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.

34 Days to Kickoff: Bartlett

34 Days to Kickoff: Bartlett

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 July 30, we’ll unveil the @NBCSPrepsTop 25 Power Rankings, leading up to kickoff on Friday, Aug. 24.


School: Bartlett


Head coach: Mark Erlenbaugh


How they fared in 2017: 2-7 (2-3 Upstate 8 Valley Conference), Bartlett failed to qualify for the 20127 IHSA state football playoff field.
2018 Regular Season Schedule:
Aug. 25 @ East Aurora
Aug. 31 vs Glenbard East
Sept 8 vs Glenbard South
Sept. 14 @ Elgin
Sept. 21 @ West Aurora
Sept. 28 vs West Chicago
Oct. 5 vs Larkin
Oct. 13 @ South Elgin 
Oct. 19 @ Streamwood


Biggest storyline: Can the Hawks soar in the newly realigned Upstate 8 conference?


Names to watch this season: QB Dean Kotsovetis WR Austin Gates


Biggest holes to fill: The Hawks will need to fill in several spots this summer especially upfront on the offensive and defensive lines due to graduation losses.


EDGY's Early Take: Bartlett new head coach Matt Erlenbaugh comes in from Chicago Solorio and takes over the Hawks football program. Look for Bartlett to have a chance to challenge in the newly realigned Upstate 8 schedule. The Hawks schedule this season won't include the likes of several 2017 state playoff teams like Lemont, Prairie Ridge and St. Charles East.

35 Days to Kickoff: Oak Forest

35 Days to Kickoff: Oak Forest

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 July 30, we’ll unveil the @NBCSPrepsTop 25 Power Rankings, leading up to kickoff on Friday, Aug. 24.

School: Oak Forest

Head coach: Brian McDonough

How they fared in 2017: 4-5 (3-3 South Suburban Conference). Oak Forest failed to qualify for the IHSA state football playoff field.

2018 Regular Season Schedule:

Aug. 24 vs Pekin
Aug. 31 @ Niles Notre Dame
Sept. 7 @ T.F. South
Sept. 14 @ Hillcrest
Sept. 21 @ Eisenhower
Sept. 28 vs T.F. North
Oct. 5 vs Tinley Park
Oct. 12 @ Bremen
Oct. 19 vs Lemont

Biggest storyline: Can the Bengals get back into the IHSA state playoffs this season?

Names to watch this season: LB Anthony Kluk and OL/DL Julian Ramirez

Biggest holes to fill: The Bengals will need to reload on both sides of the football especially on offense with the graduation losses of several starters including QB Tyler Morrison and RB Waitari Wilson.

EDGY's Early Take: It was a rare season for the Bengals in 2017, having missed the IHSA state playoff field for the first time since 1999. Look for Oak Forest to rely on its defense while a newer group on offense develops. The Bengals and veteran head coach Brian McDonough will need to get out to a good early start with a front-loaded regular season schedule.