High School: Downers Grove South

Top 20 boys basketball preview

November, 21, 2011
Simeon basketball teamScott Powers/ESPNChicago.comAfter 2 straight Class 4 titles, it should be no surprise to see Simeon ranked No. 1.
1. Simeon: Expectations have never been higher at Simeon. The Wolverines are the two-time defending Class 4A state champions. They are ranked No. 1 in country by ESPN. Jabari Parker is considered the No. 1 junior in the country. They have a roster of full of other Division I prospects, including Marquette recruit and senior forward Steve Taylor, shooting guard Kendrick Nunn, point guard Jaylon Tate, point guard Jelani Neely and forward Kendall Pollard. They also have a couple star-studded freshmen.

2. Warren: The Blue Devils lost to Simeon by eight points in the Pontiac holiday tournament championship and by nine points in the state championship game. They could very well meet Simeon in both places again this season. Warren returns three starters -- Western Michigan recruit Darius Paul, Toledo recruit Nathan Boothe and senior guard JoVaughn Gaines -- from that team. They’ll also look to Jameris Smith, Jon Geske and Mitch Munda. This will be coach Chuck Ramsey’s final season.

3. Whitney Young: There aren’t even many college teams in the country that have as much size and skill in the front court as the Dolphins do. Six-foot-11 center Jahlil Okafor is ranked No. 3 in the Class of 2014. Paul White, who is a 6-8 swingman, is ranked No. 17 in the Class of 2014. Tommy Hamilton Jr., who is 6-9, is ranked No. 23 in the Class of 2013. There’s also 6-8 Jermaine Morgan, who is a Colorado State recruit. The big question for Whitney Young is who will bring the ball up the court. If the Dolphins can figure out their backcourt, they should be among the state’s and nation’s best teams.

4. Proviso East: First-year coach Donnie Boyce has plenty to work with this season. The Pirates return senior point guard Keith Carter, who recently committed to Saint Louis, junior guard Sterling Brown, who is becoming a national recruit, senior forward Trashaun Carroll and juniors Paris Lee, Paris Burns and Mike Nicholas.

5. Downers Grove South: The Mustangs will possess one of the state’s top backcourts with 6-2 senior Jamall Millison and 6-3 senior Jerron Wilbut. Wilbut is considered one of the top players in the state’s Class of 2012. Downers Grove South also returns 6-5 forward Kevin Honn, a two-year starter. The question for the Mustangs will be rebounding and interior defense.

6. Curie: The Condors have the pieces to compete for the Public League and state championship. They’re as deep as anyone and will be led by 6-8 sophomore Cliff Alexander, who is ranked No. 13 in the country. Transfer Malcolm Hill-Bey should be an asset in the backcourt with the loss of Greg Travis to graduation.

7. De La Salle: The Meteors could be a state contender if everything clicks for them. They have some of the state’s most highly-ranked players, but the question is whether those players can adjust to bigger roles this season with the graduation of Dre Henley and Mike Shaw. De La Salle will be depending on 6-8 Gavin Schilling, 6-7 Alex Foster and 6-4 Alvin Ellis.

8. Homewood-Flossmoor: The Vikings may be the most experienced team in the state -- it seems Tim Williams, a 6-8 forward, and 6-5 Delvon Rencher have been around forever. Homewood-Flossmoor also returns Antonio Bishop, Marius Hill, Tyrone Sherman and Lamar Wofford-Humphrey. Will this be the season they finally take that next step?

9. St. Rita: This looks to be the year coach Gary DeCesare turns St. Rita’s program completely around. After going 12-14 last season, the Mustangs return 6-7 senior forward AJ Avery, a Western Michigan recruit, 6-2 guard Tony Hicks, a Penn recruit, senior point guard Cullen Foulks, sophomore forward Victor Law and sophomore guard Dominique Matthews. There also will be a couple freshmen who will contribute immediately. St. Rita will be the team to beat in the Catholic League.

10. Farragut: The Admirals should be among the best teams in Chicago again. Six-foot-7 forward Rashaun Stimage is a jack of all trades and is among the state’s best seniors. Senior twins Deonte and Alante Terrell are eligible this season after trasferring and sitting out last year. Both should be among the team’s major contributors this season. Returning guard Lavell Boyd and senior John Carter, a transfer from Oak Park, should bring stability to the backcourt.

11. Andrew: The Thunderbolts are ready to emerge as one of the area’s best this season. They’ll be led by 6-5 forward Jubril Adekoya, who does a bit of everything for them. Jawad Adekoya and Glorinda Lisha are also key returnees.

12. Hyde Park: The Thunderbirds could be among the elite group of teams if all their transfers are eligible. They have eight transfers, including former Bogan forward Moshawn Thomas. Regardless of whether everyone is eligible, Hyde Park should still be pretty good. Point guard Kyle Davis is among the state’s best juniors.

13. New Trier: The Trevians have plenty of talent and experience back this season. Connor Boehm, a 6-7 Dartmouth recruit, and 6-4 guard Austin Angel will be the team’s go-to players. They also return David Bragiel, Reid Bermnan and Jordan Thomas.

14. Crane: Chris Head takes over a talented group this season at Crane. The Cougars are headed by Willie Connor, who can fill up the basket, and Kalen Shane. They’ve also added Markee Williams, who was formerly at Morgan Park.

15. Crete-Monee: Former legendary Hillcrest coach Tom Cappel is now at Crete-Monee. He’ll be led by Illinois recruit and senior point guard Michael Orris. Marvie Keith, a 3-pointer shooter, and LaQuan Treadwell, a big-time football recruit, should also contribute.

16. Morgan Park: The Mustangs are handing the reins off to junior guard Billy Garrett Jr. after the graduation of Wayne Blackshear. While Garrett Jr. will be a point guard at the next level, he’s proven he can be a big-time scorer and passer at the high school level. He’ll be assisted by 6-9 center Xzavier Taylor, 6-5 forward Adrian Jefferies, 6-2 guard Terrance Quinn and 6-3 Dominique Lee and a number of freshman and sophomore newcomers.

17. St. Joseph: The Chargers endured a rare losing season under coach Gene Pingatore last season. That shouldn’t be the case again this year. They’ll be led by 6-1 Reggie Johnson, 6-8 junior A.J. Patty, 6-5 sophomore Karriem Simmons and 6-4 sophomore Paul Turner.

