State quarterfinals preview: Simeon puts flawless record to the test against Nazareth

Simeon's Alante Brown (3) breaks a long run for a touchdown. Allen Cunningham/For the Sun-Times.
Simeon's Alante Brown (3) breaks a long run for a touchdown. Allen Cunningham/For the Sun-Times.

Class 7A’s No. 1 seed Simeon  puts its unbeaten record to the test in the quarterfinals with a tough matchup against No. 8 seed Nazareth (10-1) on Saturday afternoon. Both teams are ranked in the top 10 of the Sun-Times’ Super 25 and boast impressive playmakers who could make for a high-scoring game at Gately Stadium.

Receiver Rashaan Palmer earned Player of the Week honors last week after powering Simeon (11-0) to a 48-35 second-round victory over Lincoln-Way West. The 6-4 wideout caught five passes for 162 yards and three touchdowns, including a 70-yard score, proving to have strong chemistry with senior quarterback Alante Brown.

Nazareth will likely turn to running back Michael Love to try to match Simeon’s attack. Love made plays all over the field for the Roadrunners in their big win over Hersey last week, including a 84-yard punt return touchdown, a 50-yard catch-and-run touchdown and a forced fumble on defense that likely saved a score. He’ll need to be stellar again Saturday to keep Nazareth’s playoff run alive.

Class 8A
Marist (10-1) at Homewood-Flossmoor (10-1), 1 p.m. Saturday
Coming off a shootout win over Naperville Central last week, Marist may have a much different kind of game on its hands against defensive-minded Homewood-Flossmoor. The Redhawks defense allowed more points in the second round (35) than it had in the previous five weeks combined. The Vikings will be more than happy to play that way: They’ve have allowed a total of 10 points in their last four games.

Class 8A
Loyola (8-3) at Maine South (10-1), 1 p.m. Saturday

Can Loyola continue its playoff run after an underwhelming regular season? The Ramblers came to play in a 22-0 shutout of Oswego last week but face another big challenge Saturday against Maine South, the team that beat them in the 2016 state final.  The Hawks had little trouble with Huntley and Waubonsie Valley in their first two postseason games, but Loyola looks to be back in form at just the right time.

Class 7A
East St. Louis (9-2) vs. Mount Carmel (10-1) at Gately, 5 p.m. Saturday

Ignore the seeding in this matchup because these two teams are far better than No. 7 vs. No. 15. Mount Carmel narrowly squeezed by Lake Zurich, 17-14, in the second round but hasn’t lost since August. East St. Louis, arguably the fastest team in the state, slams the pedal down and keeps it there. The Flyers are coming off a 56-0 shellacking of previously unbeaten Glenbard East and have averaged 67 points per game over their last four contests.

Class 6A
Phillips (9-2) at Cary-Grove (11-0), 1:30 p.m. Saturday

The Jahleel Billingsley show hits its next stage with a matchup against the No. 1 seed in the Class 6A bracket. Cary-Grove hasn’t lost this season, and most weeks, it hasn’t been close, either. Phillips will likely need Billingsley, the two-way star committed to Alabama, to be at his best again in order to reach the semifinals.

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23 comments

  • Larry

    How did East St. Louis do?

  • John Reeves

    Enigist …..so you think I know nothing ……We will see who knows nothing when Mt .Carmel loses the game .

    • enginist

      Keep your eye on #36, a sophomore middle linebacker with NFL potential. He’ll be in your backfield almost as much as your quarterback. A couple of your guys may or may not be recruited by Nick Saban, but this guy will remind you of such legendary Carmel players as Donovan McNab and Simeon Rice.

      • enginist

        In fact, he’ll remind you of Brian Urlacher and Mike Singletary. Remember this name: Kenenna Odeluga. He’s a natural at the position, born to menace opposing quarterbacks. As the Sun-Times’s Michael O’Brien said about his performance in the Loyola game, “Odeluga was a force.” What he meant is that Odeluga is a force of nature, which is to say unstoppable.

