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Boys Tennis: Marmion Qualifies 4, Claims West Aurora Sectional Title

Through The Fence: Batavia’s Josh Cogan returns a serve on Saturday.

Marmion continued its historic season on Saturday when two singles players and one doubles team qualified for state as the Cadets finished in first place at the West Aurora boys tennis sectional.

Senior Will Graft and sophomore John Graft took second and third place respectively in singles, while the doubles team of senior Chris Pattermann and junior Jackson Rettig finished third.

“The boys made history. It’s the first time in a long time, if ever, that we won a sectional title,” Cadets coach John Tsang said.

The Cadets went undefeated in the regular season and were champions of the Suburban Christian Conference.

Marmion topped all teams with 25 points, while Naperville Central and Waubonsie Valley tied for second with 18. Batavia (16) came in fourth.

Batavia senior Josh Cogan, who tied for ninth at last year’s state tournament, knocked off Marmion’s Will Graft 6-2, 6-1 in the singles championship.

Cogan, a four-time state qualifier, was able to overpower Graft with his serve.

“The serve felt really, really good. I was hitting it really clean,” said Cogan, who claimed the sectional title for the second straight year. “I got into a rhythm, and I wasn’t really thinking about it. I was just stepping up to the line and hitting it.”

Waubonsie Valley’s senior duo of Deep Chatterjee and Abhi Singh defeated the Naperville Central team of junior Danny Albert and sophomore Wesley Lo 6-2, 5-7, 6-4 in the doubles championship.

With temperatures hovering around 90 degrees, Singh said the third set was mentally and physically challenging.

“It was just mental toughness,” Singh said. “Both teams were really tired, we both won a set, and basically, it was whoever wanted it more.”

Singh qualified for state the previous three years in singles, but Chatterjee will be playing at state for the first time.

The Redhawks’ No. 2 doubles team of Matt Mason and Justin Gillette placed fourth and will be joining Albert and Lo at state. Marmion’s Pattermann and Rettig knocked off Mason and Gillette 6-7, 7-5, 6-1 in the third place doubles match.

West Aurora senior Matt Kuntzi qualified for state after a fourth-place finish. Marmion’s John Graft defeated Kuntzi 6-2, 6-4 in the third place singles match.

West Aurora and Metea Valley tied for fifth place with eight points. IMSA (6), East Aurora (4) and Aurora Central (4) followed.

I wrote this story for the Chicago Sun-Times, Aurora Beacon, Naperville Sun and yourseason.com. It appears here.

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Boys Track Notebook: Leftovers From Last Week’s Kane County Meet

Athletes were greeted with great weather at last week’s Kane County Meet.

High Standards

St. Charles North’s Oshay Hodges placed in four events, but the senior was not satisfied with his performance.

“I can do so much better if I’m just injury free,” Hodges said after last Friday’s meet.

Hodges has been battling a heel injury that he suffered while doing the triple jump and the county meet was the first time he had competed in all three jumping events in over three weeks. Hodges is hoping one more week of rest will help him improve his results at Thursday’s Upstate Eight Valley conference meet.

“I’m taking it day-by-day,” Hodges said. “This next week I’ll probably heel up, be better.”

The versatile athlete finished second in the high jump, second in the triple jump and fifth in the long jump. He was also part of the North Stars’ third-pace finish in the 1600-meter relay along with Zach Kirby, Jack Feeney and Connor Larson.

Hodges did say he was pleasantly surprised with his performance in the high jump. The North Stars’ senior was locked in a tight battle with Marmion’s Peter Stefanski, the defending 2A champion. Hodges and Stefanski both cleared 6 feet, 7 inches, but Stefanski earned first place due to less misses earlier in the competition.

“I was surprised in the high jump because I almost got 6-9 which would have been a personal best. So, I guess I’m just going to take that into next week. I’m pretty sure I can get that (6-9) next week.”

Stefanski and Marmion have been bumped up to 3A this season and they will be competing against St. Charles North in the same sectional, hosted by the North Stars, in two weeks. Hodges, who finished second at the 3A meet last year, welcomes the competition.