18. Bloom: The Blazing Trojans should be able to build on last year’s 16 wins with the talent they have returning. They’ll be led by three-year starter Donald Moore, who led them in scoring and assists last season. He’ll have help from LeJavius Johnson, Henry Hicks, Johnny Griffin, Dejahown Freeman and Nhyree Mitchell.

19. Oak Park: The Huskies had a rough season a year ago, but should be one of the area’s best teams this year. They have seven returnees, a group led by Bradley recruit and senior guard Ka’Darryl Bell, who averaged 15 points last year. Senior forward Gave Levin, who averaged 11 points and nine rebounds, senior forward Alex Nesnidal and junior guard Jakari Cammon also return.

20. Waukegan: The Bulldogs will rely heavily on their guards this season. Akeem Springs, a 6-4 combo guard, averaged 19 points and nine rebounds last season. Waukegan also returns Devonte Taylor, Jordan Johnson and Dijon Ross. Sophomore power forward Jerome Davis could make an impact this season.

Prep rankings: 8A title finalists are top two

November, 20, 2011
Loyola remained No. 1 in this week's rankings and Bolingbrook stayed at No. 2. The two teams will face off in the Class 8A final on Saturday.

Complete rankings.

Prep rankings: Loyola stays at No. 1

November, 13, 2011
Loyola, Bolingbrook and St. Rita held onto the top three spots in ESPNChicago's prep football rankings.

Complete rankings

Bolingbrook blows out rival Downers S.

November, 13, 2011

BOLINGBROOK, Ill. – Bolingbrook senior linebacker Antonio Morrison had seen enough drama between his Raiders and Downers Grove South over the last three years.

When he was a freshman, Downers Grove South pulled out a 21-20 win. As a sophomore, Bolingbrook won 16-14 in the regular season, but fell 22-20 in the playoffs. Last season, Bolingbrook won 28-21.

[+] EnlargeBolingbrook football
Scott Powers for ESPNChicago.comBolingbrook's Aaron Bailey scored five touchdowns in the Raiders' win Saturday.

In three years, the two teams had each won two games and lost two, and a total of 12 points had decided those four games.

Having played in all those nail-biters, Morrison was relieved Bolingbrook took early control of Saturday’s Class 8A quarterfinal against Downers Grove South and never looked back. The Raiders defeated visiting Downers Grove South 47-19 and advanced to the semifinals for the first time since 2001.

Bolingbrook will travel to Naperville Central next week.

“We had a history,” Morrison said of Downers Grove South. “I’ve been playing Downers Grove all my four years of my high school career. Every game has been close. We weren’t surprised it was a blowout. It’s finally good to actually blow them out.”

Defensively, the Raiders devoted most of their entire attention to Downers Grove South running back Josh Williams. Williams had gone over 2,200 yards in last week’s win and was the primary reason the Mustangs were in the quarterfinals.

Bolingbrook Downers Grove South

“We knew he was going to get the ball pretty much,” Morrison said. “We knew if we took him away we were going to win the game. The whole week the whole defense was just flying to the ball. We had all 11 flying to the ball, stripping the ball, so we played fast tonight.”

Williams had no chance on Saturday. Bolingbrook’s defense got to him time after time just as he got out of the backfield. In the first half, he gained 21 yards on seven carries.

The second half was better for him, but it was too late. Williams finished with 135 yards and one touchdown.

While Downers Grove South’s offense struggled to move the ball, Bolingbrook and its quarterback Aaron Bailey seemed to do whatever they wanted against the Mustangs’ defense. The Raiders led 21-3 at halftime and built that advantage to 47-3 in the second half.

Bailey rushed for 128 yards and three touchdowns in the first half. He added touchdown runs of 40 and 44 yards in the second half. He finished with 212 rushing yards and five touchdowns.

Bailey did more passing during his postgame interview than he did in the game. Bailey dished out the credit to everyone, but himself.

“It’s a blessing,” said Bailey, who was 0-for-2 passing. “Thank God for my offensive line and defense. The defense made big stops for us. The offensive line made huge holes for me. It was a great team victory.”

Instead, others praised the elusive Bailey.

“We know he’s going to score and put the ball in the end zone,” Morrison said. “We already know he’s going to do that. We just get ready for the next series and see how fast he can put in the end zone.”

Bolingbrook coach John Ivlow said, “He’s one of the best around. The kid’s phenomenal. He’s amazing.”

Downers Grove South coach John Belskis didn’t give any excuses for his team’s defense. He simply felt Bolingbrook was the more dominant team.

“The better team won tonight,” Belskis said. “There have been times where we ended our season and not played well. We can look ourselves in the mirror and say we got beat by a better team tonight. Coach Ivlow has done just a great job. Their X’s are better than our O’s.”

Bolingbrook running back Omar Stover rushed for 88 yards and two touchdowns.

Downers Grove South quarterback A.J. Simoncelli threw a touchdown pass to Kaylon Miller. Anthony Farinella made a 32-yard field goal in the first quarter.

Prep rankings: Loyola claims top spot

November, 7, 2011
After last week's top 3 all lost in the second round of the playoffs, Loyola (11-0) moved into the No. 1 spot.

Complete rankings.

Williams powers Downers S. past Brother Rice

November, 5, 2011
DOWNERS GROVE, Ill. -- Downers Grove South notched a crucial second win in Class 8A of the IHSA playoffs by routing Chicago Southside hopefuls Brother Rice 41-14 on Friday.

The Mustangs opened the scoring within three plays, as Josh Williams caught a tight pass from quarterback AJ Simoncelli for a 48-yard touchdown.

Downers Grove South Brother RiceBrother Rice struggled with the ball early, unable to convert on fourth down twice and barely able to get within their opponents' territory.

The Mustangs, in contrast, did well by capitalizing on Crusader turnovers. An early punt to Brother Rice was fumbled at the Crusaders' 38 yard line, putting Downers Grove South in scoring position. Kicker Anthony Farinelli put up his first of two field goals make it 10-0 at the end of the first quarter.

The Crusaders would also fumble on first down in the second quarter again handing the Mustangs another scoring opportunity.

"We made way too many mistakes in the first half. We gave them great field position, gave them the ball," Brother Rice coach Steve Nye said. "But our guys didn't quit. They never quit."

Before the end of the half, Williams, who had 151 total yards on the night, scored the second touchdown, and a third right after the next Brother Rice fumble at their own 20. Farinelli kicked another 3-point strike with 0:04 left in the half to make it 27-0.

