High-SchoolIllinois: Antonio Morrison

Morrison makes All-American team

December, 22, 2011
12/22/11
11:57
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The ESPNHS football All-American team has been announced, and Antonio Morrison was the only Illinois player selected.

Morrison, a senior linebacker at Bolingbrook, racked up 101 tackles this season while leading the Raiders to the Class 8A state championship. Morrison will graduate early in January so he can get started on his college career at Florida.

To see the rest of the ESPNHS All-American team, click here.

Football championship games set

November, 21, 2011
11/21/11
11:40
AM ET
It's been a long season in IHSA football. Some teams have been declared dead (Wheaton Warrenville South), only to come back to life. Some players have exploded and become stars (Aaron Bailey). Some stars have gone down with injuries (Antonio Morrison). Some stars have become legends by breaking records (Jordan Westerkamp). There have been upsets (Stevenson over Maine South) and perfect seasons (Loyola — so far). And now it's time for the survivors to play one more game.

State championship matchups were locked in over the weekend, as an exciting semifinal round produced some very intriguing title games.

Class 8A

Bolingbrook needed a late touchdown run from junior quarterback Aaron Bailey to finish off Naperville Central, 22-19. Bailey ran 27 times on the game for 183 yards, and he'll need another performance like that if the Raiders are going to topple Loyola in the 8A title game. Loyola fell behind Glenbard North, 13-0, before scoring the next four touchdowns and rolling, 28-13. One storyline to watch this week will be the status of Bolingbrook linebacker Antonio Morrison. The Florida-bound senior missed the semifinal game with a broken foot, but he's hoping to be ready to take on Loyola.

Class 7A

Wheaton Warrenville South hasn't quite finished it off yet, but the Tigers are on the verge of winning a third consecutive state championship. And this would be the most unlikely of the three, by far. The Tigers lost three of their first four games this season, but they're playing like one of the best teams in the state right now. Even down to their third-string quarterback, WWS was able to edge past St. Rita, 21-4, in the semifinals. Up next is Boylan, which is also looking to repeat as state champion — the NICKNAMES won the 6A title last year.

I'll be taking a look at the other state championship matchups throughout the day, with more analysis coming during the week. Keep checking back here for more, and follow me on Twitter (@ESPNHSGrimala) for the latest updates.

Football quarterfinal picks: 8A

November, 11, 2011
11/11/11
10:12
AM ET
Quick picks today, looking at the Class 8A quarterfinals. After last week's rush of upsets, it's hard to discern who has the upper hand in many of these matchups. But they pay me to make predictions (and clean out the keyboards), so here we go.

Playoff picks: 8A quarterfinals

Class 8A

Lyons (7-4) at Loyola (11-0)
Saturday, 12 p.m.
No team has had it as easy as Loyola in the first two rounds, as the top-seeded Ramblers have outscored Evanston and then Dunbar by a combined score of 64-0. As much as it scares me after last week's upsets, I'm going with Loyola here. This looks like the team to beat in 8A now.
LOYOLA 35, LYONS 6

Stevenson (9-2) at Glenbard North (8-3)
Saturday, 3 p.m.
I'm all in on Stevenson after I called them a pretender last week, only to see them go out and beat No. 1 Maine South. And Glenbard North is a good matchup for the Patriots. North likes to pound the ball, but Stevenson senior linebacker Carl Miller is playing out of his mind right now.
STEVENSON 22, GLENBARD NORTH 10

Homewood-Flossmoor (8-3) at Naperville Central (8-3)
Friday, 7 p.m.
The Naperville Central defense has been outstanding all season, and they face a unique challenge this week in 6-foot-7 Homewood-Flossmoor quarterback Tim Williams. But I think senior defensive end Zach Borta has a big game and Central moves on to the semifinals.
NAPERVILLE CENTRAL 17, HOMEWOOD-FLOSSMOOR 13

Downers Grove South (10-1) at Bolingbrook (10-1)
Saturday, 6 p.m.
Bolingbrook has two superstars in key spots — senior linebacker Antonio Morrison and junior quarterback Aaron Bailey. They made enough plays to beat Mount Carmel 21-7 last week, and I think they'll do it again on Saturday. Bailey is quickly becoming a favorite of this blog.
BOLINGBROOK 28, DOWNERS GROVE SOUTH 18

Did I make a bad call? Let me know on Twitter (@ESPNHSGrimala).

Week 8 football picks

October, 13, 2011
10/13/11
1:53
PM ET
Ok guys, here are the football picks for Week 9. You won't see No. 6 Mount Carmel at No. 5 St. Rita listed below, and that's because I'm saving that particular preview/prediction for tomorrow so we can go a little more in-depth with it.

Week 8 Picks

No. 1 Maine South (7-0) at Waukegan (3-4)
Saturday, 1:30 p.m.
At this point, Maine South is just tuning up.
MAINE SOUTH 49, WAUKEGAN 6

York (5-2) at Glenbard West (7-0)
Saturday, 1 p.m.
York is a team that can actually put some pressure on the Glenbard West defense.
GLENBARD WEST 22, YORK 10

Joliet Central (0-7) at No. 3 Lincoln-Way East (7-0)
Friday, 7:30 p.m.
LWE's passing attack should have this game out of reach by the middle of the second quarter.
LINCOLN-WAY EAST 44, JOLIET CENTRAL 0

No. 4 Loyola (7-0) at Brother Rice (5-2)
Friday, 7:30 p.m.
I think the Walker "brothers" keep this one close to the end.
LOYOLA 24, BROTHER RICE 22

Hinsdale South (4-3) at No. 7 Downers Grove South (7-0)
Friday, 7:30 p.m.
Hinsdale South is improving, but Downers Grove South is just more cohesive right now.
DOWNERS GROVE SOUTH 31, HINSDALE SOUTH 13

McHenry (3-4) at No. 8 Prairie Ridge (7-0)
Friday, 7 p.m.
After last week's comeback against Jacobs, Prairie Ridge has the look of a champion. And champions don't lose this game.
PRAIRIE RIDGE 48, MCHENRY 12

No. 9 Bolingbrook (6-1) at Lincoln-Way Central (1-6)
Friday, 7:30 p.m.
The Bolingbrook defense is for real. Senior LB Antonio Morrison is a beast. That's enough to win this one.
BOLINGBROOK 29, LINCOLN-WAY CENTRAL 8

Rich South (3-4) at No. 10 Crete-Monee (7-0)
Friday, 6 p.m.
I think Crete-Monee opens up the offense early and runs away by halftime.
CRETE-MONEE 41, RICH SOUTH 15

Think you could make better picks? Hit me on Twitter (@ESPNHSGrimala) and let me know what I got wrong.

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