Preps Talk

Murphy leads Glenbard North

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Murphy leads Glenbard North

Brian Murphy could be excused if he just handed the ball off to Justin Jackson, stepped back and admired how Glenbard North's sensational junior running back carved up opposing defenses, as he did in Saturday's 29-23 victory over top-ranked Maine South in the quarterfinals of the Class 8A playoff.

Murphy, the Panthers' 5-foot-10, 170-pound senior quarterback, admits he is tempted from time to time to ooh and aah. But he has too many other things to do. Like Jackson, he rarely comes off the field. He loves being a two-year, two-way starter in one of the state's premier programs.

"He is a great leader," coach Ryan Wilkens said. "He led us to the semifinals last year. He does more than hand off to Jackson. He is very quick. He extends plays. His decision-making is very good. We can run the option with him. He is such a great competitor."

Not bad for a kid who has earned a full scholarship to Michigan as a 152-pound wrestler.

"Football is over for me after this year. I've got to make it a good ending," Murphy said. "I love football I don't have it to be playing in Division I. It takes a lot to play in Division I, especially in football. I watch them on TV and they are on a whole different level."

Murphy started playing football with the Carol Stream Panthers youth program. But his father, who wrestled in high school, asked his son if he would like to try out for the sport. "Will I get punched or kicked?" Brian asked.

"Wrestling puts a lot of pressure on yourself. You are the only one on the mat. It is embarrassing when you get pinned (he has been pinned twice in his career)," Murphy said. "You've got to perform. Your teammates look for you to do something big. But they can't help you. You have to do it by yourself.

"In football, you have to work as a group. You have to stay positive. Teamwork is very important. I've been playing with guys for eight years. In football, victory isn't just for yourself. It is a great time when you know people you care about you made happy.

"A pin is the biggest satisfaction you can get in wrestling. It is nice to know you accomplished that goal all by yourself. In football, winning a game is the biggest satisfaction, knowing that you did it together, playing with your teammates and your friends."

On the football field, Murphy was an all-conference selection this year. He has rushed for more than 500 yards and five touchdowns and passed for more than 1,300 yards and nine touchdowns. He was brought up to the varsity as a sophomore to play safety. On defense, he starts at strong safety, Jackson at cornerback.

Against Maine South, Murphy completed 8 of 12 passes for 133 yards and was credited with three sacks. His 11-yard run on a naked bootleg on third-and-10 with 1:30 to play sealed the victory. Jackson rushed 36 times for 212 yards and four touchdowns as Glenbard North handed Maine South only its fourth loss in the last three years.

"It wasn't the biggest win of my career," Wilkens said. "The biggest win was beating Mount Carmel to get to the state championship game in 2007. We didn't want to make too much of it. We went about it like another game.  But it was a big win."

The Carol Stream school (11-1) will meet Loyola (11-1) at 1 p.m. Saturday in Wilmette. It is the Panthers' third trip to the state semifinals in the last four years. Since losing their season opener to Batavia 42-41, they have won 11 games in a row and the DuPage Valley championship.

How good is Jackson?

"I wouldn't trade him for anybody," said Wilkens about his star running back, who has rushed for 2,300 yards and 32 touchdowns. "The big thing is he never comes off the field. He plays every down on defense as a cornerback. And now that we've lost our punter with an injury, he is our punter, too."

Jackson, a 5-foot-11, 175-pounder, also is an outstanding student. He has a 5.0 grade-point average on a 5.0 scale in honors classes. Wilkens said colleges are recruiting him as an athlete, a telltale sign that they project him as something other than a running back.

"He wants to be a tailback. But he is a phenomenal defensive back, too. I could see him playing either position in college," Wilkens said. "He seldom practices on offense. He does reaction drills on defense. What amazes me is he wants the ball in his hands and he makes big plays in the fourth quarter."

Murphy sees another side to Jackson. "It is easy to see he is a great athlete and a great football player. But not everybody sees what a great kid and leader he is. I wouldn't want any other running back on our team. I'm amazed at his vision on the field. He knows where everyone is, who is making the blocks. His football smarts make him a great player. Then throw in his athletic ability and you have an outstanding football player," he said.

How good is this team? Better than last year? Better than the state runner-up in 2007?

"I watched the 2007 team but I couldn't make a comparison," Murphy said. "But I think this year's team is more explosive on offense than last year. Both defenses are very good. We don't have any position strength on defense. We all just do our jobs, play with a lot of heart and go to the ball. We never stop on defense. We maybe aren't the most athletic kids but we work the hardest."