The Crusaders took some points back six minutes into the second half, as Andrew Walker raced in a 27-yard touchdown off a handoff. Walker, who had 82 total yards, followed it up five minutes later with another touchdown on the next possession to make it 27-14.

"We got comfortable a little in the third quarter and [Brother Rice] got some momentum," said Mustangs offensive tackle Sean Eslit. "But we found our rhythm and worked hard to get it done the last 12 minutes."

Downers South's defense contained Rice throughout the fourth quarter, as Crusaders quarterback Pat Parilli exited the game injured with nine minutes to go.

Simoncelli's fourth-quarter 18-yard pass to Kaylon Miller bumped the Mustangs' lead to 20 points. John Wauer later ran in a 1-yard handoff to seal the deal for Downers Grove South.

Player of the game: Josh Williams, whose power and consistency gave Downers South three early TDs.

The game was over when: At 34-14, the Mustangs' defense clamped down on Brother Rice, ending their scoring hopes.

Stat of the game: Three touchdowns and 151 yards by Williams in a dominant Downers South first half.

Play of the game: Kaylon Miller's sneaky TD reception off the right side at the start of the fourth.

Quote of the game: AJ Simoncelli, "It was our offensive line. Those guys won the game for us."

What it means: DGS moves on, and Brother Rice's season ends. Martez Walker and Andrew Walker, the Crusaders' top two all-time leading rushers, graduate to college ball.

Round 2 playoff preview capsules

November, 3, 2011
Here's a look at 10 notable second-round playoff games.

No. 1 Maine South (10-0) at No. 19 Stevenson (8-2)

Stevenson Grant
When:Saturday at 3 p.m.
The story: Maine South and Stevenson met in the Class 8A quarterfinals last season. Maine South won that matchup 20-9 and continued on to its third consecutive state championship. Stevenson’s goal will be to keep this game close. The Patriots have had seven games this season decided by seven points or less. They’ve won five of them. Maine South hasn’t been in many tight games. It defeated Wheaton Warrenville South 13-9 early in the season, but has won every game since by 16 or more points. Maine South has been held to less 35 points just once this season. Stevenson hasn’t allowed more than 28 points this year.
Maine South player to watch: Wide receiver Jimmy Frankos is one of Matt Alviti’s main targets. Frankos had four catches for 103 yards and two touchdowns last week.
Stevenson player to watch: Wide receiver Troy Radtke is capable of making big plays in the Patriots’ offense.
Prediction: Maine South 35, Stevenson 24

Lake Zurich (8-2) at No. 2 Glenbard West (10-0)

Glenbard West Lake Zurich
When:Saturday at 1 p.m.
The story: Glenbard West and Lake Zurich possess two of the top defenses in the area and two of the top defensive players. Glenbard West, which is led by Penn State recruit Tommy Schutt, has held eight opponents to seven points or less. The Hilltoppers have given up a total of 57 points this season. Lake Zurich’s defense isn’t as dominant as it was last season, but the Bears can still get to the ball with blazing speed. Led by Minnesota recruit Jack Lynn, Lake Zurich has held six opponents to seven points or less. Both teams have also lost to Wheaton Warrenville South in the state championship in recent years. Glenbard West fell in 2009 and Lake Zurich lost last season.
Lake Zurich player to watch: Running back Mike Shield has broken his share of runs this season.
Glenbard West player to watch: Running back Avery Balogh has consistently been productive this year.
Prediction: Glenbard West 27, Lake Zurich 17

No. 18 Wheaton Warrenville South (7-3) at No. 3 Lincoln-Way East (10-0)

Lincoln-Way East Wheaton Warrenville South
When:Friday at 7:30 p.m.
The story: Wheaton Warrenville South has to lose for someone else to win a Class 7A state championship. The Tigers have won the last two titles. Although they didn’t resemble early on a team that was going to three-peat, they do look more like it now. Lincoln-Way East has proven itself against some of the state’s best teams and is a legitimate state contender. Its offense hasn’t been contained yet. This has a shot at being one of the better playoff games of 2011.
Wheaton Warrenville South players to watch: The Tigers’ junior offensive line has come a long way since Game 1.
Lincoln-Way East player to watch: Wide receiver Jay Yancy would be the No. 1 receiver on most teams.
Prediction: Lincoln-Way East 24, Wheaton Warrenville South 21

Mount Carmel (7-3) at No. 5 Bolingbrook (9-1)

Bolingbrook Mount Carmel
When:Saturday at 6 p.m.
The story: A few weeks ago, this matchup had the makings of a Class 8A semifinal. Instead, Mount Carmel dropped its last two games of the regular season and it fell in the seeding. Don’t think Bolingbrook is taking the Caravan any lighter due to that. Mount Carmel is still a state title contender. If its offense can get going, the Caravan can play with anyone. Bolingbrook has continued to flourish on both sides of the ball and is the favorite to reach the state championship from its bracket.
Mount Carmel player to watch: Running back Brandon Greer was key to the Caravan’s offense rolling in the first round.
Bolingbrook player to watch: Quarterback Aaron Bailey is one of the most exciting players in the state.
Prediction: Bolingbrook 31, Mount Carmel 17

No. 16 Cary-Grove (8-2) at No. 10 Nazareth (9-1)

Nazareth Geneva
When:Saturday at 1 p.m.
The story: With so many state title contenders in Class 6A, it was inevitable there would be some intriguing early-round matchups. This game is among those. Both teams showed throughout the regular season they’re among the state’s best. Both excel with strong running backs and solid defensive play. Nazareth did go undefeated at home during the regular season.
Cary-Grove player to watch: Max Kersten is among the defensive playmakers for the Trojans.
Nazareth player to watch: Quarterback Sam Poulos has the ability to beat opponents through the air.
Prediction: Nazareth 28, Cary-Grove 20

Crystal Lake South (9-1) at Carmel (7-3)

Nazareth GenevaWhen:Friday at 7 p.m.
The story: Crystal Lake South’s defense has limited nearly every offense it has played this season. The Gators have allowed more than 14 points just once. On the other hand, Carmel’s offense hasn’t been slowed down. The Corsairs have scored at least 27 points in all 10 of their games. In the games Carmel did lose, it allowed a minimum of 32 points. If Crystal Lake South’s offense can put up a similar numbers, the Gators could be in good shape.
Crystal Lake South player to watch: Quarterback Austin Fowler completed five passes in last week’s win and three of them were for touchdowns.
Carmel player to watch: Quarterback Brian Brennan’s excels at running the option, but he can pass the ball effectively when needed.
Prediction: Carmel 31, Crystal Lake South 24