“It kind puts pressure on me, because of course I want to go back downstate again,” Hodges said. “So I’m trying to push myself even further and they push me a lot more because I have them to compete against.”

Thanks For The Help

After winning the 400-meters, South Elgin sprinter Jeff Broger made sure to give credit to St. Charles North’s Zach Kirby.

“Actually, there’s one guy that I actually should thank, that St. Charles North dude (Kirby),” Broger said. “He actually gave me a kick. He was gaining up on me, and that gave me that kick to finish through that last 100.”

Broger entered last Friday’s meet hoping to win to win the 400-meters. Winning the 200-meters as well was just icing on the cake for the Storm junior.

“My goal for the day was winning the 400. I was nervous and I didn’t know what to expect out of that 200,” Broger said.

No Practice Makes Perfect?

Devante King of Elgin took home a county championship in the 110-meter hurdles, but the Benedictine-bound senior admitted he wasn’t exactly prepared for that particular race.

“I just winged it actually, I haven’t been able to practice it for two weeks straight,” King said. “We’ve been working on relays, trying to get to state.”

All that relay work showed as King teamed up with Dennis Moore, Terrell Campbell and Derek Moorman to take first place in the 800-meter relay and second in the 400-meter relay.

See You Later, Peter

A year after finishing 10th at state in the 800-meters, St. Charles East’s Jake Mazanke ran the event for the first time this spring and set a personal record (1:53.56). However, the Fighting Saints’ senior was upstaged by Peter Archibald of Geneva, who won the race in Kane County record time (1:52.76).

“Racing against Peter is always fun, he’s a great athlete,” said Mazanke. “It’s a little bit of blow not to win, but it’s not the last time we’ll race. I’m sure come state finals, we’ll be neck and neck again.”

Mazanke will get another crack at Archibald sooner than that – the runners will face off at Thursday’s Upstate Eight River conference meet in Geneva.

Other Notes: Streamwood’s Blake Holder, recovering from a hamstring injury, said he won’t be running any open events at this week’s Upstate Eight River meet. He’s hoping to run the 100-meters, 200-meters, 400-meter relay and 800-meter relay at next week’s sectional. In his first action since early April, Holder ran anchor for the Sabres’ first-place 400-meter relay team at Kane County … Geneva’s winning 3200-meter relay team of Peter Archibald, Michael Bianchina, Justin Davis and Nathan Wendt had never run together before Friday … Burlington Central’s Clint Kliem broke the school record in the 1600-meters by over two seconds. The senior won the event with a time of 4:18.76

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Boys Baseball: Marmion Rallies Late, Knocks Off Chicago Christian In Extras

With his Cadets trailing by two runs with two outs in the seventh inning of Tuesday’s game against Chicago Christian, Marmion coach Dave Rakow had his post-game speech already prepared.

“I was going to tell the guys that when you make five errors and run yourselves out of innings, you’ll never, ever win,” said Rakow.

But then the Cadets staged a two-out, two-run rally to force extra innings, where Mike Pipp’s RBI single in the eighth inning gave Marmion a 5-4 victory over the visiting Knights.

“Anytime you get a win, you take it. But it wasn’t a pretty game today,” said Rakow. “If we can eliminate the errors, then we can eliminate the necessity of these late game dramatics.”

The Cadets were trailing 4-2 when Connor Riley reached first base on an error to start the seventh inning. The next two batters made outs, but Mitch Sterne hit a first-pitch fastball up the middle for a single that drove in Riley. The next batter, A.J. Friedman, hit a single to right field to bring home Sterne and tie the game 4-4.

The game went into extras after Alex Troop grounded out to second base with runners at second and third.

In the eighth, Andy Young scored the game-winning run on Pipp’s walk-off single to left field.

“We’re not a team that’s going to give up in any situation,” said Pipp. “Our team really came through today. We didn’t play our best game, but we found a way to win, and that says a lot about us.”

Chicago Christian (10-4, 0-2) took a 1-0 lead in the third inning when Brodie Meyer’s single plated Jeremy Norway.

