Peoria

Dream on? Some fantasy-like HS matchups could become a reality

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Dream on? Some fantasy-like HS matchups could become a reality

With two more weeks left until the IHSA state playoffs, here are some fun dream matchups to consider.  I would love to see some of these happen-- and in some cases, a few of these actually have a chance to occur.

Homewood-Flossmoor vs East St. Louis: The 8A Vikings, coached by Craig Buzea, have a ton of playmakers. They feature a speedster in NIU-bond senior RB Justin Hall; plus, their speed and athleticism on both sides of the football is eye-catching. As for East St Louis, the Flyers (Class 7A) also have a ton of talent and speed including senior dual-threat QB Christian Perez and a big, very physical offensive line. This would be an excellent back-and-forth game-- a possible 'last possession wins' type of finish.

Marist vs Lincoln-Way East: Both 8A schools could very well see each other on the IHSA playoff road. Coach Rob Zvonar's Griffins feature one of the state's top defensive lines, built around senior Northwestern commit Devin O'Rourke. They also have a strong running game and good overall depth. Marist, under first-year head coach Ron Dawczak, also boasts a fantastic defensive line led by Indiana commit DE Gavin McCabe and Minnesota pledge Elijah Teague. The Redhawks' offense can beat you with the run and the pass. QB Mike Markett, RB Delonte Harrell and a ton of quality receivers are helping Marist rack up nearly 45 points per game. I'd pay to see these two teams compete in any postseason playoff round.

Barrington vs Huntley: It's another matchup that could potentially happen in 8A this postseason. How much fun would it be to see both do-it-all quarterbacks (Barrington's Ray Niro and Huntley's Eric Mooney) battle each other for four quarters?

[MORE: Edgy Tim's Week 8 Power Rankings]

Maine South vs a Rochester/Sacred Heart-Griffin CO-OP team: Since 4A perennial power Rochester and 5A-sized Sacred Heart-Griffin are both smaller than Maine South (from an enrollment standpoint) I'd allow a CO-OP for both schools here. How wild would a combined Leonard Family-led team be? Maine South has great balance on offense with QB John O'Sullivan, NIU commit RB Fotis Kokosioulis and a ton of quality receivers. Team Leonard's offense would undoubtedly be equal to the task. 

Glenbard West vs Loyola: Sort of like Godzilla meets Godzilla? Both Loyola (8A) and Glenbard West (8A/7A bubble team) pride themselves on defense first, but both are pretty diverse on offense as well. How cool would this be: two of the top overall programs in Illinois over the past decade going head to head? We can only hope. 

Lake Zurich vs Prairie Ridge: It's the unstoppable force (6A's Prairie Ridge offense with QB Samson Evans) against the immovable object (The 7A Lake Zurich defense). The matchup between the Bears' offense, which has opened up considerably under first year head coach Luke Mertens, against the Wolves' speedy and hard-hitting defense could potentially be just as impressive. 

Phillips vs Peoria: Peoria (4-3), the defending 5A state champs, seem headed to 6A. Of course, they would have to qualify for the state playoff field first. Phillips, the 3A/4A-sized school voluntarily moved up to 5A for the next two seasons. How would the Wildcats defense contain Peoria's offense, led by Illinois commit QB Coran Taylor and company? 

High School Lites Podcast: How is Peoria High School scoring 70 points per game?

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High School Lites Podcast: How is Peoria High School scoring 70 points per game?

Peoria High School scored 94 points –in football—against Bloomington on Friday. They are averaging close to 70 points on the season. Will they score 100 points in a game this year? Can the Lions repeat as 5A state champs?

Joe Collins, Jared Storck and “Edgy” Tim O’Halloran catch up with their head coach, Tim Thornton. Also: Niles North (hazing) and Whitney Young (low participation numbers) have suspended their football programs for the rest of the season. How does this impact the future of these programs? The panel discusses this topic and sets up Week 6 on the High School Lites calendar.