Brother Rice (7-3) at No. 14 Downers Grove South (9-1)

Downers Grove South Brother Rice
When:Friday at 7 p.m.
The story: This is a showdown of two of the elite running backs in the state. Downers Grove South’s Josh Williams has rushed for more than 2,000 yards and 30 touchdown. Walker, who shares carries, has rushed for 1,189 yards and 17 touchdown on 148 carries. This is another chance for Brother Rice to prove itself against an elite team. The Crusaders had trouble against Loyola, Mount Carmel and St. Rita during the regular season.
Brother Rice player to watch: Andrew Walker is the Crusaders’ other running back option.
Downers Grove South player to watch: Defensive back John Wauer intercepted a pass and recovered a fumble last week.
Prediction: Downers Grove South 34, Brother Rice 28

Lake Forest (8-2) at No. 8 Batavia (10-0)

Batavia Lake Forest
When:Saturday at 1 p.m.
The story: Top-seeded Batavia got a scare in the first round. The Bulldogs did dominate the second half of last week’s win against Notre Dame. They’ll be looking for that sort of start against Lake Forest. The Scouts have been a surprise this season. No one expected them here after dropping their season opener to Buffalo Grove. In a win over Stevenson and a loss to Lake Zurich, Lake Forest’s defense kept it in each game. Its offense will need to step up for the Scouts to have a chance.
Lake Forest player to watch: Owen Williams rushed for four touchdowns in the first half last week.
Batavia player to watch: Cole Gardner caught six passes for 110 yards and three touchdowns in last week’s win.
Prediction: Batavia 31, Lake Forest 21

Lakes (8-2) at Grant (7-3)

Grant Lakes
When:Friday at 7 p.m.
The story: When these two teams met in Week 3, Lakes rolled to a 38-14 win over Grant. Since then, Grant has been a different team. It’s won six of its last seven games and pulled off a comeback win over Antioch in the first round. Lakes lost to Antioch during the regular season, but has been consistently solid on both sides of the ball all season.
Lakes player to watch: Direll Clark rushed for 280 yards and four touchdowns on 41 carries last week.
strong>Grant player to watch: Running back Jonathan Well ran for 229 yards on 31 carries last week.
Prediction: Lakes 27, Grant 20

Joliet Catholic (8-2) at Morris (9-1)

Morris Joliet Catholic
When:Friday at 7 p.m.
The story: These are two of the state’s most historic programs. Morris has made 29 playoff appearances, including 11 consecutive, owns a 60-25 playoff record, won three state titles and had six runner-up finishes. Joliet Catholic has made 35 playoffs appearances, including 14 consecutive, gone 97-21 in the playoffs, won 13 state titles and had three runner-up finishes. Morris has had two of its worst games of the season in the last two weeks. The Redskins’ main problem has been starting slow. Joliet Catholic’s offense can put up points quickly. If its defense can contain Morris, Joliet Catholic should advance.
Joliet Catholic player to watch: Linebacker Austin Bolton had eight tackles and recovered an onside kick last week.
Morris to watch: Jeff Perry rushed for 145 yards and two touchdowns over Morton last week.
Prediction: Joliet Catholic 42, Morris 21

Prep football rankings: Top 10 stay put

October, 30, 2011
With the first round of IHSA football playoffs complete, there wasn't much movement at the top of the ESPNChicago.com rankings.

Complete rankings.

8A breakdown: Can Loyola break through?

October, 28, 2011
LoyolaScott Powers/ESPNChicago.comTo get that elusive 8A title, Loyola will need to get past Maine South.
Within minutes of Loyola defeating St. Rita last week, Ramblers quarterback Malcolm Weaver began dealing with questions about the Class 8A playoffs and the possibility of facing Maine South again.

Weaver and the Ramblers have been eliminated by Maine South the last two years in the 8A semifinals and watched as the Hawks continued onto consecutive state championships.

On the one hand, it’d be understandable if Loyola would rather not see Maine South again. The Hawks may just have their number. But on the other hand, the Ramblers could believe if they’re going to win their first state championship since 1993 the proper way for it to come is by pushing Maine South off the mountain.

Weaver thought the latter.

“That’s who we want to see,” Weaver said. “That’s the goal right now. We’ve competed against them greatly. Great competition. We want to play the best competition. We want to play Maine South.”

Of course, Maine South doesn’t care who it plays. For the last three years, the Hawks have set up the Class 8A dominoes and knocked them down one by one on their way to three consecutive state championships.

Best opening round game

No. 12 Homewood-Flossmoor at No. 5 Marist: Whatever the over is for this game, take it. Both teams have put up plenty of points this season. Homewood-Flossmoor is averaging 43.2 points a game. Marist is averaging 37.9 points and has scored 120 points in its last two games.

Top 10 Class 8A teams

1. Maine South (9-0): The Hawks are shooting for their fourth consecutive state championship. They’ve been ranked No. 1 in the area from the opening poll.

2. Loyola (9-0): The Ramblers have come close to dethroning Maine South. Is this finally the year? Their offense and defense have been impressive.

3. Bolingbrook (8-1): The Raiders’ lone loss came to Lincoln-Way East, and they were leading that game the entire first half. They’re not too far off Loyola and Maine South.

4. Palatine (8-1): The Pirates responded from their season-opening loss to Montini with eight consecutive wins.

5. Marist (7-2): The RedHawks are as hot as anyone right now with back-to-back wins over Carmel and Joliet Catholic.

6. Downers Grove South (8-1): The Mustangs took a step back with their Week 9 loss to Addison Trail, but they were among the state’s top teams throughout the rest of the season.

7. Bartlett (7-2): The Hawks’ losses came early in the season to Batavia and Wheaton North. They rallied to win the Upstate Eight Valley title.

8. Waubonsie Valley (8-1): The Warriors’ lone regular-season loss came to Bartlett and was the difference for the Upstate Eight Valley title. Waubonsie Valley is a No. 1 seed.

9. Stevenson (7-2): The Patriots have played six games decided by seven points or less. They won four of them.

10. Mount Carmel (6-3): The Caravan ended the regular season on a low note, losing to Providence. They were in the area’s top 10 for most of the year.

Top 5 players to watch

1. Simeon offensive lineman Jordan Diamond: Diamond is one of only two Illinois players in ESPNU’s 150. He’s not committed yet.

