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If you’ve got game, a college coach’ll find you

SyerrCunningham ... Headed SIU-E. | SUN-TIMES MEDIA FILE PHOTO

Syerra Cunningham ... Headed to SIU-E. | SUN-TIMES MEDIA FILE PHOTO

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Five area high school football teams that we’re 50.01-percent sure will win their games this weekend, albeit with some of them beating other area schools in the process. (Last week: “for sure” picks Grant, Antioch, Grayslake Central, Lakes & Lake Forest all won).

Lake Forest over Highland Park (Friday)

Grayslake North over Round Lake (Friday)

Grant over Grayslake Central (Friday)

Antioch over Waukegan (Friday)

Libertyville over Urban Prep from Chicago (Friday)


If you are a student at Lakes High School in Lake Villa and are not excited about your school’s football team’s prospects this season, you need to get with the program.

We’re thinking 8-1 ... and are willing to work up from there.

And here’s even better news.

This Eagle Era is not a one-year wonder. The birds of prey are not going away.

This year’s million-dollar combination is great defense, star running back Direll Clark (pictured) and talented QB T.J. Edwards.

Next year, veteran coach Luke Mertens will have to shore up his defense a bit, but he’ll have T.J. as his standout QB. And, the replacement for Direll Clark may already be in school. Freshman Devyn Cedzidlo ran wild while playing for Lakes’ sophomore team last week. He was the fastest player on the field by light years. When Clark’s toting the ball for a college team next year, don’t be shocked if Devyn is the guy already chasing Direll’s school records.

Updated: October 1, 2012 4:30PM

Points pondered by one of the dinosaurs of the newspaper game who, at a recent football game, thought when a person made a reference to “triple digits,” it was a comment on the dinosaur’s age rather than on the temperature:

A thought on Syerra Cunningham, the tower of girls basketball power who was about as far from the media spotlight as you could get the last three high school seasons playing for the Waukegan Bulldogs.

According to a source very close to the talented front-line player, Syerra will be playing college basketball a year from now at Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville.

SIU-E, near St. Louis, competes in the mid-major NCAA Division I Ohio Valley Conference (think, Eastern Illinois, Austin Peay, Murray State, etc.).

The point here is that SIU-E had no trouble finding Syerra and recognizing that she has game.

That’s what summer hoops (AAU ball) can do for you.

That said, Syerra’s set up for a monster final high school season, now that she has transferred to Zion-Benton High School.

The Zee-Bees should rule Lake County girls hoops this winter, and if the girls on that team aren’t thinking about the Final Four state tournament, they’re not thinking correctly.

Playing catchup with the Fox Valley Conference, a 14-team, two-division league that features our two Grayslake high schools and a dozen other schools from far-away places.

With Johnsburg planning on bolting the league after next year, the need is big for a 14th team to keep two seven-school divisions.

The rumor mill has Huntley High School considering splitting into two schools. Enrollment there is now well over 2,000, and splitting into, say, Huntley East and Huntley West, certainly would solve one problem.

And create another.

Huntley East and Huntley West would be small schools and would have to play in the Fox Valley’s Fox Division (small schools) rather than the Valley Division (big schools).

That shift would likely require Crystal Lake Central to move to the Valley Division to create the 7-7 division split.

For CL Central, that would be reuniting it with the other teams in the same school district — Prairie Ridge of Crystal Lake, Crystal Lake South, and Cary-Grove.

However, that would also create a seven-team, Fox Division that featured Grayslake North, Grayslake Central, two schools in Woodstock, two schools in Huntley, and one school in Hampshire.

In that setup, the Grayslake school district’s entire athletic budget might be used up paying for fuel for the team buses.

If you’re scoring at home, as the crow flies, it’s 24 miles from Grayslake to Woodstock, 32 miles from Grayslake to Huntley, and 44 miles from Grayslake to Hampshire.

It’s 45 miles from Grayslake to Chicago.

By comparison, the longest possible drive in the North Suburban Conference Lake Division — Zion-Benton to Lake Zurich — is 22 miles.

In the NSC Prairie Division — Fox Lake (Grant High School) to North Chicago — the longest drive is 18 miles.

An inquiring mind wants to know ...

At Lakes High School football games, the student-fans, at kickoff, throw white powder into the air.

This obviously means something to the kids, but there was nothing like this when this dinosaur was attending school, so the significance escapes him.

No area high school football coach has had more trouble on the sidelines in recent years than Glen Kozlowski at North Chicago.

Yet, last Saturday in a win over Waukegan, the guy was a well-oiled machine.

He was composed, he wasn’t screaming at the refs, he called a fake punt at exactly the right time, he had his players organized, inspired and focused, and he was thinking two plays ahead — like a chess player rather than a checkers play.

Now, he needs to borrow some successful two-point conversion plays from some coach somewhere.

The Warhawks were 0-for-5 on their two-point PATS last week.

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