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2013 IHSA FOOTBALL STATE CHAMPIONSHIP WEEKEND IN DeKALB FRIDAY’S GAMES

SATURDAY’S GAMES

CLASS 1A Downs Tri-Valley (13-0) vs. Lena-Winslow (10-3), 10 a.m. CLASS 2A Staunton (9-4) vs. Sterling Newman Central Cathloic (12-1), 1 p.m. CLASS 3A Stillman Valley (11-2) vs. St. Joseph-Ogden (11-2), 4 p.m. CLASS 4A Geneseo (12-1) vs. Rochester (12-1), 7 p.m.

CLASS 5A Montini (13-0) vs. Springfield Sacred HeartGriffin (13-0), 10 a.m. CLASS 6A Batavia (12-1) vs. Richards (12-1), 1 p.m. CLASS 7A Lake Zurich (12-1) vs. Mt. Carmel (12-1), 4 p.m. CLASS 8A Naperville Central (10-3) vs. Loyola Academy (12-1), 7 p.m.

A CROWNING ACHIEVEMENT DAILY CHRONICLE | THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 28, 2013 | DAILY-CHRONICLE.COM


Daily Chronicle / Daily-Chronicle.com • Thursday, November 28, 2013

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IHSA FOOTBALL STATE CHAMPIONSHIPS |

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8A MESSAGE FROM THE CHAIRMAN

Welcome football fans

D

eKalb County, are you ready for some football? After more than a year of planning and preparation, the IHSA football state championships will be played Friday and Saturday at Northern Illinois University’s Huskie Stadium in DeKalb. On behalf of the IHSA Destination DeKalb host committee, we wish to congratulate and extend our welcome to all 16 schools and to the great high school football fans from across the state who will be attending the eight championship games. This state championship weekend is the culmination of a long journey for these football teams and schools.  From the offseason workouts, to the arduous practices under the hot, late-summer sun, to the rigors of playing 13 games Tom Matya to reach this elite stage, each team and the communities they represent should be proud of all that they have accomplished this season. The host committee also wishes to thank the DeKalb County residents for their tremendous support of this event.    To date, $231,800 in sponsorships and donations have been raised to cover operating costs of hosting the state championships. In addition, hundreds of volunteers have stepped forward to assist with the preparation and execution of the event. To our sponsors and donors, and to all of our community ambassadors and volunteers, a huge “thank you” for your generous contributions of time, talent and treasure to help ensure the success of the IHSA football state championships.

We also would like to acknowledge the people behind the scenes who have worked so very hard to make this event happen. These individuals include those who served on the initial bid steering committee. We also wish to recognize the efforts of former DeKalb High School and current Hinsdale Central High School Director of Athletics Dan Jones, who helped secure the signatures of 114 high school athletics administrators in support of the football state championships being played at Huskie Stadium.   Of course, kudos to the members of our IHSA Destination DeKalb host committee for the many hundreds of hours they have devoted to the planning and preparation for this wonderful event. The journey truly has been a team effort. This weekend marks the first time Huskie Stadium will host the IHSA football state championships, and we look forward to welcoming the thousands of high school football fans from across the state who will be visiting DeKalb County. It is a tremendous honor to host in our community one of the premier sporting events in Illinois. As residents of DeKalb County, we extend our customary hospitality to all who will be visiting our “communiversity” this weekend.  We pledge to do all we can to make IHSA Destination DeKalb a memorable event this year and for years to come. See you at the games! Tom Matya Chairman, IHSA Destination DeKalb Host Committee

WHAT’S INSIDE: Spirit zone highlights fan experience ................................... 6 Businesses excited about tournament ................................ 8 Volunteers step up to help with games ............................... 9 Huskie Stadium prepped in a hurry ..................................... 11 Jones a big part in bringing games here .............................13 IHSA football state championship history .................... 14-15 Familiar teams vying for titles ..............................................16 Games produce lasting memories........................................18 Finals in DeKalb help NIU recruiting ...................................20 Take 2 ........................................................................................21 Game matchups Class 1A Lena-Winslow vs. Downs Tri-Valley ................... 22 Class 2A Staunton vs. Sterling Newman Central Catholic ..... 22 Class 3A Stillman Valley vs. St. Joseph-Ogden ................. 23 Class 4A Rochester vs. Geneseo ......................................... 23 Class 5A Montini vs. Springfield Sacred Heart-Griffin ......24 Class 6A Batavia vs. Richards ..............................................24 Class 7A Chicago Mt. Carmel vs. Lake Zurich ................... 25 Class 8A Loyola Academy vs. Naperville Central ............. 25 Sportsmanship shows in every game ................................26

Going to the games Tickets to see the games cost $10 a day, and are good for admission for all four games being played on a single day. They are available at the stadium on gameday or online through TicketMaster, which adds a convenience charge. Parking in lots around Huskie Stadium costs $5, or $10 for large vehicles.

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Daily Chronicle / Daily-Chronicle.com • Thursday, November 28, 2013

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Spirit zone highlights fan experience By FELIX SARVER fsarver@shawmedia.com DeKALB – Jerry Smith can sense the excitement surrounding the spirit zone.  Smith, a member of the DeKalb host committee for the IHSA football state championship games, said everyone on the committee is excited about the “designated tailgating experience” for the 16 teams and estimated 30,000 fans. He highlighted the efforts of Debbie Armstrong, executive director of the DeKalb CounParking ty Convention and Visitor’s If you want to know Bureau, to where to park for the IHSA bring the state football championspirit zone ships, check out our video together.  at www.daily-chronicle. “Debbie com/state-football Armstrong has been a leading force in what we hope will be an exciting venue,” he said.  Before heading into Huskie Stadium to watch the games Friday and Saturday, fans and visitors alike will have the chance to pass through the spirit zone, which will open at 7:30 a.m. both days. The zone is the IHSA Destination DeKalb Committee’s answer to the tent city in Champaign. Smith said committee members visited the University of Illinois, where the championship games were played since 1999, and saw how the tent city looked.  “[Armstrong] looked at it and said, ‘I think we can top this in DeKalb,’” Smith said.  The heart of the spirit zone is a massive hospitality tent. Inside

Rob Winner – rwinner@shawmedia.com

Before heading into Huskie Stadium to watch the games Friday and Saturday, fans and visitors will have the chance to pass through the spirit zone, which will open at 7:30 a.m. both days. The heart of the spirit zone is a huge hospitality tent on the west side of Huskie Stadium. will be a big screen TV to watch the games and an inflatable armchair quarterback, along with other inflatable entertainment, according to the IHSA Destination DeKalb website. The visitors will be able to get warm and learn more about the DeKalb County community. They also will be able to enjoy the free snacks offered inside.  Each team will have their own tents that come packed with lights,

propane heat, eight tables, chairs and garbage cans. Fans will be encouraged to show their school spirit by decorating their tents. One hour before each game the tents will be judged and winners decided by who shows the most pride.  The spirit zone is east of the Convocation Center, where most of the parking will be for the games, said Brad Hoey, director of communications and marketing for Northern

Illinois University.  According to the IHSA Destination DeKalb website, 4,300 public parking spots with $5 parking fees are available in the lots surrounding the center and stadium. Parking for RV vehicles, buses, mobile home vehicles will be available on the north side of the center and carry a $10 charge per vehicle. Handicap parking will be on the east and west side of the stadium. 