2. Maine South quarterback Matt Alviti: Alviti already has offers from Illinois, Northwestern and Notre Dame. He’s still only a junior.

3. Bolingbrook linebacker Antonio Morrison: Morrison is one of the state’s top defensive players. He’s committed to Florida.

4. Downers Grove South running back Josh Williams: Williams is in contention for ESPNChicago.com Offensive Player of the Year.

5. Loyola quarterback Malcolm Weaver: Weaver is one of the area’s premier dual-threat quarterbacks.

Sleeper team

Simeon (7-2): It’s hard to tell what the Wolverines are going to do in the playoffs. They lost early games to Mount Carmel and an out-of-state team, then cruised through their Public League competition. They have the pieces to make a run.

Coaches’ thoughts

Maine South coach David Inserra: “Class 8A looks to be fair throughout with even competition in each of the four quads. The key to success for us is continue to do what we do best and make slight adjustments based on the opponent at hand. This time of year can be a grind. so it's important to stay healthy physically and sickness-wise, plan accordingly, be able to shift ‘mid-stream’ if that's what's called for and stay the course. Everyone is good at this time. Should be a great playoff with some interesting and exciting games right off the bat.”

Loyola coach John Holecek: “I know there’s one team that’s really, really good out there that we’re going to have to play eventually. But there are a bunch of North Side teams that could cause us a lot of trouble. There’s a bunch of good teams, unknowns in the playoffs. We’re not going to look ahead. We’re just going to talk about the next game.”

The road for the defending Class 8A state champions: If the seeds play out, Maine South would face Stevenson in the second round and Palatine in the quarterfinals. Because the IHSA doesn’t seed 1-32 in the playoffs, Maine South and Loyola would meet in the semifinals. It would be at Loyola, which is the top seed.

Fun fact: Thirty of the 32 teams in the Class 8A playoffs also reached the playoffs last season. Only Hinsdale Central and Naperville Central missed the playoffs last year. Mount Carmel is making its 26th consecutive appearance.

State championship prediction: Maine South over Bolingbrook

IHSA football playoff bracket -- Class 8A

October, 23, 2011
Maine South is shooting for its fourth consecutive Class 8A state championship. Who are the other contenders?

Bracket and analysis.

Addison Trail upsets Downers Grove South

October, 22, 2011
ADDISON, Ill. -- In a turnover-plagued game filled with momentum swings, the Addison Trail Blazers held on to beat the previously unbeaten No. 6 Downers Grove South Mustangs 20-14 and win the West Suburban Gold Championship.

The Blazers defense set the tone immediately, sacking Mustangs quarterback A.J. Simoncelli and forcing a fumble on the first play from scrimmage. It was a hint of what was to come, as the entire first half was an intense defensive battle.

The first-half score came on an interception returned for a touchdown by Addison Trail senior defensive lineman Tom Caputo. The ball hit the back an offensive lineman’s helmet, hung in the air and then landed right in the palms of the 6-1, 205-pound lineman.

Addison Trail Downers Grove South“All I remember is that I saw the ball hit off the helmet, looked up and it was right there,” Caputo said.

Caputo and the rest of the Blazers’ front seven held Mustangs star senior running back Josh Williams to just 12 yards on 10 carries in the first half. Williams finished with 20 carries for just 47 yards and a touchdown.

Addison Trail coach Paul Parpet said their focus all week was on stopping Williams and the vicious Mustangs running attack.

“Our defense did what they do well,” Parpet said. “They flew around and took him out of the game.”

The Blazers (8-1) moved the ball in the first half, but had drives cut short by missed field goals and two interceptions. They dominated the third quarter with a long, methodical 13-play, 80-yard drive capped off by a 1-yard touchdown by senior running back Anthony Messina.

The next Blazers drive ended in a weak-side screen pass from quarterback Trevor Bermingham to Messina, who powered his way 34 yards into the end zone to put them on top 20-0 with 8:15 left in the game.

“We just put in the play this week,” Messina said. “It worked all week in practice so I knew I was going to be open.”

But the Mustangs (8-1) weren’t done just yet. They answered with a nine-play, 61-yard drive that ended with a 3-yard touchdown run by Williams.

The Mustangs recovered the following on-side kick and two plays later Simoncelli hooked up with senior receiver Marco Scalzetti for a 51-yard touchdown to make it a 20-14 game with 4:42 left.

After forcing a three-and-out, the Mustangs offense got the ball at their 9-yard line with 3:39 left and all the momentum in the world.

“I was shaking,” Addison Trail senior defensive back Delricien Smith said. “I didn’t know what was going to happen.”

But on the second play of that drive, Simoncelli dropped back and was picked off by senior defensive back Greg Schultz to seal the win for Addison Trail.

Players of the game: Senior inside linebackers Kevin Kent and Mike Imperiale did an outstanding job chasing down Williams and jamming the middle, preventing any possible cutback lanes. Williams’ longest run of the day didn’t come until late in the fourth quarter and was only for nine yards.

Stat of the game: Coming into this matchup, Williams was a running machine, racking up over 1,600 yards so far this season. The top-ranked Blazers defense held him to only 47 yards on 20 carries.

It was over when: Down by six points with just about three minutes to go, Simoncelli was picked off by Schultz to end the Mustangs’ hope at a comeback.

Quote of the day: “Our defensive line is small but they got the heart of a lion. They just clogged the middle and he (Williams) had nowhere to bounce. It gave us time for everyone else to come around and make a tackle.” -- Blazers defensive back Delricien Smith

Week 9 prep football preview

October, 19, 2011

Here's a look at the final regular-season week of action in ESPNChicago.com's top 20.

