The Chicago Public League has initiated a flag football league, due in large part to 12 schools dropping traditional football from their athletic programs. Is this the answer for low football participation numbers? Is it the beginning of a larger trend across the city and state? “Edgy” Tim O’Halloran and High School Lites producers Joe Collins and Jared Storck debate the topic. The panel also welcomes Daily Herald writer Kevin Schmit, who discusses the past, present and future of the DuPage Valley conference. All this, plus Week Seven predictions and much more.
Here are the latest rankings of Illinois high school football teams in each class, according to an Associated Press panel of sportswriters:
Others receiving votes: Oswego 3, South Elgin 3, St. Charles East 1, Stevenson 1, Minooka 1
Others receiving votes: Hoffman Estates 9, Lincoln Park 3, Rockford Auburn 3, Hersey 2, Willowbrook 2
Others receiving votes: Providence 12, Danville 9, Peoria Central 5, Oak Lawn Richards 2, Montini 2, Riverside-Brookfield 1
Others receiving votes: Rich Central 9, Payton 5, Lindblom 4, Morton 4, Rochelle 2, Chicago (Solorio Academy) 2
Others receiving votes: Rock Island Alleman 9, Coal City 3, Chicago Sullivan 2, Genoa-Kingston 1
Others receiving votes: Wilmington 9, Fairfield 6, Sesser (S.-Valier) 5, Elmwood-Brimfield 1
Others receiving votes: Chicago (Hope) Academy 8, Clifton Central 5, Alton Marquette 3, Fieldcrest 2
Others receiving votes: Stockton 6, Camp Point Central 5, Dakota 5, Fulton 3, Argenta-Oreana 3
With the IHSA Football Playoff Pairing Show just days away, here are five teams that you need to keep in mind when the brackets are announced. They could cause big matchup problems once the postseason begins. You can catch show live this Saturday night starting at 8 p.m. on NBC Sports Chicago+ with live streaming at nbcsportschicago.com/IHSAPairingShow and via the NBC Sports app.
Edwardsville: The Tigers (5-3) got off to a rough start and lost their first three games, including an opening week stunner, 53-49, to Naperville North. It was a game that the Tigers led 42-0 in the second quarter. However, coach Matt Martin and company are riding high with a five-game winning streak. They feature an explosive offense led by junior QB Kendall Abdur-Rahman and a deep group of backs. Keep an eye on freshman RB Justin Johnson.
Naperville North: The afforementioned Huskies (5-3) have lost two of their last three games but don't be fooled. Naperville North can trade offensive punches with everyone in the 8A field behind QB Drake Davis, WR Nick Calcagno and a deep group of receivers. Senior LB Ryan Marrano leads the Huskie defense. The team has marquee wins over Edwardsville, Wheaton North, Lake Park and Naperville Central.
Mount Carmel: The Caravan (5-3) will wind up starting the state playoffs on the road. And trust me: every opponent will not be excited to see this tradition-heavy program come to town. Mount Carmel will look towards its running game with QB Alek Thomas (a TCU baseball and football commit) along with a big offensive line led by senior Jeremy Cooper (Cincinnati).
[MORE: Edgy Tim's Week 9 Power Rankings]
Providence Catholic: The Celtics (5-3) are coming off a tough Week 8 loss to Loyola. Don't let the three losses fool you. The combined record of the three teams Providence lost to is 22-3. Keep an eye on senior RB Deshon Gavin (WIU commit), a big and physical offensive line and a strong group on defense. Providence has won five of its last six games.
Rochelle: It is the last season for Hubs' veteran head coach Kevin Crandall. Rochelle (5-3) will look to run the football early and often. They also have a fast, physical defensive unit. Rochelle's three losses this season come to the likes of Sterling (8-0), Morris (7-1) and Johnsburg (8-0) and this team will be a tough out for every opponent in 5A. Rochelle is 157-95 under Crandall, including three 12-win seasons.