Michael O’Brien’s Chicago-area Super 25 football rankings for Week 9

Oswego finally cracks the rankings and Prairie Ridge is back.

SHARE Michael O’Brien’s Chicago-area Super 25 football rankings for Week 9
Nazareth’s Alex Carrillo (5) runs the ball against Notre Dame.

Nazareth’s Alex Carrillo (5) runs the ball against Notre Dame.

Kirsten Stickney/For the Sun-Times

Just one week to go until the playoffs begin, so this seems like a good time to cut through some of the stuff and get into my opinions of the top teams.

Lincoln-Way East has held the top spot since Week 2. The Griffins have quality wins against Naperville Central, Bolingbrook and Homewood-Flossmoor. I’ve seen them play once, the win against the Vikings. They didn’t look anywhere near as good as last season’s team, but AJ Henning is a dominant force that is the difference in any game. He’s the reason I’ve kept Lincoln-Way East in the top spot.

Mount Carmel started the season at No. 14 and climbed up to No. 2 after beating Loyola in Week 4. The Caravan has also beaten Maine South, Montini and Marist. That’s a better resume than the Griffins have and Mount Carmel could clearly be No. 1. I’ve covered the Caravan twice. Quarterback Jordan Lynch is the kind of kid you trust with the game on the line and the defense isn’t flashy but it is extremely effective.

Nazareth began the season at No. 1 and dropped after the now-reversed loss to St. Louis Cardinal Ritter. I finally saw them play on Friday against Notre Dame. The Roadrunners are the team I thought they would be, just weapons all over the field. I flirted with the idea of moving them up to No. 1 today. The resume isn’t quite there though.

Edgy Tim wrote a story earlier this year highlighting how this was the year of good and not great teams. That’s exactly what I’ve seen as well. And that might be why Loyola is so dangerous. Last year there was a great team, Lincoln-Way East, and Ramblers coach John Holecek found a way to beat them with a team that was just average after two months of the season. This Loyola team is not average. Vaughn Pemberton, the junior running back, is a wrecking ball with speed. The Ramblers lost at Mount Carmel in a game that felt like it came down to whichever team had the ball last. And that was before Loyola had figured out its starting quarterback and running back situation. Don’t be surprised if Holecek wins the state title again.

Glenbard West and Neuqua Valley are the two other teams that should be discussed here. I don’t think the Hilltoppers have enough of a passing game to win the state title, but they will be a difficult out for any of the top teams. I’m super high on the Wildcats. Mark Gronowski is the type of quarterback that can win games on the ground or in the air. Neuqua Valley is capable of beating all the teams currently above them in the rankings.

Dropping out

St. Charles East (6-2): The Fighting Saints lost to Wheaton North. That’s after beating St. Charles North and Batavia. Was the DuKane a little overrated this year? Maybe.

IC Catholic (7-1): The 33-game winning streak is over. The Knights lost to St. Francis.

New additions

Prairie Ridge (7-1): Things are becoming a little clearer in the Fox Valley. The Wolves dominated Cary-Grove on Friday. That’ll get you in the Super 25.

Oswego (8-0): The Panther have been on the cusp for weeks. It’s always fun to put a team in right before a massive game. Oswego can prove it belongs by beating Minooka in Week 9.

Week 9’s Super 25
With record and last week’s ranking

1. Lincoln-Way East (8-0) 1
Friday vs. Lincoln-Way West

2. Mount Carmel (8-0) 2
Friday vs. Brother Rice

3. Nazareth (8-0) 3
Saturday at Benet

4. Loyola (6-2) 4
Saturday vs. Marist

5. Glenbard West (8-0) 5
Friday at Oak Park

6. Neuqua Valley (7-1) 6
Friday at Metea Valley

7. Homewood-Flossmoor (7-1) 7
Friday vs. Lincoln-Way Central

8. Warren (8-0) 9
Friday vs. Mundelein

9. Notre Dame (7-1) 8
Friday at St. Rita

10. Bolingbrook (6-2) 11
Friday vs. Andrew

11. Hinsdale Central (7-1) 10
Friday vs. Lyons

12. Maine South (6-2) 12
Friday at New Trier

13. Simeon (6-1) 13
Friday vs. Curie at Gately

14. Phillips (7-1) 14
Friday vs. Lincoln Park at Lane

15. Hillcrest (7-1) 17
Friday vs. TF North

16. Batavia (6-2) 16
Friday vs. Wheaton North

17. Minooka (8-0) 18
Friday at No. 25 Oswego

18. Richards (7-1) 19
Friday at Eisenhower

19. Hersey (8-0) 20
Friday vs. Rolling Meadows

20. Crete-Monee (8-0) 21
Friday vs. Thornridge

21. Providence (6-2) 22
Friday at Montini

22. Huntley (7-1) 23
Friday at Dundee-Crown

23. Willowbrook (7-1) 25
Friday at Proviso East

24. Prairie Ridge (7-1) NR
Friday vs. Crystal Lake South

25. Oswego (8-0) NR
Friday vs. No. 17 Minooka

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