It’s kind of a sad day when you hear that a school, Luther North, voted not to finish its season.
Sure, the numbers are down and the team was winless.
But St. Joseph went for years with a win and didn’t vote to shut down.
Maine East has not won a game since 2004 and didn’t vote to shut down.
Aurora Christian has its senior night scheduled for Friday against Luther North. And its quarterback, Jordan Roberts needed just 101 passing yards to become the state’s all-time leader.
Sure, Roberts will get his record. But the Eagles play Wheaton Academy at West Chicago, so he won’t have a chance to set the mark at home.
And Aurora Christian will open the playoffs at home, so the seniors will still get their due.
TEAMS I’D CHOOSE TO AVOID: With the playoffs set to start in less than two weeks, I thought I’d take a look at five teams I wouldn’t want to meet up with early in the state series. My picks:
1. Palatine — The Pirates have some guys back that were missing in early season losses to Lake Forest and Conant. After back-to-back upset wins over Fremd and Barrington, this is a dangerous team.
2. Brother Rice — I can’t possibly sort out the ups and downs for the five teams in the Catholic League Blue, but Crusaders’ QS Tom Gibson makes big plays and with a decent draw, this team could go a long way.
3. Morgan Park — It was a difficult week for coach Lexie Spurlock, with the tragic death of his step-daughter in a motorcycle accident. The first three weeks, the Mustangs played Brother Rice, Richards and Bolingbrook for a reason. The reason was to prepare for the postseason.
4. The Wheaton Warrenville South-Naperville North loser — Last year, WW South won on a two-point conversion in triple overtime. But by the end of Thanksgiving weekend, it was the Huskies who won a state title. I still believe that the Week 9 loss took some pressure off.
5. Lincoln-Way East — Turnovers killed the Griffins against Bolingbrook. But the Griffins have never missed the state playoffs under coach Rob Zvonar. And I wouldn’t expect them to beat themselves again.
WEEK 9 VENUES: The first American football game at Toyota Park is on tap Friday night when Fenwick faces De La Salle. It is the second “home” night game for the Friars. The first was homecoming at Morton West.
And Mount Carmel will play Hales Franciscan at its school on Friday afternoon.
Here’s a look at this week’s Super 25:
1 MAINE SOUTH (8-0) 1
At Niles West on Saturday
The Hawks’ offense, led by QS Charlie Goro, RB Matt Perez, WR Joey Orlando and an improving line, is going to put up points no matter what the weather is like, but it will be the defense that will determine the team’s fate.
2 NAPERVILLE NORTH (8-0) 2
Hosts No. 3 WW South on Friday
Pat Waite, Nick Mlady and Co. brace for the DuPage Valley title game, but both teams will host playoff openers and be among the favorites, the Huskies to repeat in 8A and the Tigers in 7A.
3 WHEATON WARRENVILLE SOUTH (8-0) 3
At No. 2 Naperville North on Friday
This isn’t the same team that barely survived its opener at Hinsdale Central. There is some help back on defense, but sometime, perhaps Friday, RB Peter Jarrett will be missed.
4 BOLINGBROOK (8-0) 4
At Lockport on Friday
The conference title is secure. Now, coach John Ivlow’s Raiders are tuning up for the Class 8A playoffs. The Brook is dreaming of an never before done trifecta — state titles in football as well as boys and girls basketball.
5 GLENBARD WEST (8-0) 5
At No. 8 Hinsdale Central on Friday
Chris Watt said his goal is to return from an ankle injury and play in the West Suburban Silver championship game Friday at Hinsdale Central.
6 GENEVA (8-0) 6
Hosts Batavia on Friday
From what I’ve seen, Geneva-Batavia is easily one of the three or four best rivalries in Chicago area high school sports. The Vikings have been blasting everyone its its way. But this game is always a war. RB Michael Ratay has 26 TDs and the defense has been outstanding.
7 BARTLETT (8-0) 8
At East Aurora on Friday
The Hawks and QS Josh Hasenberg should coast to the school’s first unbeaten Upstate Eight varsity football title. How far this teams can go in the Class 8A playoffs could depend on its defense and special teams.
8 HINSDALE CENTRAL (7-1) 9
Hosts No. 5 Glenbard West on Friday
QS John Whitelaw has been spectacular at times. One of those times was Saturday when he passed for 237 yards and ran for 144 more. Both teams could go a long way in the state playoffs, Hinsdale in Class 8A and the Hilltoppers in 7A.
