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CSN's Top 20 rankings: Playoffs 2nd round

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CSN's Top 20 rankings: Playoffs 2nd round

1 Maine South (10-0)
Last Week (Ranked 1): Defeated Lane Tech 42-7
Next Game: 8A Playoffs vs. Conant
PrepsTalk: Quarterback Matt Alviti found Daly Guzaldo (twice), George Sanjenko, John Solari and Zach Hinkamp on touchdown receptions as the Hawks advance. Alviti: 24-35 with 328 yards.

2 Glenbard West (10-0)
Last Week (Ranked 2): Defeated Elk Grove 49-21
Next Game: 7A Playoffs vs. Libertyville
PrepsTalk: The Hilltoppers put the clamps on the Grenadiers in the second half, intercepting quarterback Adam OMalley twice. GBWs Henry Haeffner threw two touchdown passes.

3 Lincoln-Way East (10-0)
Last Week (Ranked 3): Defeated Plainfield Central 47-22
Next Game: 7A Playoffs vs. Providence
PrepsTalk: Moe Almasri ran the opening kickoff 81 yards to the house and the Griffins cruised from there. The most anticipated second round matchup (arguably) will be in Frankfort this week.

4 Loyola (9-1)
Last Week (Ranked 4): Defeated Evanston 41-0
Next Game: 8A Playoffs vs. Bartlett
PrepsTalk: Loyola has played Evanston four times since 2010, including two playoff tilts. Loyola has outscored them 151-0. QB Peter Pujals: four touchdowns (three rushing) this time around.

5 Marian Central Catholic (10-0)
Last Week (Ranked 5): Defeated Wauconda 42-10
Next Game: 5A Playoffs vs. Woodstock North
PrepsTalk: The Hurricanes scored 30 unanswered points to pull away from the pesky Bulldogs. Quarterback Chris Streveler accounted for 376 total yards (193 passing).

6 Mount Carmel (9-1)
Last Week (Ranked 6): Defeated Brother Rice 30-9
Next Game: 8A Playoffs vs. Simeon
PrepsTalk: The Caravan shook off a 9-7 deficit and pulled away in the second half. Quarterback Don Butkus hooked up with Jasson Gasser on two touchdown strikes (24, 58).

7 Crete-Monee (10-0)
Last Week (Ranked 7): Defeated Springfield 41-7
Next Game: 6A Playoffs vs. Richwoods
PrepsTalk: Lance Lenoir and Laquon Treadwell had two touchdowns apiece as the Warriors now prepare to face the same team that defeated them in last years second round.

8 Kaneland (10-0)
Last Week (Ranked 8): Defeated Belvidere 48-0
Next Game: 5A Playoffs vs. Lincoln-Way West
PrepsTalk: Dylan Nauert picked off three passes and Jesse Balluff ran for two touchdowns (41, 1). QB Drew David racked up two more touchdowns, one a 56-yard hook-up with Kyle Pollastrini.

9 Palatine (9-1)
Last Week (Ranked 10): Defeated Niles West 69-42
Next Game: 8A Playoffs vs. Schaumburg
PrepsTalk: Who needs defense when you have a quarterback like Ethan Olles -- 22-34, 306 yards, five total touchdowns (three passing). FYI, Palatine beat Schaumburg 51-18 on October 19th.

10 Neuqua Valley (10-0)
Last Week (Ranked 11): Defeated Naperville North 56-20
Next Game: 8A Playoffs vs. Bolingbrook
PrepsTalk: The Wildcats outscored the Huskies 35-0 in the second half. And it was another huge game for running back Joey Rhattigan: 218 yards and four trips to the end zone.

11 Cary-Grove (10-0)
Last Week (Ranked 12): Defeated Rockford Auburn 41-7
Next Game: 6A Playoffs vs. St. Patrick
PrepsTalk: Kyle Norberg rushed for four touchdowns and Ryan Mahoney added two more scores. One of Mahoneys tallies came off a 90-yard kickoff return.

12 Waubonsie Valley (9-1)
Last Week (Ranked 13): Defeated Proviso West 38-6
Next Game: 8A Playoffs vs. Oak Park-River Forest
PrepsTalk: Quarterback Dylan Warden accounted for three touchdowns, two on runs. Running back Austin Guido had 157 yards on 33 carries and a score. LB Austin Lacke had a 32-yard pick-six.

