DePaul, St. Ignatius Advance to State Football Playoffs

October 26, 2015
IHSA Football Logo-2DePaul Prep was hoping to close the regular season with a victory as the Rams hoped to be at home for the opening round of the state football playoffs. St. Ignatius (5-4, 2-2 Chicago Catholic White) actually earned an at-large berth by beating DePaul 14-0 last Friday at Lane Stadium. "Everything is extra for us," DePaul head coach Bill Jeske stated after the game. "We're going to enjoy being in the playoffs. Hopefully we can make a little noise." The Rams fell behind early 14-0 in the opening quarter to St. Ignatius and never recovered. "St. Ignatius was on a roll coming into the game," Jeske said after guiding his team to the state playoffs for the first time in 10 years. "They do a great job. They were a good foe for us." DePaul (6-3, 1-0 Chicago Catholic-Red) will face Elmwood-Brimfield (8-1, 5-0 Prairieland- Blue) this Saturday afternoon in the opening round of the Class 3A playoffs while St. Ignatius earned a game against Riverside- Brookfield (8-1, 4-1 Metro Suburban West) . The Rams will face a difficult task on the road against a team that has averaged 44 points per game this season. St. Ignatius made the state series for the first time since 2010. "Everything now is a bonus for us," Jeske admitted after the loss. "These kids have worked real hard this season to make the state playoffs." The biggest game in the Catholic League took place in Wilmette on the final day of the regular season. Loyola (9-0, 4-0 Chicago Catholic Blue) capped off a perfect regular season and gained the top seed in the Class 8A playoffs with a 49-21 conference win over Mt. Carmel (7-2, 2-2). Quarterback Emmett Clifford had two touchdown passes while running back Dara Laja ran into record books at the school by becoming Loyola's all-time leading rusher with two touchdowns. Loyola took advantage of five turnovers as Jonah Isaac ran two kickoffs into the end zone for touchdowns. Pairings for each class are based on enrollment, and the state finals are at Northern Illinois University on Thanksgiving weekend, November 27-28. Loyola advanced to the Class 8A playoffs and will play West Aurora (5-4, 3-2 Upstate Eight Valley). The Ramblers are certainly one of the favorites to win the state championship behind the dynamic duo of Clifford and Laja who have helped Loyola average 42 points per game. Mt. Carmel will make its 30th straight appearance in postseason play and face Glenbard North (7-2, 6-2 DuPage Valley) in Class 7A. The Caravan has won 12 state titles in football. Mt. Carmel head coach Frank Lenti has been on the sidelines for 354 wins and 11 state championships. The second season will begin this Friday night as 17 CPS teams and five Chicago teams from the Catholic League qualified for the state football playoffs. *** Update *** The last paragraph initially said eight teams of the Chicago Catholic League were in the playoffs. Technically that is correct as the Catholic League extends outside the city. However to clarify, only five Chicago teams in the Catholic League made it to the playoffs. *** 2015.10.27. 11.53 ***

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