Listen to the High School Lites Podcast below: 

 

By the numbers: three weeks of IHSA football

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By the numbers: three weeks of IHSA football

Here are some numbers, factoids and surprises from the first three weeks of the IHSA football season:

Point Taken: Top 10 IHSA Scoring Offenses

Shelbyville: 174 points
Dixon: 174 
Peoria: 173 
Princeville: 167 
Fithian (Oakwood): 162 
Herscher: 160
Highland: 155
Homewood-Flossmoor: 154
Ottawa Marquette: 153
Naperville North: 152

Making Stops: Top 10 IHSA Scoring Defenses

St. Ignatius & North Chicago: 0 points allowed
West Aurora: 3 
T.F. South: 6
Raby: 6
Monticello: 7
Coal City: 7
Lanark (Eastland): 7
North Lawndale: 8
Batavia: 10
Lake Zurich: 10

[MORE: Edgy Tim's Week Four Power Rankings]

Familiar Names, Unfamiliar Records

Peoria (1-2): Defending 5A state champs are scoring points in bunches but the defense has been a work in progress. 

Highland Park (0-3): The Giants have played a strong non-conference slate and still have a chance to right the ship in the Central Suburban North.

New Trier (1-2): Not many saw this coming. I didn't. The strong schedule, along with early season injuries, have slowed the Trevians. 

Vernon Hills (1-2): Last year's 5A runner-ups in have struggled on defense the past two weeks.

Brother Rice (1-2): The Crusaders' schedule won't get any easier with Montini, Providence Catholic and Mount Carmel lurking the next three weeks.

Providence Catholic (1-2): A huge last-second, come-from-behind win last Friday over St. Rita 28-21 gives the Celtics hope.

Joliet Catholic (1-2): The Hilltoppers look better this fall compared to last year's 1-8 team, but they're still a work in progress. 

Simeon (0-3): A rough schedule and turnovers have done in the Wolverines in so far this season. 

Glenbard North (1-2): The Panthers offense struggled the first two weeks. Hopefully they're back on track after last week's crucial 28-21 win over Wheaton South.

Waubonsie Valley (1-2): The Warriors play Naperville Central (3-0) this week. They still have to deal with Naperville North and Lincoln-Way Central (both 3-0) on the remaining schedule.
 
Carmel (0-3): The Corsairs' schedule has been brutal so far (Richards, DeKalb and Marist). And now, Carmel hosts Nazareth Academy (3-0) on Friday.

Glenbard South (1-2): The Raiders picked up a key win last Friday over Aurora Central Catholic. GBS is capable of getting on a roll.

Metamora (0-3): One of the state's top 4A/5A-sized powers is now in very unfamiliar territory. Up next: a date with rival Washington (2-1) on Friday.

Fremd (0-3): The Vikings' schedule has been rough so far. 

Libertyville (1-2): The Wildcats have dropped two straight games. The always-tough North Suburban slate looms ahead. 

Joliet West (1-2): Many felt the Tigers could be a preseason Top 25 team but so far turnovers have plagued West. The Tigers still have time to right the ship but the clock is ticking. 

Bradley (1-2): The Boilermakers graduated a ton of key players from the 2016 state playoff team, plus the remaining schedule is stacked.  

Edwardsville (0-3): Very strange to see the Tigers at 0-3 in any sport. 

O'Fallon (0-3): Graduation losses along with having several lost transfers is not helping the Panthers in 2017. 

Geneva (1-2): The Vikings two losses have been tight and the Vikings still have a good shot at challenging for a state playoff spot yet challenges still remain on the schedule. 

From 0-3 To…Playoffs?!?

Simeon: The Wolverines have lost to Oak Park-River Forest (2-1), Detroit's Cass Tech (2-1) and Phillips (3-0). They played all three teams tough. Turnovers have been Simeon's biggest issue in 2017, but once they get that corrected this team is very capable of winning six straight regular season games and a possible IHSA playoff berth