High School Lites: Round 2 Playoff Preview

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High School Lites: Round 2 Playoff Preview

Thursday, Nov. 4, 2010
9:30 PM

By Joe Collins
CSNChicago.com

Comcast SportsNet is your home for the IHSA football playoffs! Check out High School Lites at 10:30 Friday night, just after the Bulls take on the Celtics. We will be at every high school football game in the Chicagoland area, which includes state and Chicago Public League playoff games. What schools will make it one step closer to Champaign? Our spotlight will include:

8A:

3 Mt. Carmel (8-2) at 11 Neuqua Valley (7-3), 7:00pm
Now that the kids in the Caravan got coach Frank Lenti his 300th career win, what will be done as an encore? Theres no room for a letdown Friday night in Naperville, as they play a Neuqua Valley team that trounced Downers Grove South last week 36-22. Trent Snyder is a beast in the Wildcats backfield. He carried the ball 39 times for 217 yards and four TDs in last weeks win. Mt. Carmels offense has been clicking, too. Senior quarterback and Catholic League co-MVP Chris Sujka tallied 229 yards, 171 of them on the ground, in last weeks victory over Bolingbrook. Fun fact: Mt. Carmel has either won state or finished second in 13 of the past 24 seasons.
5 Waubonsie Valley (8-2) at 4 Homewood-Flossmoor (8-2), 7:00pm
H-Fs dramatic one-season turnaround continued last week in a 41-14 win over Curie. The Vikings were 1-8 last season and look to get to the nine win plateau Friday for the first time since their state title year in 1994, when they went 13-1. The matchup with Upstate Eight conference foe Waubonsie Valley figures to be a great one. The Warriors took it to Brother Rice last week 33-7. Running back Austin Guido ran for 204 yards, helping secure the first playoff victory for W-V in nine years. The winner of this game plays the winner of
1 York (9-1) at 9 Naperville North (7-3), 7:30pm
It makes you wonder what Naperville Norths record would be if they were in any other conference than the rugged DuPage Valley. All three of their losses were to eventual playoff teams. Maybe they could do a test run in the West Suburban Silver? The road wouldnt be any easier there. Just ask York. Three teams from that conference currently stand at 9-1and that includes the Dukes. York survived a scare from Lockport last week 21-14, as quarterback Jim Nudera came through with two clutch drives late. Naperville North walked (or ran) away from Marist last week in a 27-14 victory, as backs Matt LaCosse and Antonio Owens set the rushing attack.
7 Sandburg (8-2) at 2 Lyons (9-1), 7:30pm
If youre a fan of blue, yellow and white jerseyscome out to 49th & Willow Springs Road in the western suburbs Friday night. Sandburg and Lyons might dress alike, but the host Lions might be tougher to keep track ofsimply because they are scoring at will. They have scored more than 30 points seven times this year, including last weeks 58-0 drubbing of Vocational. But Sandburg is also on a serious tear. They currently have a four game winning streak, the last three against playoff teamsincluding last weeks 24-20 win over Proviso West in the first round. The victor gets the Mt. Carmel-Neuqua Valley winner.

6A:

2 Rock Island (8-2) at 6 Crete-Monee (7-3), 7:00pm
Crete-Monee and Rock Island hook up for the second consecutive year. Last years game was a regular season tilt, which was won by the Rocks 14-0 in the Quad Cities. The Warriors look for home-cooked revenge this time around behind quarterback Jaylan Bailey, who was clutch last week in leading his team to a come-from-behind 35-28 victory over Normal West. He racked up 344 yards and four touchdowns on the day. Rock Island is no stranger to postseason play, having qualified 16 of the last 18 seasons. Their debut in the 2010 playoffs was a wild one. They beat DeKalb 42-41 in overtime last week.
4A:
3 Rock Island Alleman (10-0) at 11 CICSLongwood (7-3), 7:00pm at St. Rita High School
Chicago International Charter School Longwood made school history last Saturday, winning their first playoff game ever in a 42-8 victory over Carver at Gately Stadium. Anthony Garrison scored three touchdowns, one of them off a fumble recovery. The competition gets dramatically tougher this week as they take on an undefeated Pioneers team thats coming off a 31-0 win over Genoa-Kingston. Alleman is no stranger to the state football playoffs. They have made it downstate three times since 1986.
CHICAGO PUBLIC LEAGUE PLAYOFFS:
Dunbar (5-5) vs. Harper (6-4), 3:30pm at Gately Stadium
The Mightymen and the Cardinals got tripped up in their quest for a state title. Both teams now shift their focus on the Prep Bowl at Soldier Field. Dunbar has already claimed a victory over Harper this season: a 30win on September 11th and Stagg Field.

