Preps Talk

Beware of the Attack of the Lower Seeds

Beware of the Attack of the Lower Seeds

With the upcoming IHSA football playoff pairings announcement on Saturday night, here are some teams with modest win-loss records who opponents probably wouldn’t want to see in the early rounds of the postseason.

Loyola Academy (5-3): The Ramblers have struggled this season. But head coach John Holocek has, once again, led his team to the state playoff field. So what gives? Loyola has been inconsistent on offense and has turned the football over way too often. The team has also been dealing with various injuries. But the defense (minus a 35-3 loss to Brother Rice) has generally played well this season. If the Ramblers can clean up the turnovers and find a way to get their offense back in a rhythm, this team can undoubtedly surprise some teams along the way in Class 8A. 

Neuqua Valley (5-3): The Wildcats and head coach Bill Ellinghaus have dropped three tight games this season including a last possession, 21-14 decision to DuPage Valley Conference champion Naperville Central two weeks ago. If the Wildcats can continue to get steady production from a balanced offense, led by RB Will Cheviliar and QB John Gronowski, the defense is capable of keeping Neuqua Valley in every game this postseason.

Aurora Christian (5-3): Coach Dave Beebe’s Eagles have lost to three playoff-bound teams this season with a combined 21-3 record (IC Prep, St. Francis and Bishop McNamara). They have a potent spread-passing attack led by sophomore QB Ethan Hampton. Aurora Christian is also slated to wind up in the Class 1A bracket on pairings night. Their dynamic offense and passing game in general could be a tough matchup for opponents in, what usually is, Class 1A North bracket with teams that generally run the ball.

Barrington (5-3): The Broncos, under head coach Joe Sanchez, have also been dealing with a rash of mid-season injuries; that said, it looks like Barrington is getting healthy at the right time. Junior QB Tommy Fitzpatrick is back from injury and is a key catalyst for any Barrington postseason run. Fitzpatrick has weapons in junior WR EJ Darlington and senior RB Michael Curran. 

Lake Zurich (5-3): The Bears made a starting quarterback change last week as Jack Moses took the reins. He promptly led the Bears to a 42-0 win over Mundelein. If the Bears can limit turnovers and continue to get strong production from their offense, the L-Z defense is more than capable of making life very difficult for any higher seeds that they could draw in the 7A state playoff field. 

Edwardsville (5-3): The Tigers hit a rough patch starting the season with a 1-3 record. But they currently boast a four-game winnings streak heading into Friday night’s tilt at Collinsville. Edwardsville is led by senior QB Kendall Abdur Rahman (Notre Dame) and is a gamebreaker every time he touches the football. Sophomore RB Justin Johnson (and the team in general) possesses a ton of speed. There are athletes and playmakers on both sides of the football. 

Here are some more lower seeds who could wreak havoc:

Providence Catholic (5-3): If the Celtics can get their running game going, beware. 

Raby (5-3): The Raiders could be a handful in 4A.

St. Charles East (4-4): The Saints’ power-option game is always tough to defend. 

Joliet Catholic (4-4): IF the Hilltoppers can beat Notre Dame on Friday, they could be a very tough out in 5A.

Crystal Lake South (5-3): A huge offensive line leads the way for the Gators. 

Zion-Benton (4-4): The Zee-Bees can put as much talent on the field than most of their opponents. 

Lemont (4-4): Needs a win Friday over rival Oak Forest. If the offense can keep the chains moving, the Indians’ defense can do the rest. 

Crete-Monee (5-3): They are the Southland conference champs. Their first two losses in 2018? Lincoln-Way East (8-0) and Brother Rice (8-0).

Thornton (4-4): The Wildcats will need to upset Lincoln Way Central Friday. Thornton always has talent.

IHSA Preps Boys Basketball AP Poll

IHSA Preps Boys Basketball AP Poll

Here are the rankings of Illinois high school boys basketball teams in each class, according to an Associated Press panel of sportswriters:


Class 4A

No. Team W-L Pts Prv
1. Belleville West (8) 17-0 80 1
2. Curie 18-1 72 2
3. Whitney Young 14-6 50 5
4. Bloom 17-1 49 3
5. Danville 16-2 46 6
6.  Marian Catholic 16-2 28 4
7. Evanston 17-3 27 9
T-8. Moline 16-2 23 10
T-8. Bolingbrook 11-3 23 8
10. Rockford East 18-2 16 NR

Others receiving votes: Bloomington 10, Simeon 6, Homewood-Flossmoor 4, Loyola 3, Collinsville 1, Benet 1, Geneva 1.
 