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Daily Chronicle / Daily-Chronicle.com • Thursday, November 28, 2013

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Businesses excited about tournament By DEBBIE BEHRENDS dbehrends@shawmedia.com With the IHSA football state championships expected to bring about 30,000 fans to DeKalb this weekend, Jeff Dobie, owner of Fatty’s Pub & Grille, said his business’ sponsorship of the tournament was a no-brainer. “It makes sense to invest, and we hope we can reap the rewards,” said Dobie, whose restaurant is at 1312 W. Lincoln Highway in DeKalb. “This is great for our town, particularly this side of town. We want to capitalize on this opportunity.” Because of Fatty’s location just south of Huskie Stadium and near local hotels, Dobie is considering opening on Thanksgiving for visitors coming in that night. He said he planned to wait before making the decision until he sees what teams would be playing. “We’re going to do whatever it takes to make a good impression with that many people coming from out of town,” Dobie said. Many area businesses, as well as business groups, are excited about showing football fans who might not be familiar with the area just what it has to offer. “This is one of the premier events for the IHSA, and the visibility we will receive is something you can’t buy,” said Debbie Armstrong, director of the DeKalb County Convention and Visitors Bureau. “All those eyes will be on our community, entering our spirit zone, seeing our great venues, and will come away with a great impression of DeKalb County,” Armstrong said. “Our venues and our volunteers are the faces of DeKalb County tourism.” Armstrong said the estimate of visitors is based on 28,000 tickets

Monica Maschak - mmaschak@shawmedia.com

Chef Sergio Noriega drops two orders of fish into the fryer after dipping them into batter Friday at O’Leary’s Restaurant and Pub in downtown DeKalb. O’Leary’s serves their Captain Morgan Fish Fry every Friday. sold during last year’s tournament in Champaign-Urbana. “That doesn’t take into account our location,” Armstrong said. “We’re very accessible and we’re pretty confident with that number.” Based on research before bidding for the tournament, Armstrong estimates that visitors will spend about $109 each during their stay. “That factors in things like buying a tank of gas, eating in the community, hotel rooms,” Armstrong said.

And she predicts that Rochelle and Sycamore could see overflow. Rose Treml, executive director of the Sycamore Chamber of Commerce, is hoping that overflow will translate to more visitors even after the tournament ends. “We absolutely will get people driving through, stopping at our restaurants, gassing up their cars, staying at our hotels,” Treml said. “Even those that might not patronize our businesses that weekend, the timing is good

because Sycamore looks so quaint.” O’Leary’s Restaurant & Pub owner Mel Witmer is increasing his service staff to prepare for bigger crowds than he typically sees the weekend after Thanksgiving. “We’re planning to open at 10 (a.m.) each day,” Witmer said. He plans to continue with O’Leary’s Friday fish fry and will feature his steak chili. “It’s a chance for us to make some money,” Witmer said.

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Director of Athletic Events Matt Gonzalez shows the IHSA ambassadors where the press conference rooms are located at the Yordon Center during a tour to prepare them for the state championships. fans; about 20 volunteers working at the DeKalb County Convention and Visitors Bureau’s hospitality tent,

and dozens of individuals operating the Huskie Stadium elevators, said Tom Matya, DeKalb host committee

chair for IHSA Destination DeKalb. A Sycamore youth football program group will raise the

See VOLUNTEERS, page 10

Daily Chronicle / Daily-Chronicle.com • Thursday, November 28, 2013

DeKALB – Volunteering for the IHSA football state championship games was on Sycamore resident Michelle Schulz’s bucket list. Schulz, whose family owns Kar-Fre Flowers in Sycamore, said she was raised to volunteer. She is one of many local people who have volunteered to help at the championships Friday and Saturday at Northern Illinois University’s Huskie Stadium. “Your community is only as strong as the people who are involved in it,” Schulz said. These games will be a community effort – plenty of locals have signed up to help. There will be about 84 volunteers working as ushers, ticket-scanners and parking attendants; 32 team ambassadors serving as guides for teams and their

goal post net for field goals and extra point kicks, Matya said. Sixteen high school teams will compete in eight different classes during the championships, beginning at 10 a.m. Friday and continuing through Saturday night. Locals are volunteering for a host of reasons, but some of them have one thing in common: they all love football. Kingston resident Don Billington is one of those people. The former principal of Genoa-Kingston High School and former football coach never got the chance to coach a team in the championships, but he has traveled to Champaign to watch the games in the past. “There’s a lot of community spirit,” he said. “You’re going to have some people from a distance away and some from closer, but you have a very strong following or backing.”

IHSA FOOTBALL STATE CHAMPIONSHIPS |

Volunteers step up to help with games

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Daily Chronicle / Daily-Chronicle.com • Thursday, November 28, 2013

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• VOLUNTEERS From page 9

Volunteers hope visitors will explore the businesses and restaurants that DeKalb has to offer. DeKalb resident Dean Bourdages, who will be a team ambassador, said he hopes young people who watch the games will see new additions such as the Yordon Center and Chessick Practice Center, along with the rest of the campus, and consider attending NIU. “When you’ve got suburban fans coming into DeKalb, not too many of them get out here,” he said. “This gives us a chance to showcase what the community looks like.” Matya said organizers want to prove that DeKalb was the right choice for the championships. “We’ll have people there as early as 7 a.m. and stay until 10:30 at night,” he said. “We want to make sure we get off to a great start.”

Monica Maschak – mmaschak@shawmedia.com

Volunteer ambassador John Beerbower, with McHenry High School, walks past the Huskie statue in the Yordon Center during a tour to prepare the IHSA ambassadors for the state championships.

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Monica Maschak – mmaschak@shawmedia.com

Event staff member Bill Landen (left) trains volunteers Bladmir Zacarias, Alex Paramo and Tim Lehan to be ushers before fans arrive Nov. 13 at Huskie Stadium. Zacarias, Paramo and Lehan will be will be helping families and fans to their seats during the IHSA football state championship games this weekend. After Northern Illinois’ football game Tuesday night at home, Destination DeKalb staff has a list of tasks to be completed to prepare Huskie Stadium for this weekend’s eight championship games. and a trip last year to Champaign to see how the University of Illinois ran the event. “We’ve taken all of that knowledge and put it together so we know what to expect,� Hansfield said. “We’ve reached out with them through this whole process.� Facilities director Matt Gonzalez said getting everything cleaned up

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from Tuesday night’s game to get ready for eight games in two days would create a challenge, and felt the staff and the IHSA would be up to the volume of games they’ll experience this weekend. “It’s just the quantity of games, the different number of fans coming in and out over a short time span, and us providing the best experience we can for them,� Gonzalez said.

