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POWER RANKINGS: Irish take over top spot

September 20, 2018

We officially have reached the halfway point of the season. Well, at least kind of, with the whole nine-game schedule.

Still strange.

But nonetheless, conference races are tight and most teams this week need a win to stay above water in hopes of reaching the playoffs.

Before Friday gets here, though, here are this week’s power rankings:

1. Bishop McNamara (3-1)

Last Week: No. 2

The Irish are the only team that can lose, yet their stock goes completely up. However, when you play as good as they did and dominate as they did, you have to take notice. A lot of questions about the Irish were answered against IC Catholic, the main one being how real they were. The question that remains: Can they stay healthy?

2. Coal City (3-1)

Last Week: No. 1

Although Coal City pitched a shutout against Streator, Bishop McNamara was the more superior team this week. Both teams are head and shoulders above every other team in the area by a nice margin. The Coalers are a little banged up heading into their game Friday against Plano, but they still should be fine.

3. Peotone (2-2)

Last Week: No. 3

I thought long and hard about whether to move Herscher above Peotone or not, but Peotone’s overall body of work puts it ahead of the Tigers in the big picture. Although the one-point loss to Lisle hurts, the Blue Devils have to patch up those wounds and prepare for a battle on the road as Wilmington awaits.

4. Herscher (2-2)

Last Week: No. 4

Normally, when a team has a 33-point lead, it take its foot off the gas at some point. It seemed as though Herscher let up too early, but it held on for the win. Carter Hendrix and Reed-Custer’s Josh Loomis took turns showing their explosiveness to the opposing defense’s detriment. Now, it gears up for its biggest test of the season with undefeated Lisle on Friday. You won’t want to miss that one.

5. Watseka (3-1)

Last Week: No. 5

Oblong either was going to win via shutout or lose via shutout. There was no in-between, and sure enough, Watseka won via shutout. The Warriors looked solid with the passing and running games, as they continue building confidence. Now, it’s back to the Sangamon Valley Conference this week with a trip to Dwight. Expect to see Anthony Quinn sling that ball around a lot.

6. Wilmington (2-2)

Last Week: No. 7

The running attack seems to have found its ground once again, and Wilmington looks to be back on track. Knocking down an undefeated Sandwich team and racking up more than 400 yards rushing should have its confidence somewhat back. Now, it becomes a battle in the trenches with Peotone coming to town.

7. Bradley-Bourbonnais (2-2)

Last Week: No. 6

The Boilers struck first, but a field goal was all they got in their road loss. The offense still is searching for that lightning in a bottle it had back in its season opener. They better find it quick with Bolingbrook (ranked No. 10 in Class 8A) coming to town Friday. Mix things up, and take some chances.

8. Kankakee (2-2)

Last Week: No. 10

There’s something different about this Kankakee team. There is a different confidence, swagger and mentality within this group, and the comeback win Friday showed it. A win against Rich Central on the road would show a lot more about this team, considering they’ve lost both roads games and only scored 14 points total in doing so.

9. Milford-Cissna Park (2-0)

Last week: No. 8

The Bearcats were idle last week but return to the gridiron this week on the road at Judah Christian. One thing that is well-known is they can score. Let’s hope offense travels. Also, I’m not going to punish nor exclude a team because they play eight-man football. At the end of the day, they line up on the line of scrimmage just like an 11-man team does.

10. Reed-Custer (1-3)

Last Week: No. 9

Friday’s game proved Reed-Custer is no pushover. Despite being down 33 points, they rallied to cut the deficit to five before time expired. Josh Loomis is showing to be one of the most dangerous players in the area, and the offense is high-powered. Hosting winless Manteno just might get them back in the win column.

11. Central (2-2)

Last Week: No. 11

The Comets stayed put at No. 11 this week after a well-balanced victory against Dwight. Thy continue to impress week by week with their ability to adapt to different styles and execute their game plan for being one of the younger teams in the area. Their run defense will be put to the test again against a physical Seneca team.

12. Dwight (1-3)

Last Week: No. 12

Dwight got a real big wake-up call, as Central racked up 46 points on them. The defense simply was overmatched by the Comets’ well-balanced offensive attack. One bright spot, though, for the Trojans was quarterback Colton Holm finished a perfect 10-for-10 passing with a touchdown. But the defense needs to be shored up because Watseka has just as much, maybe more, firepower than Central.

13. Momence (1-3)

Last Week: No. 14

Kobey Mazur passed for less than 400 yards, and Momence beat Iroquois West. For one week, everything seemed normal in Redskin territory. Now, with their first win under their belts, the question becomes how much momentum can they sustain with P-B-L coming to town.

14. Manteno (0-4)

Last Week: No. 13

The loss at Plano pretty much seems to have sealed the fate of the Panthers this season. Turnovers, little running game and injuries have been their demise. While they have shown they still can score, they also give up points just as quickly. Probably not a good sign with an offense such as Reed-Custer’s on the horizon.

15. Iroquois West (0-4)

Last Week: No. 15

The Raiders did score last week, but Mazur and company simply were too much to overcome. However, they were able to getting their running game back on track with Nolan Ahlden running for more than 100 yards and a touchdown. Oakwood presents a tough challenge this week, so the Raiders have to chew clock.

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