Glenbrook South (7-1) at No. 1 Maine South (8-0)

Maine South Glenbrook South
When:Friday at 7 p.m.
The story: Maine South takes a 54-game Central Suburban South winning streak into this game. The Hawks’ last division loss was in 2000 to New Trier. Glenbrook South has often finished second to Maine South and is hopeful to change that this year. The Titans’ lone loss this season was to Stevenson early in the year. Glenbrook South has gone undefeated in conference and put up similar overall numbers to Maine South.
Glenbrook South player to watch: Fullback Kevin Schroeder has been key to the Titans’ offense.
Maine South player to watch: Running back Paul Preston has been stellar all season for the Hawks.
Prediction: Maine South 38, Glenbrook South 28

No. 2 Glenbard West (8-0) at Downers Grove North (2 6)

Downers Grove North Glenbard West
When:Friday at 7:30 p.m.
The story: Glenbard West has already clinched the West Suburban Silver title. The Hilltoppers have shut out their last two opponents. Downers Grove North is better than its record. The Trojans have been in every game this season, but just haven’t found a way over the hump.
Glenbard West player to watch: Senior offensive lineman Johnny Caspers recently committed to Stanford.
Downers Grove North player to watch: Quarterback Riley McGinnis has a big arm.
Prediction: Glenbard West 31, Downers Grove North 7

No. 3 Lincoln-Way East (8-0) at Joliet West (2-6)

Joliet West Lincoln-Way East
When:Saturday at 12 p.m.
The story: Lincoln-Way East should close out its Southwest Suburban Blue title run with an easy win. The Griffins had no trouble last week and beat Joliet Central 42-0. Joliet West has won two conference games, but is coming off a 56-19 loss to Homewood-Flossmoor.
Lincoln-Way East player to watch: Defensive end Joel Magrum returned an interception for a touchdown last week.
Joliet West player to watch: Wide receiver Korey Rogers knows how to find holes in a secondary.
Prediction: Lincoln-Way East 42, Joliet West 7

No. 5 St. Rita (7-1) at No. 4 Loyola (8-0)

Loyola Academy St. Rita
When:Saturday at 1 p.m.
The story: The Catholic League Blue championship comes down to this game. Loyola has had St. Rita’s number for the past few years. A season ago, the Ramblers beat St. Rita on its home field and forced a three-way tie for the conference crown. Both teams have stellar defenses. It could be a game decided by a field goal or a lone touchdown.
St. Rita player to watch: Defensive back Ryan Leonard is a big hitter.
Loyola player to watch: Quarterback Malcolm Weaver got dinged up last week, but will be needed this week.
Prediction: Loyola 17, St. Rita 14

No. 6 Downers Grove South (8-0) at Addison Trail (7-1)

Addison Trail Downers Grove South
When:Friday at 7:30 p.m.
The story: Downers Grove South hasn’t been tested in the West Suburban Gold in recent years. That could change this week. Addison Trail has proven to be among the area’s top teams, especially with its defense. Its only loss was a narrow one to Glenbard West. Addison Trail will have to find a way to stop Josh Williams, who is approaching 2,000 yards for the season.
Downers Grove South player to watch: Defensive lineman Jeremy Ulrich had a sack and a fumble recovery in last week’s win.
Addison Trail player to watch: Anthony Messina had three touchdown runs in last week’s win.
Prediction: Downers Grove South 24, Addison Trail 10

Cary-Grove (6-2) at No. 7 Prairie Ridge (8-0)

Prairie Ridge Cary-Grove
When:Friday at 7:15 p.m.
The story: Prairie Ridge has been one of the state’s most dominant teams this season. The Wolves have out-scored their opponents 360-65 through eight weeks. Cary-Grove is out of the Fox Valley Valley title race, but it could spoil Prairie Ridge’s outright championship. The Trojans did upset Lake Zurich early in the season and possess one of the area’s top defenses.
Cary-Grove player to watch: Junior quarterback Quinn Baker has the Trojans’ option offense running smoothly.
Prairie Ridge player to watch: Corey Barcoft is one of the key players on the Wolves’ defense.
Prediction: Prairie Ridge 31, Cary-Grove 14

Lockport (6-2) at No. 8 Bolingbrook (7-1)

Bolingbrook Lockport
When:Friday at 7:30 p.m.
The story: Bolingbrook will likely have to settle for second place in one of the area’s toughest conferences. The Raiders have allowed only three points since losing to Lincoln-Way East. Lockport is headed to the playoffs, but hasn’t fared well against the top talent in the conference. The Porters lost to Homewood-Flossmoor and Lincoln-Way East by a combined 66 points.
Lockport player to watch: Dexter Taylor scored two rushing touchdowns in last week’s win over Sandburg.
Bolingbrook player to watch: Quarterback Aaron Bailey will be in consideration for ESPNChicago.com’s Offensive Player of the Year.
Prediction: Bolingbrook 35, Lockport 14

Providence (5-3) at No. 9 Mount Carmel (6-2)

Mount Carmel Providence
When:Friday at 7 p.m. at Gately Stadium
The story: Mount Carmel fell out of the Catholic League Blue race last week with a loss to rival St. Rita. The Caravan will be looking to get back on track against Providence. Mount Carmel’s offense has struggled in its defeats this season. Providence is 0-3 against conference opponents this season.
Providence player to watch: Running back Andrew Hoffmeister leads the Celtics’ offense.
Mount Carmel player to watch: Brandon Greer scored the Caravan’s lone touchdown last week against St. Riva.
Prediction: Mount Carmel 28, Providence 20

No. 10 Crete-Monee (8-0) at Rich East (6-2)

Rich East Crete-Monee
When:Saturday at 12 p.m.
The story: Crete-Monee can win the Southland title outright with a win over Rich East, which has one conference loss. Crete-Monee hasn’t scored less than 30 points in a game this season. Rich East has allowed more than 30 points just once. Something will have to give in this game.
Crete-Monee player to watch: Recruiting attention is picking up for wide receiver LaQuan Treadwell.
strong>Rich East player to watch: Running back Rondell Willingham has been key to the team’s offensive success this season.
Prediction: Crete-Monee 35, Rich East 20

Oak Forest (6-2) at No. 11 Lemont (8-0)

Lemont Oak Forest
When:Friday at 7 p.m.
The story: Lemont has already secured itself the South Suburban Blue title. The Indians have put together a memorable defensive season. They’ve allowed one opponent more than six points. Oak Forest should be another challenge. The Bengals have scored 40 or more points five times this season.
Oak Forest player to watch: Running back Tevin Coleman is one of the state’s best.
Lemont player to watch: Jake Lemming is among the Indians’ defensive playmakers.
Prediction: Lemont 31, Oak Forest 14

Streamwood (6-2) at No. 12 Batavia (8-0)

Batavia Streamwood
When:Friday at 7:30 p.m.
The story: Batavia can put the finishing touches on its Upstate Eight River title this week. The Bulldogs have held six opponent to seven points or less and are coming off back-to-back shutouts. Streamwood guaranteed itself a playoff spot with a win last week. It’ll be the Sabres’ first playoff appearance since 2002.
Streamwood player to watch: Running back Alex Morrow rushed for 228 yards in last week’s win.
Batavia player to watch: Quarterback Noel Gaspari has been among the area’s best this season.
Prediction: Batavia 42, Streamwood 14