Hansfield said she got several pieces of great advice from what she said was “a total team effort.� One in particular stood out, from the director of NIU’s ticket office, Eric Schultz. “Be ready with lots of tickets, lots of sellers, you need cash on hand to make change,� Hansfield said. “We want them to buy their tickets and get in the game.�

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Daily Chronicle / Daily-Chronicle.com • Thursday, November 28, 2013

DeKALB – More than a year of preparation essentially came down to a one-day blitz for final field preparations at Huskie Stadium for this weekend’s IHSA football state championships. The Northern Illinois football team played Tuesday night against Western Michigan in a nationally televised game, a final prep run for everyone involved with the high school championships. After that, the Destination DeKalb staff had a list of tasks to be completed to prepare Huskie Stadium for this weekend’s eight football games. The college goalposts had to be removed and replaced with high school goalposts – high school goalposts are about 5 feet wider – and new hashmarks had to be drawn. The IHSA has some flags for the event that will fly at Huskie Stadium. Also, a stage has been constructed for the state champions that will be set up on the north side of the stadium, just in front of the huskie statue, Yordon Center and the Chessick Indoor Practice Center. The NIU and Mid-American Conference logos will remain on the turf. “It’s going to look a lot like an NIU game,� said Sue Hansfield, NIU’s assistant athletic director for facilities and event operations. Some of the preparation work started last week, when NIU’s baseball, softball, men’s and women’s soccer, cross country and wrestling teams had to clear out their lockers underneath the stands in Huskie Stadium to make room for the high school teams. Hansfield said the host committee has learned about making the event a smooth experience through constant communication with IHSA officials

IHSA FOOTBALL STATE CHAMPIONSHIPS |

Huskie Stadium prepped in a hurry

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Daily Chronicle / Daily-Chronicle.com • Thursday, November 28, 2013

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By FELIX SARVER

Former DeKalb High School athletic director Dan Jones stands in front of Huskie Stadium. Jones played a key role in bringing the IHSA football state championships to town.

fsarver@shawmedia.com

Monica Maschak – mmaschak@shawmedia.com

our county and our local communities,” said Tom Matya, chairman of the IHSA Destination DeKalb host committee.  Matya said the bid to host the championship games was pursued because it would provide good exposure for both the campus and athletic facilities at NIU. The games would be a great financial opportunity for the area, bringing in an estimated $1 million in revenue over two days.  The recent additions to NIU’s athletic facilities also made the bid successful, Matya said. This was not the first attempt to bring the games to DeKalb. NIU and the DeKalb Chamber of Commerce collaborated on an unsuccessful bid

to bring the games here in 2004, said Brad Hoey, director of communications and marketing for NIU. Since the 2004 bid, the university has added the 62,000 square-foot Yordon Center athletic facility on the north end of the stadium, an indoor practice facility called the Chessick Practice Center, and a new video scoreboard system inside the stadium. “We felt we came close in the past,” Hoey said. “We’ve come close before. This is a great opportunity.”  Hoey said in the application for the bid, the steering committee members stressed DeKalb’s location because at least 75 percent of the high school football teams participating in

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the championship games have come from north of the Interstate 80. They also stressed the success of the NIU athletic football programs and the university’s flexibility with hosting midweek NIU football games. Hoey said he added a more personal touch for the bid by driving to the IHSA main office in Bloomington and handing the bid application himself in 2012. He said considering the distance between NIU and the IHSA office, it was something that could show how serious the DeKalb County was about the games. “We wanted to impress upon them how important to us it was, to our community,” he said. 

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Daily Chronicle / Daily-Chronicle.com • Thursday, November 28, 2013

DeKALB – Without Dan Jones, this might never have happened. Jones was athletic director at DeKalb High School in 2012 when he was asked to serve on the steering committee to win the bid for the IHSA football state championship games. The games had been played in Champaign since 1999, but a change in the Big Ten Conference’s football scheduling created an opportunity for the games to be played elsewhere on odd-numbered years.  Jones realized DeKalb’s location near Chicago and Rockford was a big plus. His idea was to start a petition to host the games in DeKalb and get as many athletic directors as he could from northern Illinois high schools to sign it. “That was one of the ideas I brought to the committee, and they thought it was good idea, so I ran with it,” he said.  Jones, who since has moved on to become the AD at Hinsdale Central, managed to secure 114 signatures pledging support to play the games at Northern Illinois University’s Huskie Stadium. IHSA officials were impressed, he said.  “I don’t think I had any questions,” he said about the ADs he contacted. “I think many of them saw what a diamond in the rough [Northern Illinois University] was going to be.”  Jones’ petition was one of many ways key figures in DeKalb County successfully pressed their case to bring the football championships to DeKalb. The games will be played here at least four more times, in each odd-numbered year through 2021. “It’s really a positive thing for

IHSA FOOTBALL STATE CHAMPIONSHIPS |

Jones a big part in bringing games here

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Jordan Westerkamp 2011 Montini

TITLE GAME RECORD HOLDERS

Ty Isaac 2011 Joliet Catholic

MOST PASSING YARDS 587 – John Rhode Montini, 2011

MOST RUSHING YARDS 515 – Ty Isaac Joliet Catholic, 2011

MOST RECEIVING YARDS 353 – Jordan Westerkamp Montini, 2011

PUNT RETURN TOUCHDOWNS 2 – Stan Walker Hampshire, 1976

NOTABLE IHSA STATE FINALS PARTICIPANTS

ALL-TIME STATE TITLES LEADERS

Daily Chronicle / Daily-Chronicle.com • Thursday, November 28, 2013

Wheaton Warrenville South 7 Maine South 5 Montini 5

Donovan McNabb 1991 Mt. Carmel

Simeon Rice 1991 Mt. Carmel

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DeKALB COUNTY TEAMS FINALS RESULTS

A LOOK BACK AT HISTORY

Brian Bulaga 2006 Marian Central

1980 DeKalb (11-2) Class 4A runner-up Lost to Belleville Althoff Catholic, 10-7

1977 Genoa-Kingston (13-0) Class 1A champion Defeated Arcola, 18-0

1997 Kaneland (14-0) Class 3A champion Defeated Harrisburg, 31-7

1998 Kaneland (14-0) Class 3A champion Defeated Nashville, 21-7

O

ver the past 39 years, the IHSA football state finals have formed a rich history of great players, exciting games and memorable moments. The championships have been played at the University of Illinois, Northwestern and Illinois State during that time, but never have been hosted by Northern Illinois University until this weekend. Here’s a quick look at the extensive history of the IHSA football state finals as they celebrate their 40th anniversary.

CURRENT NIU HUSKIES WHO HAVE PLAYED IN IHSA STATE FINALS

Daily Chronicle / Daily-Chronicle.com • Thursday, November 28, 2013

Joliet Catholic 13 Mt. Carmel 11 Providence Catholic 9 Driscoll 8 East St. Louis 7

IHSA FOOTBALL STATE CHAMPIONSHIPS

Chad Beebe Aurora Christian Joel Bouagnon Aurora Christian Tate Briggs Montini Catholic Jacob Brinlee Lake Zurich Sean Folliard Prairie Ridge Brandon Mayes Aurora Christian Draco Smith Chicago Mt. Carmel

Mike Mallory 1980 DeKalb

Mike Alstott 1991 Joliet Catholic

Jacob Brinlee 2010 Lake Zurich

Kellen Winslow 1974 East St. Louis

IHSA FOOTBALL STATE CHAMPIONSHIP TIMELINE 1974

• First football state finals played at Illinois State University, featuring five classes.

