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CPS sets record with 24 schools officially making the IHSA state football playoffs

Twenty-four Public League teams qualified for the state football playoffs on Saturday. 

Morgan Park’s Aaron Warren (0) cheers with his team after beating Simeon earlier this season.
Morgan Park’s Aaron Warren (0) cheers with his team after beating Simeon earlier this season.
Kirsten Stickney/For the Sun-Times

The pandemic was brutally hard on Public League football. Chicago Public Schools didn’t allow coaches to have contact days with their teams last year, which set many programs behind. Suburban and private schools had three months worth of practices. Then many Public League teams decided not to play in the spring season.

That definitely hurt the quality of football this season, but it turns out there is some light at the end of the tunnel. Twenty-four Public League teams qualified for the state playoffs on Saturday, a record. The Illinois High School Association announced the qualifying teams on Saturday afternoon. The full playoff pairings will be revealed later Saturday night.

The Public League has qualified 20 or more teams four other times since the IHSA expanded football to eight classes in 2001. The previous high for the Public League was 23 teams in 2018.

Phillips is the only team from the Public League that has won a state title. The Wildcats won Class 4A in 2015 and Class 5A in 2015.

Why did so many Public League teams qualify this season? It’s likely due to a number of factors. Many schools around the state have switched to 8-man football, freeing up spots in the IHSA’s 256-team playoff field. It was also a bit easier to gather the five necessary wins this season, with so many Public League teams forfeiting games and finishing winless.

How it happened isn’t as important as what the playoff experiences will do for the Public League programs. A playoff appearance, win or lose, is a shot in the arm for any team struggling to find its footing in the community. It will encourage the current players to work harder in the off season and likely lead to more players joining the teams next season.

Here’s the complete list of Public League teams that qualified for the IHSA state playoffs: Taft (8A), Young (7A), Mather (6A), Kennedy (6A), Simeon (6A), Amundsen (6A), Kenwood (6A), Bulls Prep (5A), Payton (5A), Morgan Park (5A), Brooks (5A), Goode (5A), Comer (5A), Bogan (4A), Sullivan (4A), Hyde Park (4A), Phillips (4A), Catalyst Maria (3A), Carver (3A), King (3A), Clark (3A), Julian (2A), North Lawndale (2A), Raby (1A).

Public League football teams that have qualified for state in the eight-class era

2019-20 (20 teams)

Taft (8A), Curie (8A), Phillips (7A), Lincoln Park (7A), Simeon (6A), Mather (6A), Kenwood (6A), Morgan Park (6A), Payton (5A), Hyde Park (5A), Amundsen (5A), Phoenix (4A), Ag. Science (4A), Clark (4A), UP-Bronzeville (4A), Sullivan (4A), Carver (3A), Harlan (3A), Dunbar (3A), Orr (2A).

2018-19 (23 teams)

Taft (8A), Simeon (7A), Lincoln Park (7A), Von Steuben (6A), Phillips (6A), Kenwood (6A), Payton (5A), Back of the Yards (5A), Phoenix (5A), Hyde Park (5A), Brooks (5A), Amundsen (5A), Raby (4A), UP-Bronzeville (4A), Sullivan (4A), Ag. Science (4A), Clemente (4A), Dunbar (3A), Clark (3A), UP-Englewood (3A), Harlan (2A), Collins (2A), Orr (1A).

2017-18 (19 teams)

Curie (8A), Lincoln Park (7A), Simeon (7A), Mather (6A), Hubbard (6A), Phillips (5A), Morgan Park (5A), Back of the Yards (5A), Solorio (5A), Westinghouse (5A), Lindblom (5A), Payton (5A), UP-Englewood (4A), Ag. Science (4A), Sullivan (4A), Raby (4A), UP-Bronzeville (4A), Orr (2A), Marshall (2A).

2016-17 (17 teams)

Curie (8A), Taft (8A), Lincoln Park (7A), Simeon (7A), Perspectives (6A), Hubbard (6A), Morgan Park (6A), Westinghouse (5A), Solorio (5A), Goode (5A), UP-Bronzeville (5A), Payton (5A), South Shore (4A), Phillips (4A), Corliss (3A), Marine (3A), Clark (3A).

2015-16 (17 teams)

Curie (8A), Lincoln Park (7A), Simeon (7A), Young (7A), Kenwood (6A), Hubbard (6A), Morgan Park (6A), Westinghouse (5A), Payton (5A), King (5A), DuSable (5A), Lindblom (5A), Solorio (5A), Phillips (4A), Raby (3A), Clark (3A), Douglass (1A).