The Knights extended their lead to 3-0 in the fourth inning thanks to some miscues by Marmion. With two outs, Mike Harms scored on an infield error by the Cadets. Later in the inning, Sean Omeara crossed home plate on the back-end of a double steal.

The Cadets cut the deficit to one with a two-run fourth inning. Young walked with the bases loaded to bring home Nick Nasharr and Troop scored on a wild pitch by Knights pitcher Mike Kamp.

Norway, who reached base three times, added an RBI single in the sixth inning that gave the Knights a 4-2 lead.

After starting the season 1-4, Marmion (5-4, 2-0) has now won four straight games. Rakow said the Cadets haven’t changed much, things are just finally starting to break in the team’s favor.

“I don’t think we were playing bad baseball. The record didn’t really reflect it, but I think we’ve been relatively consistent in terms of our play,” said Rakow. “It’s just that some games when you’re close you don’t win, and some you do.”

I wrote this story for the Chicago Sun-Times, Aurora Beacon and yourseason.com. It appears here.

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Checking In: First Round Wrap-Up

Wheaton North QB John Peltz (4 total TDs this week against Jacobs) tries to escape a Glenbard North defender during the regular season – Photo from the Chicago Tribune

CLASS 5A

#6 Montini 49 #11 Woodstock North 14

Montini scored four touchdowns over a 12 play stretch in the second half to pull ahead from Woodstock North in the Broncos’ 49-14 first round victory.

The Broncos took a 21-0 lead in the first quarter, but the Thunder battled back and cut the score to 21-14 in the second quarter. From there though, it was all Montini, as the defensing 5A state champs scored the final 28 points of the game.

Wide receiver Jordan Westerkamp had another star performance, hauling in 7 catches for 127 yards and a touchdown. The Nebraska-bound senior also had a 52 yard punt return for the game’s first touchdown.

Quarterback John Rhode continued his string of excellent games, completing 17 of his 25 pass attempts for 330 yards and four touchdowns.

Montini advances to the second round where they will play at #3 Sterling 1 pm on Saturday

#8 St. Francis 27 #9 Burlington 10

After losing in the first round of the playoffs the last two seasons to Montini, St. Francis broke through to the second round for the first time since 2008 when the Spartans won the Class 5A championship.

Defensive back Michael Hanson’s interception in the third quarter was the key play of the game. Trailing 14-10, Burlington opted not to punt on 4th and 13 from the St. Francis 36-yard line. Rockets QB Ryan Ritchie overthrew his target, and the ball landed in the hands of Hanson, who returned the pick 70 yards for a touchdown that put the Spartans up 21-10.

Running back Jack Petrando led the Spartans with 18 carries for 112 yards and a touchdown. Quarterback Nick Donati added two touchdowns, one through the air and another on the ground.

St. Francis faces a tough test in the second round where they will go on the road to face #1 Kaneland at 7 pm on Saturday.

CLASS 6A

#3 Nazareth 35 #14 Deerfield 6

Nazareth running back Joshua Moore ran for 160 yards and four touchdowns in the Roadrunners dominant 35-6 first round win over Deerfield.

The Roadrunners took a 28-0 lead into halftime after holding the Warriors to just 19 yards of offense in the first two quarters. Deerfield scored its first and only touchdown with just 26 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter.

Nazareth will host Cary-Grove next Saturday at 1 pm in the second round. The Roadrunners will be looking to advance to the quarterfinals for the second time in school history.

#10 Glenbard South 30 #7 Foreman 7

Running back Wesley Sanders scored two touchdowns as Glenbard South defeated Foreman 30-7 in the first round of the class 6A playoffs.

The Raiders played a sloppy game (5 fumbles, just one lost) without their starting quarterback Tyler Padera (concussion) but still dominated Foreman. Glenbard South took a 30-0 lead in the fourth quarter.

The Raiders will host Prairie Ridge next Saturday at 7 pm. The two teams met the first week of the season with Prairie Ridge winning convincingly 55-12.