In the wake of beating Maine South, is there a danger of being complacent for the Loyola game?

"Maine South is in the past," Murphy said. "If we lost to Loyola, it would be very disappointing. But we won't be complacent. We want to be sure we are focused. We want to go to the state title game. That has been our goal since youth football. At that time, it seemed so far away. But once you are in high school you realize you can do it.

"We want to get over the semifinal hump (Glenbard North was second in 1991, 2000 and 2007). We want to be the first team to win the state title. We believe we can do it."

NBC Sports Chicago to carry live coverage of the 2017 IHSA Football State Championships

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NBC Sports Chicago to carry live coverage of the 2017 IHSA Football State Championships

Network to televise LIVE coverage of this weekend’s Class 1A-8A IHSA Football State Championships from Huskie Stadium in DeKalb, IL

PLUS -- Live streaming coverage of EVERY IHSA Football State Championship telecast – including surrounding pre/postgame coverage – to be made available to authenticated subscribers on NBCSportsChicago.com/WatchLive and via the NBC Sports app

NBCSportsChicago.com/Preps to air highlight packages of all games throughout the weekend;

“High School Lites” IHSA Football State Championships recap special to air Sat, Nov. 25 at 11:00 PM CT

Chicago, IL (November 20, 2017) -- For the seventh-straight year, NBC Sports Chicago, the home of the Illinois High School Association (IHSA) State Championships, will be airing LIVE high-definition coverage of the 2017 IHSA Football State Championships on Friday, November 24 & Saturday, November 25 from Huskie Stadium in DeKalb, IL.  Illinois preps football fans can look forward to seeing every action-packed championship battle starting with the Class 1A contest on Friday morning at 10:00 AM CT, leading up to Saturday night’s highly-anticipated Class 8A match-up between two 13-0 powerhouses: Lincoln-Way East vs. Loyola Academy at 7:00 PM CT.  The 2017 IHSA Football State Championships will be produced by the IHSA & PlayOn! Sports.

In addition -- EVERY IHSA Football State Championship telecast on NBC Sports Chicago, including surrounding pre/postgame coverage, will be streamed LIVE on NBCSportsChicago.com/WatchLive and will be made available via the NBC Sports app on tablets and smart phones.  Authenticated NBC Sports Chicago subscribers can watch live IHSA Football State Championships action from anywhere in the United States.  The live streaming service is currently available to customers of Comcast/Xfinity, DIRECTV, DISH Network, AT&T U-verse, Mediacom, RCN, WOW!, Time Warner Cable and Charter among numerous other carriers.  In addition, NBC Sports Chicago is also available on numerous digital streaming services including DIRECTV NOW, Hulu, fuboTV, Sling TV, CenturyLink Stream, PlayStation Vue, and YouTube TV.  For a full list of carriers and more information about NBC Sports Chicago’s live streaming service, viewers are urged to visit nbcsportschicago.com/live-faq.

IMPORTANT NOTES:

  • Friday’s Class 4A championship between Morris and Rochester (7:00 PM start), along with Saturday’s 7A championship featuring Prairie Ridge and Nazareth Academy (4:00 PM start) & the 8A championship between Lincoln-Way East and Loyola Academy (7:00 PM start) will all air live on NBC Sports Chicago+…NBC Sports Chicago+ is located on Comcast/Xfinity ch. 201 in the Chicago area and in South Bend, IN, and on ch. 285 in Comcast/Xfinity’s Peoria, Springfield, Rockford and Champaign markets…viewers are urged to visit NBCSportsChicago.com’s special “Channel Finder” section (http://www.nbcsports.com/chicago/channel-finder ) or IHSA.org for complete channel location details for ALL games throughout the state. 
  • Fans are also strongly urged to interact via Twitter throughout the entire weekend by utilizing the hashtag #IHSA to share their comments and showcase their school spirit for their favorite teams. 
     

In addition, NBCSportsChicago.com’s IHSA Preps section (NBCSportsChicago.com/Preps) will feature highlight packages from all games throughout the weekend, along with week-long coverage & scouting reports from veteran Illinois preps sports writer “Edgy Tim” O’Halloran (@EDGYTIM).  Plus – NBC Sports Chicago viewers can look forward to a special “IHSA Football Championships” wrap-up edition of High School Lites on Saturday, Nov. 25 live at 11:00 PM for a complete rundown of every championship game, including expanded highlights and player/coaches interviews.  From an additional social media standpoint, fans are urged to follow @NBCSPreps on Twitter throughout the weekend for up-to-the-minute 2017 IHSA Football State Championship news & game updates.

