Preps Talk

Rochester tops Johnsburg for sixth state football title

Rochester tops Johnsburg for sixth state football title

CHAMPAIGN (AP) — Nic Baker threw two touchdown passes to Avante' Cox in the first quarter and two more to Cox's twin brother, D'Ante, and Rochester beat Johnsburg 38-14 to win the IHSA Class 4A title on Friday to capture its sixth championship in the last seven years.

The Rockets (13-1) used their speed on the outside and big plays on defense to stifle any upset bid by the Skyhawks (13-1).

"We got them into some third-and-long, and some passing situations and we thought we could make them one dimensional at some point," Rochester coach Derek Leonard said. "Our coaches made some great adjustments on defense and the kids, they adapted well.

"That is a good, physical football team in Johnsburg, so I'm proud of the job we did to hold them to a couple of scores."

The Rockets, who didn't turn the ball over, forced the Skyhawks into five turnovers. Johnsburg quarterback Riley Buchanan threw four interceptions and lost a fumble.

"We just made too many mistakes," Skyhawks head coach Dan DeBouef said. "We ran the ball effectively, we just turned the ball over too much."

[MORE STATE FINALS: Jordan Rowell, IC Catholic top Carlinville for Class 3A title]

Baker threw for 335 yards and ran for 61. The Cox twins divvied up most of the receiving yards, D'Ante catching 10 passes for 167 yards and Avante' going 10 for 155.

"It was tough to adjust to the speed they have," Skyhawks running back Alex Peete said. "At times, I thought we did a good job but, at times, we didn't."

Alec Ostermeier scored from 4-yards out early in the fourth for the Rockets and Clay Alewelt booted a 24-yard field goal to cap the scoring .

Alex Peete ran for 233 yards and the Skyhawks' two touchdowns.

44 Days to Kickoff: Mundelein

44 Days to Kickoff: Mundelein

NBCSportsChicago.com 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 Aug. 5, we’ll unveil the @NBCSPrepsTop 25 Power Rankings, leading up to kickoff on Friday, Aug. 30.

School: Mundelein

Head coach: Vince DeFrancesco

Assistant coaches: Alex Adams, Dave Whitson, Ken Mooney, John Cowhey, Steve Nolte, Brett Wilhelm, Mike Vukovics, Craig Stocker, Stephen Douglas, Alex Miramontes, Cody Gokan, Joe Lendino and Thomas McArthur

How they fared in 2018: 2-7 (1-6 North Suburban Conference). Mundelein failed to qualify for the IHSA state football playoff field.

2019 regular season schedule:

Aug. 30 vs Maine West

Sept. 6 @ Grayslake Central

Sept. 13 vs Lake Forest

Sept. 20 vs Waukegan

Sept. 27 @ Zion-Benton

Oct. 4 @ Stevenson

Oct. 11 @ Libertyville

Oct. 18 @ Lake Zurich

Oct. 25 @ Warren Township

Biggest storyline: In addition to Coach DeFrancesco bringing his program-building acumen to the northern suburbs, can the Mustangs win on the road? Their last five regular season games of the year are all away from Mundelein.

Names to watch this season: QB Isaac Wellman (Sr.) and OLB Alex Wing (Jr.)

Biggest holes to fill: The Mustangs welcome back 10 returning starters (three offense, seven defense) but will need to replace their entire starting offensive line group from a season ago. 

EDGY's Early Take: First-year head coach Vince DeFrancesco comes over from Lincoln Park and is looking to get the Mustangs on the winning track. DeFrancesco will take on a daunting schedule; however, this program will play with a ton of energy which has been already evident at various team events and 7-on-7’s this summer. 

45 Days to Kickoff: Joliet West

45 Days to Kickoff: Joliet West

NBCSportsChicago.com 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 Aug. 5, we’ll unveil the @NBCSPrepsTop 25 Power Rankings, leading up to kickoff on Friday, Aug. 30.

School: Joliet West

Head coach: Bill Lech

Assistant coaches: Harry Hessling, Seandell Davis, Patrick Lauer, Terry Clarke, Diondrey Hood, Kevin Kusnik, Jeff Peterson, Nick Davis, Peter Nackovic, Dan Tito and Brett Gould

How they fared in 2018: 3-6 (3-6 Southwest Prairie Conference). Joliet West failed to qualify for the IHSA state football playoff field.

2019 Regular Season Schedule:

Aug. 30 @ Minooka

Sept. 6 vs Oswego

Sept. 13 @ Oswego East

Sept. 20 vs Yorkville

Sept. 27 @ Romeoville

Oct. 4 @ Plainfield East

Oct. 11 vs Joliet Central

Oct. 18 vs Plainfield South

Oct. 25 @ Plainfield Central

Biggest storyline: Can the Tigers make more positive steps as a program as they embark on the newly-realigned Southwest Prairie conference?

Names to watch this season: OL Hunter Brooks (Sr.) and FB/LB Tom Luedke (Sr.)

Biggest holes to fill: The Tigers graduated nearly their entire starting offensive skills group from a season ago. Junior RB Trent Howland is the lone returning starter back this fall. 

EDGY's Early Take: Joliet West posted just a 3-6 record in 2018 but that record was a bit misleading on several levels. The Tigers, under then-first year head coach Bill Lech, turned the program around on a lot of levels. Joliet West came within a few plays of potentially winning four of those six losses. If the Tigers can get their offense on track early this season (against a front-loaded schedule against four Southwest Prairie West crossover opponents) they will again challenge for an IHSA state football playoff spot.