#2 Prairie Ridge 49 #15 Marmion 0

Things started out well for Marmion, as the Cadets recovered a fumble on Prairie Ridge’s first offensive play of the game. However, the Cadets had a field goal attempt blocked on their ensuing possession, and things quickly went down hill.

Prairie Ridge went on to dominate the first half, taking a 42-0 lead into halftime. Quarterback Nick Nissen (12 carries, 38 yards) ran for four touchdowns. Running back Connor Greenwald added a touchdown and led the Wolves with 144 yards on 11 carries.

Marmion earned just one first down in the game while gaining only 23 yards of total offense.

#8 Lake Forest 55 #9 Fenton 20

Fenton struck first, but the Bison were unable to keep things going, losing to Lake Forest 55-20 in the first round of the class 6A playoffs.

Play-making running back Alan Geneva led the Bison with 10 catches for 97 yards and one touchdown.

Quarterback Sean Havlovic did not play for the Bison due a “school-related incident.”

Lake Forest running back Owen Williams (16 carries, 130 yards) reached the end zone four times for the Scots, who will face #1 Batavia in the second round.

CLASS 7A

#11 Carmel 28 #6 Addison Trail 20

Running backs Jordan Kos and Brian Brennan led the way for Carmel as they upset Addison Trail 28-20 in the first round of the class 7A playoffs.

Kos led the Corsairs with 31 carries for 167 yards and one touchdown while Brennan added 20 carries, 78 yards and two touchdowns. Addison Trail had only given up 48 points in the regular season, and never gave up more than 14 points in a game.

The Blazers drove down to the Carmel 11 yard line late in the fourth quarter in an attempt to send the game to overtime. However, the Corsairs forced two incompletions and time expired.

AT Quarterback Trevor Bermingham completed 19 of his 33 pass attempts for 177 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions.

Carmel will host Crystal Lake South in the second round. The game kicks off at 7 pm Friday night.

#7 Wheaton North 28 #10 Jacobs 0

John Peltz had another strong performance as Wheaton North flew by Jacobs 28-0 in the first round.

Peltz completed 13 of his 19 pass attempts for 277 yards and four touchdowns. The junior added another touchdown on the ground.

Sophomore Matt Biegalski caught 5 passes for 165 yards and a touchdown while senior Johnny Daniels had 3 grabs for 73 yards and two touchdowns.

The Falcons’ defense was able to shut down Jacobs by holding down running back Caz Zyks. The talented back with a sweet name only gained 27 yards on 11 carries.

Wheaton North will face Rockford Boylan, the defending 6A champions, in the second round. That game kicks off at 1 pm Saturday in Rockford.

CLASS 8A

#11 Glenbard North 27 Barrington 21

Glenbard North only completed two passes in their 27-21 fupset win over Barrington, but the second one happened to be the play of the game.

With the scored tied at 21 halfway through the fourth quarter, Panthers quarterback Brian Murphy threw up a prayer into the end zone. The ball somehow fell into the hands of Logan Henshall for a touchdown (also Henshall’s first catch as a varsity player) and the Panthers took a 27-21 lead.

Once again, most of the Glenbard North offensive production came from the Jackson brothers. Junior Justin (17 carries, 95 yards) reached the end zone three times, while senior Phil ran for 122 yards on 21 carries.

The Panthers advanced to the second round where they will host Palatine at 6 pm on Saturday.

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Class 6A Playoff Mini-Previews: How Long Will Nazareth’s Dream Season Continue?

#3 Nazareth (8-1, 7-1) vs #14 Deerfield (6-3, 5-0), Sat. Oct. 29, 1 pm in LaGrange Park

Nazareth RB Joshua Moore eludes a tackler against Notre Dame

Nazareth, co-champions of the tough East Suburban Catholic Conference, enters the playoffs on a seven game winning streak. The Roadrunners, appropriately, are a run-first team. Running back Rudy Romagnano was the team’s workhorse to begin the season, but the senior suffered an ankle injury on the first play of Nazareth’s monumental victory over Joliet Catholic. Joshua Moore has taken over the full share of the load in Romagnano’s absence, and the Roadrunners haven’t missed a beat. Moore rushed for 136 yards and three touchdowns last week in the Roadrunners’ lopsided win over St. Viator.

