Preps Talk

In the midst of turmoil, Simeon prepares for Morgan Park


In the midst of turmoil, Simeon prepares for Morgan Park

Theyre disgusted.

That was Simeon head coach Robert Smiths description of his players' mood after practice on Tuesday evening, just a few hours after finding out three of their teammates had been ruled ineligible by the IHSA.

Donte Ingram, Sean Moore and Jaycee Hillsman, all transfers, were declared ineligible just a day before one of the biggest high school games on the local docket as the Wolverines take on the Morgan Park Mustangs Wednesday night at Chicago State.

They feel like somebody did something to them, said Smith. As a school, we didnt do anything wrong and theyre upset about it. The players dont want to do any interviews, they dont want to talk to anybody, they dont want to do none of that stuff. They just want to focus on basketball.

At the beginning of the season, all three had been ruled eligible by the IHSA, but after a recent review of their cases, they were informed that they couldnt play. Ingram transferred to Simeon from Danville, Hillsman came from St. Thomas More in Champaign and Moore came over from Leo. Making matters worse, the aforementioned Moore is a senior this year.

At the end of the day, they were ruled eligible. Months ago. To come back in the middle of the season and rule them ineligible, thats wrong.

All three players practiced on Tuesday, which they are still allowed to do. They just cant play in the games. And having to sit out one of the biggest games of the year thus far just makes matters worse. But coach Smith thinks the trios absence will light a fire under the rest of his squad.

This probably wont do anything but give us more motivation against Morgan Park explained Smith before reiterating how unfairly he feels his kids are being treated. They just feel like somebody did something to them when they didnt do anything wrong. And these are good kids. Its not fair to them.

Although Moore, Hillsman and Ingram werent starters, they provided depth for coach Smith off the bench. Now itll be up to sophomore D.J. Williams, senior Rickey Norris and junior Bobby Harris to carry more of the load.

But despite the turmoil, Smith knows he has a tough task on his hands with Morgan Park and wanted to make sure his players didnt lose sight of the importance of the game.

We had a pretty good practice. We wanted to go over some of the stuff that they do well and execute on some of the stuff that were going to need to do well in order to beat those guys, explained Smith. They play extremely hard for the whole 32 minutes. Thats the biggest part of it.

"The most important thing is getting ready for tomorrows game. All that other stuff were just going to put aside. The kids will be fine. I just hate to go to a game and they cant dress, knowing this wasnt their faults But theyre still a part of the team.

91 Days to Kickoff: Joliet Catholic

91 Days to Kickoff: Joliet Catholic preps reporter "Edgy" Tim O’Halloran spotlights 100 high school football teams in 100 days. The first 75 team profiles will focus on teams making strides across Chicagoland and elsewhere in the state. Starting July 30, we’ll unveil the @NBCSPrepsTop 25 Power Rankings, leading up to kickoff on Friday, Aug. 24.

School: Joliet Catholic Academy

Head coach: Jake Jaworski

Assistant coaches: Dave Douglas, Cory McLaughlin, Chris Kinsella, Mark Mettille, Jake Ziesmer, Zach Dolph, Josh Greenback and Craig Slowik

How they fared in 2017: 3-6 (2-5 East Suburban Catholic Conference). JCA failed to make the 2017 IHSA state playoff field.

2018 Regular Season Schedule:

Aug. 24 vs. St. Rita

Aug. 31 @ IC Catholic Prep

Sept. 7 @ St. Viator

Sept. 14 vs. Carmel

Sept. 21 @ Marist

Sept. 28 vs. Benet Academy

Oct. 5 vs. Marian Catholic

Oct. 12 @ Nazareth Academy

Oct. 19 @ Notre Dame

Biggest storyline: Can Joliet Catholic snap a two-year hiatus from the state football playoffs?

Names to watch this season: OT Dave Monnot and RB Kenyetta Williams

Biggest holes to fill: The Hilltoppers will need to reload at the quarterback and wide receiver positions. 

EDGY's Early Take: It's been a rough few seasons at one of the state's best football programs. That said, 2018 has the potential to be the turnaround year the Hilltoppers have been looking for. Second-year head coach Jake Jaworski will feature four big and experienced offensive linemen, led by senior OT Dave Monnot (6-foot-6, 287 pounds). They also have a name to watch in junior-to-be RB Kenyetta Williams. If Joliet Catholic can survive another challenging early season non-conference schedule, they will compete in the always-tough ESCC.

New Trier's Duke Olges gives Northwestern verbal commitment

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New Trier's Duke Olges gives Northwestern verbal commitment

New Trier junior three-star ranked athlete Duke Olges (6-foot-5, 260 pounds) gave Northwestern his verbal commitment last Sunday yet waited until Friday morning to make his decision public via his Twitter page.

Olges, who was recruited by the Wildcats as a defensive tackle, felt pressure to make a decision since the Wildcats already had one defensive tackle verbal commitment in Clear Springs Texas Jason Gold while another defensive tackle with an offer was making an on campus visit later that day.

“I didn’t know if it was the right decision, to be honest. It was impulse more than anything,” Olges told's publisher Louis Vaccher. “But what comforted me is after having a couple days to think about it, I felt a sigh of relief. It would have hurt me too much to let that scholarship go. As much as I wanted to go and visit other schools, losing that scholarship would have hurt more than anything else.”

Olges is now the 10th known verbal commitment in the Wildcats Class of 2019  and the second in state pledge along with Bolingbrook junior DB Cameron Mitchell. 

Olges, who was holding 26 scholarship offers this spring, was planning to make summer visits to Iowa, Michigan State, Wisconsin, Virginia and Duke before giving the Wildcats his verbal commitment.