Carpentersville, IL- Ethan Wiles has another bergsworld.live exclusive as he breaks down our two local IHSA finalists:
- 4A #2 Johnsburg HS (13-0) vs #5 Rochester HS (12-1) at 7:00 pm Friday.
- 6A #1 Prairie Ridge HS (13-0) vs #2 Sacred Heart- Griffin HS (13-0) at 1:00 pm Saturday.
On this week’s edition of Inside With Wiles, we breakdown the two area teams that advanced to the state championships this past weekend. Congratulations to Johnsburg and Prairie Ridge on making the state championship and we all wish them the best of luck.
Editors Note: The Cook County judge ruled in favor of the IHSA and Plainfield North HS will play East St. Louis in the 7A final on Saturday. DB
First of all, I want to give my opinion on the situation involving Fenwick and Plainfield North. Plainfield North beat Fenwick in overtime after Fenwick threw the ball away as time expired to avoid giving the ball back to Plainfield North. This resulted in what the referees called intentional grounding, and an untimed down for PN. However, the IHSA rule says that there cannot be an untimed down awarded. PN went on to kick a field goal to tie the game and went on to win 18-17, ending Fenwick’s season. The IHSA came out on Sunday and confirmed that the referees did make a mistake and messed up the call on the last play of regulation. The other IHSA rule states that “the decisions of game officials shall be final; protests against the decision of a game official shall not be reviewed by the Board of Directors.” In my opinion, this never should have gone to court. If the judge rules in favor of Fenwick and PN gets eliminated, they will turn around and send the case right back to court. From what I’ve heard, the court will say that an outcome of high school sports will not be decided in court, and PN will advance to play East St. Louis on Saturday night. I’ve also heard that PN should come out and give the win to Fenwick and give them the trip to state. That won’t happen. To eliminate all issues, I think both schools should forfeit the trip and the championship should be given to East St. Louis. We will see how that plays out as they give the ruling on Wednesday at 9 AM.
Let’s get to the good stuff now.
IHSA State 4A Final
2 seed Johnsburg Skyhawks vs 5 seed Rochester Rockets
The unbeaten Skyhawks enter their first State Championship week coming off a huge 23-20 overtime victory against Phillips. The wind played a huge factor in the passing game for the Skyhawks on Friday night as the ball was flying from Johnsburg QB Riley Buchanan’s arm. The Phillips defense forced Johnsburg into the passing game, stopping dominant running back Alex Peete to just 18 yards on 13 carries. In the second half, the Wildcats defense held the Skyhawks to only 11 yards. However, the Johnsburg defense stayed strong, stopping a 2-point conversion sending it to overtime, as well as picking up three fumbles, two of which led to touchdowns. Johnsburg’s Adam Jayko was the hero in OT kicking a field goal to put the Skyhawks ahead, before defensive standout Joe Moore pulled Phillips Quarterback J’Bore Gibbs down, ending the game.
The Rockets ended the season with one loss against another team playing for a state title in Sacred Heart-Griffin. Rochester had a huge night on Saturday to advance to their sixth title game in seven seasons. The Rockets scored on seven of its nine first half possessions. Running back Matt Wike had a 47 yard touchdown run 17 seconds into the game, then QB Nic Baker had a 4-yard touchdown to go up 14-0 in the second quarter. The offense for Rochester has been known to have long drives and can wear down opposing teams’ defense. With the score being 49-0 at halftime, the Rockets were on their way to their 31st win in 33 playoff games since 2009. Rochester’s offense finished with 357 yards with a combined 12 of 18 for 232 yards between Nic Baker and Josh Grant.
Notes on the game: This game should be a dogfight. Two high powered offense teams meeting for a state title. If the Rockets shut down Peete, they will stop the offense from moving. The Skyhawks pass game was not accurate Friday, however the conditions look to be better. If the Rockets control the ball and have an outstanding night on offense, they will win. Although, the Johnsburg defense kept them in the game after a poor second half performance by their offense. I’m expecting a great game from these two teams Friday Night.
Final score prediction: In a tough battle I say Johnsburg wins their first title 24-20
Now we go to what I think is the best state championship game this weekend, IHSA State 6A Final
2 seeded Sacred Heart-Griffin vs 1 Seed Prairie Ridge Wolves
About PR: What else can I say about the Wolves other than Samson Evans? He has been the entire team all season. A quarterback in a triple option offense, the team’s leading rusher, a safety, and even a kick returner. This kid can do it all, and he has all season. Leading the Wolves offense to 382 points in the regular season and another 217 points in the playoffs (including a dominant 71-7 win over Lake Forest in the quarterfinals.) On the defensive side of the ball, DE Jeff Jenkins had a monster game against DeKalb on Saturday. He will be a key performer if the PR defense wants to stop the tough Sacred Heart-Griffin offense. This is PR’s second trip to state as they won the state title back in 2011.
About Sacred Heart-Griffin: This is the Cyclones 17th straight playoff appearance, so this team has plenty of experience when it comes to big games and this one is definitely one of them. Last week was the program’s 600th win and it will be a bigger game on Saturday night. The Cyclones beat St. Laurence to advance to the finals. St. Laurence, known for its heavy run attack, was held to just 88 rushing yards in the game, it could be huge if the Cyclones can stop the triple option attack from PR. Look for Cyclone QB Tim Brenneisen to have a big game and continue to tear defenses apart. Brenneisen went 5-10, 102 yards with two touchdowns. Look for the offense to try and beat PR through the air.
Keys to the game:
-For PR, its simple. If Samson Evans has a day, the Wolves will be celebrating at the end of the day. Sacred Heart-Griffin has given up 132 points in the regular season and 40 in the three postseason games. Prairie Ridge has scored at least 40 points in 10 of the 12 games they’ve played (599 points in the season.)
-For Sacred Heart-Griffin, it’s also pretty simple. If they stop Samson Evans, they will have a chance.
Prediction- I do think it will be a close game despite the fact that PR has been the best team all season. I believe PR will get it done. 41-31 is my guess.
Congratulations to all teams this fall, and good luck to all 16 teams participating in this years state finals.