Defensive back Kalium Ewing returned two interceptions for touchdowns last week. It was the second time this season Ewing has done that, having also returned two picks for scores against Notre Dame. Ewing is an all-around playmaker, he has also reached the end zone on offense and special teams.

Nazareth is definitely a threat to win the 6A title, but they face a challenging route to Champaign. The Roadrunners will likely have to beat 2009 champion Cary-Grove in the second round (fresh off a win over previously unbeaten Prairie Ridge) and 8-1 Prairie Ridge in the quarters before meeting 9-0 Bartlett in the semifinals.

#14 Deerfield will also pose a threat to the Roadrunners. Deerfield wrapped up a Central Suburban North championship last week with a 45-21 victory over Highland Park. The Warriors started out the season with three straight non-conference losses, but were able to finish the season with a perfect conference run of five straight wins.

Deerfield also features a run-first offense. The Warriors rushed for 478 yards in their victory over Highland Park. Fullback Tyler Vajdic led the way with 185 yards and two touchdowns while wingbacks Mark Pagano and Ryan Adkins ran for a combined 206 yards and three touchdowns. Deerfield’s win over Highland Park (5-4) was the Warriors’ only victory over a team with a winning record.

PREDICTION:

Nazareth 38 Deerfield 21

#10 Glenbard South (6-3, 4-0) vs #7 Foreman (7-2, 6-1), Fri. Oct. 28, 7:30 pm at Lane Stadium in Chicago

Glenbard South RB Wesley Sanders has made big plays for the Raiders all season long.

Glenbard South, champions of the Metro Suburban Conference, are led by big play machine Wesley Sanders. The senior running back, who has reached the end zone over 20 times this year, leads an offense that has been running on all cylinders during the Raiders five game winning streak. Sanders had 159 yards rushing and three touchdowns in the Raiders’ conference-championship clinching victory over Ridgewood in week eight. Sanders has also had big plays as a receiver and returner this year.

The Raiders’ three losses all came at the hands of playoff teams, including 9-0 Crete-Monee and 8-1 Prairie Ridge. The Raiders knock off Foreman this week, they will likely have a second-round rematch against Prairie Ridge.

The Raiders will travel to Chicago to face Foreman, the champions of the Chicago Public School’s Big Shoulders Conference. Foreman also comes into the playoffs red-hot, winning their last six games of the regular season.

PREDICTION:

Glenbard South 29 Foreman 23

#15 Marmion (5-4, 2-3) vs #2 Prairie Ridge (8-1, 5-1), Sat. Oct. 29, 1 pm in Crystal Lake

Marmion made the 6A championship game last season but the Cadets just squeaked into the playoffs this year with a 5-4 record, albeit against a challenging schedule. The Cadets’ four losses came to playoff teams that combined to lose just four games all season (Marian, Montini, Batavia and St. Francis). The Cadets have a bruising defense and like to control the game with their bruising running attack led by Kyle Kozak, Garret Becker and Cody Snodgrass.

Prairie Ridge cruised through the first eight games of the season, winning every game by at least three touchdowns, before dropping their regular season finale against Cary-Grove, 22-21 in OT. The Wolves outscored opponents 381 to 87 this season. The Wolves, angry and motivated after losing their first game, will likely be too much for the Cadets.

PREDICTION:

Prairie Ridge 31 Marmion 6

#9 Fenton (7-2, 2-2) vs #8 Lake Forest (7-2, 5-1), Fri. Oct. 28, 7:30 pm in Lake Forest

Fenton RB Alan Geneva celebrates with teammates after a touchdown.

First off, I’m really not sure how Fenton received a higher seed than Glenbard South. Yes, I know the Bison have a better record, but the two conference foes played just three weeks ago, and the Raiders won in convincing fashion 40-8. Fenton complied a pretty empty 7-2 record, winning zero games against playoff teams. In fact, the Raiders were the only playoff team they faced, and as I just said, they lost by 32.