1980 1981

• Class • 5A, 6A Playoffs expand to six classes

title games moved to Northwestern University

1984 1985

1994

1999

2001

•Playoffs•expanded

• Playoffs

• All champion-

• Playoffs

from 16 teams to 32 teams in each class. 5A, 6A games moved back to Illinois State

are seeded for the first time

ship games are moved to the University of Illinois

expand to eight classes of 32 teams each

2004

IHSA FOOTBALL STATE CHAMPIONSHIPS |

| IHSA FOOTBALL STATE CHAMPIONSHIPS

14

2013 2014

State championships move to Northern Illinois University


Daily Chronicle / Daily-Chronicle.com • Thursday, November 28, 2013

| IHSA FOOTBALL STATE CHAMPIONSHIPS

16

Familiar teams vying for championships By ANTHONY ZILIS sports@daily-chronicle.com LOMBARD – Montini’s Duffy Memorial Stadium is a far cry from the large, modern-day stadiums that are becoming more commonplace at the high school level. But make no mistake, Montini’s small stadium surrounded by trees is home to one of Illinois football’s great dynasties. The Broncos have won 29 consecutive playoff games, and they have a chance to win their fifth straight state championship against Sacred Heart-Griffin in the IHSA Class 5A title game at 10 a.m. Saturday at Huskie Stadium. Football dynasties will be a theme at this year’s state finals: Five of the 16 teams have won at least three state championships in their history. Sacred Heart-Griffin, Montini’s 5A opponent, has won three state titles, while Stillman Valley (Class 3A) and Sterling Newman Central Catholic (Class 2A) each have four championships to their name. In Class 4A, Geneseo has only missed the playoffs three times since the tournament began under the IHSA in 1974, a state record, and has won four state championships in that time. The Maple Leafs’ opponent on Friday, Rochester, has won the past three state titles in Class 4A and is hoping a pass-heavy attack will help the Rockets become the first Illinois public school to win four in a row. Chicago Mt. Carmel, owners of 11 state championships and the high school alma mater of Northern Illinois quarterback Jordan Lynch, has won 10 state championships under coach Frank Lenti and will be playing in the Class 7A title game after winning the Class 8A title last year. Lenti is the winningest head football coach

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Montini’s Tyler Tumpane runs with the ball during their Class 5A state semifinal game against Sycamore in Lombard on Saturday. Montini defeated the Spartans, 42-20, for a chance to win its fifth straight state championship. in IHSA history. Montini’s celebration had hardly begun after last year’s title when the Broncos’ rallying cry for a five-peat began. “It started right after last year in Champaign,” said 6-foot-4, 270-pound defensive end Dylan Thompson, an Ohio State commit. “The philosophy just keeps carrying on. There’s really nothing different. All the heart, all the

intensity just carries on.” For the past five years, Montini has dominated Class 5A. The Broncos ended four of Sycamore’s past five seasons, including last season’s escape in a last-gasp comeback in a second-round, 24-22 win. That close win illustrates one of the reasons Montini has been so dominant – the Broncos are 5-0 in games decided by four points or less in the

playoffs during their run. Whether it was a comeback win over Kaneland two years ago in the closing minutes of the semifinals, or last week’s 22-21 win over Joliet Catholic, in which a two-point conversion with four minutes remaining sealed a victory, Montini seemingly always finds a way to emerge victorious.

See FAMILIAR TEAMS, page 17

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“[Last week’s close win] motivated us even more to keep our drive for five alive, to play a great Sycamore team and just have confidence no matter what,” Montini quarterback Alex Wills said. “The confidence is tremendous. All of the players and the coaching staff take it game by game, not getting too overexcited, not getting two overconfident, just right in the middle.” The spread offense that coach Chris Andriano installed in 2006 worked to perfection Saturday, when Wills threw three touchdowns and ran for two more in the semifinal win. “They just spread you out,” Sycamore coach Joe Ryan said. “You’ve got to pick your poison sometimes. They just catch you in certain situations. They’re really good at what they do. If they’re hitting on all cylinders, it makes it really difficult.” The Montini offense was unstoppable Saturday, as it largely has been for the past five seasons. But this year, the star power lies on the defense – Thompson and linebacker Nile Sykes will be two of at least 10 Division I recruits from Montini in the past five years. The defense that shut down Sycamore’s offense for much of the game might be what puts Montini over the top again. “Last year, we felt like we left [the Sycamore game] unfinished and the offense bailed us out,” Thompson said. “Our ultimate goal was to say that the defense finished this game, and now we can say that.”

IHSA FOOTBALL STATE CHAMPIONSHIPS |

From page 16


Daily Chronicle / Daily-Chronicle.com • Thursday, November 28, 2013

| IHSA FOOTBALL STATE CHAMPIONSHIPS

18

Title games produce lasting memories By LUKE SRODULSKI sports@daily-chronicle.com EVANSTON – Maybe Northwestern defensive end Dean Lowry looks so comfortable on Evanston’s Ryan Field because it wasn’t even the biggest stadium he played in coming out of high school. Before the sophomore was terrorizing quarterbacks for the Wildcats, he did the same for Rockford Boylan Catholic High School. And before he was helping Northwestern snap its 64-year bowl winless streak, he led the Titans to back-to-back football state championships in 2010 and 2011. Stepping onto the turf at Memorial Stadium in Champaign as a high school junior in 2010 put Lowry and his teammates a little bit on edge, but that apprehension soon subsided. “It’s pretty different playing in front of 7,000 fans and then all of a sudden playing in (a stadium that holds) 60,000-plus,” Lowry said. “The first kickoff was pretty nerve-wracking, but after that, we were just playing football. We were doing what we love to do. It was a good experience.”

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• MEMORIES

The DeKalb County Partnership for a Substance Abuse Free Environment congratulates all of the 2013 Illinois High School Football Championship Teams.

Clark Brooks – PhotoNews

Joel Bouagnon (23) and members of the Aurora Christian football team celebrate as the team’s captains and school administration receive their state medals, Nov. 23, 2012, at Memorial Stadium in Champaign. The Eagles defeated Tolono Unity, 42-12, in the Class 3A championship game. with victories for the Tigers. But O’Toole said the experiences were different each time. “The first time being a junior and playing, obviously you want to win for the seniors. My senior year, ... I felt like that was more my team that year,” O’Toole said. “I wanted to leave a legacy with

my senior class. Thankfully we were able to do that and come out with a win both times.” Even for players who have moved on to bigger stages, the state championships produced lasting memories. When Northwestern travels to Champaign to battle Illinois this weekend, it won’t

be quite the same as Lowry’s first time on that field. For Lowry, that experience was about community. Having thousands of fans behind him was a great feeling. Being able to deliver a title was even more memorable. “It was special,” Lowry said. “At our school, we

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hadn’t even gotten there for 35 years. To get there was really special for the players and the community. Just to see the support from everybody, and how well we played on that big stage, that was cool.”

