Are you ready for some high school football?
The football season in Illinois starts this weekend.
Things have changed since the state football playoffs began in 1974. There are now eight state champions. Public League teams in Chicago now participate in the state playoffs. Teams play two games before Labor Day.
The state football finals will be played at the University of Illinois over Thanksgiving weekend. The Prep Bowl pitting playoff champions from the Chicago Public League and Chicago Catholic League will be at Soldier Field on Friday, November 23.
The best football squad in the state might be at Bolingbrook. The Raiders are known for having one of the state’s best girls’ basketball programs winning four state titles.
The football program is solid winning 104 games in the new century. Bolingbrook captured its first state football title last season by beating Loyola 21-17 in the Class 8A championship.
The Raiders return seven starters including quarterback Aaron Bailey. Bolingbrook must rebuild its defense with only one starter returning. The Raiders will score points.
There could be a rematch against Loyola. Other top teams will be Joliet Catholic, Montini, Mt Carmel, Maine South, Wheaton South, Marist, St Rita, and Glenbard West.
Joliet Catholic has won 13 state football titles while Mt Carmel, who won the Prep Bowl last year, has 10 championships in football.
The state’s best player is probably Joliet Catholic running back Ty Isaac. Isaac will attend USC next year.
Isaac scored 42 touchdowns last year including six scores in the 70-45 loss to Montini in the Class 5A title game.
Joliet Catholic will battle Carmel, Marist, and Nazareth in the East Suburban Catholic Conference while St Rita, Mt Carmel and Loyola battle for supremacy in the Catholic League Blue.
Other top players to watch for are Crete Monee WR-Laquon Treadwell, Lemont OL-Ethan Pocic, and Maine South QB-Matt Alvitti.
The best team in the Public League is Simeon led by quarterback Elcee Burke.
The preseason Prep Bowl is Saturday at Soldier Field with Mt. Carmel facing St Patrick, St Rita playing Marist, and Young taking on St. Ignatius.
Football season is here.
John “Doc” Montgomery is a prep sports guru who has followed high school sports for the Chicago Sun-Times and the Chicago Tribune for more than 30 years. He is a member of the Illinois High School Basketball Coaches Hall of Fame and was awarded a Dog Bowl and an outstanding recognition for his contributions to Citizen Journalism by The Bulldog.