks, victories over Morris and King, Camiliere has completed an astounding 79 percent of his passes (22 for 28) for 458 yards and six TDs while throwing no interceptions.

Predictions, predictions

Beginning with last weeks first round playoff games, The Beacon-News ran predictions calculated by SportsMetrix, an algorithm-based program that can rank teams more accurately based on strength of schedule.

The program, developed by Aurora native and Sugar Grove resident Dr. Greg Rahn, was 6 for 7 in The Beacon-News coverage area, with its only wrong answer coming from Aurora Christians upset over Oregon on the road. The program picked the Eagles on a neutral field but there is weight given to homefield advantage and that fact led to the Hawks being given a slight edge.

To increase the sample size, SportsMetrix also predicted all of the games involving teams from The Beacon-News sister publications in Elgin, Naperville and weekly publications in Downers Grove, Bolingbrook and Wheaton. The formula correctly predicted 18 of the 19 games, including the upset victories of Neuqua Valley over Downers Grove South and Naperville North over Marist in Class 8A.

For more information on the college and high school rankings calculated by Dr. Rahn, visit www.sportsmetrix.net.

State finals online

The IHSA announced Monday that all eight of the state championship games will be carried live on ESPN3.com on Nov. 26-27. It is first time ESPN has broadcast a high school state final event in any sport on any of the networks platforms.

The championship games will be broadcast on local television via the IHSA TV Network and ESPN3.com will carry the live television feed from all eight contests, which can be accessed via www.ESPN3.com

The IHSAs streaming portal, www.IHSA.tv, will not carry the games live, but will have each contest archived after its conclusion.

With push for playoff seeding in full force, Fire head to Philadelphia with key absences

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With push for playoff seeding in full force, Fire head to Philadelphia with key absences

There aren’t many easy games left on the Fire’s schedule, but Saturday’s game in Philadelphia appears to be one of the more winnable games remaining even if it is on the road.

The Union have a respectable 7-4-3 home record, but are out of the playoff race and are winless in six straight. The Fire hope to pick up a second straight road win, keep pace with New York City FC and stay ahead of red-hot Atlanta in the race for the No. 2 seed in the Eastern Conference.

The game will be televised on CSN+ (channel finder) with coverage beginning at 5:30 p.m. with Fire Pregame Live.

While on paper the game is winnable, the Fire will once again be significantly shorthanded in midfield. Bastian Schweinsteiger and Juninho are both out with injuries. Schweinsteiger will miss his third straight game while Juninho will be out for two in a row. The Fire beat D.C. United 3-0 with Dax McCarty pairing with Drew Conner in central midfield last weekend.

With Joao Meira returning from injury as a sub in that win against D.C., coach Veljko Paunovic could run a similar lineup to the one from last week or elect to go with three centerbacks in an altered formation. Either way, the Fire remain without key pieces during a time of year when the team wants to be hitting its peak with the playoffs just over a month away.

“You want to get your top 11 group on the field together so they can get games, but if that’s not the case then you can also get guys experience and you can get younger guys in games that mean something and that matter because there’s no substitute for experience,” McCarty said. “You can’t replicate that in training. Guys like Drew Conner, guys like Djordje (Mihailovic). Those guys that are going to be very important for us in our playoff push and our depth heading into the playoffs.

“That’s the reason why depth is so important in MLS because while you would love to be able to count on your first 11 every single time you step on the field, (but) that’s not the case. I think we’ve seen that throughout the whole season. I don’t think we’ve had our first 11 group on the field together for months so you want depth and obviously it’s important to get guys healthy."

The extent of Schweinsteiger’s injuries hasn’t been clear. He had a bruise on his calf from a collision during the match in Montreal on Sept. 2, but also has a thigh injury. Schweinsteiger appeared to be nearing a return last week when he was running and working out in training separate from the group, but he was not at training on Tuesday or Wednesday this week, which implied a setback.

When asked about Schweinsteiger’s status, Paunovic has remained coy.

“Basti is very important for the team,” Paunovic said. “We want him as soon as possible. We will provide all the help that we can. As soon as we can have him back it’s going to be very important for the team. Also during that time we have guys who are prepared and ready and want to step in.”

Everyone knows he is a key absence, but the team has a solid 2-1-3 record without him this year.

“It doesn’t take a genius to see the positive attributes that he brings to the team,” McCarty said of Schweinsteiger. “He’s been one of our best players and obviously he’s a focal point for the way that we do things, not only defensively, but attacking as well. He’s a guy who teams have to account for whenever he’s on the ball. His vision, his ability to make plays within the game, knowing what the game needs and what time, you can’t substitute that. It makes my job easier, it makes our strikers’ jobs easier, so it’s a big loss not having him on the field.”

Chicago Fire at Philadelphia Union

Where: Talen Energy Stadium (Chester, Penn.)

TV: CSN + (channel finder)

When: Coverage begins at 5:30 p.m. with Fire Pregame Live

Records: Fire (14-9-6, 48 points), Union (8-12-9, 33 points)

Nerds in Sports Podcast: Being a 'professional nerd' and Star Wars theories about Rey's parents

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Nerds in Sports Podcast: Being a 'professional nerd' and Star Wars theories about Rey's parents

On this edition of Nerds in Sports, we talk with io9.com senior editor Rob Bricken.

Rob explains how he juggles being a fan with being a ‘professional’ nerd, how he came to run io9.com, plus his theory on why Rey’s parents are in Star Wars may shock you.

Kevin Anderson and Michael Piff co-host. We are Nerds. In sports.

Listen to the Nerds in Sports Podcast here.