• Ross Jacobson contributed to this report.

We commend each of you for choosing to participate in sports and other extra curricular activities over using drugs and alcohol. We are proud of you for making positive and healthy choices.

Daily Chronicle / Daily-Chronicle.com • Thursday, November 28, 2013

After adding a Gator Bowl win with the Wildcats last year, Lowry’s résumé is pretty loaded for a sophomore, and he’s not the only college football player on Illinois’ three FBS teams to play on the state’s biggest prep football stage. Northwestern running back Malin Jones’ Glenwood team finished as runner-up to Montini in 2011 and current teammate Mark Gorogianis. NU freshman quarterback Matt Alviti won it all in 2010 as a sophomore starter for Maine South. Northern Illinois features six players with IHSA state title experience, including freshman running back Joel Bouagnon, who won a state title last year at Aurora Christian with current NIU teammates Chad Beebe and Brandon Mayes. Bouagnon recalled the impact plays he made in the state title game, which was his first time competing in a college stadium. “I remember it was fourthand-1, I was on defense, and I got that quarterback sack in the backfield and I got the ball back,” Bouagnon said. “That kind of turned the game around. Then, obviously, my 60-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter.” Illinois junior quarterback Reilly O’Toole had the good fortune of playing in the Class 7A title game twice as the starting signal-caller for Wheaton-Warrenville South, in 2009 and 2010. Both games were played at his current home stadium in Champaign and ended

IHSA FOOTBALL STATE CHAMPIONSHIPS |

From page 18


Daily Chronicle / Daily-Chronicle.com • Thursday, November 28, 2013

| IHSA FOOTBALL STATE CHAMPIONSHIPS

20

Finals in DeKalb help NIU recruiting By STEVE NITZ snitz@shawmedia.com DeKALB – Hundreds of Illinois prep football players will step foot on the campus of Northern Illinois University this weekend, when the school hosts the IHSA football state championships. Among the players will be numerous Division I prospects. It’s a perfect chance for NIU to showcase what it has to offer. The players will get a first-hand look at Huskie Stadium. They’ll practice inside the brand-new Chessick Practice Center and walk through the Yordon Center, as well. “I think the biggest factor how it helps us recruiting-wise is that they’re going to be here, on campus,” NIU football coach Rod Carey said. NCAA rules bar the coaches from having contact with any of the players, but Carey said one or two coaches could watch if NIU has evaluation days left, and last week Carey said the Huskies did have some remaining. However, if NIU already has used an evaluation on a player who’s in town this weekend, the staff can’t watch him at state. NIU athletic director Sean Frazier was kind of late to the party when it came to the state finals. Despite being hired in August, he is a member of the IHSA Destination DeKalb planning committee. In addition to players, there will be plenty of parents, siblings and fans on campus this weekend for the eight state championship games. “It’s a great time to showcase our facilities, our academics, our athletics, our great city of DeKalb,” Frazier said. “It’s just a great, great variety, too.” With NIU also playing in the Mid-American Conference Championship Game on Dec. 6, the event will pose some logistical issues for the

Rob Winner – rwinner@shawmedia.com

Northern Illinois University football coach Rod Carey laughs during the first practice of the season Aug. 5 at Huskie Stadium in DeKalb. Having the state championships at Huskie Stadium is a perfect chance for NIU to showcase what it has to offer. Huskies’ practice schedule. Frazier mentioned adjustments with the Chessick Center and the IHSA teams’ allotted warmup times for teams playing this weekend. “Me and Rod, we talk about that. He understands how important it is to have those championships at Huskie Stadium,” Frazier said. “He’s all for it and I’m all for it. We’ll still make it special for our team as we prepare for the championships.” Frazier has plenty of experience

with football state finals at a Division I school. He spent six years at Wisconsin, where Camp Randall Stadium has hosted the Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletic Association’s football state championships since 1982. The school also hosts numerous other WIAA state events, including boys basketball, wrestling and boys and girls hockey. Frazier said he negotiated the most recent contract, which kept the WIAA finals at Camp Randall. He added that he would love to have more IHSA

state championships at NIU. The school hosts Class 1A-4A boys basketball super-sectionals, which draw a big crowd, but football is the only IHSA state final at NIU. “[Wisconsin] had that championship for a very long time. The road to Madison for the championship has been there for eons,” Frazier said. “There has been challenges with that as far as the athletic department is concerned. All the coaches would say that it’s a definite benefit.”

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Daily Chronicle sports editor Ross Jacobson and sports reporter Steve Nitz spend their days covering the area’s sports scene. Occasionally, they give their viewpoints on those local sports. In this installment of their Take 2 column, they discuss the matchups they’re looking forward to in this weekend’s IHSA football state championships.

Ross Jacobson and Steve Nitz face off school program to win four straight state titles. On the flip side, I’m interested to see what the Geneseo defense, which has forced a whopping 40 turnovers this season, can do against Rochester’s passing attack. The Maple Leafs are a storied program in their own right, but haven’t won a state title since 1982. On one side, you have Rochester’s passing, while Geneseo always is run-heavy. It should be fun to watch. Jacobson: I will turn to the 2A game between Staunton and Sterling Newman Central Catholic. Staunton is one of the rare four-loss teams to make it to the final weekend of the season and the only one of the 16 teams this season. They are the true Cinderella story of the championships, winning four consecutive

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games in the playoffs after a 5-4 regular season that included losing four of five down the stretch, qualifying on playoff points.  Conversely, Newman Central Catholic has won four titles in its history, the most recent coming in 2010.  On Saturday, the bigger schools take the stage. Give me your best matchups on Day 2.  Nitz: The one that sticks out to me is the Class 6A contest between Batavia and Richards. You saw Batavia running back Michael Scaccia (1,725 rushing yards this season) against DeKalb in the first round of the playoffs; I’m eager to see what he can do against an extremely talented Richards defense. The group has given up only 12 points during the playoffs and is led by Division I linebacker pros-

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Jacobson: The finals come to DeKalb for the first time and we couldn’t be more excited. We were a game away from having Sycamore, one of our five local teams, in the Class 5A state title game, but I look at these matchups and see a number of games filled with intrigue. Let’s start with Friday’s matchups. What are your favorite storylines for the Class 1A through 4A games to start off the weekend, and which game are you most looking forward to? Nitz: I’m looking forward to the Class 4A title between Rochester and Geneseo. Should Rochester win, the Rockets will become the first public

TAKE 2

pect Romel Hill, who has 17 sacks. On paper, this looks like the best game of the day to me, one that could go either way. Saturday is often the more interesting day, with the big boys taking the field. What are you looking for on Day 2? Jacobson: I really like the 6A game between Batavia and Richards in a literal matchup of Bulldogs. But my attention also will be focused on the 7A matchup between Chicago Mt. Carmel and Lake Zurich. We know all about Mt. Carmel’s famous alumni in Donovan McNabb, Simeon Rice and, of course, Jordan Lynch. They have another batch of FBS prospects on this squad. One of my favorite things about watching high school sports is seeing athletes progress from the prep level to college and to the pros.  It should be a great weekend in DeKalb and I’m expecting a good turnout of fans with Huskie Stadium’s proximity to the Chicago area and a number of nearby teams – Batavia, Naperville Central and Stillman Valley.

