WW South cap's off perfect season with 7A title

325911.jpg

WW South cap's off perfect season with 7A title

Saturday, Nov. 27, 2010
9:52 PM

By Mike Clark
YourSeason.com

CHAMPAIGN -- Wheaton Warrenville South hasn't been down like this for a long time.

The Tigers were missing two of their top three receivers and trailed Lake Zurich by four points early in the fourth quarter of Saturday night's Class 7A state championship game at Memorial Stadium.

But WW South shook off that adversity the way Reilly O'Toole, Matt Rogers and Titus Davis shed tacklers en route to the Tigers' 28-17 comeback win over Lake Zurich.

The Tigers (14-0) pushed their winning streak to 26 games in winning their second consecutive state title and the school's seventh. Lake Zurich, which beat the Tigers in the 7A final in 2007, finished 12-2.

WW South's closest game this season before Saturday was a 28-7 win over Hinsdale Central in Week 1. This was more reminiscent of the 2009 state final, in which the Tigers beat Glenbard West in double overtime.

"We were expecting a dogfight and that's exactly what we got," said O'Toole, who threw two touchdown passes to Davis and accounted for 230 of the Tigers' 317 net yards.

Davis, the Tigers' leading receiver all season, was even more a focal point than usual with both Travis Kern and Dan Vitale out with collarbone injuries.

But life in the spotlight suited the speedy senior, who hauled in a 44-yard touchdown pass on Wheaton's first play from scrimmage and caught a 25-yard TD pass 17 seconds before halftime.

"Having Travis and Dan out ... They were a big part of our offense," said Davis (six catches, 104 yards), who finished the year with 58 receptions for 1,239 yards and 18 scores. "We had to suck it up."

So did the WW South defense, which was tasked with trying to stop elusive Lake Zurich running back Jacob Brinlee.

"The best running back I've played all year, bar none," WW South nose guard Sparty Chino said. "He's physical, hard to bring down."

Brinlee ran 33 times for 226 yards. He had 54 yards on five carries during the Bears' first scoring drive, which was capped by quarterback Zach Till's one-yard TD run late in the first quarter. He had 59 more during a second-quarter possession capped by Mike Leiva's 27-yard field goal 6:16 before halftime.

"Credit to Brinlee," WW South coach Ron Muhitch said. "He kept them in the game single-handedly."

Davis' second touchdown catch with 17 seconds left in the half put the Tigers back on top 14-10, a score that was unchanged till the first play of the fourth quarter. John Mularz's one-yard run gave Lake Zurich a 17-14 lead.

Though it was an unfamiliar position, the Tigers didn't panic. "Everyone was calm ... We all worked together and everything paid off," Davis said.

Especially O'Toole, who ran 13 times for 51 yards after carrying the ball just 70 times in the first 13 games. He also went 14 of 23 passing for 182 yards.

"Some of the runs he breaks, the passes he makes when you think the play's over he's a playmaker," Chino said. "That's what he does."

"Reilly is the best athlete I've ever coached at Wheaton Warrenville South as an offensive player," Muhitch said. "He's the complete package."

O'Toole's running and passing helped set up Rogers' one-yard scoring run with 9:14 left. Rogers (13 carries, 87 yards) then sealed the win with a 37-yard scoring dash with 1:48 remaining.

"For the most part we played smart football and made plays when we needed to," O'Toole said.

Enough to win another state title, in fact.

Carlos Rodon plays catch but timeline for return still uncertain

Carlos Rodon plays catch but timeline for return still uncertain

Carlos Rodon played catch in front of Don Cooper on Monday afternoon but only added to the intrigue surrounding his health when he declined to talk to the media.

On the 10-day disabled list with a biceps strain, the White Sox said Rodon continues to make progress in his rehab program. Cooper said the third-year pitcher felt and looked fine as he played catch in left field. But neither he nor manager Rick Renteria offered many more details on when Rodon may return or even when he could throw off a mound.

"He looked like he played catch good," Cooper said. "His throwing program is progressing. He felt fine. He threw the ball fine. That's kind of where we are at. He threw fine and move on to the next."

Rodon is in town for several days to be observed by the White Sox. On Friday, general manager Rick Hahn described the visit as a "routine follow-up visit." But other than making sure they're cautious with Rodon, the club hasn't been able to offer a specific timetable for their prized pitcher.

"I can't tell you in detail what the program is," Renteria said. "I know it involves throwing and making sure he's getting treatments and making sure it's taken care of, the issue he had with his biceps. We know it's getting better."

But the improvement hasn't made the situation any easier to deal with. When they started him on a delayed program this spring, the White Sox had Rodon pegged for 33 starts and 200 innings. As of now, there's no certainty when he'll make his first turn and the calendar is nearing May.

"He's frustrated," Cooper said. "He wants to get through this, through all of it. We are just there to try to make sure he's doing things right and there's progression.

"Well, I mean we've already taken a lot of caution. He's important to us now and in the future. We wouldn't rush with him or anybody."

SportsTalk Live Podcast: Can Bulls bounce back against Celtics?

jimmy-butler-0424.jpg
USA TODAY

SportsTalk Live Podcast: Can Bulls bounce back against Celtics?

In the latest edition of the SportsTalk Live Podcast, CSN's David Kaplan is joined by the Chicago Tribune's David Haugh and the Chicago Sun-Times' Adam Jahns to discuss the Bulls falling to a 2-2 series tie with the Celtics.

The guys predict how the first-round playoff series will end and talk about how Isaiah Canaan will fare as the starting point guard in Game 5.

Then, the panel discusses whether Matt Davidson should be in the White Sox lineup more and who will still be playing on the South Side when the White Sox rebuild is done.

Finally, the panel discusses a couple of contract extensions for Pat Fitzgerald and Chris Collins at Northwestern.

Take a listen to the episode below: