High School Lites: Round 4 playoff preview

318541.jpg

High School Lites: Round 4 playoff preview

Thursday, Nov. 18, 2010
9:57 PM

By Joe Collins
CSNChicago.com

What teams will make the trip to Champaign ... and what teams go home? Comcast SportsNet is your home for the IHSA football playoffs. Check out CSN and CSNChicago.com on both Friday and Saturday nights for up-to-the-minute prep sports news. High School Lites will air on Friday night just after the Blackhawks game. Our high school coverage continues on Saturday night on SportsNet Central -- also after Hawks hockey. We will have highlights of the following games this weekend:

FRIDAY
CATHOLIC LEAGUE CHAMPIONSHIP
Fenwick (6-5) vs. Brother Rice (6-5), 7 p.m. at Toyota Park

The Friars and Crusaders battle for the right to take on the Public League Champion (Morgan Park or Curie) in the Prep Bowl at Soldier Field next Friday. Fenwick has gone toe-to-toe with some of the toughest teams in the state ... which is second nature as a member as a member of Chicagos Catholic Blue conference. They lost close games to St. Rita and Prairie Ridge -- both still alive in the IHSA playoffs. Brother Rice advanced to the Catholic League Championship after beating St. Ignatius 34-7.

Note: Fenwick beat Brother Rice 23-7 in the last week of the regular season.

SATURDAY
8A: No. 4 Homewood-Flossmoor (10-2) at No. 3 Mt. Carmel (10-2), noon at Gately Stadium

Maybe its time to start thinking about H-F, not as a nice Cinderella story, but as a serious threat to win state. The Vikings, 1-8 last season, beat Naperville North last week -- a team that upset No. 1-seed York by the way -- 35-28 on the Huskies home turf. Running back Malik Norman was unstoppable again, racking up four touchdowns and 163 yards on the ground. Mt. Carmels defense will be up to the task. After giving up 47 points to Simeon and another 35 to St. Rita in the regular season, the Caravan has shown steady progress. They hit Lyons in the quarterfinals with four sacks and three interceptions, winning 41-10.

8A: No. 4 Maine South (10-2) @ No. 2 Loyola (11-1), 1 p.m.

The last time Loyola gave up more than seven points in a game was about a month ago -- a 24-21 win over St. Rita. The Ramblers have given up a grand total of seven points in the playoffs and theyre coming off an impressive shutout win over Palatine, 14-0. Running back Spencer Perry is equally impressive, rushing for 121 yards and two TDs in that quarterfinal win. Maine South continues to be, well, Maine South. The Hawks have won 10 straight after two losses (Maine South, Schaumburg) and are getting key plays from both sides of the ball, including from sophomore quarterback Matt Alviti. A Hawks win will give them their sixth trip to Champaign since 2003.

7A: No. 2 St. Rita (11-1) @ No. 5 Lake Zurich (11-1), 7 p.m.

If youre a fan of old-school, smash-mouth football, then you might want to head up Route 12 Saturday night to see two of the best defenses in the state. St. Rita dismantled one of the premier option offenses around last week -- shutting out Carmel 21-0. Linebacker Will McNamara had 12 tackles. Their offensive threat, as always, is in the backfield: Jahwon Akui. He scored two TDs in last weeks win. Lake Zurich is riding high after holding one of the highest scoring teams in the state, Simeon, to 14 points. Running back Jacob Brinlee anchors the Bears offense.

5A: No. 6 Montini (10-2) @ No. 1 Kaneland (12-0), 5 p.m.

Two teams with rich playoff histories collide in Maple Park on Saturday evening. Montini comes in as the reigning state champs in 5A. They defeated Marian Central Catholic last week, 24-10, behind Matt Westerkamps two touchdown passes. Kaneland won back-to-back state titles in 1997 and 98 -- two teams that also went undefeated. This years undefeated bunch went to Vernon Hills last week and stormed out with a 37-22 victory. Quarterback Joe Camilere was a force in the victory: four touchdowns and 357 yards. The winner of this game will battle either Richwoods or Glenwood in Champaign next week.

PUBLIC LEAGUE CHAMPIONSHIP
Curie (8-5) vs. Morgan Park (10-2), 4 p.m. at Gately Stadium

Hows this for a random fact: If Curie wins Saturday, they will qualify to play a 15th game (Chicago Prep Bowl). It would be only the second time in state history that a team would have played 15 games in a season. Of course, the Condors would have to get past a speedy Morgan Park team in the Public League Championship first. Curie has won three straight: Hubbard, Orr and Robeson. Morgan Park is playing their first game since losing to 6A semifinalist Prairie Ridge in the second round.

Our coverage on Friday night includes in-depth analysis of the Montini-Kaneland and St.Rita-Lake Zurich matchups. In our team of the week segment, we visit the south suburbs as the Homewood-Flossmoor Vikings continue their amazing turnaround under the tutelage of new head coach Craig Buzea. And in our Flashback profile, we take a look at the high school career of Northwestern quarterback Evan Watkins.