IHSA FOOTBALL STATE CHAMPIONSHIPS |

Several intriguing matchups in finals

21


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Daily Chronicle / Daily-Chronicle.com • Thursday, November 28, 2013

| IHSA FOOTBALL STATE CHAMPIONSHIPS

22

CLASS 2A STAUNTON BULLDOGS (9-4) vs. STERLING NEWMAN CENTRAL CATHOLIC COMETS (12-1)

Bill Rosemeier – Rockford Register-Star

Lena-Winslow’s Tyler Oakley (right) blocks as quarterback Ben Moest looks for an open receiver during a Class 1A quarterfinal game against Stockton on Nov. 16 in Stockton.

Game time: 1 p.m. Friday Coaches: Mike Paramentier (53-40 in ninth season at Staunton; 93-69 overall); Michael Papoccia (286-92 in 34th season at Sterling Newman Central Catholic) Conferences: Staunton from South Central; Sterling Newman Central Catholic from Three Rivers Playoff road to DeKalb: Staunton defeated Fairfield (8-0), Carlyle (19-14), Gillespie (30-14) and Auburn (32-28). Sterling Newman Central Catholic defeated Fieldcrest (41-0), Eastland-Pearl City (35-12), Momence (34-33) and Mercer County (14-0). State championship appearances: Staunton – First appearance. Sterling Newman Central Catholic – Seventh appearance (four titles). Other key players: Staunton – RB / MLB

Dustin Scheller (169 attempts, 811 yards, 11 TDs, 136 tackles), WR Marcus Sitko (34 catches, 592 yards, 13 TDs), Sterling Newman Central Catholic – RB Jake Snow (168 attempts, 1,584 yards, 28 TDs), OLB Brady Rude (105 tackles, six sacks), ILB Mac Olson (96 tackles, three sacks). Fun fact: In each of Sterling Newman Central Catholic’s four state title victories, it has allowed seven points or less. Why you should watch: Staunton is the true underdog of the state championships. They lost four of their last five games in the regular season to barely qualify for the playoffs at 5-4, but have since won four consecutive games to reach the state finals for the first time. – Ross Jacobson, rjacobson@shawmedia.com

CLASS 1A DOWNS TRI-VALLEY VIKINGS (13-0) vs. LENA-WINSLOW PANTHERS (10-3) Game time: 10 a.m. Friday Coaches: Josh Roop (52-21 in seventh season at Downs Tri-Valley); Ric Arand (13653 in 17th season at Lena-Winslow) Conferences: Downs Tri-Valley from Heart of Illinois; Lena-Winslow from Northwest Upstate Illini Playoff road to DeKalb: Downs Tri-Valley defeated North Greene (56-14), Argenta-Oreana (23-7), Casey-Westfield (48-27) and Maroa-Forsyth (14-6). Lena-Winslow defeated Forreston (24-10), Freeport Aquin (48-20), Stockton (24-14) and Chicago Leo (45-22). State championship appearances: Downs Tri-Valley – First appearance. Lena-Winslow – Second appearance (one state title). Other key players: Downs Tri-Valley – RB Braden Herrman (128 attempts, 1,398 yards,

22 TDs), RB Caleb Wilson (154 attempts, 1,235 yards, 18 TDs), RG/DL Lucas Hammer (88 solo tackles); Lena-Winslow – RB Tyler Oakey (210 attempts, 1,506 yards, 16 TDs), WR Luke Schubert (29 catches, 634 yards, 12 TDs) Fun fact: Downs Tri-Valley won a state championship as part of a co-op with Leroy in 1996, but decided to break away from the co-op in 2001 to start its own program. Why you should watch: This game will feature a trio of 1,000-yard rushers as both teams excel in the ground game. For those fans who love with smashmouth old-school football, this game will showcase the true talents of the offensive line more than the quarterbacks. – Ross Jacobson, rjacobson@shawmedia.com

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Sterling Newman Central Catholic running back Jake Snow breaks a tackle in a game against Erie-Prophetstown on Oct. 11.

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23

GENESEO MAPLE LEAFS (12-1) vs. ROCHESTER ROCKETS (12-1)

Sean King for Shaw Media

Stillman Valley’s quarterback Connor McNames (right) fumbles after being tackled by Aurora Christian linebacker Dan Brown during a Class 3A semifinal game Saturday in Aurora.

Game time: 7 p.m. Friday Coaches: Larry Johnsen Jr. (87-27 in 10th season at Geneseo); Derek Leonard (83-24 in ninth season at Rochester) Conferences: Geneseo from Northern Illinois Big 12; Rochester from Central State 8 Playoff road to DeKalb: Geneseo defeated Genoa-Kingston (24-0), Plano (21-0), Chicago Phillips (41-8) and Rockford Lutheran (35-7). Rochester defeated Taylorville (42-7), Breese Mater Dei (56-28), Belleville Althoff Catholic (50-21) and Rock Island Alleman (46-21). State championship appearances: Geneseo – 10th appearance (four titles). Rochester – fourth appearance (three titles). Key players: Geneseo – RB Rayce Singbush (139 touches, 1,370 total yards, 17 TDs), RB Lane Akre (111 attempts, 817 yards,

11 TDs), LB Kyle Patterson (105 tackles), OL Nick Verbeck; Rochester – QB Robbie Kelley (189 for 289 passing, 2,809 yards), WR Drew Hill (60 catches, 982 yards, 11 TDs), ILB Dylan Handlin (104 tackles, 11 sacks), DE Matt Swaine (75 tackles, 13 sacks). Fun Fact: Geneseo has posted winning records in 51 consecutive seasons and appeared in the state playoffs 37 times, tied for the state record. Why you should watch: Contrasting styles of offense will be on display in the 4A title game as Rochester’s aerial attack led by Robbie Kelley will be met with Geneseo’s run-heavy ground attack. Rochester also is looking to become the first public school to win four consecutive state championships. – Ross Jacobson, rjacobson@shawmedia.com

STILLMAN VALLEY CARDINALS (11-2) vs. ST. JOSEPH-OGDEN SPARTANS (11-2) Game time: 4 p.m. Friday Coaches: Michael Lalor (158-37 in 16th season at Stillman Valley); Dick Duval (22971 in 26th season at St. Joseph-Ogden) Conferences: Stillman Valley in Big Northern; St. Joseph-Ogden in Sangamon Valley Playoff road to DeKalb: Stillman Valley defeated Bloomington Central Catholic (298), Erie-Prophetstown (24-14), Winnebago (34-20) and Aurora Christian (28-26). St. Joseph-Ogden defeated PORTA (43-25), Monticello (35-0), Williamsville (38-26) and Greenville (44-21). State championship appearances: Stillman Valley – sixth appearances (4 titles). St. Joseph-Ogden – fifth appearances (no titles) Key players: St. Joseph-Ogden – RB Orion Ciota (155 attempts, 1,156 yards, 14