Curie (5-5) vs. Hubbard (8-2), 7:00pm at Gately Stadium
Hubbard lost a heartbreaker to Cary-Grove last week, while Curie got tripped up against Homewood-Flossmoor. Quarterback Quincy Skanes engineers the attack for the 8-2 Greyhounds. Note: the Prep Bowl will be Friday November 26th at Soldier Field, pitting Chicagos Public League champions against the top team from the Catholic League.

Team of the Week

In our Team of the Week segment, we profile St. Edward High School in Elgin. The Green Wave secured their first playoff win in school history last weekend. And how about their reward: they will now get to host their first football playoff game ever. Our Luke Stuckmeyer takes a look at a team that is enjoying postseason success for the first time in almost 70 years. In our Flashback segment, we will profile an unsung hero from Wheaton Warrenville South in the 2006 state playoffs. He had the game of his life and helped the Tigers win a state championship. Find out who he is on High School Lites.

We also have plenty of games on Saturdays calendar for coverage. They include:

Bartlett @ Maine South (8A)
Loyola @ Fremd (8A)
Simeon @ Schaumburg (7A)
Lake Zurich @ Prospect (7A)
Glenbard West @ Lincoln-Way East (7A)
Lake Forest @ Crystal Lake South (6A)
Morgan Park @ Prairie Ridge (6A)
Robeson @ Cary-Grove (6A)
Vernon Hills @ Tinley Park (5A)
Mendota @ St. Edward (4A)

Tune in to CSN at 10:30 Friday night! We are your source for playoff highlights, scores and more. We will be streaming the show live at CSNChicago.com.

After winter of taking heat, Cubs still have Joe Maddon's back

After winter of taking heat, Cubs still have Joe Maddon's back

MESA, Ariz. — It only took 21 minutes into spring training — or the first press conference on the day pitchers and catchers officially reported to Arizona — before Joe Maddon listened to another question about all the heat he took for his World Series Game 7 decisions.

More than 2,000 miles away at Yankee camp in Florida last week, Aroldis Chapman told the Chicago Sun-Times that he "was just being truthful" when he used the conference call to announce the biggest contract ever for a closer — five years and $86 million — to inform the New York media that Maddon misused him during the playoffs. Nothing lost in translation there.

Miguel Montero finally declared a ceasefire on Monday night, getting the sit-down meeting the Cubs felt should go longer than the standard meet and greet after the veteran catcher's jarringly critical comments on WMVP-AM 1000 (if only because it happened on the same day as the championship parade and Grant Park rally).

"It's such an unusual situation," general manager Jed Hoyer said, "because we won the World Series, and theoretically you think that people would be really happy."

As ex-Cub manager Dale Sveum might say: "Ya think?"

Ending the 108-year drought might lead Maddon's Hall of Fame plaque someday, but it also led to waves and waves of second-guessing and speculation about how it might impact his clubhouse credibility. But with Maddon and Montero declaring their Andreoli Italian Grocer summit a success, gonzo strength and conditioning coordinator Tim Buss cruising onto the field in a Ferrari for the first wacky stunt of 2017 and Cactus League games beginning on Saturday, it's time to remember that the Cubs still have their manager's back.