On Saturdays late edition of SportsNet Central after Blackhawks hockey, we will provide highlights from all of the above games and bring you updates on all 5A, 6A, 7A and 8A games, including the 7A semifinal tilt between Wheaton Warrenville South and Belleville East.

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

Wake-up Call: Miggy gets the boot; Rodon's rocky debut; More bad news for Cubs?

miguel_montero_cubbies.jpg
AP

Wake-up Call: Miggy gets the boot; Rodon's rocky debut; More bad news for Cubs?

Where it all went wrong for Cubs and Miguel Montero

White Sox willing to overlook 'rough' patches as healthy Carlos Rodon returns

Kris Bryant’s sprained ankle is more bad news for Cubs: ‘You can’t cry about it’

Can Leonard Floyd break out in 2017? The Bears like the early signs

Blackhawks Talk Podcast: What's next for Blackhawks as free agency looms?

Preview: Cubs wrap up series with Nationals today on CSN

Preview: White Sox host Yankees tonight on CSN

Bulls Talk Podcast: An NBA gone wild and Zach LaVine sit down interview

How Rick Renteria has tried to help White Sox players combat travel fatigue

What pushed Theo Epstein over the edge in making Miguel Montero decision: ‘It screamed out’

 

White Sox willing to overlook 'rough' patches as healthy Carlos Rodon returns

White Sox willing to overlook 'rough' patches as healthy Carlos Rodon returns

The two fastballs that soared to the backstop on Wednesday night should give you a strong indication that Carlos Rodon was far from perfect.

But in making his first start of the 2017 season, the White Sox pitcher also offered his team plenty of signals that his health isn’t going to be an issue.

Rodon returned to the mound for the first time since last September and brought the goods that made him one of baseball’s top pitching prospects several years ago. Given he’d missed three months with bursitis in the left shoulder and the potential value he offers to a franchise only half a season into its first rebuild in 20 years, that was plenty for the White Sox to overlook the rust Rodon showed in a 12-3 White Sox loss to the New York Yankees at Guaranteed Rate Field.

“He started a little rough early obviously, got some high pitch counts,” manager Rick Renteria said. “And then he kind of settled down.

“Having him back in the rotation and getting him back out there on the big league field, coming out of there feeling good, healthy. I'm sure he will continue to get better as he continues to get out there and move forward.”

Renteria said he wasn’t surprised that Rodon struggled with his command as much as he did against the Yankees. The issues the pitcher displayed in uncorking a pair of wild pitches, walking six batters and throwing strikes on only 41 of 94 pitches were also present during Rodon’s four rehab starts in the minors.

But as long as the stuff was there, the White Sox would be OK with any issues that accompanied the performance. Rodon began to alleviate those concerns immediately when he earned a called strike on the game’s first pitch with a 93-mph fastball to Brett Gardner. Featuring a four-seamer with an absurd amount of movement and a nasty slider he struggled to control, Rodon checked all the boxes the White Sox hoped for from a pitcher they believe will be a frontline starter for years to come. Rodon also was pleased by how he felt before, during and after the contest.

“I was pretty excited,” Rodon said. “I was going a little fast in the first. But it was good to be out there. Next time out, it’ll hopefully be a little better. Arm feels good, body feels good, all you can ask for.”

Well, it’s not ALL you can ask for, but it’s pretty damn good out of the gate given how slow Rodon’s return took. His four-seam fastball averaged 94.9 mph according to BrooksBaseball.Net and touched 97 mph. His two-seamer averaged 94.4 mph and touched 95. And his slider, though he couldn’t control it, nor locate it for a strike, averaged 86 mph.

“You could see (Omar Narvaez) going over to try to catch some balls that were having tremendous run,” Renteria said. “That's (Rodon). He's got some tremendous life, he's just trying to harness it the best that he can and being able to execute where he wants to get as many strikes as possible.”

[VIVID SEATS: Get your White Sox tickets here]

The strikes were about the only thing Rodon didn’t bring with him. He walked Gardner to start the game and issued two more free passes after a Tim Anderson error allowed a run to score and extended the first inning. Rodon threw 37 pitches in the first, only 15 for strikes.

He also reached a full count to each of the batters he faced in the second inning. Rodon walked two more with two outs in the third inning after he’d retired six batters in a row.

And there were those pesky first-inning wild pitches that resembled something out of ‘Bull Durham.’

But all in all, Rodon and the White Sox ultimately saw enough in the first outing to be pleased.

“Great stuff, great life, but the goal is to put it in the zone and let them swing it to get guys out early,” Rodon said. “That’s not what happened. I’ll get back to that.”

“It’s a tough loss, but it’s better to be with the guys out on the field grinding than sitting on the couch and watching, for sure.”