TDs), RB Austin Hedrick (197 attempts, 1,200 yards, 17 TDs), MLB Wyatt Sage (91 tackles). Stillman Valley – FB Zac Hare, RB / LB Tristan Elliott. Fun fact: Stillman Valley is one of two teams – along with Batavia – in this weekend’s championships to have less than a 45-minute drive to Huskie Stadium. The Cardinals’ bus ride to Champaign in 2010 took almost three hours. Why you should watch: St. Joseph-Ogden has been four times a bridesmaid but never a bride. Their most recent runner-up finish was a 47-42 loss to Plano in 2006. A state title is all that’s left for coach Duval to accomplish in a stellar career at St. Joseph-Ogden. – Ross Jacobson, rjacobson@shawmedia.com

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CLASS 3A

IHSA FOOTBALL STATE CHAMPIONSHIPS |

CLASS 4A


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Daily Chronicle / Daily-Chronicle.com • Thursday, November 28, 2013

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24

CLASS 6A BATAVIA BULLDOGS (12-1) VS. RICHARDS BULLDOGS (12-1)

Erica Benson – ebenson@shawmedia.com

Montini quarterback Alexander Wills scores a touchdown against Sycamore in a Class 5A semifinal game Saturday in Lombard. The Broncos defeated the Spartans, 42-20.

CLASS 5A MONTINI BRONCOS (13-0) vs. SPRINGFIELD SACRED HEART-GRIFFIN CYCLONES (13-0) Game time: 10 a.m. Saturday Coaches: Chris Andriano (269-119 in 35th season at Montini); Ken Leonard (29157 in 30th season at Springfield Sacred Heart-Griffin, 323-66 overall) Conferences: Montini from Suburban Christian; Sacred Heart-Griffin from Central State Eight Playoff road to DeKalb: Montini defeated Chicago Morgan Park (43-6), Marian Central (40-7), Joliet Catholic Academy (22-21) and Sycamore (42-20). Sacred Heart-Griffin defeated Richwoods (45-7), Glenwood (55-7), Highland (42-8) and Washington (44-14). State championship appearances: Montini – Sixth appearance (5 titles). Sacred Heart-Griffin – Eighth appearance (3 titles). FBS college prospects: Montini – LB Nile Sykes (77 tackles, 31 sacks), DE Dylan Thompson (committed to Ohio State). Springfield Sacred Heart-Griffin – WR Malik Turner (65 catches, 1,311 yards, 22 TDs; committed to Illinois), OL Quinn Oseland

(offers from Illinois, Northern Illinois) Other key players: Montini – QB Alex Wills (205 for 325 passing, 2,721 yards), WR Leon Thornton III (54 catches, 966 yards, 13 TDs); Springfield Sacred Heart-Griffin – QB Gabe Green (183 for 253 passing, 3,126 yards), Fun fact: Sacred Heart-Griffin faced Washington, a town devastated by a recent tornado, in the semifinals. Their fans paid for charter buses to pick up Washington fans and take them to the game in Springfield and also provided pregame meals for the team while collecting donations. Why you should watch: Two legendary coaches in Andriano and Leonard will battle for the first time in their long careers. Each already has secured their place as the greatest coach in their school history, but both can add to their legacy by beating an equally accomplished program in the state final. Together, Andriano and Leonard have almost 600 wins. – Ross Jacobson, rjacobson@shawmedia.com

Game time: 1 p.m. Saturday Coaches: Dennis Piron (33-3 in third season at Batavia); Tony Sheehan (48-18 in sixth season at Richards) Conferences: Batavia from Upstate Eight; Richards from South Suburban Playoff road to DeKalb: Batavia defeated DeKalb (48-6), Rolling Meadows (48-13), Lake Forest (19-14) and Rockford Boylan Catholic (38-6). Richards defeated Yorkville (44-0), Argo (31-0), Lincoln-Way North (126) and East St. Louis (7-6). State championship appearances: Batavia – Second appearance (0 titles). Richards – Fourth appearance (1 title) FBS college prospects: Richards LB Romel Hill (113 tackles, 17 sacks; offers from Eastern Michigan and Wyoming), Richards WR Tacari Carpenter (45 catches, 886 yards; offers from Akron, Eastern Michigan

and Wyoming) Other key players: Batavia – RB Anthony Scaccia (1,725 rushing yards, 25 rushing TDs), QB Micah Coffey (2,237 passing yards), LB Anthony Thielk (90 tackles, 13 sacks). Richards – QB Hasan Muhammad-Rogers (2,199 passing yards, 445 rushing yards), RB Romeo Johnson (498 rushing yards). Fun fact: Richards’ list of alumni includes Miami Heat guard Dwayne Wade and Detroit Tigers general manager Dave Dombrowski. Why you should watch: Scaccia has been a load for opposing defenses this year, but he’ll have his work cut out for him. Richards’ defense has given up only 12 points in the playoffs. Carpenter is a big-play wideout for Richards. – Steve Nitz, snitz@shawmedia.com

Sandy Bressner – sbressner@shawmedia.com

Batavia running back Anthony Scaccia carries the ball during the Bulldogs’ 38-6 victory over Rockford Boylan Catholic on Saturday in a Class 6A semifinal game in Rockford.

Good Luck Teams!

Stop in before or after the game for some quality home-cooking. Don’t forget dessert! Try our homemade pies and cakes.

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NAPERVILLE CENTRAL REDHAWKS (10-3) VS. LOYOLA ACADEMY RAMBLERS (12-1)

Erica Benson – ebenson@shawmedia.com

Lake Zurich’s Peter Maretis (right) moves in to tackle Glenbard West’s Scott Andrews during a Class 7A state semifinal game Saturday in Glen Ellyn.