9 LINCOLN-WAY EAST (7-1) 10
Hosts Sandburg on Friday
Joliet felt the wrath of the Griffins, who bounced back with an exclamation point from a loss at Bolingbrook. It was 42-0 at halftime.
10 GLENBROOK SOUTH (7-1) 11
At New Trier on Friday
Both the Titans and New Trier had second-half leads against Maine South before falling. Something to watch is New Trier’s history of success against Glenbrook South. The running game with Mike Hirsch and Michael Schroeder is solid, but QS Ryan Hopkins’ arm will be a key.
11 ST. RITA (7-1) 12
Hosts Hope Academy on Friday
For the first time all year the Mustangs face an opponent with a better record. What will be interesting is seeing Class 1A Hope Academy, which I needed to Google to locate, in the playoffs against the smallest schools in the state.
12 MOUNT CARMEL (6-2) 13
Hosts Hales Franciscan on Friday
A lot of people wrote off the Caravan after back-to-back losses at Providence and St. Rita. But Jordan Lynch and Co. has made a lot of strides. Friday will mark the first varsity game played on campus for a school that opened in 1900.
13 BROTHER RICE (6-2) 14
Hosts Guerin on Friday
QS Tom Gibson and RB Frank Renardo make the Crusaders a team that not a whole lot of people are going to want to see in the state playoffs. Turnovers were costly at St. Rita. The Brother Rice freshmen knocked off St. Rita Saturday to win the Catholic League Blue title.
14 LOYOLA (6-2) 15
Gordon Tech Friday at North Park
If the team that dominated St. Rita shows up for the state playoffs, look out. The Ramblers have size, speed and play makers on both sides of the line.
15 CARMEL (7-1) 16
At No. 24 Nazareth on Friday
The Corsairs have crushed all comers since losing in the rain at Marist. But its win over Joliet Catholic in Week 1 was a nonconference game so this one is for second place in the East Suburban Catholic.
16 CARY-GROVE (8-0) 17
At McHenry on Friday
Trojans own the Fox Valley and should wrap up another unbeaten conference slate on Friday. The question is whether this team is good enough for a return trip to Champaign in Class 7A. A guess is that it could be.
17 THORNTON (7-1) 7
Hosts Bloom on Saturday
The athletically gifted Wildcats can cause people headaches. Dante Tolbert has come on and usually finds his way to the end zone.
18 JOLIET CATHOLIC (6-2) 19
At Notre Dame on Friday
Figure the Hilltoppers for Class 6A in the playoffs. An 0-2 start against Carmel and Wheaton Warrenville South was a long time ago. Tyler Hudetz and Co. have confidence heading to the playoffs.
19 GLENBARD NORTH (5-3) 20
At West Aurora on Friday
The Panthers losses were to teams that are 24-0. Tyler Doll makes big plays, and smart ones, for a team that showed a year ago that it can hits its stride in the postseason.
20 LEMONT (8-0) 21
At Bremen on Friday
With major graduation losses, a lot of people wrote this team off after an appearance in last year’s Class 6A title game. That was a mistake. The Indians are 8-0 for the first time in school history and a second consecutive trip to Champaign could happen.
21 WARREN (7-1) 22
At Round Lake on Friday
The North Suburban Lake champion’s only blemish was a loss to top-rated Maine South. Leonard Brady was a keyon defense. The offense burried Stevenson in the second half.
22 ANTIOCH (8-0) 25
Hosts Lakes on Friday
Has a team ever gone from 0-9 to 9-0 in two years? The Sequoits can with a win on Friday night. Coach Brian Glashagel was honored as the Chicago Bears coach of the week.
23 MONTINI (8-0) NR
Hosts Driscoll on Saturday
Showdown Saturday in the Suburban Catholic as Montini tries to finish an unbeaten regular season. Last year, both teams were unbeaten when they met and the Highlanders won and went on to a state title. But that game was in Addison.
24 NAZARETH (7-1) NR
Hosts No. 15 Carmel on Saturday
Tim Racki’s Roadrunners can make a big statement that they have made it to the top echelon in the East Suburban Catholic as both teams tune up for the postseason.
25 HUNTLEY (8-0) NR
At Johnsburg on Friday
The Red Raiders are in the Super 25 for the first time after a field goal by Tor Larkin — his first of the season — capped a come-from-behind win against Prairie Ridge..
On the bubble: Naperville Central, Robeson, Palatine, Driscoll, Fremd,
Plainfield Central, Prospect, Downers Grove South, Morgan Park, St. Francis, Lane