Here are my five thoughts from the high school football weekend that was.
1. 2011 may lack that dominant team: Wheaton Warrenville South was by far the top team in the state last season. Maine South was that two years ago. In 2011, I’m not sure if we have that type of team. There are a lot of really good teams – Maine South, Glenbard West, Lincoln-Way, Mount Carmel, Joliet Catholic, etc. -- but there seems to be more parity. Of course, it’s still early. It’s just an early thought.
2. The Catholic League Blue could be scary good: I’ve seen Loyola and Mount Carmel so far, and both are undoubtedly Class 8A title contenders. Both possess talent on both sides of the ball. St. Rita took a bump with a loss to a top team in Tennessee, but the Mustangs are still a top-10 team. Then, you throw in Brother Rice and Providence. Both are 2-0 and look like they could be ranked at some point. After Week 4, we should know more whether Brother Rice and Providence can compete for the Catholic League. That’s when Providence faces Loyola and Brother Rice goes up against St. Rita.
3. How good is Montini wide receiver Jordan Westerkamp?: I haven’t been around as long as some sportswriters, but Westerkamp is as good of a wide receiver as I’ve seen since I began my professional reporting career in 1996. Loyola coach John Holecek, a former NFL player, described Westerkamp as special after he caught three touchdowns despite being constantly double-teamed on Saturday. It’ll be interesting to see what type of college receiver he’ll be at Nebraska. At the high school level, he’s incredible.
4. Teams coming and going: One of the more entertaining aspects of the first few weeks is moving teams in and out of the rankings. It’s interesting for us poll-makers to see who we were right about and who were wrong about. So far, Cary-Grove is the obvious surprise. The Trojans were thought to have a good team, but they shocked a lot of people by knocking off Lake Zurich last week. Bolingbrook, Geneva and Waubonsie Valley all also entered the rankings this week. All three have been impressive so far. I also considered Barrington, Brother Rice, Crete-Monee, Lockport, Providence, among others.
5. Less grand Week 3: With so many ranked teams playing each other the first two weeks, there were a lot of great games to be seen. In Week 3, there aren’t as many blockbuster games with no ranked teams playing each other, but there are some good ones. Crystal Lake South at Cary-Grove certainly has the potential to be good. Lockport could give Lincoln-Way East a test. You can’t go wrong with seeing Glenbard West at Lyons. Peoria Richwoods ended Joliet Catholic’s season last year. Marmion and Montini played in state championship games last season. Waubonsie Valley at Bartlett is another good one.