Illinois High School Football Playoffs 2009
IHSA State Finals in Champaign-Urbana
Illinois High School Football Playoffs
Today marks the last weekend of the regular season of high school football in the state of Illinois. The grueling nine week schedule ends for some schools but the intensity picks up for 256 schools who qualify for the playoffs.
High school football in Illinois consists of eight classes which are broken down by the size of the school. Class 1A consists mostly of small schools. Class 8A consists of schools with enrollments of 2500 students. The majority of these schools tend to be located all in the Chicago area but there are a few schools located in the St. Louis area.
The Springfield area hosts a wide variety of schools. These schools fall in Classes 1A to Class 5A. The enrollment for Class 5A consists of 1060 to 1473 students. The biggest school in the Springfield area is Chatham Glenwood with an enrollment of 1392.
Springfield Sacred Heart-Griffin High School is the big powerhouse in Central Illinois. The Cyclones have won 3 out of the last 4 state titles in Classes 5 and 6A. Sacred Heart-Griffin has an actual school enrollment of 820 students but the Illinois High School Association (the governing board of high school extra cirricular activities in the state) implements the multiplier rule in 2005. The multiplier rule was passed to force private and parochial schools such as Sacred Heart-Griffin and Joliet Catholic to move up in their competition level. These schools can draw students from outside their traditional school boundaries usually up to 30 miles away.
Many of these private and parochial schools have won multiple state championships in football and other sports. Thus, it led to a less competitive balance for the public schools. If you visit the IHSA website, www.ihsa.org, and look under football championships, you will see which schools own the majority of championships.
High school football in the state of Illinois is very competitive. Some well known NFL stars have competed in the state. Donovan McNabb led his school to state title. If anyone follows the IHSA football playoffs, you hear some of the names of players from these schools playing next year at Ohio State, Notre Dame, the University of Illinois, just to name a few.
Fans truly support their schools. The support of the schools reminds you of Friday Night Lights. High school football is big business in the state. The state finals are played at Memorial Stadium on the University of Illinois campus. The crowds are very energetic at the state finals, which are played during the Thanksgiving weekend.
High school football is very enjoyable whether you live in the state of Illinois or anywhere throughout the country. Please support your school no matter what their win loss record. Many of these student athletes may not play on Saturday's or Sunday's down the road but support their effort and your local community.
Update to the article (November 9, 2009) - The IHSA State Football playoffs have reached the quarterfinals for all eight classes. The playoffs began with two hundred fifty six schools and now just sixty-four schools remain fighting for a state title. Springfield area schools such as Concord Triopia, Jacksonville Routt, Pana, Rochester and Sacred Heart - Griffin are still alive.
November 26, 2009 Update - As I write this update, we are hours away from the first of eight games for the Illinois high school football supremacy. Classes 1 - 4A will play Friday and 5-8A will play Saturday. The 2009 matchups are as follows:
Tuscola 14 Lexington 7
Morrison 36 Maroa-Forsyth 14
Stillman Valley 52 Tolono Unity 22
Metamora 41 Geneseo 7
Lombard Montini 29 Joliet Catholic 28
Cary - Grove 34 New Lenox Providence Catholic 17
Wheaton Warrensville South 31 Glen Ellyn Glenbard West 24 2OT
Park Ridge Maine South 41 Chicago Marist 17
Four of the sixteen finalist are private parochial schools. The Class 5A final features two private parochial schools facing off for a state title. This years finalist have either won or finished second in a state title game.
None of the schools in the Springfield area reached the finals. Sacred Heart-Griffin was upset by Peoria Richwoods in the quarter final round. Rochester and Jacksonville Routt reached the semi finals before losing. Rochester lost an epic 41-40 contest against Metamora. Jacksonville Routt was defeated by Tuscola 21-7.
There will be plenty of exciting games to watch over the next two days. I will follow the Class 4 and 5A games since these finals involve schools that have playoff football history with my high school alma mater, Sacred Heart-Griffin.
Good luck to all the student athletes competing in Champaign-Urbana for state titles. There will be just eight winners over the weekend but everyone participating comes out on top and should be proud of what they accomplished.