High School Sports Weekly

By High School Sports Weekly

Lemont running back makes the doubters pay

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High School Sports Weekly
Thank you for subscribing to the High School Sports Weekly newsletter! Here’s the latest from our staff as the football season hits its final weeks.

Good morning,
We are in the final run of the football season, with just two weeks left. As everyone knows, there won’t be any playoffs this season. That’s certainly taken the juice out of everything and is likely the reason the Illinois High School Association isn’t keeping track of scores and standings. The organization doesn’t need them for its purposes. 
But that isn’t great for the rest of us that would enjoy a look at where things stand heading into these last two weeks. 
A couple things stand out immediately. Marist and Loyola are heading for a CCL/ESCC Blue showdown in Week 6. The Ramblers are 2-0 in conference and the Redhawks are 1-1, so that game could determine the conference champions. Mount Carmel is also 1-1 and I’m not sure what the tiebreaker is. Obviously winning the state’s premier conference is about the best a team could do in this season, so that is worth watching. 
The Mid-Suburban League is playing a Week 6 championship game between the winners of the East and West divisions, which should feature two ranked teams. The DuKane used the first three weeks as pool play and is playing all of its Week 6 games at NIU’s Huskie Stadium. The two pool winners, Batavia and Wheaton North, will face off along with the No. 2 seeds, St. Charles North and Wheaton Warrenville South.
We’ve seen over these weird pandemic basketball and football seasons how important well-established conferences have become. It’s a shame there are so few left in the area after all the moving around the past several years. Perhaps that is something to keep in mind and value more in the future.
— Michael O'Brien, high school sports editor (@michaelsobrien)
Top story
Lemont’s Albert Kunickis completing drills in practice. | Allen Cunningham/For the Sun-Times
Lemont’s Albert Kunickis completing drills in practice. | Allen Cunningham/For the Sun-Times
Albert Kunickis’ favorite football player is recently retired Saints quarterback Drew Brees.
What about the future Hall of Famer resonates with the Lemont junior?
“I like how he’s 5-10, 5-11, everyone doubted him his whole career,” Kunickis said, “‘Oh, you’re too short to play quarterback.’ He overcame that and he’s obviously one of the greatest passers in NFL history.”
Kunickis, who is a starting running back and kicker for the Indians, also faced skeptics when he started playing youth football seven years ago. Coincidentally, he was inspired to do so after watching a typically dazzling performance by Brees.
Then, opposing players were hard on Kunickis, who was like them except for one thing: he was born with a right arm that ends at the elbow.
“They called me names, teased me for it,” Kunickis said. “They tried to get under my skin. (But) it wouldn’t bother me. Just kind of laughed it off.
“Me and my brother would always pick on each other, so we’re used to it.”
Kunickis’ family and teammates never saw him as limited in any way.
“It’s amazing to see him do everything,” said Kunickis’ father, also named Albert. “He always wants to be the best. … He works hard and has to prove himself.”
Super 25 update
Unbeaten Loyola and Lincoln-Way East remain atop my Super 25 rankings, but Batavia tumbles 15 spots after getting routed by Wheaton Warrenville South while Marist returns to the top five following a shutout win over Nazareth.
Check out the full Super 25 below:
Super 25 high school football rankings for April 11
Week 4 news and notes
The Mid-Suburban League isn’t one of the glorified football conferences in Illinois. The last state title the MSL captured was in 2005-06, when Prospect beat Mount Carmel 20-14 in the Class 7A championship game.
That leads to lower overall rankings for the teams and less attention from the media. State championships don’t have anything to do with entertainment value and watchability, though.
MSL football is a joy to watch. There’s some high-level talent in the league, excellent coaches and old, high-intensity rivalries. Most crucially, however, the game is wide-open and fun, and most of the teams are evenly matched.
Ask any high school sports reporter, and you’ll hear complaints about chronicling blowouts. Just look at the scores with games involving ranked teams every week. That’s generally not what you get in the MSL, which is refreshing.
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What to watch this week
Unbeaten Glenbard West and Hinsdale Central will put their perfect records to the test when they kick off Friday. Here’s a look at some of the key games on the Week 5 schedule, which you can check out in its entirety here.
Key matchups set for Friday:
  • New Trier vs. No. 8 Maine South
  • No. 11 Glenbard West vs. No. 9 Hinsdale Central
  • St. Viator vs. No. 4 Mount Carmel
Key matchups set for Saturday:
  • Notre Dame vs. No. 13 Nazareth
  • No. 25 Phillips at Lane
  • Dyett vs. Little Village (at Stagg)
The Central Suburban League South title will effectively be on the line when Maine South takes on New Trier in Park Ridge on Friday night.
Team of the week
Dyett Eagles
The Dyett Eagles | Provided
The Dyett Eagles | Provided
Dyett is off to a 3-0 start with wins against Clemente, Gage Park and Chicago Richards. The Eagles will close out the season against Little Village and Kelly. 
Dyett coach Marques Reed: “I’ve been impressed with my team’s commitment to be great through adversity. They’ve worked hard since being allowed to practice. We have a strong group of seniors with a supportive administration.
"Our players have taken the opportunity that’s been given to them. With COVID still alive and well we are taking advantage of every opportunity we can to take the field. We hope to finish strong in the conference and set the tone for the fall.”
The Eagles standouts have been seniors Caylon Hall-Rattler (WR/SS), Kengston Dupart (RB/MLB), Cam Guice (QB), Saint Gates (RB) and juniors Joshua Chancellor-Seay (DE), Leno Campbell (OL) and Amani Stevenson (OL/DL).
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.
Thanks for reading High School Sports Weekly. Got a story you think we missed? Email us here.
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