6 things to know as high school football heads into the home stretch
Is it really October already?
The calendar page from September to October sure seemed to flip in a hurry, and here we are heading into the final three weeks of the high school football season.
As Week 6 has just wrapped up, today we offer 6 things you need to know as we come into the home stretch of the 2023 campaign.
1. Six (wins) and in:
After the dust settled from Friday night's matchups, these schools in the Daily Herald area can start making their playoff plans, as they have reached the six-win total and an automatic playoff berth: Barrington, Hersey, York, Glenbard South, Antioch and Maine West.
Barrington and Hersey are each having banner seasons and should represent the Mid-Suburban League well when playoff time rolls around, the Broncos in Class 8A and the Huskies in 7A.
York, also in 8A, made a run to the state semifinals last year and is hoping to take the next step later this fall.
Glenbard South, a Class 5A school with an enrollment of just under 1,100 pulled off the stunner of the weekend, knocking off previously unbeaten South Elgin, an 8A school that had won 29 straight Upstate Eight Conference games.
Antioch, meanwhile, has qualified for the postseason for the 12th time under coach Brian Glashagel and the seventh time in a row.
Maine West has flown under the radar all season, but the Warriors' schedule is favorable for a potential 9-0 regular season. The last time Maine West went undefeated in the regular season? Try 1959, when the Warriors were 8-0 and there were no playoffs.
2. Five (wins), in need of just one more:
While five wins will likely get you into the playoffs, these schools are in need of one more to make sure they're postseason dancing: Aurora Christian in Class 1A; Montini in Class 3A; IC Catholic Prep and Wheaton Academy in 4A; Carmel in 5A; Geneva, Cary-Grove and Lake Zurich in 6A; Downers Grove North, Batavia and Glenbard East in 7A; South Elgin, West Aurora, Huntley, Naperville Central and Maine South in 8A.
Montini, ICCP, Geneva, Downers North, South Elgin and West Aurora each suffered their first losses Friday.
3. Warren's bouncing back:
The season started slower than any other in recent memory in Gurnee, but perennial power Warren has bounced back from an 0-2 start to win its last four games, including a 54-7 rout of Mundelein on Friday. Couple that with Stevenson's upset of Lake Forest and suddenly coach Bryan McNulty's Blue Devils are alone atop the North Suburban Conference standings. A Week 8 matchup at home against Lake Forest, sandwiched between games against Waukegan and Zion-Benton, would appear to be the only thing standing in the way of another conference title for Warren.
4. Big matchups loom this weekend:
There are more big matchups coming up this weekend. Among others, Geneva (5-1) plays at Wheaton North (3-3), Huntley (5-1) travels to Cary-Grove (5-1) for a Saturday game, Glenbard West (4-1) is at York (6-0), Carmel (5-1) hits the road to New Lenox to battle Providence (4-2), and IC Catholic Prep (5-1) hosts Loyola (6-0).
5. Record-breaking day for CL South QB:
One thing that stood out from Week 6? When was the last time you saw a high school quarterback throw 65 passes in one game? Crystal Lake South senior Caden Casimino had a record-setting day, breaking the Gators' single-game record with 546 passing yards on 65 attempts Friday in a 54-43 Fox Valley Conference loss to Huntley.
6. State finals now in Normal:
Finally, a quick reminder that state finals weekend (Nov. 24-25), which has been alternating between NIU's Huskie Stadium and Memorial Stadium in Champaign, now settles into Hancock Stadium at Illinois State University in Normal for at least the next five years. Hancock Stadium hosted the inaugural state finals in 1974 and hosted over 100 football state championship games from 1974 to 1998.
Fasten those seat belts, fans. It looks to be a great ride to the end.
John Radtke can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org