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As football season heats up, CPS parents want to know why they can't attend games

High School Sports Weekly
Thank you for subscribing to the new High School Sports Weekly newsletter! Here’s the latest coverage from our staff after the football season kicked off over the weekend.

Good morning,
The basketball season faded away with zero fanfare. The last week of Public League hoops didn’t make much of an impact and several top games wound up being canceled for various reasons. 
Everything was positive on the football side, with players and coaches thrilled to be back on the field. But Lincoln-Way East coach Rob Zvonar was clearly feeling a bit frustrated by the circumstances after his team’s win against Bolingbrook.
“It’s going to be unfortunate because we’re going to get to Week 6 and feel like we’re starting to hit our stride, and it’s going to be over with,” Zvonar said. “But that’s where we are at.”
Football won’t even have a Chipotle Clash of Champions to give fans and teams any kind of closure whatsoever. We are likely to wind up with a couple dozen or more undefeated teams and no resolution. It’ll be a rankings nightmare and likely leave everyone feeling strange, but it is definitely better than nothing at all. 
— Michael O'Brien, high school sports editor (@michaelsobrien)
Top story
Phillips’ Deavion Pierce during practice on March 3, 2021. | Kirsten Stickney/For the Sun-Times
Phillips’ Deavion Pierce during practice on March 3, 2021. | Kirsten Stickney/For the Sun-Times
Kenwood football coach Sinque Turner’s team opens the season Friday, and he hasn’t heard from Chicago Public Schools if fans will be allowed at games. CPS hasn’t responded to a Sun-Times query on the subject, either.
But Michael Pierce, the father of Phillips football player Deavion Pierce, said Wildcats coach Troy McAllister has told his team to assume that no spectators will be allowed at games because CPS hasn’t told him otherwise.
The Illinois Department of Public Health announced March 8 that schools could have up to 20% capacity for outdoor events. However, while the IDPH allowed 50 fans at indoor sports such as basketball this winter, CPS decided to keep the events free of spectators.
“It’s ridiculous,” Pierce said. “I’ve been watching my son play since he was 8 years old. And now you are telling me I have to miss his last five games of high school?”
Catholic League schools are allowing a limited number of fans and suburban schools seem to be bumping up against or surpassing the 20% guideline.
“De La Salle is like two minutes from us,” Pierce said. “I know it is a Catholic school, but it is in the same vicinity and they can have two parents per child and are allowing 50 or 60 students to attend games.”
Super 25 update
With only three teams from my preseason Super 25 losing in the opening weekend, the group largely remains the same entering Week 2. The only newcomer? DeKalb, which lit up Metea Valley for 58 points in a season-opening victory.
Expect bigger changes in the rankings next week after several big matchups between ranked teams Friday and Saturday.
Super 25 high school football rankings for March 21
Hersey's Ben Clawson helps snap Rolling Meadows’ 18-game regular-season winning streak
Hersey junior Ben Clawson owned the end zones Saturday in Rolling Meadows.
The Mustangs couldn’t do anything to keep the junior running back/defensive back from scoring on offense: He had five touchdowns. And Clawson was a ballhawk defensively, swatting down potentially huge pass plays, including one in the fourth quarter in which he knocked a certain touchdown out of Rolling Meadows’ hands.
“[Rolling Meadows senior Daniel Sobkowicz] is a great wide receiver; I train with him,” Clawson said. “I know he can make those plays. I knew they were going to go to him; he’s their playmaker. So I had to make a play on him.”
Clawson had 10 carries for 193 yards and three touchdowns, which included scoring runs of 45 and 98 yards. He caught 11 passes for 131 yards and two touchdowns.
Those heroics helped lead the Huskies to a 40-23 victory. Rolling Meadows had won 18 consecutive regular-season games. It was the 250th win in Hersey history.
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What to watch this week
With the basketball season in the rearview mirror, the focus turns to an abbreviated spring football season that should still provide a lot of fun. This weekend’s matchups help show why: There are going to be a ton of great games between talented teams.
Here are some of the key matchups set for Friday:
  • No. 3 Lincoln-Way East vs. No. 8 Homewood-Flossmoor
  • St. Charles North vs. No. 4 Batavia
  • No. 5 Brother Rice vs. No. 7 Marist
  • No. 19 Montini vs. No. 9 St. Rita
And here are the same for Saturday:
  • No. 2 Mount Carmel vs. No. 1 Loyola
  • No. 21 Neuqua Valley vs. No. 10 Naperville Central
  • St. Laurence vs. No. 12 Nazareth
Anytime you can get a No. 1 vs. No. 2 matchup, even this early in the season, that’s going to be a good one.
Team of the week
King Jaguars
King finished with a record of 12-1 overall and 9-0 in the White Central. Two seniors led the charge. Joseph Spaulding averaged 18 points and six rebounds and David Abdullah contributed 17 points, four rebounds, two steals and four assists per game.
Farron Jones was also a key contributor, averaging 10 points and six rebounds while nursing an injury all season. Sophomore Neveah Clickscales and junior Mekhi Cobbs also performed well for the conference champs.
There isn’t any promotion/relegation in the Public League this season, so the Jaguars won’t get to join the Red after winning conference, but we should be solid again next season with several underclassmen returning. 
— King Coach Culumber Ball
Want your school featured in Team of the Week? Send us an update on your team’s season, your name and hometown, and (if possible) a photo to newsletters@suntimes.com.
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