Preps Talk

Judge rules in favor of IHSA in Fenwick/Plainfield North controversy

Judge rules in favor of IHSA in Fenwick/Plainfield North controversy

Cook County circuit Judge Kathleen Kennedy denied a legal challenge from Fenwick High School to overturn its 18-17 overtime playoff loss to Plainfield North last Saturday in an IHSA Class 7A state semifinal game. Plainfield North will play East St. Louis for the 7A title on Saturday at Champaign’s Memorial Stadium.The IHSA released a statement saying, in part:

“Today’s decision by the Honorable Kathleen G. Kennedy in the Circuit Court of Chicago to uphold the result of the IHSA Class 7A Semifinal Football game is not a victory. There is no celebration and there are no winners in this circumstance. It is simply a resolution.

The Fenwick High School community has been dealt a pair of devastating blows over the past few days, while Plainfield North had a historic moment shrouded in controversy simply for following the rules provided for them, first by the game officials, and then by the IHSA. 

We will move forward now, in the short-term with eight state championship football games at the University of Illinois this weekend. In the long-run, it is our job as an Association, Board of Directors and membership to look at our policies and rules to see if and how we might be able to prevent instances like this in the future.”

Fenwick’s principal, Peter Groom, offered the following statement:

“On behalf of the Fenwick community, we would like to express our appreciation to Judge Kennedy for her willingness to consider our petition and provide us with a fair hearing. That is all that Fenwick ever asked. And the only thing our administration was duty-bound to provide for our students, who sacrificed so much their destination.

Fenwick, of course, is disappointed with the outcome. The Fenwick board and president will be apprised of the decision and will pursue no further efforts to secure its berth in the football championship this weekend. Rather, we wish Plainfield North and East St. Louis the best of luck this coming weekend and know that each will be able to hold their heads high upon its completion.

We owed our students a fair hearing of their grievance. We received a fair hearing and now it is finished.”

The ruling comes from a lawsuit brought by Fenwick against the Illinois High School Association, which refused to hear an appeal from Fenwick. The IHSA sited bylaw 6.033, which makes decisions made on the field by game officials, as final.

[WATCH: Highlights from the controversial Fenwick and Plainfield North Class 7A semifinal game]

The Friars were leading 10-7 with four seconds left in the fourth quarter. Fenwick quarterback Jacob Keller heaved a ball downfield to run out the clock. After the referee’s intentional grounding call and incorrect awarding of an untimed down to Plainfield North, the Tigers kicked a 22-yard field goal to tie the game at 10, sending the game into the extra session. After Fenwick took a 17-10 lead in overtime, Plainfield North’s Dillon McCarthy answered with a rushing touchdown. His two point conversion was the difference in the game moments later.

The Illinois High School Association on Saturday night admitted that the referee's call was incorrect, however, “IHSA by-law 6.033 clearly states that, ‘the decisions of game officials shall be final; protests against the decision of a game official shall not be reviewed by the Board of Directors.’ Given that rule, the contest result shall remain final with Plainfield North advancing to the Class 7A State Championship.”

Plainfield North will take on East St. Louis in the IHSA State 7A championship on Saturday at 4:00pm on the campus of the University of Illinois. 


Edgy's recruiting news and notes: LWE's Dzioban commits to Miami (OH)


Edgy's recruiting news and notes: LWE's Dzioban commits to Miami (OH)

Lincoln-Way East junior kicker Dominic Dzioban (6-foot-1, 180 pounds) added a recent scholarship offer from Miami of Ohio and has since given the Redhawks and head coach Chuck Martin his verbal commitment. 

"I just had a great visit on Saturday to Miami of Ohio and I was able to get every question I had about the school and the program answered on Saturday," Dzioban said. "When I was first offered by Miami (Ohio) I had no idea what they had to offer or what they are all about. Miami (Ohio) has a historic campus and they also offer an amazing education. It seems like every facility at Miami (Ohio) is brand new and Oxford is just a great small college town. Miami (Ohio) really offers everything I was looking for in a school and having a chance to go to Miami on a full scholarship is a huge opportunity I couldn't pass by at all."

Lake Forest sophomore linebacker Cal Uihlein (6-foot-1, 205 pounds) was able to add his first offer recently from the Wisconsin Badgers, and Uihlein also made a visit to the University of Wisconsin this past Saturday. 

"I had a great visit to Wisconsin on Saturday," Uihlein said. "It wasn't a usual recruiting type of visit, it was much more low key and I was able to just see everything behind the scenes including seeing the team scrimmage. I was able to get a good feel for the team and the coaches after the scrimmage. I was also able to talk with some of the coaches at Wisconsin including head coach Paul Chryst and linebacker coaches. Everyone at Wisconsin seems very excited about me and it was just good to get to know them a bit better. I was able to just basically see the stadium and I didn't get to see too much of the facilities or the campus. I'll definitely head back again to Wisconsin soon and see more of the school and the facilities and overall it was a great visit."

Warren Township junior three star ranked defensive tackle Willis Singleton Jr. (6-foot-2, 285 pounds) was able to add an offer from the University of Illinois last Saturday while on a visit to watch the Fighting Illini's spring game. 

"I was hoping that an offer (from Illinois) was coming but I still had no idea," Singleton Jr. said. "I know that Illinois is on the rise and have added some really strong players from my recruiting class. My Dad also went to Illinois and just telling him over the phone that Illinois had offered me was an amazing felling and experience."

Singleton Jr. also said that "Illinois is definitely on the top of the spectrum. My recruitment is open, but there are definitely one of the top schools because of how they went about things with me on the visit."

Bolingbrook sophomore safety Justin Walters (6-foot-1, 170 pounds) has also seen more and more schools take notice of him this spring. Walters is currently holding six FBS level offers and growing by the day. 

"I have six scholarship offers now," Walters said. "I have offers from Bowling Green, Western Michigan, Army, Iowa, Iowa State and now Minnesota. Minnesota is my latest offer and they offered me a few weeks ago."

Walters has also been hitting the road and visiting a few schools this spring and plans to see even more soon.

"I've made visits already to Iowa and Iowa St and Wisconsin. I also visited Northwestern awhile ago. I'm also planning to visit Michigan State sometime this spring."

Breaking: Northwestern adds another in-state pledge


Breaking: Northwestern adds another in-state pledge

It didn't take Wheaton North junior outside linebacker Xander Mueller (6-foot-3, 205 pounds) long to give the Northwestern coaching staff his verbal commitment today. Mueller — whose older brother (junior linebacker Erik Mueller) is already on the Wildcats roster — attended the Wildcats final spring practice today. He picked up a scholarship offer and then gave head coach Pat Fitzgerald his verbal commitment on the spot. 

"I didn't expect it (adding a Northwestern offer) and I was very surprised," Mueller said. "Northwestern is the place for me because of the incredible academics, the location, having my brother already on the team and the amazing coaching staff and football program. I'm super happy."

Mueller is the second in-state name for the Wildcats and the seventh known verbal commitment for the Northwestern Class of 2020. Mueller joins Lake Zurich tight end Hunter Welcing (6-foot-4, 225 pounds) as the Wildcats in state commitments so far in the 2020 class. 

Mueller was also the Wildcats second overall verbal commitment today as Groveport (Ohio) Madison three star ranked offensive guard TeRah Edwards (6-foot-3, 295 pounds) also committed to the Wildcats after today's final spring practice.