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Four Downs: News and notes from Week 9 in high school football

Why doesn’t Jack Lausch have a scholarship? Mid-Suburban League questions, Naperville’s stellar season and Fenwick doubters.

Brother Rice’s Jack Lausch (8) throws a pass in the end zone to for the two-point conversion against Marist.
Brother Rice’s Jack Lausch (8) throws a pass in the end zone to for the two-point conversion against Marist.
Kirsten Stickney/For the Sun-Times

The Player of the Year race is always in the back of my mind. Decisions must be made.

Brother Rice quarterback Jack Lausch started to make a case for himself in the Crusaders’ wild loss to Loyola. He was spectacular in a loss to Joliet Catholic a few weeks later.

But those were losses and losing games doesn’t win awards. So Brother Rice’s win at Marist on Friday was a major step forward for Lausch’s candidacy. He was explosive on the air and the ground.

Lausch opened the third quarter with a 70-yard touchdown run and had 19 carries for 164 yards and three touchdowns. Lausch was 14-of-18 passing for 189 yards and one touchdown. He connected with seven different receivers.

“Jack Lausch has all the intangibles,” Brother Rice coach Brian Badke said. “He is the player of the year, I don’t think there is any question. Obviously I’m biased and I haven’t seen everybody. But there is no one better as a leader. He’s the guy. What he does running and throwing the ball is incredible. If you are open he is going to get it to you.”

Lausch is currently planning to attend Notre Dame and play football and baseball. He’s a preferred walk-on with the football team. Cole Kmet and Jeff Samardzija recently excelled in both sports for the Fighting Irish.

“[Lausch] is special,” Badke said. “For him not to have a full Division I football scholarship right now, that’s ridiculous. I know it has to do with the pandemic and everything but he’s by far the best player in the state.”

Naperville’s stellar season

What a season it has been in Naperville. Neuqua Valley and Naperville Central have spent most of the season ranked, while Naperville North has played the role of spoiler.

The Huskies suffered three consecutive losses this season. They beat Benet in the season opener and then dropped games to Glenbard North, Woodhaven, MI, and Neuqua Valley.

Naperville North has rebounded well from that speed bump. The Huskies beat Naperville Central in Week 6 and handed Neuqua Valley its first loss in a thriller on Friday.

The IHSA brackets have not been kind. Naperville North and Naperville Central will have a rematch in the first round of the Class 8A playoffs this weekend. The game will be played at North for the first time since 1999, it is usually at North Central College.

MSL questions

There is no doubt that the Mid-Suburban League plays quality football. So why isn’t there an MSL team in the Super 25 right now? It’s because I have no clue which team is the best in the league.

Keep an eye on all of these teams in the playoffs though: Palatine, Prospect, Hoffman Estates, Barrington, Buffalo Grove, Hersey and even Rolling Meadows. They will all be difficult teams to eliminate.

Fenwick believers

Fenwick was in the preseason Super 25 and has been ranked the past several weeks. But boy did the Friars have doubters around the state this season. That may have changed after they knocked off St. Ignatius 28-20 on Friday.

Fenwick is led by quarterback Kaden Cobb, one of the area’s most talented players. The Ball State recruit threw for two touchdowns and rushed for one at St. Ignatius.

The Friars are a number two seed in the Class 5A playoffs but are the most battle-tested team in the entire field and the favorites to win the trophy.