IHSA TV veteran Dave Bernhard (Class 3A, 4A, 7A & 8A) and Lee Hall (Class 1A & 2A) return in 2017 to bring viewers every thrill-packed play-by-play call, which will also include the first-year pxp call from Peoria Chiefs/college/preps broadcaster Nathan Baliva (Class 5A & 6A). Color analysis will be provided by renowned Chicago Bears/NFL expert Hub Arkush (Class 7A & 8A), along with former Illinois State University football standout  Chris Highland (Class 3A & 4A), Northern Illinois University football radio color analyst Mark Lindo (Class 5A & 6A) and longtime IHSA TV contributor/Illinois High School Coaches Association Hall of Famer Jack McInerney (Class 1A & 2A).

Sideline reports throughout the IHSA Football Championships weekend will be provided by NBC Sports Chicago’s Siera Santos (@SieraSantos) (Class 5A-8A on Saturday) and Comcast Network/CBS 2 sports anchor Camron Smith (Class 1A-4A on Friday). “Edgy Tim” O’Halloran will also provide studio analysis throughout the weekend recapping and previewing every championship match-up.

The following schedule details NBC Sports Chicago’s coverage (also streaming live to authenticated NBC Sports Chicago subscribers on NBCSportsChicago.com/WatchLive & the NBC Sports app) of the 2017 IHSA Football State Championships airing this Thanksgiving weekend (team records & play-by-play/color analyst/sideline reporting teams are in parentheses):

FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 24

10:00 AM – Class 1A: LENA-WINSLOW (Lena) [13-0] vs. TUSCOLA [13-0] (Lee Hall/Jack McInerney/Camron Smith)

1:00 PM – Class 2A: GIBSON CITY-MELVIN-SIBLEY (Gibson City) [13-0] vs. MAROA-FORSYTH (Maroa) [12-1] (Lee Hall/Jack McInerney/Camron Smith)

4:00 PM – Class 3A: IC CATHOLIC (Elmhurst) [12-1] vs. PLEASANT PLAINS [13-0] (Dave Bernhard/Chris Highland/Camron Smith)

7:00 PM – Class 4A: MORRIS [11-2] vs. ROCHESTER [13-0] (Dave Bernhard/Chris Highland/Camron Smith)

(NOTE: This game will air on NBC Sports Chicago+; please visit NBCSportsChicago.com’s CHANNEL FINDER  for the exact channel location in your area)

SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 25

10:00 AM – Class 5A: PHILLIPS (Chicago) [13-0] vs. DUNLAP [13-0] (Nathan Baliva/Mark Lindo/Siera Santos)

1:00 PM – Class 6A: PRAIRIE RIDGE (Crystal Lake) [13-0] vs. NAZARETH ACADEMY (LaGrange Park) [12-1] (Nathan Baliva/Mark Lindo/Siera Santos)

4:00 PM – Class 7A: BATAVIA [12-1] vs. LAKE ZURICH [13-0] (Dave Bernhard/Hub Arkush/Siera Santos)

(NOTE: This game will air on NBC Sports Chicago+; please visit NBCSportsChicago.com’s CHANNEL FINDER   for the exact channel location in your area)

7:00 PM – Class 8A: LINCOLN-WAY East (Frankfort) [13-0] vs. LOYOLA ACADEMY (Wilmette) [12-1] (Dave Bernhard/Hub Arkush/Siera Santos)

(NOTE: This game will air on NBC Sports Chicago+; please visit NBCSportsChicago.com’s CHANNEL FINDER   for the exact channel location in your area)

Watch: Kris Bryant discovers that no one in Austria knows who Kris Bryant is

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RED BULL

Watch: Kris Bryant discovers that no one in Austria knows who Kris Bryant is

Baseball is America's favorite pastime. Not so much for the nations of Europe, however.

Kris Bryant, the Cubs' star third baseman and one of baseball's biggest names, took a trip across the Atlantic for his honeymoon and discovered that he's not quite as famous in the Old World as he is stateside.

Red Bull posted this video of Bryant interviewing locals in Salzburg, Austria, locals who aren't very familiar with baseball — or Bryant.

Bryant and his wife, Jessica, also got to wear lederhosen and visit a castle, getting the full Austrian experience.

So maybe Bryant isn't the most recognizable guy in Austria. If he's ever looking for reaffirmation of his popularity, though, all he has to do is walk the streets of Wrigleyville. Guessing there will be a few more people there who know his name.