By Scott Taylor | @Taylor_Sports
Let’s start up north and made our way south as I discuss some tidbits on our area teams.
After a close loss last week, Niles West is 2-1 but faces a near must-win game against 0-3 Elk Grove. A 3-1 mark heading into conference season increases the Wolves’ chances greatly of making the playoffs.
•Maine South’s defense continues to struggle after allowing 41 points to Barrington. Sure, the Hawks have played a brutal schedule, but the defense will need to lock down if they want to be a state championship contender. The good news is the schedule begins to get a bit easier going forward.
•Maine East’s schedule features nine opponents with winning records. Sure, it’s only three games, but that is quite an impressive schedule.
•Notre Dame (2-1) is coming off a win over the defending 6A state champs and now travel to Joliet to take on a young JCA team. A win there should just about guarantee another playoff berth for the Dons.
•Benet (2-1) is also coming off a nice win over Marian Central. Back-to-back home games against St. Viator and Nazareth will determine if they are in the running for the ESCC championship.
•Lisle (2-1) has looked impressive and should cruise to a win this week. Sept. 30 is the big game against Wilmington.
•Westmont (1-2) has had a hard time stopping teams but can make hay in their next three games. The Sentinels probably need to win all three to feel good about their playoff chances.
•Downers South picked up its first win last week and has two very winnable games these next two weeks. Win both and the Mustangs should be returning to the playoffs.
•Downers North (1-2) has a much more difficult schedule than its city rivals as it plays three straight unbeaten teams. The Trojans have to win one of those games to remain playoff eligible.
•Bolingbrook tok advantage of a pair of winless teams the past two weeks to move to 2-1, but there are no gimmies left as every team sports a winning record. The game this week against Lincoln-Way East will determine how far this team has come from week one.
•Lockport puts its unbeaten record up against unbeaten Homewood-Flossmoor in by far its toughest test of the season. This game will prove how legit the Porters are this year, but with two winless teams ahead on the schedule, a trip to the playoffs after several years away seems assured.
•The Southwest Prairie Conference has been the haves vs. have nots so far this year with both Oswegos being 3-0 and three teams with an 0-3 record. But, alas, a several year losing streak will come to an end Saturday when Joliet Central hosts Plainfield Central. The winner of this game will get its monkey off their back and will be surely celebrating, while the loser will face even more pressure to win a game the remainder of the year. Both teams do face 0-3 Romeoville in the final two weeks of the season in games that should determine which teams want it more than the other.
•Joliet West’s opponents are 8-1 and that only loss was to West. The Tigers have given good battles to both Oswego schools in losses. The defense has been strong, but the offense is young and experiencing some growing pains. With three winless teams ahead still, the Tigers are still well alive for a playoff berth, but can’t have any slip-ups and will need to take down a current 2-1 team.
•Minooka’s lone loss was on a missed two-point conversion against Oswego. The last two games have been dominant and will now face Plainfield North in what should be the best game of the weekend for the conference. The loser is in big trouble in the SPC race, while the winner is a win over Oswego East away from possibly earning a share. Plainfield North is coming off of a 62-point performance and remembers the costly loss at Minooka last year.
•Plainfield East came crashing back down after a 2-0 start with a big loss to Minooka. The Bengals will need to regroup if they want to compete with Oswego. The next two games after that may determine their playoff fate: Joliet West and Plainfield South.
•Plainfield South’s defense has lived up to expectations, but the offense is still struggling to score. It will need to score to keep up with Oswego East tomorrow in its first home game of the year and on the new turf. The Cougars face the most difficult closing stretch in the conference, so they will need to pick up wins whenever possible.
•Romeoville’s schedule has been front loaded and things don’t get much easier this week with Joliet West. The Spartans are the only team yet to be competitive in a game, which is something the coaching staff is working hard on and will be interesting to see how they start this week against the Tigers.
•Joliet Catholic is a surprising 0-3, despite a youthful team. That just doesn’t happen to the Hilltoppers. With a brutal schedule still ahead, it may be even more surprising if they are able to make the playoffs. Their first home game of the year against Notre Dame is a must-win.
Week 4 top 10:
- Maine South (1-2)
- Benet (2-1)
- Notre Dame (2-1)
- Lockport (3-0)
- Bolingbrook (2-1)
- Minooka (2-1)
- Plainfield North (2-1)
- Joliet West (1-2)
- Plainfield East (2-1)
- Plainfield South, Niles West and Lisle (2-1)