High school sports seasons, especially in the fall, fly by.
One minute, we’re putting out The Beverly Review’s Fall Sports Preview. The next, we’re looking at regional and sectional brackets.
October has arrived, a month synonymous with the fall sports postseason. A chill is in the air; darkness seemingly falls at 3 p.m. every day; and teams are dreaming of state titles.
With many sports starting the postseason in a week or two, here are a few things I’d like to see this October—and November.
1. A Br. Rice-Marist football state playoff game.
Br. Rice surprised some folks by beating the RedHawks in the season opener. The Crusaders are still unbeaten, and Marist hasn’t lost since. Both are eyeing long playoff runs—if not state titles.
How about a rematch in a Class 8A state semifinal? The Pulaski Road rivals have only met in the state playoffs once—a 7-6 first-round win for Marist in 1994—which is hard to believe. Interestingly enough, Br. Rice won the teams’ season-opening matchup that year, too, in a victory that was considered an upset.
2. Some sort of Marian Catholic-Marist-Mother McAuley volleyball state playoff match.
The three powers are in the same Class 4A sectional, so it seems likely that two of them will face off.
Last year, on its way to winning the state title, Marist fought back to beat Marian Catholic in a sectional semifinal, then extinguished McAuley rather easily in a supersectional matchup in McAuley’s gym.
After defeating McAuley in a regular-season matchup in late September, Marist’s winning streak reached a whopping 50 matches. The RedHawks’ last loss came to McAuley in a regular-season match last year. Can they push through a difficult sectional layout this year? Will they face Marian or McAuley—or both?
3. A Br. Rice-St. Laurence soccer state playoff game.
There are plenty of storylines here. Br. Rice really struggled in recent years but has enjoyed a great turnaround under first-year Coach Matt Prunckle, a Beverly native who starred for the Crusaders in the early 2000s.
Prunckle was St. Laurence’s coach from 2014-2017 before coming back to his alma mater. St. Laurence is one of the top teams on the South Side and beyond, and it handled Br. Rice in a 2-0 regular-season win in mid-September.
Both teams are in the Class 2A St. Laurence Sectional and could meet up three rounds into the postseason. St. Laurence would be the favorite, but Br. Rice could keep things interesting.
4. Mt. Carmel football making another deep playoff run.
First-year Coach Jordan Lynch has kept the Caravan humming along. The team’s only loss came in a narrow setback to Maine South, one of the top programs in the state, and the Caravan used a goal-line tackle to win at Loyola, another perennial state power.
It would be neat to see Lynch have Mt. Carmel playing deep into the state playoffs again, just as the Caravan did for so many years under former Coach Frank Lenti. What would be really cool is seeing Lynch and the Caravan playing for a state title at Northern Illinois University (NIU), where Lynch starred at quarterback a handful of years ago.
However, NIU alternates as host of the state championships every year with the University of Illinois. I imagine Lynch would still be fine with playing in Champaign in late November.
5. Chicago High School for Agricultural Sciences (CHSAS) and St. Ignatius football playing state playoff games in November.
Since the school brought back the football program in 2003 after a 40-year hiatus, St. Ignatius has made the state playoffs a handful of times—but never won a game. At 3-3, the Wolfpack needs two more wins to make the playoffs again, which seems likely.
CHSAS, meanwhile, made the state playoffs for the first time last year but lost in the first round; with a 5-1 record this year, the Cyclones are on their way to making the postseason again. The first round, as it usually is, will be on the last weekend of October—can the Wolfpack and Cyclones break through and grab a win?
It’s good for the local community to see more schools experiencing success.
6. Marian Catholic’s Sr. Mary Jo Sobieck throw out the first pitch at a Cubs playoff game.
I know this isn’t high school sports. But if I’m going to have to watch the Cubs in the playoffs again, at least let me see Sr. Mary Jo fire another amazing first pitch.
The beloved nun went viral after throwing out the first pitch at a Sox game in late August, as she bounced the ball off her arm, then fired a perfect strike. She was invited back to throw on Sept. 22, and she delivered again. At a Cubs playoff game, she’d have a huge crowd and national TV audience watching.
Heck, with the pitching problems they’ve have had this year, she could probably take the mound for the Cubs, too.
I refuse to root for the Cubs, but in the high school postseason, I can start silently pulling for our local schools—except when they play each other.
At the very least, I know our neighborhood wins if a few of those scenarios become reality.