O’Brien: Week 8’s four downs

Prairie Ridge's Samson Evans, and all the Wolves players, bump knucks at the end of the morning session of practice, August 10, 2017. Allen Cunningham / For the Sun-Times.

Thoughts and observations from Week 8.

FIRST DOWN: Prairie Ridge, the preseason top-ranked team, beat Jacobs on Friday to improve to 8-0. The No.2 Wolves own the state’s longest winning streak, 22 games.

They’ve totally dominated opponents this season. The Week 1 win against Cary-Grove and Week 2 win at Huntley were close games, but then Prairie Ridge had five consecutive blowouts, with the starters only playing three quarters.

The Wolves finally had a challenge again on Friday in their 30-16 win against Jacobs. The starters played all four quarters and it was a one-possession game in the final five minutes.

Quarterback Samson Evans engineered the win-sealing drive and topped it off with a six-yard run, he had four touchdowns in the game.

Prairie Ridge is a huge favorite to win the Class 6A state title again this season. The Wolves are averaging 45 points while allowing just 16.

SECOND DOWN: Waubonsie Valley was No. 4 in the preseason Super 25 rankings. The Warriors are loaded with talent and had an impressive playoff win at Hinsdale Central last season, so their potential seemed limitless.

But things started heading south Week 1 in a tight home loss to Lake Park. Waubonsie Valley limped into Friday’s game at Naperville North with a 3-4 record.

All the talent is still there though, and it showed on Friday. Quarterback Tanner Westwood found receiver Charles Robinson for a 40-yard touchdown pass with 32 seconds left to give the Warriors the win over the Huskies. Robinson also had two interceptions in the game.

Waubonsie Valley needs a win at Wheaton North next week to become playoff eligible. That will be a tall task. The Falcons (6-2) lost 14-7 to Naperville Central last week, but have been one of the area’s better teams this season.


THIRD DOWN: It’s possible that West Aurora’s Camron Donatlan is the best athlete in the area.

The 6-3, 176-pound senior a track superstar. He won the state high jump competition as a sophomore and junior. Last season he won the event by five inches.

Donatlan is a Division I basketball prospect, he’s been on varsity since freshman year and was the top player in the Aurora area last season. He averaged 16 points, six rebounds and four assists.

Then there is football. Donatlan primarily plays wide receiver, he’s a game-breaking threat for the Blackhawks resurgent football program. Friday against Bartlett he was asked to play a new position, running back. As usual, he dominated. Donatlan had 10 carries for 210 yards and four touchdowns.

The win improves West Aurora to 6-2 and gives the Blackhawns their third consecutive state playoff berth.

FOURTH DOWN: It’s time to give St. Laurence running back Tori Clinton some attention. The senior had a massive game on Friday, leading the Vikings to a 56-8 win against Aurora Christian.

Clinton had 11 carries for 249 yards. He scored four rushing touchdowns and caught an 80-yard pass for a touchdown.

He’s been nearly that effective all season. He has gained 1,650 yards on 166 carries, nearly a 10 yard per carry average to go with 21 touchdowns.

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  • ihsa1989

    please mt carmel is best option school in the state

  • Public Powerhouses

    Prairie Ridge appears to have the greatest option offense ever in Illinois high school football. I agree that they will likely win 6A again in a blowout.

    • Broad Perspective

      I agree PR is certainly one of the top all time option offenses, but their win streak makes me think they are ripe for a loss… In your option team analysis you may want to consider Mount Carmel with 12 first place and 5 runner up state championships, with (i think) the second most winning coach in IL.

      • Lee Kolodziej

        Let’s also remember PR is a local public community school and MC private who greatly extends its recruiting boundaries through multiple areas…..

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