High School Lites: Football state final preview

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High School Lites: Football state final preview

Wednesday, Nov. 24, 2010
6:05 PM

By Joe Collins
CSNChicago.com

High School Lites: Championship Weekend

Championship weekend is here! Some teams will earn a first place trophy at Memorial Stadium in Champaign. And others will have to endure a long, long bus ride home. High School Lites is your home for high school football coverage in Chicagoland. Friday's edition will air just after the BullsNuggets game and will feature previews of the 5A, 6A, 7A and 8A title games, including an in-depth profile of Wheaton Warrenville South-- Comcast SportsNet's Team of the Week. Our Chris Boden will also feature a Marmion team that is looking to bring the first football championship to Aurora. We'll also bring you highlights of the 1A-4A games and have a complete recap of the 2010 Prep Bowl featuring Curie and Fenwick. Here is a sneak peak at some of the matchups featuring Chicago-area teams:

PREP BOWL: Curie (9-5) vs. Fenwick (7-5), 11:00am Friday at Soldier Field

If there's one thing Curie might be feeling by now, it would be exhaustion. Not that their recent performance would indicate that, of course. In fact, the Condors have actually become stronger. Thanks to a quirk in the IHSA and Chicago Public League Playoff schedule, Curie will become only the second team in Illinois state history to play a 15-game football schedule. Their dramatic postseason continued last week in an epic 40-34 2 OT win over Morgan Park. Brandon Barker scored three touchdowns for Curie. Fenwick's defense was rock-solid in a 7-3 win over Brother Rice last week in the Catholic League championship. Eric Hulihan shook off defenders to score the game's only touchdown. This will be Fenwick's first Prep Bowl appearance since 1991 (28-0 win over Bogan). This will be the first Prep Bowl for Curie.
5A: Montini (11-2) vs. Glenwood (10-3), 10:00am at Memorial Stadium

Can Montini take home the first place trophy for the second straight year? Last years defeat of mighty Joliet Catholic was considered an upset in some circles. This years run to state was built on a strong non-conference schedule, which included those same Hilltoppers and the Loyola Ramblers. Keep an eye on the WesterkampsMatt and Jordan. Quarterback Matt has passed for 2600 yards and 27 touchdowns on the year. His cousin, Jordan, has caught 18 of those touchdowns. Both were integral in last weeks 27-14 win over Kaneland. Matt went 21-for-31 for 295 yards. Jordan had 9 catches for 175 yards and one touchdown catch-- from Matt. Glenwood, near Springfield, advanced by crushing Peoria Richwoods 42-13. Devin VonNordheim-Moore and Tony Giovannelli combined for 326 yards and four touchdowns. Fun fact: Montinis conference (the Suburban Christian Blue) has six teamsand five of them reached the playoffs. Two of them Marmion being the other teamare playing for a state title.

6A: Marmion (12-1) vs. Boylan (13-0), 1:00pm Saturday at Memorial Stadium

After this weekend, Aurora might be known for more than Waynes World, I-88 and the Fox River. They could add football state champions to the citys welcome sign. Auroras Marmion Academy will look to bring the western suburb its football championship ever this Saturday. The Cadets might have the best team in their 77 years of football. T.J. Rally gained 165 yards and scored a touchdown on the third play of scrimmage in last weeks 31-28 victory over Danville. A state championship would be the cherry on top of a fine season. As for Boylan, the Titans took care of business last week, beating Prairie Ridge 14-7 to advance to the state final for the first time since 1975. The defense has been sharp all season. Like Wheaton Warrenville South, they have also kept nine opponents to a touchdown or less. Junior Adonis Brown secured two fumble recoveries in last weeks victory. Fun fact: Marmions football program had six straight losing seasons before head coach Dan Thorpes arrival in 2005, which turned around the program.

7A: Lake Zurich (12-1) @ Wheaton Warrenville South (13-0), 4:00pm Saturday at Memorial Stadium

Lake Zurichs defense steamrolled two of the best offenses in Illinois (Simeon and St. Rita) over the last two weeks. Wheaton Warrenville Souths offense, guided by Illinois-bound quarterback Reilly OToole, is putting up an averageaverageof 43 points per game. The elite defense faces the elite offense. Something has to giveright? These two teams squared off for a state title in 2007, with Lake Zurich coming out on top 7-3. The game could rest in the hands of the Bears offense and Tigers defense. Lake Zurichs running back Jacob Brinlee is the main threat. As for the WWS defense, the underrated unit has kept nine opponents to a touchdown or less, three of them were shutouts. Note: Wheaton Warrenville South wide receiver Travis Kern will miss the game due to a broken collarbone.

8A: Maine South (11-2) vs. Mount Carmel (11-2), 7:00pm Saturday at Memorial Stadium

Its amazing that so many people wrote both of these teams off early in the regular season. Maine South started 0-2 and rattled off 11 straight wins to land in Champaign. Again. Mount Carmel shook off two early losses as well. They have now won seven straight and also find themselves in Champaign. Again. Its a credit to the two coaches, Dave Inserra and Frank Lenti, who always find ways to get their teams back to Memorial Stadium. Credit is due to the players of course, and specifically both quarterbacks as well. The Caravans Chris Suijka scored two more touchdowns last week in Mount Carmels 28-21 victory over Homewood Flossmoor. Meanwhile, Maine Souths talented sophomore quarterback Matt Alviti carried his team past a very tough Loyola defense last week. He racked up over 300 yards of total offense in their 29-22 win. Both defenses face challenges. Fun fact: Maine South and Mount Carmel have played for a title a combined 16 times since 1995.