13 Glenbard North (9-1)
Last Week (Ranked 14): Defeated Fremd 31-24
Next Game: 8A Playoffs vs. Stevenson
PrepsTalk: The Panthers ignored all of the distractions of playing on the road in the opening round. Justin Jackson was the star again: 8 carries, 163 yards and three touchdowns (two rushing).

14 Wheaton North (9-1)
Last Week (Ranked 15): Defeated St. Charles East 41-13
Next Game: 7A Playoffs vs. Prospect
PrepsTalk: The Falcons scored touchdowns on their first six drives. Quarterback John Peltz had four touchdowns (three passing). Running back Patrick Sharp also found the end zone twice.

15 Bolingbrook (8-2)
Last Week (Ranked 16): Defeated Sandburg 39-7
Next Game: 8A Playoffs vs. Neuqua Valley
PrepsTalk: The Raiders get it done again without QB Aaron Bailey. Quincy Woods had three touchdowns. Both the Providence-LWE and Brook-Neuqua matchups are star-studded main attractions.

16 Benet (9-1)
Last Week (Ranked 17): Defeated Andrew 24-10
Next Game: 7A Playoffs vs. Oswego
PrepsTalk: The Redwings secured their first playoff win since 2006. Sophomore quarterback Jack Beneventis 21-yard touchdown pass to Nick Surges with five minutes left was the dagger.

17 Lemont (9-1)
Last Week (Ranked 19): Defeated Morgan Park 45-0
Next Game: 6A Playoffs vs. Richards
PrepsTalk: Another game, another shutout for Lemont (their sixth on the year). Matt Luzzo had an interception and two fumble recoveries. It sets up a nice South Suburban Conference crossover.

18 Providence (8-2)
Last Week (Ranked 20): Defeated Bradley-Bourbonnais 44-7
Next Game: 7A Playoffs vs. Lincoln-Way East
PrepsTalk: It was a total team effort for the Celtics - Brandon Price rushed for three touchdowns, David Kaminski added two more and the defense forced four turnovers.

19 Lakes (9-1)
Last Week (Not Ranked): Defeated St. Viator 35-21
Next Game: 6A Playoffs vs. Lake Forest
PrepsTalk: Solid game for running back Direll Clark 35 carries, 250 yards and three touchdowns. And now its on to face the Scouts, who gave them their only loss back on September 7th.

20 Richards (9-1)
Last Week (Not Ranked): Defeated Lincoln-Way North 36-14
Next Game: 6A Playoffs vs. Lemont
PrepsTalk: Safety Dylan Jiles came through for the Bulldogs. He intercepted three passes and running back Tommy Mister (20 carries, 193 yards, three touchdowns) did the rest.

Looming and Lurking: Morris, Simeon, Thornton, Oswego, Montini, Aurora Christian, Oak Forest, Batavia, Lyons, Marist, Grant, Brooks, Schaumburg, Lake Zurich, Evergreen Park.

Be sure to follow @JoeCSN for prep football coverage.

High School Lites airs this Friday night at 10:30 p.m. and is streamed live at CSNChicago.com. High School Lites will move to Saturday nights for the duration of the IHSA football playoffs starting on November 10th.

Jake Arrieta full of appreciation in return to Wrigley mound: ‘I’ll never forget this city’

Jake Arrieta full of appreciation in return to Wrigley mound: ‘I’ll never forget this city’

The last time Jake Arrieta pitched at Wrigley Field, his night ended with Cubs fans giving him a rousing standing ovation. The former Cubs right hander tossed 6 2/3 innings of one-run ball, leading the Cubs to victory in Game 4 of the 2017 NLCS—their only win against the Los Angeles Dodgers that series.

Arrieta returned to Wrigley Field as a visitor on Monday night, making his first start against the Cubs since joining the Philadelphia Phillies last season. Ironically, Arrieta’s counterpart for the night was Yu Darvish, who ultimately replaced Arrieta in the Cubs starting rotation.

Despite now donning Phillies red, Cubs fans once again showed their love for Arrieta, giving him a lengthy standing ovation ahead of his first plate appearance. Darvish even stepped off the mound in respect for the moment.

“I loved it, absolutely loved it,” Cubs manager Joe Maddon said to reporters postgame. “[I’m] very happy that our fans would acknowledge him like that. Yu stepped away from the mound nicely. Jake deserved it.”

Arrieta tipped his helmet in appreciation for the crowd, taking in the moment for more than 30 seconds before stepping into the batter’s box. After the game, he told reporters that moment brought back memories of his time with the Cubs.

