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High school football playoffs: Eight is enough

Warren’s Daniel Szczepanek will play next year Marquette. | SUN-TIMES MEDIA PHOTO

Warren’s Daniel Szczepanek will play next year at Marquette. | SUN-TIMES MEDIA PHOTO

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(News-Sun Selections)

1) Libertyville

2) Round Lake

3) Warren

4) Stevenson

5) Waukegan

Updated: November 11, 2012 6:12AM

News you can use ... or maybe not.

If a single-elimination tournament was held for all the high school football teams in Lake County, with school enrollment not being a factor, one possible order of finish would be as follows:

Champion — Stevenson.

2nd place — Lake Forest.

Semifinal-round losers — Carmel & Libertyville.

Quarterfinal-round losers — Lakes, Lake Zurich, Grayslake North & Warren.

The two biggest/most pleasant surprises among the 21 area prep football teams:

Lake Forest (5-1 on the field) and North Chicago (6-1).

Warren needs to beat either Lake Forest on Friday or Lake Zurich next week to make the playoffs.

And while you could point out that the Blue Devils will have to beat one of the better teams in the county to make the postseason, the other side of the coin is this: There are 10 teams out there that would love to be 4-3 right now with two shots left to win once and make the playoffs.

Carmel won’t make the playoffs for the first time this century, but if you think this has been a lost season for the 2-5 Corsairs, you’re not thinking correctly.

1) Carmel believes in challenging its players by taking on the very best competition possible.

Through seven weeks of this season, the nine opponents on Carmel’s schedule have won a total of 41 games.

Guess how many of the 576 other football teams in the entire state play a schedule in which its opponents have won more games so far this year than Carmel’s foes.


Congratulations Montini Mustangs. You guys don’t duck anybody either.

2) Valuable life lessons can be learned through team sports, and being rewarded for a winning season with a playoff berth is just one of them.

Another is learning to do your best and never give up, even when there’s no chance of end-game success.

These final two weeks of the season, betcha the Carmel kids are still giving it 100 percent while playing for pride, school and community.

There’s more to high school football than making the playoffs. If there wasn’t, some schools would have trouble fielding a team.

3) No matter how hard you try, sometimes in life, things just don’t work out right.

We’ve all experienced that, and we’ve learned from that experience to find the small victories that make trying worthwhile.

Watch the Carmel kids picked up small victories these final two weeks.

And watch out for them in two years. The future isn’t now but it’s going to be a wow!

Basketball fans might want to circle Nov. 19 on their calendars.

That’s opening night for the Warren/Mundelein Thanksgiving week tournament, and the main course on that first night will feature Waukegan at Warren.

FYI: This is an eight-team event, which also includes Lake Forest Academy, Mundelein, Lakes, Barrington, Uplift from the Chicago Public League and North Chicago.

As of mid-October, the pick to click in that event is Waukegan’s Bulldogs.

Now, if the same eight teams were playing in January, we might shift over to the Warren side of the bleachers.

But for now, it’s Purple/Gold over Blue/Gold.

Both those teams are going to be way better this winter than most people think.

And the same will hold true for the Lakes Eagles. They’ll be really good this winter.

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