Also, be sure to stay with us at CSNChicago.com and Comcast SportsNet on Saturday. We will have highlights of the days action and have pep rally coverage if availableon the late edition of SportsNet Central after Blackhawks hockey. Our basketball coverage will begin next FridayDecember 3rd.

We are your source for playoff highlights, scores and more. High School Lites streams live at csnchicago.com.

McDonald's All-American Games return to United Center

McDonald's All-American Games return to United Center

The McDonald's All-American Games return to the United Center for the seventh consecutive year on Wednesday night as the nation's elite boys and girls high school basketball players take the floor.

The 40th annual games begin with the girls game at 4 p.m. while the boys game will follow at 6 p.m.

The 2017 McDonald's game won't have a lot of local talent to keep an eye on, besides Chicago native and center Brandon McCoy, but the national Class of 2017 is still a fun group to check out for local basketball fans.

Headlined by top prospects like small forward Michael Porter Jr. (Missouri), center DeAndre Ayton (Arizona),  center Wendell Carter (Duke) and point guard Trevon Duval (uncommitted), this year's McDonald's game features a lot of flashy guards, high-flying wings and talented big men.

Over the years, fans at the United Center have been able to see some of the NBA's best young players before they went to college as alums of recent McDonald's games include Anthony Davis, Andrew Wiggins, Jabari Parker and Karl-Anthony Towns.

You can view the full rosters for the 2017 McDonald's All-American Games here

Why the Bears finally feel like they're in striking distance of a winning team

Why the Bears finally feel like they're in striking distance of a winning team

PHOENIX – Where the relationship between Bears GM Ryan Pace and coach John Fox goes beyond 2017 remains to play out with their third season together. At this point, however, despite a combined total of nine wins over their first two, the critical bond between coach and general manager appears both clear and solid.
 
Which is no small state of affairs with the growing pressure on both and the organization, pressure that will only intensify if the on-field fortunes of their team does not begin to dramatically reverse. And both know it. Losing doesn't build character, it reveals it, and the same applies to a relationship; if there are cracks, adversity of the kind the Bears have endured the past 32 games will widen and expose them.
 
That relationship has been the subject of speculation virtually since its inception, when Pace hired Fox following the end of his tenure with the Denver Broncos. Much of it centered around who was in fact making the final decisions on personnel and who was the advisor, with some positing that Fox was in fact the final authority if only because age, seniority and experience. The primacy of Pace, however, has become clearer with each decision and traces or shadings of any fractiousness are conspicuously absent.
 
"His people skills are tremendous," Fox said Tuesday during the NFL owners meetings. "His evaluation skills are very good. I think humility is always a great quality in this business. And I've seen that. He's the same guy. He hasn't changed. Sometimes people get [elevated] positions, whatever position that may be and they change. It's just how some people react. And I haven't seen that."
 
Pace, who recently turned 40, is by his own description wanting buy-in on decisions. In the cases of free agency, which have involved the high-dollar commitments designed to have immediate payoff, he has identified pro targets and involved Fox in the decisions.
 
Looking for an immediate hit at linebacker to upgrade the entire defense about this time last year, Pace targeted Denver leading-tackler Danny Trevathan. Fox was his first consult.
 
"Just having drafted [Trevathan] and seeing him develop and get better and his work ethic and his preparation and study habits and how he is as a teammate in the locker room," Pace said of what insight Fox provided. "Those were all things that were taken into consideration."
 
This year, with the max need of improvement, the franchise-grade decision was to make a change at quarterback. Jay Cutler effectively made the decision on himself and he was out. Whether Mike Glennon is or is not an upgrade will play out this year, but Fox was involved in and endorsed the decision to go in a decidedly less-experienced direction.

[RELATED - No signs Bears are locked into drafting a QB in 2017]
 
Pace had attempted in the past to trade for Glennon, which Fox agreed with. Fox had familiarity with Glennon from his time coaching in Carolina.
 
"I was in North Carolina when [Glennon] was playing [at N.C. State], actually," Fox recalled. "I was exposed to two guys there. A good friend of mine was the head coach at NC State. Both Russell Wilson and Mike Glennon were coming through at that period in time, so I got exposed to them, watching games and kinda following them.
 
"And obviously evaluating both of them coming out, they were in different schools then. So I had a high opinion of them then. And then really [Glennon] was talked about a little bit before this year as a potential guy to get, and then this year, being free and without any kind of compensation, we dove in pretty good and feel good about it."
 
Most expectations are that the Bears will not repeat a three-win season, and that an improvement from the first two years keeps both Pace and Fox in their jobs. Key players (Trevathan, Eddie Goldman, Kyle Long, Kevin White) returning from injuries, free-agency upgrades on both sides of the ball and a draft class currently with two picks in the first 36 point to perhaps the kind of turnaround Fox has produced (in years two) at Carolina and Denver.
 
Fox did not dwell on what the roster was or wasn't when he arrived, or on how much of an overhaul Pace needed to do when he took over from Phil Emery and brought in Fox to replace Marc Trestman. But the reality was there.
 
"Going back to a lot of the changes, we've had a lot of change," Fox said. "I think we're better for it. Unfortunately, you can't walk around with your chest out about that because of our record the last two years. But I have total confidence and [Pace] has done an outstanding job and will continue to.
 
"I understand you have to win. And I finally feel like we're in striking distance."