Lightfoot reaches out to Simeon

Mayor Lori Lightfoot called Simeon football coach Dante Culbreath on Friday night.

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(From left) Corderro Williams, Ronald Haggins and George Robinson, seniors at Simeon who play football, pose for a photo with other students outside Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s office at City Hall.

(From left) Corderro Williams, Ronald Haggins and George Robinson, seniors at Simeon who play football, pose for a photo with other students outside Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s office at City Hall.

Ashlee Rezin Garcia/Sun-Times

Mayor Lori Lightfoot didn’t let Friday pass by without reaching out to Simeon football coach Dante Culbreath. 

A group of 30 Chicago Public Schools athletes and students, led by Simeon football players, went to City Hall hoping to speak with Lightfoot on Friday. They wanted to voice their frustration over the impact of the Chicago Teachers Union strike. 

Lightfoot wasn’t in the building. But she called Culbreath on Friday night. 

“She said she hates that she missed them when they came down,” Culbreath said. “She promised me they are working diligently to get the situation resolved.”

The Illinois High School Association allowed Public League teams to be seeded in the state playoffs on Saturday, but the strike must end by Wednesday or the teams will be forced to forfeit the first round games. IHSA bylaws require three days of practice before a game. 

Nineteen Public League teams made the state playoffs. Taft and Curie are both in Class 8A. Phillips in in Class 7A and Simeon, Kenwood, Mather and Morgan Park are in 6A. 

The Wolverines will host Lakes in the first round and could play perennial powerhouse Prairie Ridge, a No. 1 seed, in the second round. Cary-Grove would be waiting in the quarterfinals. 

“We have to go through the teams that won the 6A championship the last few years just to get to the championship,” Culbreath said. “I’m sure the kids will be excited about that.”

The Wolverines, a No. 8 seed, wouldn’t play East St. Louis, regarded as the best team in the state regardless of class, until the title game. 

Bracket talk

The Class 8A bracket is extremely bottom heavy. Loyola lost to Marist on Saturday, which dropped the Ramblers down to an 18-seed and set up a tough first round matchup at Maine South. The winner of that game will likely face Glenbard West in the second round.

Phillips first time in the Class 7A field should be interesting. The Wildcats have a challenging first round game against Lincoln-Way West. It’s hard not to look ahead to a possible Mount Carmel vs. Phillips matchup in the quarterfinals. That would be an incredible high school football event for the city. 

If the seeds hold that game would be held at the Caravan’s intimate home field. 

“We are focused on Lincoln-Way West right now,” Phillips coach Troy McAllister said. “That’s a football community, the type of team you go up to Class 7A to play. But of course it is exciting to see Mount Carmel possibly sitting there in the quarterfinals.”

Strange things

Winning a conference gets a team into the playoffs. The Southwest Prairie split into two different conferences this season and it paid off. 

Joliet West, which won the Southwest Prairie East, gets into the playoffs even though it is just 4-5. UP-Bronzeville (4-5) won the Illini Heartland and is in the Class 4A field.

There was also some history made. Phoenix (3-4) won the Illini Second City conference and is in the Class 4A field. The Firebirds are the first team to ever make the playoffs with just three wins. 

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