Eight state football champions were crowned Friday and Saturday in DeKalb.
Lockport and Wheaton North returned to glory for the first time in many years, and Cary-Grove continued the Fox Valley’s recent tradition of excellence.
Fenwick had two losses during the regular season, and the Class 5A field didn’t provide significant opportunities for it to improve its résumé. So set the Friars aside.
That leaves Lockport, Wheaton North, Joliet Catholic and Cary-Grove as the contenders for the spot on top of the final Super 25.
Some years there will be a reporter (OK, probably me) who asks coaches and players whom the No. 1 team is. That didn’t happen this past weekend. But one coach gave his opinion without being asked.
‘‘We told our kids on Monday we thought we were the best team in the state of Illinois,’’ Cary-Grove coach Brad Seaburg said Saturday. ‘‘And I think we did everything today to prove that’s certainly a possibility, if not a definite thing.’’
Seaburg is right. East St. Louis was considered the best team in the state all season long by everyone who does any form of rankings or spouts an opinion publicly.
East St. Louis, loaded with probably a dozen or more future FBS college players, just couldn’t stop the Trojans’ double-option.
Cary-Grove’s full-season résumé isn’t as strong as Lockport’s. The Porters defeated Bolingbrook, Glenbard West, Glenbard North and Loyola. That’s a terrific season. They also showed they were clearly better than Maine South in the title game.
But the Porters have a blemish on their résumé: They lost at home to Lincoln-Way East. Starting quarterback Hayden Timosciek handled punting duties in the game but was too injured to play quarterback. That’s obviously a factor, but other teams managed to pull out victories this season while missing injured stars.
Any of the four teams can make a legitimate claim to the top spot. But I agree with Seaburg: Cary-Grove’s performance Saturday at Huskie Stadium proved it to me. The Trojans are No. 1.
1. Cary-Grove (14-0) 12
2. Lockport (13-1) NR
3. Joliet Catholic (14-0) 7
4. Wheaton North (13-1) 9
5. Maine South (12-2) 10