It is better to finish strong than start strong. Despite three losses Chicago Catholic League Blue early in the season, the Ramblers looked as dominant on defense Saturday against Maine South as any team I have seen this season.
Make no mistake about it. Maine South is a very good football team. Maine South came back in the second half to beat a very good Mount Carmel team. The Hawks made a believer out of me. Nevertheless, the Ramblers played a flawless game on defense and a brilliantly conservative and physical game on offense to shut out Maine South at Maine South.
Lincoln-Way East will have to go to Wilmette to face the Ramblers. Lincoln-Way has played some tough teams, Crete-Monee, Naperville Central, Thornwood. But they don’t play in the Catholic League’s Blue Division and they did not face Mt. Carmel, Brother Rice and Montini.
I am looking forward to this game. The semi-final should be a very good game.
Which brings me to a second subject—the dominance of the Catholic Schools in the football playoffs this year. In 8A, three of the four surviving teams are Catholic Schools: Brother Rice, Marist and Loyola. 7A has Nazareth and Mt. Carmel. 6A has Notre Dame. 5A has Joliet Catholic and Montini. 4A has Immaculate Conception and Bishop McNamara. 2A has St. Teresa (Decatur, Illinois). That’s eleven of the thirty-two teams. That’s basically 1/3 of all eight classes and half of the biggest classes.
How did this happen? Don’t know. I don’t even want to speculate.
What’s gonna happen? There will be some talk, in the usual quarters, about kicking private schools out of the IHSA. Don’t want to go there either. I’m sure we have all heard quite enough of the multiplier talk.
Personally, I think it will swing back. The DuPage Valley restructured. It will be back. And who knows what is going to happen with the Catholic Super Conference next year.
I am struggling about what to do about the finals. The football finals are the same time as the start of the basketball season. What is a photographer to do?