CLASS 7A

Game time: 4 p.m. Saturday Coaches: David Proffitt (22-4 in second season at Lake Zurich); Frank Lenti (338-60 in 30th season at Mt. Carmel) Conferences: Lake Zurich from North Suburban; Mt. Carmel from Chicago Catholic Playoff road to DeKalb: Lake Zurich defeated Elk Grove (35-6), Rockton Hononegah (20-0), Wheaton North (16-6) and Glenbard West (16-7). Mt. Carmel defeated Benet Academy (49-6), Chicago St. Rita (20-15), Downers Grove North (7-0) and Edwardsville (34-7). State championship appearances: Lake Zurich – Fourth appearance (1 title). Mt. Carmel – 17th appearance (11 titles). FBS college prospects: Mt. Carmel DT Enoch Smith Jr. (46 tackles, 14 sacks; committed to Michigan State), Mt. Carmel DT Steven Richardson (committed to Minnesota), Mt. Carmel RB Matt Domer (1,299 rushing yards, 14 rushing TDs; committed

to Illinois), Mt. Carmel OL Nate Oquendo (offers from Eastern Michigan, Purdue, Western Michigan and Wyoming) Other key players: Lake Zurich – QB Noah Allgood (1,342 passing yards), RB Ben Klett (625 rushing yards, 10 rushing TDs); Mt. Carmel – RB Jimmy Mickens (1,118 rushing yards, 13 rushing touchdowns), LB Sam Connolly (56 tackles, 14 sacks) Fun fact: The Northern Illinois University football team has three alumni from these two schools – QB Jordan Lynch (Mt. Carmel), RB Draco Smith (Mt. Carmel) and WR Jacob Brinlee (Lake Zurich). Why you should watch: Mt. Carmel is one of the most successful programs in the state – the Caravan’s 11 state titles are tied for second all-time behind Joliet Catholic, which has 13. Lake Zurich is looking for the school’s second. Mt. Carmel has a a few players who will be playing on TV on Saturdays. – Steve Nitz, snitz@shawmedia.com

Clifford (739 rushing yards, 15 rushing TDs), LB Jack Wooldridge (99 tackles, 21 sacks); Loyola – RB Julius Holey (870 rushing yards, nine rushing TDs), WR Owen Buscaglia (57 catches, 662 receiving yards, nine receiving TDs), LB Andrew Cerney (42 tackles, four sacks). Fun facts: From 1995 to 2002, Loyola coach John Holecek was a linebacker with the Buffalo Bills, San Diego Chargers and Atlanta Falcons. New Orleans Saints coach Sean Payton is a Naperville Central alumnus. Why you should watch: It’s the biggest class, meaning there’s always some of the best football played in the Saturday nightcap. The Redhawks are able to beat teams with both the run and the pass, and Central should bring a large contingent of fans. – Steve Nitz, snitz@shawmedia.com

Bill Ackerman – backerman@shawmedia.com

Naperville Central’s Ben Andreas break a tackle and scores against Downers Grove South in a Class 8A first-round playoff game Nov. 1. Naperville Central won, 36-0.

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Daily Chronicle / Daily-Chronicle.com • Thursday, November 28, 2013

LAKE ZURICH BEARS (12-1) VS. MT. CARMEL CARAVAN (12-1)

Game time: 7 p.m. Saturday Coaches: Mike Stine (55-32 in eighth season at Naperville Central); John Holecek (85-20 in eighth season at Loyola) Conferences: Naperville Central from DuPage Valley; Loyola Academy from Chicago Catholic Playoff road to DeKalb: Naperville Central defeated Downers Grove South (36-0), Homewood-Flossmoor (24-21), Neuqua Valley (47-18) and Marist (27-21). Loyola Academy defeated Lane (48-7), Niles Notre Dame (24-0), Maine South (35-0) and Stevenson (15-14). State championship appearances: Naperville Central – Fourth appearance (1 title). Loyola – Fourth appearance (1 title). Key players: Naperville Central – QB Jake Kolbe (2,106 passing yards), RB Kevin

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| IHSA FOOTBALL STATE CHAMPIONSHIPS

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Sportsmanship shows in every game Two weeks ago, Chicago Curie basketball player Cliff Alexander set off yet another high school sports debate. In making his college decision at a nationally televised news conference, Alexander acted like he would choose the University of Illinois from a series of hats on the table in front of him. But at the last second Alexander put the Illini hat back down on the table and picked up a University of Kansas cap instead. The innocent pumpfake caused a number of people to opine about the state of high school sports. They said today’s kids were only concerned with recruiting stars, individual glory and what college coach was coming to practice the next day. But although the outside attention to recruiting and internal pressure of generating

VIEWS Ross Jacobson college interest has increased tenfold over the past decade, the ultimate goal for the vast majority of high school athletes never has changed. They want to win a state championship. They want to make history. Northern Illinois receiver Jacob Brinlee went to the state championship game with Lake Zurich in 2011. What’s his best memory of the trip to Champaign? “It was pretty special just because of all the guys (on the team) you grew up with ever since our freshman year,” Brinlee said. “It was special just being with guys you grew up with in your life.” When each of the eight champi-

onship games end, neither team’s athletes will be overwhelmed with emotion because of recruiting rankings, official visits or national letters of intent. Often, the toughest of football players will become speechless and reduced to tears solely because the quest for a trophy and a title finally has ended, either successfully or a few plays short. We often focus on the negatives associated with high school sports, but too many times we neglect to see the larger positive themes – hard work, sportsmanship, perseverance and camaraderie among others – present in every game. Watch any of this weekend’s eight games and you’ll see the same thing: A roster full of high school student-athletes who have spent the past four months – and often four years – playing

OFF YOUR MEAL withh the h purchase h off two mealsl andd two ddrinks. k Not valid w/any other offers. Expires 12/31/13.

and working together toward this moment. It shows when almost every play ends with one teammate helping pick another off the ground and when every scoring play finishes with a group hug in the end zone. High school football isn’t perfect, but this weekend will beautifully showcase that the reasons we love the game – passion, emotion, determination, a sense of team over self – still very much are ingrained in the sport at the prep level. Sometimes the most obvious things are the hardest to see. Don’t miss another chance this weekend.

• Ross Jacobson is the sports editor of the Daily Chronicle. He can be reached via e-mail at rjacobson@shawmedia.com or follow him on Twitter @RossJacobson.

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TOP 10%

OF HIGH SCHOOLS in the nation

by U.S. News and World Report          

The DeKalb School District Board of Education, administration, staff and families would like to thank the following who generously donated to have our district logo painted on the water tower by DeKalb High School:

                     

Brian Scholle, Scott Zeimet & Da Darr Darrell rrel ell Fo el Foss ss ffrom rom ro m St Stat State ate at e Fa Farm rm IInsurance nsur ns uran ur ance an ce Dr. Steven & Michele Glasgow sgow from Midwest Midw Mi dwes estt Orthopaedic Orth Or thopaedic c Jeff Dobie of Fatty’s Pub & Grille

Photo taken by Jeff Struthers of Jeff Struthers Fine Art Photography

Daily Chronicle / Daily-Chronicle.com • Thursday, November 28, 2013

Thank You

IHSA FOOTBALL STATE CHAMPIONSHIPS |

DeKalb eKalb bH High ig gh SSchool chool w was as rranked anked in th the


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We are Huskies!

Champions in the classroom, in competition, and in life! Ranked among Top 100 national public universities by U.S. News & World Report’s 2014 Best Colleges list Internationally acclaimed and nationally celebrated faculty, including 35 Fulbright scholars A campus “renaissance” that includes a brand new, 1000 bed, state-of-the-art residence hall A rapidly growing Honors program attracting record numbers of high-achieving students Winner of national“Place”award from Association of Public Land-grant Universities (APLU) for excellence in community, social and cultural development work

discover.niu.edu Northern Illinois University is an equal opportunity/affirmative action instit institution. Printed by authority of the State of Illinois. F096 11/13


2013 IHSA Football Championship