Morgan Park lost to Mount Carmel on Friday, but the 22-12 result may have been the most impressive loss of the young season.
The Caravan’s closest home game last season was a seven-point win against Brother Rice. Mount Carmel beat St. Rita by 32, Marist by 35, St. Viator by 60, Buffalo Grove by 46 and Brother Rice the second time by 36 points.
It’s too early to say this edition of the Caravan is as good as last season’s undefeated Class 7A state champions. But there is no doubt that the entire Public League took some pride in the Mustangs’ showing.
“If that’s the standard and that’s the No. 1 team in the state, what is Morgan Park?” Mustangs coach Chris James said. “I hope that people see, ‘OK, Morgan Park is legit.’You never want to take any moral victories from it. But I think people understand we’re not a regular CPS team.”
Illinois recruit Tysean Griffin caught a touchdown pass and grabbed an interception for the Mustangs, who returned 18 starters from last season.
Morgan Park (1-1) is favored in its next four games against Public League opponents. Its next test will be on Oct. 7 when it faces Kenwood (0-2), the second-best team in the Public League.
Public school pride
Lincoln-Way East coach Rob Zvonar was glowing after his team pulled out a 14-13 win at Batavia on Friday. The Griffins stopped the Bulldogs’ two-point conversion attempt with eight seconds to play.
Zvonar said it was one of the five best games he’s coached in nearly 30 years.
“We have so much respect for [Batavia quarter back Ryan Boe], the Batavia coaches and the entire program,” Zvonar said. “This was just a special night of high school football. I’m not a Catholic League basher, but this was public school high school football the way it was meant to be.”
Prairie Ridge proving it again
For whatever reason, there seems to be more doubt surrounding Prairie Ridge every season than most established powers.
Wolves coach Chris Schremp has built an elite program, that like Lincoln-Way East and Batavia, can reload every season and remain in the upper echelon of its class.
Prairie Ridge has played in the state championship game in six of the last 11 seasons with playoffs.
The Wolves opened last season at No. 8 in the preseason Super 25 and went on to finish 12-2 and lose to East St. Louis in the Class 6A state title game.
This season Prairie Ridge was ranked No. 9 in the preseason Super 25. Once again, the Wolves are living up to the hype. They knocked off Crystal Lake South, considered their top competition in the Fox Valley this season, 38-14 on Friday.
Fullback Jack Finn had two touchdowns and 169 yards on 25 carries for Prairie Ridge, which has dropped to Class 5A this season.
Under the radar star
St. Francis quarterback Alessio Milivojevic hasn’t earned many local headlines in his career. But the Ball State recruit is one of the area’s best players.
The 6-1, 200-pound senior threw for four touchdowns and ran for one in the Spartans’ 42-28 win against Sterling on Friday. He was 16-for-19 passing for 266 yards.
Milivojevic threw for 212 yards and two TDs in St. Francis’ Week 1 loss to Downers Grove North. He’s a name worth watching in a senior class that’s weak at quarterback.
Contributing: Mike Clark