Four Downs: News and notes from Week 5 in high school football

Why there are no Public League teams in the rankings, Notre Dame is back and it’s time for All-Area and POY nominations.

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Simeon’s Malik Elzy after Simeon defeats Kenwood.

Simeon’s Malik Elzy after Simeon defeats Kenwood.

Allen Cunningham/For the Sun-Times

There are no Public League football teams in the Super 25 this week. That might be jarring to some, but it is my honest take on the state of things.

I’ve detailed everything Public League football has been up against in the last year in recent stories. There’s enough talent for the high-level Public League teams to be ranked, but they just aren’t there right now, and it’s important to keep the Super 25 legitimate.

I’ve kept a Public League team or two in the bottom of the rankings for most of the season, choosing to give the powerhouses from the city the benefit of the doubt. There are several highly ranked suburban teams that haven’t been challenged at all, either.

Phillips lost to Loyola 30-0 on Friday, and Simeon squeaked past Kenwood 23-18 on Saturday. I was at both games and safely can say that the teams are just a few steps behind the rest of the area’s elite right now.

Dons aren’t done

Notre Dame opened the football season with a 34-13 loss to Marist, then dropped a 7-0 game to Providence in Week 2. Star quarterback Anthony Sayles isn’t playing this season, so that, along with the two losses, pretty much shoved the Dons out of the spotlight.

Welcome back, Notre Dame. Mike Hennessey’s squad shocked Nazareth on Saturday, knocking off the Roadrunners 10-0.

Nazareth junior Tyler Morris left with an injury in the second half. He’s one of the best players in the state and a top-100 talent in the national Class of 2022.

What’s next?

Things are going to feel extremely odd this time next week. The football season, which just seemed to get going, will end. There will be a slew of undefeated teams and nothing settled.

The basketball season fizzled out the same way for most teams, but the Chipotle Clash of Champions provided a small bit of closure. There also weren’t a dozen or more highly regarded undefeated teams with claims to lofty rankings.

That’s life during COVID-19. Maybe it is best to view this season as an appetizer for the fall.

Player of the Year/All-Area

The Sun-Times will select a Player of the Year and an All-Area team during the next week. Coaches and athletic directors, please email your nominations to I’ll be depending on the nominations more than ever this season because I wasn’t able to see nearly enough games due to the shortened season and all the cancellations.

This season has been a mess for a lot of teams, and I’ve decided not to hold that against any player. If a kid had a tremendous career and could play only one or two games this season, that’s fine. Send the nomination.

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