Class 3A

No. Team W-L Pts Prv
1. Bogan (10) 17-2 109 1
2. Morgan Park (1) 15-3 100 2
3. Springfield Southeast 14-1 87 3
4. East St. Louis 13-5 72 5
5. DePaul Prep 13-4 46 7
6. Peoria Notre Dame 13-4 44 6
7. Lincoln 13-2 42 8
8. Ottawa 14-1 31 9
9. Rock Falls 19-1 20 NR
10.  St. Viator 14-4 16 4

Others receiving votes: Kankakee 13, St. Laurence 9, Lindblom 8, Carbondale 4, North Lawndale 2, Highland 1, Hillcrest 1.

Class 2A

No. Team W-L Pts Prv
1. Nashville (9) 18-2 118 2
2. Leo 13-5 84 1
3. Teutopolis 15-2 82 5
4. Orr (2) 13-7 80 7
5. Bloomington Cent. Catholic 11-5 75 4
6.  Gibson City-Melvin-Sibley 15-2 65 6
7.  Warsaw West Hancock 16-1 40 9
8. Uplift 9-6 39 3
9. Casey-Westfield 17-2 34 8
10. Pinckneyville (2) 17-2 29 NR

Others receiving votes: Williamsville 15, Deer Creek-Mackinaw 12, Aurora Christian 12, Westmont 8, Hall 7, Fairfield 7, Corliss 4, Alton Marquette 1, Monticello 1, PORTA 1, Newman Catholic 1.


Class 1A

No. Team W-L Pts Prv
1. Providence -St. Mel (3) 15-4 111 2
2. Cissna Park (6) 16-1 109 1
3. East Dubuque (3) 16-0 97 3
4. Concord Triopia 18-0 89 4
5. Kewanee (Wethersfield) 15-2 60 6
6. Payson Seymour 13-3 54 5
7.  Moweaqua Central A&M 16-3 31 NR
8. Thompsonville 17-2 29 7
9.  Ottawa Marquette 16-2 28 9
10. Winchester-West Central 14-5 11 NR

Others receiving votes: Nokomis 10, Polo 9, Elmwood 7, Sesser-Valier 6, Woodlawn 5, Champaign Judah Christian 2, Newark 1, Springfield Calvary 1.

IHSA Preps Girls Basketball AP Poll

IHSA Preps Girls Basketball AP Poll

Here are the rankings of Illinois high school girls basketball teams in each class, according to an Associated Press panel of sportswriters:


Class 4A

No. Team W-L Pts Prv
1. Maine West (8) 21-0 80 1
2. Rock Island 18-1 70 2
3. Edwardsville 18-2 56 5
4. Fremd 19-3 55 3
5. Boylan Catholic 19-0 49 7
6.  Montini 21-3 45 4
7.  Whitney Young 15-4 29 8
8.  Benet 18-4 28 6
9.  Mother McAuley 19-2 14 10
10.  Hononegah 19-4 6 9

Others receiving votes: Geneva 4, Bartlett 2, Normal Community 1, O'Fallon 1.
 

Class 3A

No. Team W-L Pts Prv
T-1. Kankakee (6) 24-0 101 T-2
T-1. Richwoods (5) 20-2 101 1
3.  Morton 18-2 90 T-2
4.  Bloomington Central Catholic 19-3 68 T-4
5. Charleston 21-0 66 T-4
6.  Nazareth 18-1 62 8
7 Carterville 18-3 38 7
8. Sandwich 22-0 37 9
T-9. Bethalto Civic Memorial 19-4 14 6
T-9. Burlington Central 14-5 14 10

Others receiving votes: Effingham 4, Geneseo 4, Sterling 4, Breese Mater Dei 1, Columbia 1.

Class 2A

No. Team W-L Pts Prv
1. Eureka (9) 20-2 117 1
2. Greenville (1) 19-1 93 2
3. Sullivan (1) 19-1 73 5
4. Chicago Marshall (1) 13-7 71 6
5.  Watseka  19-2 69 4
6.  Walther Christian 17-0 51 7
7.  Hamilton County 21-1 42 T-9
8. Teutopolis 17-3 41 8
9.  Harrisburg 21-2 40 3
10. St. Joseph-Ogden 18-4 22 T-9

Others receiving votes: Hillsboro 9, Buffalo Tri-City 8, Pleasant Plains 6, Camp Point Central 6, Carlinville 4, Bismarck-Henning 3, Hamilton 2, Illini West (Carthage) 2, Knoxville 1.


Class 1A

No. Team W-L Pts Prv
1. Danville Schlarman (13) 18-2 130 1
2. Jacksonville Routt 19-2 105 T-3
3.  Lewistown 21-1 97 2
4.  Stockton 18-3 83 5
5. Lanark Eastland 21-4 76 6
6. Goreville 17-5 61 T-3
7.  Shiloh 17-4 47 7
8.  Illini Bluffs 19-5 40 8
9.  Amboy 20-1 36 9
10. Altamont 19-2 17 10

Others receiving votes: Concord Triopia 15, Dakota 4, Centralia Christ Our Rock 3, Aquin 1