St. Viator (2-6) at No. 13 Nazareth (7-1)

Nazareth Nazareth
When:Saturday at 1 p.m.
The story: Nazareth will earn a share of the East Suburban Catholic title with a victory over St. Viator. The Roadrunners’ offense and defense have been clicking the past few weeks and out-scored their last two opponents 86-19. St. Viator’s defense has struggled this season, but did shut out Benet in a 28-0 win last week.
St. Viator player to watch: John Balas had four receptions for 129 yards and two touchdown in last week’s win.
Nazareth player to watch: Joshua Moore has been having some remarkable rushing performances.
Prediction: Nazareth 42, St. Viator 14

No. 14 Joliet Catholic (7-1) at Marist (6-2)

Marist Joliet Catholic
When:Friday at 7:30 p.m.
The story: There’s a good chance that this could be a high-scoring affair. Marist put up 64 points in last week’s win over Carmel. Joliet Catholic is among the state’s offensive leaders with 376 points this season. The winner will get at least a share of the East Suburban Catholic title.
Joliet Catholic player to watch: Defensive back Brody Wilhelmi blocked a punt last week.
Marist player to watch: Ian Woodworth threw eight touchdowns in last week’s win.
Prediction: Joliet Catholic 49, Marist 42

No. 15 Wheaton North (7-1) at Wheaton Warrenville South (5-3)

Wheaton Warrenville South Wheaton North
When:Friday at 7:30 p.m.
The story: Wheaton North can win the DuPage Valley outright with a win over Wheaton Warrenville South. The Falcons haven’t done much against Wheaton Warrenville South in recent years. Their last win over the Tigers came in 2002. Last year, Wheaton Warrenville South beat them twice. The Tigers are riding a four-game winning streak since their early struggles.
Wheaton North player to watch: Running back Patrick Sharp gives the Falcons a balanced offensive attack.
Wheaton Warrenville South player to watch: Running back Dan Vitale is one of the area’s most versatile players.
Prediction: Wheaton North 17, Wheaton Warrenville South 14

Wheaton Academy (1-7) at No. 16 Montini (6-2)

Montini Wheaton Academy
When:Friday at 7:30 p.m.
The story: Montini’s offense has been scary lately. Last week, the Broncos put up 75 points. Two weeks ago, they scored 59 points. They should have another big offensive day against Wheaton Academy. The Warriors lost 42-0 to Aurora Central Catholic last week.
Wheaton Academy player to watch: Isaiah Rosas is an offensive threat for the Warriors.
Montini player to watch: Wide receiver Jordan Westerkamp is in the running for ESPNChicago.com Player of the Year.
Prediction: Montini 49, Wheaton Academy 0

Conant (6-2) at No. 17 Palatine (7-1)

Palatine Conant
When:Friday at 7:30 p.m.
The story: Palatine can win the Mid-Suburban League West outright with a win over Conant. Aside from a narrow win over Schaumburg, the Pirates have been dominant against conference competition. Conant should be up for the test. The Cougars are playoff bound and their two losses came by a combined five points.
Conant player to watch: Tim Manckzo is the Cougars’ premier offensive weapon.
Palatine player to watch: Linebacker Kurt Becker is playmaker on defense.
Prediction: Palatine 28, Conant 17

Grayslake Central (7-1) at No. 18 Crystal Lake South (7-1)

Crystal Lake South Grayslake Central
When:Friday at 7:15 p.m.
The story: This could be an interesting Fox Valley crossover game. Crystal Lake South has proven itself throughout the season and will be favored. The Gators are one of the area’s top defensive teams and have allowed only one opponent more than 12 points this season. Grayslake Central has the same record, but hasn’t played the same level of competition. This will be a chance for the Rams to earn some respect.
Grayslake Central player to watch: Joel Valdivia was unstoppable last week. He rushed for 365 yards and six touchdowns against rival Grayslake North.
Crystal Lake South player to watch: Reese Dziedzic rushed for two touchdowns in last week’s win over Jacobs.
Prediction: Crystal Lake South 20, Grayslake Central 10

No. 19 Marian Central (8-0) at Marmion (5-3)

When:Friday at 7:30 p.m.
The story: Marian Central will take the Suburban Christian Blue with a win. The Hurricanes have proven themselves with narrow wins over Montini and Oswego this season, and they’ve dominated everyone else. Marmion has been up and down this season after reaching the Class 6A title game last year. It defense has been its strength and will need to be again against Marian Central. The Hurricanes have scored 40-plus points in their last four games.
Marian Central player to watch: Quarterback Chris Streveler has been consistent throughout the season.
Marmion player to watch: Running back Jake Ruddy is a threat to run or catch the ball out of the backfield.
Prediction: Marian Central 24, Marmion 14

Kaneland (8-0) at No. 20 Morris (8-0)

Morris Kaneland
When:Friday at 7:30 p.m.
The story: This game will decide the Northern Big 12 East championship. Both teams have been dominant most of the season. Morris’ defense has probably been slightly better than Kaneland’s, and Kaneland’s offense probably has the edge between the two teams. They both were tested last week and prevailed. Kaneland rolled in last year’s meeting, winning 47-7. There isn’t much separating the two teams this season.
Kaneland player to watch: Wide receiver Quinn Buschbacher scored five touchdowns in a game earlier this season.
Morris player to watch: Quarterback Austin Feeney was the difference in last week’s 14-10 win over Rochelle. He scored on a 58-yard run to give his team the lead.
Prediction: Morris 28, Kaneland 24

Prep football rankings: Montini on rise

October, 16, 2011
Maine South and Glenbard West continue to hold the top two spots, but No. 16 Montini is on the rise.

Scott Powers' rankings

POTW: Downers South's Josh Williams

October, 14, 2011
Downers Grove South senior running back Josh Williams is constantly dealing with questions about his size and his recruitment.

At 5-foot-9 and 195 pounds, Williams isn’t the biggest of backs. But when it comes to production, there haven’t been many better in the state this season. He’s rushed for 1,642 yards and 24 touchdowns, averaging more than 10 yards a carry in seven games.

Despite those numbers, it appears his physical measurements have mattered most to colleges. FBS and FCS schools haven’t come calling, and Division III schools are his best options at this point.

