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Top teams avoid upsets in state football quarterfinals

High School Sports Weekly
Good morning,
The state football quarterfinals were excellent, but there weren’t any major upsets. That makes the semifinals as attractive as possible, with all the area’s best teams facing off with a trip to the state title game on the line. The football season is ending on a high. 
Prepare for a massive amount of basketball preview coverage this week. The preseason Super 25 will be revealed, the season debut of the No Shot Clock podcast will be released and more than a dozen stories will be posted. I’ll be making trips to all the top five schools this week and Joe Henricksen will have previews and features on schools from all over the area. 
The basketball season begins one week from today. 
Michael O'Brien, High School Sports Editor

Super 25 rankings
Brother Rice celebrates during the game against Mount Carmel. | Kirsten Stickney/For the Sun-Times
Brother Rice celebrates during the game against Mount Carmel. | Kirsten Stickney/For the Sun-Times
The quarterfinals delivered excellent games. There weren’t many blowouts in the area. Even though some of the final scores were slightly lopsided, the games were closer than they appeared.
Lemont even kept things respectable against mighty East St. Louis, losing 42-21.
This is kind of an awkward week for the rankings. I like to keep the teams that are still playing higher than the ones that aren’t, in general. But it’s impossible to ignore that squads like Batavia and Neuqua Valley would likely beat many teams still alive. So bear with me for a week or two. Everything will iron out in the final rankings.
It’s been a long while since the top five changed, hasn’t it? There hasn’t been an earth-shattering upset yet in the playoffs.
IC Catholic, Wilmington and Sycamore are still playing for state titles so they’ve made season debuts in the rankings.
In case you don’t follow things on Twitter religiously, Kaleb Brown is back scoring touchdowns for St. Rita. All of a sudden the preseason No. 1 team is looking very dangerous again.
1. Loyola (12-0) 1
2. Joliet Catholic (12-0) 2
3. Brother Rice (10-2) 3
4. Maine South (11-1) 4
5. Cary-Grove (12-0) 5
IHSA state football playoff scores: Quarterfinals
Four Downs: News and notes from Week 12 in high school football
Playoff game stories
Brother Rice quarterback Jack Lausch finished his postgame TV interview and turned around to find a dozen or so younger kids waiting for his autograph, among other things.
That’s the kind of stuff that happens after a packed house on the South Side watches you run for 253 yards, score four touchdowns and beat Mount Carmel 41-28 in a Class 7A state quarterfinal. Read my full story on Brother Rice’s big night.
Jack Lausch’s four TDs lead Brother Rice past Mount Carmel
The Crusaders will be taking on Wheaton North next week after the Falcons took down Willowbrook, 10-3, on a cold and wet Friday night in Villa Park. It’ll be Wheaton North’s first state playoff semifinal game in two decades.
Loyola, meanwhile, survived a Class 8A defensive battle against Lincoln-Way East in which it needed nothing more than a field goal to win 3-0. The Ramblers limited the opposing offense to just 39 total yards in a dominant defensive effort.
For updated matchups for each round of the playoffs for all eight classes, click here.
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