Area’s finest on gridiron, basketball court

Simeon's Derek Flowers (9) powers his way upfield. Allen Cunningham/For the Sun-Times.
Simeon's Derek Flowers (9) powers his way upfield. Allen Cunningham/For the Sun-Times.

With the high school football season winding down with state quarterfinals play this weekend –– and high school basketball practice starting this week –– it’s time to break down what is expected to be the Chicago area schools with the highest level of success in both football and basketball in 2018-2019.

Everyone will try and duplicate what Stevenson accomplished during the 2014-2015 school year. The Patriots ran the table in winning a Class 8A state football championship in November and then behind Jalen Brunson captured a Class 4A state basketball title four months later.

Nonetheless, there are several schools who have experienced terrific football seasons this fall and are poised for a big winter of basketball.

◆ Homewood-Flossmoor

Football: This program is rolling with eight consecutive trips to the playoffs, including a state championship game appearance in 2014. A quarterfinals win over Marist this Saturday afternoon will give the Vikings their fourth 10-plus win season in the past five years.

Basketball: The defending Southwest Suburban Blue champs won 21 games a year ago and should be even better and ranked in 2018-2019 with experience, size and length.

◆ Simeon

Football: The Wolverines are the top seed in the Class 7A state football playoffs and will face Nazareth Academy at Gately Stadium this weekend. A win would put Simeon in the state semifinals for the second time in program history.

Basketball: Simeon is always coming off a great year in basketball. Football has pumped itself up to add to the athletic prowess. But the state’s signature basketball program will once again be highly ranked and a state title contender this winter.


Football: Coach John Holecek has built a monster on the North Shore. With a win Saturday the Ramblers will advance to the state semifinals for ninth time in 10 years.

Basketball: While the school may be frenzied over football, don’t look past what this basketball program has done. The Ramblers won 24 games and a regional championship a year ago. Coach Tom Livatino’s team could be even better this year with three returning starters.

Notre Dame

Football: Arguably the best football team at Notre Dame since the 5A state runner-up finish in 1989, the Dons are 9-2 and have advanced to the Class 6A state quarterfinals this weekend.

Basketball: With super young talent in place, headed by sophomores Anthony Sayles, who is also the football team’s starting quarterback while being a Division I basketball prospect, and Troy D’Amico, Notre Dame could crack the top 25 this season.


Football: The Hawks have reached the playoffs for three straight seasons. That’s a far cry from where this program was from 2010 to 2015 when the Hawks went a combined 5-49. But this is the year the program took the next step, advancing to the state quarterfinals in Class 5A with a perfect 11-0 record.

Basketball: Coach Don Houston’s team is a perennial power in the south suburbs. The Hawks will once again be a top 25 team when the season begins later this month.


Football: The West Suburban Gold champs are still playing in the Class 7A playoffs. The Warriors will travel to face Batavia in the state quarterfinals in battle of unbeaten teams.

Basketball: Fresh off a 26-win season a year ago, coach Chris Perkins has enough talent to get Willowbrook back to 20 wins again and contend in the West Suburban Gold.

◆ Oak Park

Football: The Huskies reached the playoffs for the seventh straight season, winning an opening round game before falling to Brother Rice in the second round to finish 8-3.

Basketball: With a experienced seniors and bright, young talent, coach Matt Maloney’s team will be ranked and shooting for its third straight West Suburban Silver championship and back-to-back regional titles.


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  • Margaret

    I can’t believe they named the OPRF basketball team, and not the wrestling team. The wrestling team has won their regional 9 of the last 10 seasons; won their sectional 9 of the last 10 seasons, have won the state title 4 of the last 10 seasons, and have been in the top 5 for the last 7 years. They’ve gone undefeated twice; and won conference the last 7 years. But basketball, yeah, okay.

  • bobby

    Oak Park just needs to leave the locker room to win the terrible WSC. Should win the conference every year by showing up.

  • Bear

    Lake Zurich went to quarters in Basketball and was runner-up in 7A last year.

  • drmcsu

    Hey, Norm Evanston got blew out by a lower ranked team in the first round. Football isn’t good at the school, competitive some years but that’s about it! Sorry

    • Norm

      You are correct. But none of the teams listed, except for maybe Simeon, are consistently dominant in both. And even Simeon has only a few good years of football. Willowbrook basketball? HF and Loyola bball aren’t consistent powers. Hillcrest football a power? Not. Oak Park football is like Evanston. Make the playoffs every year and then go nowhere.

    • ShawnJ

      Drmcsu Evanston got blown out by a very good Edwardsville team that is still alive in the playoffs. No shame in that.

  • Norm

    Evanston football was ranked during the year and once again made the playoffs. The basketball team speaks for itself

    • Leegs1

      Think Joe was considering schools still playing in football payoffs. If not, could add Bolingbrook, Oswego East.

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