Photo By Jeff Vorva
The chance for local teams such as Brother Rice to play on a big-time NFL field last year was a great opportunity but columnist Jeff Vorva said the neighborhood game should be played in the neighborhood.
The schedules are out!
The Illinois High School Association released the hounds – and the 2017 high school football schedules --last week and, as usual, I couldn’t wait to nose around and see what’s what when it comes to the first couple of weeks of non-conference action.
The main event in this area will be Brother Rice at Marist on Aug. 25. The first lie of the new season is that the game is listed at 7:30 p.m. Bank on it that the game is going to start later than that. That’s one of the few predictions about this season I feel confident about.
Anyway, last season these two teams battled it out at Soldier Field and it was a unique experience. High school players had a chance to play on a field that legends have played on. Playing in an NFL stadium is very cool and something those players will never forget long after they have forgotten about Jay Cutler.
But it just didn’t feel right for the Marist-Brother Rice rivalry to be played there.
The thousands of fans that showed up were swallowed by the huge stadium. Brother Rice/Marist should be played at either Brother Rice or Marist, where the crowds own the stadium and the joint is jumpin’.
I’m all for our teams playing at Soldier Field. If Marist played Mt. Carmel there again that would be outstanding. If Brother Rice played a Chicago Public League power such as Phillips or Simeon, that would be great.
But this neighborhood rivalry needs to stay in the neighborhood.
Meanwhile, Mt. Carmel is playing Taft and St. Rita is playing St. Patrick at Soldier Field on the opening weekend.
Another Friday night opener worth catching is Lyons at Sandburg. At this stage, I am not sure how Sandburg is going to be but Lyons has a Division I-type quarterback in Ben Bryant for the Eagles defense to worry about.
Bryant has had an interesting offseason. He gave a verbal commitment to Wisconsin in December but in the spring, the University of Georgia made an offer and soon after that, Wisconsin backed off.
“I called (offensive quality control coach Jon Budmayr) to give him a heads up that I was given the offer and left a message on his voicemail,” Bryant said in a written statement. “I made it clear that I was still 100 percent committed to the Badgers. The next morning, we spoke on the phone and I was informed that I was no longer a good fit for Wisconsin and I was encouraged to continue looking for a fit.
“The implication that my loyalty to UW had been compromised was not true and is what saddens me the most.’’
Well, he wasn’t going to stay sad for long. In the spring, Ole Miss, West Virginia, Western Michigan, Temple, Bowling Green and other schools have shown interest.
Richards is always good for scheduling some top competition during its non-conference season and this year the Bulldogs will open the season on the road all the way up to Mundelein to face Carmel.
There will be other games and many, many storylines to be told between now and the first week of IHSA football but for now, let’s all enjoy our summer because this bad-boy season is going to be here before you know it.