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Four Downs: News, notes and observations from Week 11

Loyola is on Lincoln-Way East’s mind, one Public League survivor and more.

Lincoln-Way East’s Sean McLaughlin (80) rushes Notre Dame’s quarterback.
Lincoln-Way East’s Sean McLaughlin (80) rushes Notre Dame’s quarterback.
Allen Cunningham/For the Sun-Times

Lincoln-Way East defensive end Sean McLaughlin is as good a quote as he is a football player, so reporters tend to flock to the Northwestern recruit after games.

McLaughlin patiently answered every question after the top-ranked Griffins beat Notre Dame on Saturday. But then he had one of his own: “Do you guys know the score of the Loyola game by chance?”

Next up in the media scrum was Lincoln-Way East coach Rob Zvonar, who answered questions for about four minutes and then inquired about Loyola.

It’s safe to say the Ramblers are living rent-free in some minds in Frankfort.

That is understandable after last season. The Griffins, by all accounts, were one of the best teams in recent memory and Loyola stunned them in the Class 8A state semifinals.

The teams have to get through one more round before possibly meeting in the semifinals again this season. Loyola hosts Marist in the Class 8A quarterfinals and Lincoln-Way East hosts Homewood-Flossmoor.

One Public League survivor

There isn’t a football team in the state that underestimates the Fox Valley conference these days. Prairie Ridge and Cary-Grove have dominated Class 6A for several seasons and Huntley is a consistent playoff team in Class 8A.

Simeon coach Dante Culbreath knew his team had its work cut out for it up in Prairie Ridge, but it is unlikely he imagined things going so badly so quickly.

The Wolverines lost to the Wolves 49-0 and trailed 21-0 in the first quarter. Simeon was limited to 79 yards of offense.

Kenwood lost 28-13 in Deerfield. The Broncos were competitive, but couldn’t pull of the win on the road. Only one road team, East St. Louis, won in the second round in Class 8A through 6A.

Coach Sinque Turner clearly has Kenwood on the right track. He’s 19-10 in three years and has won eight games the last two seasons.

Phillips knocked off Normal, setting up a massive Class 7A quarterfinal showdown at Mount Carmel at 1 p.m. on Saturday.

Signal callers

It isn’t a strong year at quarterback in the area. Forget about big-time college prospects, there aren’t even a lot of good high school players.

There is one in Willowbrook. Senior Sam Tumilty has been terrific all season and led the Warriors into the Class 7A quarterfinals with a win against Yorkville in the second round.

Tumilty passed for 314 yards and two touchdowns and had 25 carries for 136 yards and two touchdowns.

The Warriors will travel to Lake Zurich for the Class 7A quarterfinals.

Minooka props

Minooka began the season ranked No. 20, is undefeated and barely moved up in the rankings at all over the past 11 weeks.

The Southwest Prairie conference is difficult to decipher. Every team in the conference only plays conference games. It is a closed world and there is no reliable way to judge the teams.

That changed this week. The Indians beat Edwardsville 34-17 and Oswego gave Bolingbrook a battle, losing 31-30 in two overtimes.

Minooka, now all the way up to No. 7 in the Super 25, is at Brother Rice in the quarterfinals.