By Jason Maholy
Getting knocked out of the IHSA playoffs means the end of the season for most teams in Illinois.
Chicago Catholic League and Chicago Public League schools, however, still have something to play for. The Prep Bowl playoffs provide an opportunity for these programs to compete for at least one more week, until one team from each league remains for an annual public v. private battle the day after Thanksgiving.
This year, those two teams are St. Laurence and Simeon, who will face off in the Prep Bowl at 1 p.m. Friday, Nov. 29 at Kavanaugh Stadium in Burbank. It will be the Vikings’ fifth Prep Bowl appearance and first since 1978. They’re unbeaten in those games.
The Vikings (7-5) earned their spot in the game via a 28-0 win over De La Salle on Nov. 23. It was their second shutout of the Meteors in five weeks, following a 43-0 romp in the regular season finale to clinch an IHSA playoff berth.
Nate Thomas ran for 225 yards and three touchdown, including scoring runs of 53 and 69 yards. Darius Wilson had eight carries for 67 yards and Brailyn Johnson pitched in with a 15-yard touchdown run.
The Viking defense recorded its fourth shutout of the season. Myron Lewis had a sack and recovered a fumble.
After St. Laurence’s first-round playoff loss to Hillcrest – an 18-15 result that was undecided until the final minute – first-year head coach Adam Nissen challenged his players to dust themselves off and fight for at least one more week. The Vikings have responded with wins over St. Patrick and De La Salle, and now have the opportunity to win the program’s first Prep Bowl in 39 years.
De La Salle finishes 5-7. The Meteors defeated Leo 56-6 and St. Ignatius 16-13 in the first two rounds of the Catholic League playoffs.
Simeon is in the Prep Bowl by virtue of a 30-16 win over Morgan Park for the Public League championship. The Wolverines beat Lakes 34-3 in the first round of the Class 6A playoffs, then dropped a 49-0 decision to Prairie Ridge.