While those are the topics he’s asked about most, they’ve rarely been on Williams’ mind otherwise this season. After missing the bulk of the last two seasons due to ankle injuries, he’s having so much fun just being on the field and winning that the rest seems trivial to him.

[+] EnlargeJosh Williams
Scott Powers/ESPNChicago.comDowners Grove South's Josh Williams has rushed for 1,642 yards and 24 touchdowns in seven games this season.
“I’m enjoying it so much,” said Williams, who is the ESPNChicago.com Player of the Week. “It’s been so much fun with my teammates. It’s so much fun to be able to do what we’re doing, being 7-0. It’s fun being with great friends.

“I’m being very patient [with recruiting.] That’s important in this process. Some people want to give up. If I wait it out, continue to stay strong and not worry about the end result, everything will work out.”

Much of Williams’ mental strength comes from his religious background. His father is a pastor, and he was taught to put his faith in God. It’s worked for him so far.

When Williams suffered ankle injuries as a sophomore and junior and had to sit out a total of nine games, he turned to God and found the guidance he needed.

“Having that faith, knowing everything would be good, it’s all a mindset for you to look past it or continue to dwell on it,” Williams said.

Williams focused on the future. Following his second ankle injury, he took the weight room and made sure both ankles were as strong as they could be to help prevent another setback.

Williams hasn’t dealt with any ankle problems this season. He’s been hitting holes, making cuts and breaking away from defenders as well as he ever has.

Downers Grove South coach John Belskis has been impressed.

“He cuts at a speed I don’t think a lot of running backs have,” Belskis said. “I’m dating myself, but running back Lydell Mitchell from the Colts said he wasn’t the fastest back in the league, but he was the same speed in every direction. Josh is 4.5 ahead, 4.5 to the side, 4.5 backward. You can’t get a solid hit on him. He also has the ability to run over you. He’s an explosive, power back.”
Williams’ older brother Scottie also starred at Downers Grove South and was under-recruited. He is now a junior running back at Elmhurst College and has rushed for 651 yards in five games this season.

Belskis was sure Williams could play college football. He just wasn’t positive at what level yet.

“We’ll find out that soon enough,” Belskis said. “There’s a coach who is going to be awfully happy to have him. He probably doesn’t know that yet.”

Williams’ numbers are undeniable. He ran for 336 yards and three touchdowns in the season opener against South Elgin. He ran for 282 yards and six touchdowns on 12 carries against Leyden. He went for 200-plus yards against Downers Grove North and Proviso East.

Williams is pleased with his season, but he’s nowhere close to being satisfied.

“I do feel as if I showcased some of my ability,” Williams said. “You can never become content. That allows a player to become lazy and not achieve higher goals. That’s one thing I’ve focused on. I want to continue to do great things.”

Coaches roundtable: Why that offense?

October, 11, 2011
Each week all of the coaches in ESPNChicago.com top 20 poll are presented a question. This week’s Coaches Roundtable question: What type of offense do you run and why?

  • Crete-Monee coach Jerry Verde: We have run a variation of the spread here at CMHS for the last five years. It best suits our talents.

  • St. Rita coach Todd Kuska: We run a multi-faceted offense. We are a base pro team that will use some spread -- four wide receiver packages -- at times to give some different looks. We believe in the pro-style offense as it allows us to use all of our weapons (running back, fullback, tight end, wide receiver). The spread package allows us to do just that, spread out the defense and find the weaknesses.

  • Lemont coach Eric Michaelsen: Power running/play action. It fits our personnel and philosophy of moving the chains and keeping the other team's offense off the field.

  • Wheaton North coach Joe Wardynski: We run the pistol offense at Wheaton North High School. This type of offense was selected because it matches the skills of the kids that we currently have. The other reason that our offensive coordinator likes the pistol is that it is slightly different than your traditional spread offense and defenses don't see it quite as often throughout the year.

  • Downers Grove South coach John Belskis: We run primarily a pro-style offense but infuse some spread plays, as well. We chose it because we feel that it allows us enough balance to accommodate the wide range of talent we get from year to year.

  • Lake Zurich coach Bryan Stortz: We have evolved over the years using a hybrid wing-t concept in combination with spread principles. We have utilized formations and motions to gain numbers advantages, misdirection, double teams and reads by the quarterback to build our offense. We have tried to limit the number of skill sets that each position must master in order to execute successfully. We believe that this philosophy provides the best opportunity to run the football effectively and integrate a complimentary passing game. We have felt that the concepts have fit our personnel and can be tailored to each team's specific talents.

  • Antioch coach Brian Glashagel: We are a triple-option team (Georgia Tech, Navy, Air Force, etc.). We feel this gives us the best chance to compete. In the option, we can run the ball against any defense and really put pressure on the defense to cover all three of the phases. We don't have to block everyone on the defense, and we are also out flanking you at the point of attack. Mix in a counter game, short passing and play-action passing game and you have our offense. We do not have a lot of plays, but rather change some formations for even more advantages.

  • Glenbard West coach Chad Hetlet: Double wing jet offense. It has allowed us to do many things from pound the ball to throwing it all over. The misdirection element has been vital as well.
    Batavia coach Dennis Piron: We have traditionally run a pro I attack, but this year run more I out of the shotgun. We also mix in one-back misdirection with spread concepts.

  • Bolingbrook coach John Ivlow: We run option football. No one runs it anymore, and we struggle to find offensive linemen every year!

  • Prairie Ridge coach Chris Schremp: Prairie Ridge runs double-wing option similar to what you see Georgia Tech or Navy. The main reason we run the option is week after week it gives our linemen a chance to be successful. In our schemes, our linemen do not have to block a defender on the line on his own -- we can double team or “read” any D-lineman we choose. Another reason we run the option is we always feel we can find a good athlete to execute our option. Sometimes it is extremely hard to find a QB that can drop back and throw the ball, but we feel we can always find a good athlete and coach him up to run our option.

  • Nazareth coach Tim Racki: I have always run a pro-style/spread offense. It is very easy to adapt to whatever personnel you may have in any given year. This is great for various personnel groupings as well. It also allows you to be much more balanced.

  • Carmel coach Andy Bitto: We run triple option. In our league, we do not always have the biggest group of kids, but we traditionally have quick and smart kids. Therefore, we are able to run our offense without blocking two of the opponent’s best players. We have averaged over 30 points a game for the last 12 years and have won about 80 percent of them.