Observations and talking points from Week 7.
FIRST DOWN: Raby drove down the field and scored on its first drive against Phillips on Friday at Mandrake Park. Then the Raiders pulled off a successful two-point conversion and led 8-0.
All the swagger the undefeated west side team showed over the week on social media started to look valid. Raby had only allowed 18 points all season long at that point.
The Wildcats went on to win 42-28, but the Raiders were never really out of the game. Remember, Phillips beat Loyola 20-14 Week 1. Raby scored more points against the Wildcats than any other opponent this season.
“We have a team with great chemistry, the kids love one another,” Raby coach D’Angelo Dareef said. “We have to keep fighting. Now we know exactly where we stand, we just have to fine tune. We put up 28 and showed some things against them.”
Raby hasn’t had the playoff success of Phillips or Simeon and hasn’t won the city titles that Curie has, but Dareef is steadily building one of the city’s best programs.
He has three recent alumni playing college football. Chris Covington starts at linebacker for Indiana. Jamal Milan, just a sophomore, starts at defensive line for Illinois. Malik Haynes, also a sophomore, is a starting defensive lineman at SIU.
The Raiders had major eligibility problems last season and were 2-7. But quarterback Tyshun Turnipseed, a 6-3, 200-pound senior, picked up valuable experience. Sirshaun Gardner and Monte Tillman Jr. are both major threats at receiver.
“It was a great game, great battle,” Dareef said. “But we felt like it was our time to beat them. We don’t have moral victories. Our season last year was terrible, we had a lot of controversy. These kids deserve to win, we have a great team. We have a great chance in the state playoffs, we’ll be in Class 4A and I think we have a shot.”
SECOND DOWN: St. Francis forfeited Friday’s game against Hope Academy at Altgeld Park. The school administration didn’t feel it was safe to play the game after gunshots were heard during the Providence-Hope Academy game Week 6.
“It’s a very difficult decision, but we have to make decisions that are in the best interests of the safety of our kids,” St. Francis athletic director Dan Hardwick told the Daily Herald.
St. Francis was willing to host the game and also offered to play at other locations, but Hope Academy wouldn’t agree to anything other than hosting the game.
“We have a solid plan in place to assure the safety of all the student-athletes and fans that attend our games,” Hope Academy coach Matt Kelly said. “This was an incident that had nothing to do with Hope Academy or anyone in attendance at our game.”
THIRD DOWN: The murky conference situation became a bit clearer this week. Coal City, Herscher, Lisle, Manteno, Peotone, Reed-Custer, Streator and Wilmington have officially withdrawn from the Interstate Eight and will form a new conference in 2019. They don’t intend to expand beyond the eight schools. That leaves current Interstate Eight members Westmont, Sandwich and Plano out in the cold.
FOURTH DOWN: Niles North, which suspended its football season on Sept. 25 due to a possible hazing incident, is back in action. The Vikings lost to New Trier 41-0 on Friday and are expected to play rival Niles West next week in a homecoming game that once looked like it wasn’t going to happen.