O’Brien: Week 10’s four downs

Curie's AJ Sanya (22) rushes for a first down against Lane at Rockne Stadium September 21, 2017 Worsom Robinson/For the Sun-Times.

Thoughts and observations from the first round of the playoffs.

FIRST DOWN: How about Curie? The Condors shocked Lyons, a team that was in the Super 25 for most of the season, 46-28 on Saturday in the Class 8A state playoffs. It’s the first ever win for Curie in the state playoffs against a non-Public League team.

The Condors (8-2) did it the way they always do: running the ball. They didn’t attempt a pass. Curie had 61 carries for 540 yards and seven touchdowns. Antonio Howard Jr. led the way with 13 carries for 174 yards and three touchdowns. AJ Sanya had 22 carries for 151 yards and a touchdown. Quarterback Ja’Ki McNeil finished with 13 carries for 75 yards and two touchdowns.

It was total line domination for the Condors, which limited Lyons to just 15 rushing yards.

Curie entered the game with an overall state playoff record of 1-21.

The Condors will host No. 6 Marist in the second round next week. They will be major underdogs. The RedHawks (10-0) are one of the state’s elite teams, loaded with future college players. They thrashed Oak Park 44-0 in the first round.

SECOND DOWN: Raby beat Alleman in Class 4A. The Raiders (9-1) were the only Public League team other than Curie to win against a non-Public League opponent. The rest of the Public League went 0-for-13.

There’s a big showdown brewing next weekend in Class 5A. Phillips beat Morgan Park and Solorio beat local rival Back of the Yards, so the Wildcats (10-0) and Sun Warriors (8-2) will meet in the second round.

Phillips beat Solorio 14-9 in Week 8, it was the Wildcats’ closest game of the season.

THIRD DOWN: Minooka has always been known as a baseball school. Its basketball program has been opening eyes recently and now the football team is following suit. The Indians haven’t finished a season with a winning record since 2012, but are now in the Super 25 after beating Notre Dame 22-19 in overtime in the first round of Class 8A.

Minooka (8-2) was second in the Southwest Prairie this season, losing at Oswego and at Plainfield South. The Indians have done it with defense this season, but sophomore running back Connor Etzkorn has been a standout.

Next up is a major challenge against No. 10 Barrington (10-0).

FOURTH DOWN: Buffalo Grove made the playoffs for the first time since 2003 and it didn’t let the opportunity go to waste, beating Belleville West 17-7 in Class 7A.

The Bison (9-1) finished second in the Mid-Suburban East. Its only loss came at Hersey, which beat Rolling Meadows 28-6 this weekend and is also advancing to the second round.

It’s been a real season to build on for Buffalo Grove, but things likely come to an end this weekend. The Bison have to travel down to East St. Louis, which is one of the state’s elite programs and one of the most difficult places to win .

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3 comments

  • Public Powerhouses

    Marist played 5 losing teams during the regular season. Their opponents include decling programs like JCA, 3-6; St. Pat’s, 2-7; Carmel, 1-8; and Marian, 0-9. Marist will have trouble going forward, starting with Curie.

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