"Everyone says they don't see or read anything," pitcher Jake Arrieta said. "We see and hear a lot of the stuff. But I just think that critics are going to find holes in something always.

"Joe was our leader all year last year. He obviously set the tone in spring training and gives us all these freedoms that help us play the way we played. So the people that matter — and know what Joe's about — are on the same page with his philosophies.

"The way he expresses himself to us is the most important thing. And we stand behind him. We trust that he's going to do what's in our best interest. And we know that any decision he makes is geared towards trying to help us win."

Within the last two seasons, the Cubs have won 200 games, five playoff rounds and their first World Series title since the Theodore Roosevelt administration. Maddon readily admits that the scouting and development wings of Theo Epstein's front office did most of the heavy lifting and credits the strong coaching staff he largely inherited. Spending more than $475 million on free agents like Jon Lester and Ben Zobrist certainly helped.

But all this doesn't happen without Maddon and the environment he created. The Cubs Way absolutely needed a ringmaster for this circus.

Arrieta developed into a Cy Young Award winner. Kyle Hendricks transformed into an ERA leader. Kris Bryant burst onto the scene as a Rookie of the Year and the National League MVP. Addison Russell became an All-Star shortstop by the age of 22. Maddon didn't prejudge Javier Baez, immediately appreciating the dazzling array of skills and super-utility possibilities.

Surprised by the Maddon backlash?

"Yes and no," All-Star first baseman Anthony Rizzo said. "Because there needs to be a story. But what he did — people who are real involved know that since Day 1, he came in and he set the tone.

"He completely flipped the way people think, the way we believe, and everyone has bought into it. The credit he deserves — he gets a lot of it — but I don't think he gets enough of it. Because he lets me be me. He lets Javy be Javy.

"Willson (Contreras), Kris and Addie — everyone has their different personalities. He understands that. And it's not easy to do."

It's such an impossible job, at times, that even Cubs officials and players have acknowledged their frustrations with some of Maddon's in-game decisions and communication gaps. This can't just be written off as a media creation. But imagine the grumbling if the Cubs didn't have a leader with seven 90-win seasons and three Manager of the Year awards on his resume.

"We have a competitive group of guys," Hoyer said. "Every guy wants to be on the field at the right time. Every guy wants to be on the roster. Every guy wants to pitch in winning games.

"That's not realistic sometimes. It comes from a great place. It doesn't come from a place of selfishness. It comes from a place of: 'I want to contribute to winning.'

"The meetings we've had have been awesome. Our camp is unbelievably focused. We are just as focused as last year. I really don't look at it as a negative."

The last word from Maddon, who turned 63 this month and has a $25 million contract, a wide range of off-the-field interests and the championship ring that will make him a legend in Chicago forever, no matter what kind of heat he took this winter.

"Stuff like that doesn't bother me at all," Maddon said. "Regardless of what people may have thought — like any other game that I worked all year long — I had it planned out like that before the game began. So it wasn't anything I tried to do differently game in progress. Had I not done what I thought I was supposed to do — then I would have second-guessed myself.

"So, no, I have no problem with that. I really don't mind the second-guessing from anybody. I kind of encourage it. Please go ahead and do it, because I'll take that kind of second-guessing after winning a World Series on an annual basis. Thank you very much."

SportsTalk Live Podcast: Is Jonathan Toews' the Blackhawks' MVP?

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USA TODAY

SportsTalk Live Podcast: Is Jonathan Toews' the Blackhawks' MVP?

Chris Emma (670TheScore.com), Chris Hine (Chicago Tribune) and national college football analyst Anthony Herron join Kap on the panel.  The guys discuss if Jonathan Toews is the Blackhawks’ MVP so far this season, whether a Jimmy Butler trade to the Celtics makes sense and why Rob Manfred is focused on shaving seconds off of the length of games.

Plus with Jay Cutler heading out the door, who will replace him?  And should Northwestern be on the NCAA Tournament bubble after losing again to the Illini?