Anyway, the Bison are led by running back Alan Geneva, who does most of his damage catching screen passes. Fenton runs an interesting offense that features a lot of screen passes out of a shotgun formation.

Lake Forest won a share of the North Suburban Lake division this season. The Scouts are led by running back Owen Williams who ran for 233 yards and three touchdowns in last week’s victory over Libertyville.

PREDICTION:

Lake Forest 35 Fenton 14

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Let Conference Play Begin: Marmion at Montini Preview

Marmion (1-1) at Montini (1-1), Friday Sept. 9 7:30 pm, Lombard, IL

Photo from Donnell Collins~For Sun-Times Media

MARMION:

Game 1: 36-7 loss at Batavia

The Cadets season got off to a rough start with a 36-7 beating at Batavia on Aug. 26. Marmion had an awful first half, turning the ball over six times on their way to a 30-0 halftime deficit. The Cadets had an incredibly difficult time throwing the ball. They had four different players attempt a pass, and combined their pass-throwers completed as many passes to fellow Cadets as they did to the defense (four). Marmion’s lone score came on a 77-yard run by running back Garret Becker after the game had already been decided.

Game 2: 6-0 win versus Fenwick

The Cadets recovered from their week one beating with a 6-0 win in a defensive grinder with Fenwick. Once again, the Marmion offense struggled, scoring only one touchdown. However, the 6-yard run by running back Kyle Kozak was all the Cadets needed. The Cadet defense came out strong to start the game, allowing Fenwick to gain only two total yards and no first downs in the first half. Marmion held the ball for 19 of the game’s first 24 minutes. The Cadets held on in the second half, stopping a couple of long Fenwick drives before the Friars could reach the end zone. Marmion ran 47 plays to Fenwick’s 31, and out-gained the Friars 165 yards to 59 yards.

Photo from Tracy Allen~for Sun-Times Media

MONTINI:

Game 1: 26-21 win versus Palatine

Montini, the two time defending Class 5A champions, did more than hold their own against Class 8A, defeating the Pirates 26-21 in Lombard on Aug. 26. Running back Dimitri Jones ran for 160 yards and two touchdowns on 15 carries, stealing some of the spotlight from usual Bronco star wide receiver Jordan Westerkamp. The Nebraska-bound Westerkamp did have a solid game, catching 5 passes for 88 yards and a touchdown. Quarterback Mark Gorogianis, filling in for the injured John Rhode (fractured right thumb, expected to miss three more weeks) was 13-for-24 for 134 yards, one touchdown and 3 interceptions.

Game 2: 41-24 loss at Loyola

Westerkamp had an outstanding performance, but it wasn’t enough to beat Malcolm Weaver and Loyola, as the Broncos lost 41-24 to the Ramblers. The 6-1, 200 lb. Westerkamp was double covered on nearly every play but still collected 7 catches for 135 yards and three touchdowns. However, the Broncos could not stop Ramblers quarterback Weaver, who was 21-for-29 for 246 yards and 5 touchdowns. Weaver also had 100 yards rushing and one touchdown on 15 carries.  Gorogianis improved his play, completing 16 of his 29 passes for 275 yards, three touchdowns, and perhaps most importantly, no interceptions.

WHAT TO WATCH FOR ON FRIDAY

Marmion has to do two things if they have any chance of knocking off Montini Friday night, and neither will be easy. First, the Cadets must improve their offense which has only produced six total points through two games. They were able to control the time of possession last week against Fenwick, which was a step in the right direction, but they only found the end zone once. Secondly, Marmion has to contain Jordan Westerkamp, which is much easier said than done. With their meager offense, the Cadets can’t afford Westerkamp to go off like he did last week against Loyola (7 recs, 135 yds, 3 TDs). The Cadets don’t have a playmaker like Loyola’s Malcolm Weaver to offset Westerkamp’s production. It will also be interesting to see the progression of Broncos quarterback Mark Gorogianis, now in his third week filling in for injured QB John Rhode. Gorogianis improved greatly from week one to week two, will his improvement continue in week three as the Broncos enter conference play?

PREDICTION

Montini 42 Marmion 7

 

 

 

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