O’Brien: Week 12’s four downs

Raby's Danquis Smith runs back a punt against Phillips at Mandrake Park. October 6, 2017 Worsom Robinson/For the Sun-Times.

Thoughts and observations on the state quarterfinals.

FIRST DOWN: The doubters have been vanquished. Nearly everyone believes in Raby now. The Raiders debut in the Super 25 this week after pounding Dixon 38-13 on Saturday.

Danquis Smith led the way with four touchdowns and more than 250 rushing yards. Smith has been a force all season, scoring 21 touchdowns. Quarterback Tyshun Turnipseed is Raby’s other offensive threat.

The Raiders are averaging 40 points and only Phillips has scored more than 18 points against them. The Wildcats beat Raby 42-28 in Week 7, but that game was much closer than the score indicated.

The Raiders host Morris (10-2) in the Class 4A state semifinals on Saturday at Hanson. It’s a massive game for the school, which is located across from the Garfield Park Conservatory in the building that used to house Flower High School.

SECOND DOWN: This weekend’s best game was in Park Ridge. Maine South trailed by 15 in the third quarter before coming back to beat Naperville Central 39-28 in a Class 8A quarterfinal.

This won’t be a surprise to anyone that has seen the Hawks the past three seasons, but add Fotis Kokosioulis to the Player of the Year race. He’s had a fabulous career and was at it again against Naperville Central, finishing with 24 carries for 137 yards and two touchdowns and six receptions for 118 yards and two touchdowns.

Maine South’s win sets up a rematch with No. 1 Lincoln-Way East this weekend in Frankfort. The Griffins handed the Hawks their only loss of the season, 28-26 back in Week 2.

THIRD DOWN: It’s not a surprise to anyone that Loyola is back in the semifinals, but the Ramblers complete dominance of Marist was unexpected.

Loyola dominated the host RedHawks 30-10 in the Class 8A quarterfinals. Hamid Bullie’s injury issues are cropping up again, but the Ramblers may have found Bullie’s heir apparent at running back.

Tiny sophomore Trevor Cabanban has looked good in spot duty since making his debut in the second round of the playoffs against New Trier. He had a great game on Saturday at Marist, finishing with 195 rushing yards and two touchdowns.

Loyola travels to Edwardsville (9-3) on Saturday for the semifinals.

FOUTH DOWN: Palatine and Barrington received most of the attention in the Mid-Suburban League this season, but Hoffman Estates is still playing football.

The Hawks (10-2) have tied a school record for wins and have advanced to the semifinals for the first time in school history. The defense, with linebackers Jimmy Burks and Jaylan Alexander, has led the way this season.

That was the case again in a 35-10 win against Belvidere North in the quarterfinals. Everything ratchets up a notch on Saturday. Hoffman Estates will host Prairie Ridge and dynamic, Iowa-bound quarterback Samson Evans in the semifinals.

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  • Public Powerhouses

    The Marist loss to Loyola revealed that the Marist record was achieved in a greatly weakened East Suburban Catholic Conference. The bottom 4 were collapsed programs and St. Viator lost in the first round of 5A by 0-48. There were at least 5 patsies on the Marist schedule.

  • Steve

    Cannot believe that the IHSA allows Raby to host playoff games at Hanson Stadium! The fact that CPS schedules games throughout the season on the antiquated “astro turf” is typical of its Sports Administration, but I would think that the IHSA would show greater interest in player safety.

  • Train

    No one thinks that Batavia or Benet can challenge Lake Zurich. Boy are they wrong.

    • Ghost of Virgil Livers testicle

      Lake Zurich better worry about Mount Carmel. Last time they played MC layed a beat down on them.

      • LZ Mike

        Relax my friend, game day is approaching, and this isn’t 2013. This will be clear to you soon. You and the rest of MC crowd can sit back and relax and enjoy your last game of the season on Saturday.

  • Hawk Yea!


  • Rick G

    How come no love for Benet Academy. To semi finals again this year.

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