“That was something that really brought back great memories of getting that same sort of ovation pretty much on a nightly basis,” Arrieta said. “[I’m] very appreciative of that. I can’t say thank you enough to the city of Chicago, I really can’t.”

Arrieta took fans back to his Cubs tenure on Monday, throwing six innings of one run ball in the Phillies’ 5-4 10-inning win. Although the 33-year-old didn’t pick up the victory, he matched Darvish—who threw six innings of three-run ball—pitch by-pitch.

Phillies manager Gabe Kapler noted how well Arrieta handled his emotions throughout the night.

“I thought he handled the emotions really well. I thought he was in control of the game even when we were down,” Kapler said to reporters. “He always maintained his poise and he just got stronger as the outing went on and that’s why we were able to have him take down the sixth inning for us.”

It’s well-documented how Arrieta’s career improved for the better after the Cubs acquired him in a trade with the Baltimore Orioles in July 2013. When the Cubs acquired him, Arrieta held a career 5.46 ERA in 69 games (63 starts). He finished his Cubs career with a 2.73 ERA in 128 regular season starts. He also won five postseason games with the Cubs, including Games 2 and 6 of the 2016 World Series.

Despite moving on in free agency, Arrieta spoke highly of his time with the Cubs, their fans and the city of Chicago.

“Cubs fans all across the country, all across the world, they really respect and appreciate what guys are able to do here for them,” he said. “It means a lot, it really does.

"I’ll never forget this city, the fan base, the organization, everything that they did for me. It was 4 1/2 incredible years of my career.”

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Yu Darvish crashed Jake Arrieta's party, but Cubs bullpen falters

Yu Darvish crashed Jake Arrieta's party, but Cubs bullpen falters

Yu Darvish was one pitch away.

Holding onto a 1-0 lead with two outs in the sixth inning, Darvish threw Phillies catcher JT Realmuto a 2-2 cutter. It made sense - Darvish had been spotting that pitch well all night, and the Phillies were averaging a paltry 79.8 mph exit velocity against it.

With one strike standing between Darvish and a 6-inning shutout, Realmuto took Darvish’s cutter and sent it back up the middle for a game-tying RBI single. A 2-RBI triple from César Hernández followed. In the blink of an eye, what was shaping up to be one of Darvish’s finest moments in Chicago was instead reduced to yet another start spent searching for silver linings.

“Really good. He was outstanding tonight,” Joe Maddon said. “He pitched really well.

“He had really good stuff. He had command of his stuff, he had command of himself. I thought he was outstanding - even better than what he looked like in Cincinnati. I thought that was probably his best game for us to date.”

Darvish has continued to lean heavily on his cutter this season, more so than any year prior. After throwing it 13 percent of the time last season, he’s going to that pitch almost 25 percent of the time now. If that holds, it’d beat his previous career-high, set in 2013, by six percentage points.

All things considered, that pitch has actually been good for him this season. It’s his go-to offering when he needs to induce weak contact, and batters are hitting .125 against it so far. He gets batters to chase cutters 29.5 percent of the time, the most of any pitch he throws. While he has admitted in games past that he relies too heavily on his fastball, Maddon sees no issues with the new trend.

“I have no concerns with that whatsoever,” he said. “There’s different ways for pitchers to attack hitters, and if it's successful, I really would not change a whole lot.”

Though the night was dedicated to celebrating one of the franchises most beloved pitchers, it was one of their most maligned that continued to show signs of figuring it out. He’s put together back-to-back starts with three or less walks for the first time this season, and has allowed two or less runs in three of the last five.

The pitcher even stepped off the mound during Arrieta’s first at-bat, in order to let the standing ovation continue on.

“He’s is a legend in Chicago,” Darvish said after the game. “And I pitched against him and pitched pretty good, so it makes me confident.”

The bullpen again struggled on Monday night, as the trio of Mike Montgomery, Brad Brach, and Kyle Ryan allowed two runs on five hits, including the game-winning solo home run from Realmuto in the 10th. For a moment it looked like the Cubs had a win wrapped up when Brach got outfielder Andrew McCutchen to bite on a two-strike slider, but was (probably incorrectly) called a checked swing.  He would eventually draw a walk, leading to Jean Segura’s game-tying single.

“On the field, I thought for sure [that McCutchen swung],” Brach said. “Looking at the first base umpire, I was a little taken aback. That’s why I went off the mound - just to regather myself, because I didn’t want to let the emotion get to me there.

“It’s a 50-50 call, and unfortunately it didn’t go my way.”

 

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