  • SpeedK

    ESTL have not won a state track title since 2016, 2nd place in 2017 and lost to MC. had season not been cancelled they may have won the title in 2018

  • bigCity

    you guys are killing me. naz will not beat simeon!.. Mc will hang in for abt a half.. will love to see Esl vs Simeon in the final

  • john conroy

    Here’s the real deal. These teams will go toe to toe. (1) The Flyers are a great team with speed, and a chip on their shoulder (2) Mt. Carmel will give them 110%, as the Home team with pride (3) The MOST important stat, the weather. Temp will drop below 30, and the wind will whip through Gately stadium. When your elbow and knee hit concrete under that fake-turf, your not so fast anymore! The team with a little luck wins by 6. Mount Carmel surely has a chance here. Don’t count them out!

  • West sub fan

    Edgy Tim ???
    Come on !!
    Great comment he absolutely is just another guy !!

  • BlkT. Soprano

    Echoes from last year! ESL has always had stellar speed and when they visited the Historic Colloseum on Cottage they averaged over 45 points per game. MC has an exceptional Defensive Coach, (Dave Lenti AKA The Mastermind). Defensively the scheme has’nt changed, they play gap control. The difference this year is their phenomenal linebacker play; they are young, fast and deliver heavyweight punches when they get to the ball. Also, the secondary is experienced… (7 starters returned overall…) I expect them to shock the world- yet once again!

    • John Reeves

      Blk T Soprano….. you expect Mt. Carmel to shock the world? well… You and Mt. Carmel will be shocked after you see the score of the game. Mt. Carmel might have an experienced secondary ….but so did Hoffman Estates and undefeated Glenbard East and 4 other teams and they all lost by more than 50 points because they didn’t realize they were playing the state track champs. Last year the Score was 21-18 Mt. Carmel…..but I’m sure the score will be much higher than that this time . East St Louis will make sure of that .

      • Mpb

        Hey john east Louis had a tough time at Gately and the speed diddnt seem to bother Carmel. Carbolic teams will beat up on them all day long. Same as Marist beat up on HF.

  • Paul

    East side will run all over Carmel.

    • John Reeves

      Paul …. you are right….. This is a “Revenge game” for East St Louis. So Mt. Carmel better bring their track shoes if they want to compete with East St Louis . Most of the team are members of the state champion track team. East St Louis has won 6 games by 55 points or more. The Quarterback and running back have 4.4 track speed and the massive front line ( 6ft 4 340 6ft 4 320 6ft 4 300 6ft 3 290 willl open big holes . I have been to all their games and the coaches of Hoffman Estates and undefeated Glenbard East said the speed of East St Louis was on another level. EdgyTim has picked them to win the 7A title . #1 Alabama Coach Nick Saban came to East St Louis to recruit about 7 of the players. He wouldn’t have come there for nothing.

      • enginist

        Edgy Tim is just another guy with an opinion. Beth Long, whose opinion is as valid as Edgy Tim’s, has MC over ESL.

        • John Reeves

          Enginist….EdgyTim is more qualified than you to give his opinion about the East St Louis Football team because he has seen them play several times. Have you seen them play ? I think not.

          • enginist

            You know nothing, John Reeves. Jordan Lynch has played against and coached against monster college teams that are at least as big as these guys from ESL. He knows how to leverage a size differential into a winning formula. Discount him at your peril.

      • John Conroy

        Wake up. Did you forget about the weather in the 20’s, and the wind. Don’t forget about the bus ride and the home team either. If this game was being played in Miami, I’d give the flyers the edge but?

  • mpb

    Nazareth 35-28
    Marist 24-21
    Main South 21-17
    Mount Carmel 31-21
    Cary Grove 28-21

  • Westsub fan

    Nazareth 29 Simeon 21
    HF 27 Marist 14
    Maine south 21 Loyola 17
    EAst St LOUIS 35 MT Carmel 21
    Cary Grove 20 Phillips 14

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