2014-15 (17 teams)

Curie (8A), Taft (8A), Simeon (8A), Lincoln Park (7A), King (6A), Morgan Park (6A), North Lawndale (5A), UP-Englewood (5A), Westinghouse (5A), Solorio (5A), DuSable (5A), Payton (4A), Phillips (4A), Raby (3A), Harper (3A), Bowen (3A), Uplift (2A).

2013-14 (18 teams)

Lane (8A), Simeon (8A), Schurz (7A), Young (7A), Dunbar (7A), Hubbard (6A), Morgan Park (5A), UP-Englewood (5A), Brooks (5A), UP-Bronzeville (5A), UP-West (4A), Phillips (4A), King (4A), Payton (4A), North Lawndale (4A), Harper (3A), Raby (3A), Robeson (3A).

2012-13 (15 teams)

Simeon (8A), Hyde Park (7A), Lake View (7A), Foreman (7A), Steinmetz (7A), Perspectives (7A), Morgan Park (7A), Westinghouse (5A), King (5A), Voise-Austin (4A), Marshall (4A), Payton (4A), Brooks (4A), Harper (4A), Raby (3A).

2011-12 (20 teams)

Simeon (8A), Taft (8A), Dunbar (8A), Curie (8A), Morgan Park (6A), Hyde Park (6A), Hubbard (6A), Foreman (6A), Urban Prep (5A), King (5A), Robeson (5A), Julian (5A), Brooks (4A), Longwood (4A), Marshall (4A), Phillips (4A), Fenger (4A), Harper (4A), Payton (4A), Austin (2A).

2010-11 (21 teams)

Dunbar (8A), Young (8A), Curie (8A), Vocational (8A), Simeon (7A), Taft (7A), Morgan Park (6A), Hyde Park (6A), Robeson (6A), DuSable (6A), Hubbard (6A), King (5A), Harlan (5A), Orr (5A), Senn (5A), Julian (5A), Uplift (4A), Harper (4A), Collins (4A), Carver (4A), Longwood (4A).

2009-10 (16 teams)

Taft (8A), Simeon (8A), Curie (8A), Bogan (7A), Morgan Park (6A), Harlan (6A), Julian (6A), Mather (6A), King (6A), Robeson (6A), Hubbard (6A), Senn (5A), Orr (5A), Brooks (5A), Raby (4A), Dyett (4A).

2008-09 (13 teams)

Lane (8A), Curie (8A), Simeon (8A), Lincoln Park (7A), Steinmetz (7A), Morgan Park (6A), Harlan (6A), Hubbard (6A), Clark (5A), Marshall (5A), Robeson (5A), Harper (5A), Manley (5A).

2007-08 (10 teams)

Lane (8A), Young (8A), Curie (8A), Morgan Park (7A), King (6A), Hubbard (6A), Simeon (6A), Robeson (5A), Harper (5A), Manley (5A).

2006-07 (12 teams)

Lane (8A), Mather (7A), Vocational (7A), Morgan Park (7A), Dunbar (6A), Simeon (6A), Hubbard (6A), King (5A), Brooks (5A), Marshall (5A), Robeson (5A), Carver (5A).

2005-06 (13 teams)

Lane (8A), Curie (8A), Morgan Park (7A), Young (7A), Harper (6A), Robeson (6A), Dunbar (6A), Hubbard (6A), Simeon (6A), Corliss (5A), Westinghouse (5A), Crane (5A), Longwood (1A).

2004-05 (12 teams)

Lane (8A), Steinmetz (8A), Morgan Park (7A), Simeon (7A), Vocational (7A), Julian (6A), Harper (6A), Prosser (6A), Hubbard (6A), Austin (6A), Dunbar (6A), Crane (5A).

2003-04 (9 teams)

Lane (8A), Steinmetz (8A), Hubbard (7A), Morgan Park (7A), Harper (6A), Westinghouse (6A), Simeon (6A), Corliss (5A), Robeson (5A).

2002-03 (11 teams)

Lane (8A), Hubbard (7A), Young (7A), Dunbar (7A), Simeon (7A), Morgan Park (7A), Prosser (6A), Harper (6A), Julian (6A), Fenger (5A), Robeson (5A).

2001-02 (9 teams)

Curie (8A), Lane (8A), Dunbar (7A), Mather (7A), Morgan Park (7A), Simeon (6A), Harper (6A), Marshall (5A), Robeson (5A).