High school football notebook: IHSA ranking change, De La Salle’s new coach and more

When it comes to brackets, Crete-Monee coach John Konecki is a firm believer that the bigger the better.

He therefore welcomed the news this week that the IHSA will use the 1-32 seeding for all classes in the football playoffs starting this fall.

More recently, there had been a ranking of 1 to 32 for the two largest classes – 7A and 8A – and two brackets of 1 to 16 for the other six classes, based on a north-south geographical distribution.

The IHSA has been tinkering with various seed formulas for years. At one point he used eight-team quadrants.

“I was glad to see that go,” said Konecki, who has guided the Warriors to a 70-22 record, eight playoff berths and a pair of 6A state finalists since 2013. never thought it was the fairest for us.

He was also not a fan of the north and south brackets, in part because it was so difficult to predict where the IHSA would draw the line.

Ranking the qualifiers in each class 1-32 and pairing them based on that “is a more accurate representation than having this weird cut line,” Konecki said.

Crete has always been in the southern bracket, but Konecki had a big upset last fall when the Warriors lured St. Ignatius – a team he said would definitely go north – as a premier opponent. tower.

“About Week 5, I pull out my notebook” to start scouting for potential opponents, Konecki said. “I like the ‘who are we going to see.’ I’m never right.

It’s usually a function of incorrectly guessing where the line will be for the north-south separation. With 1-32 seeds, he expects his predictions to be more accurate in the future.

Konecki has at least been sure of the class he is taking year after year. Cary-Grove coach Brad Seaburg has played in four title games since 2012 – three in 6A and one in 7A – winning 6A titles in 2018 and last fall.

The new bracketing format will not change the traditional roost of Trojans on the 7A/6A bubble. But Seaburg still loves her.

“I think it’s good for the state,” he said.

A byproduct will be fewer early regular-season playoff rematches, which Cary-Grove has seen plenty of — especially against neighboring powerhouse Prairie Ridge.

Now Seaburg will have to widen his net in terms of playoff prep.

“We never would have thought of scouting a team like Lemont,” Seaburg said. “Great team, great program. But the chances of us playing them were slim.

The return of Marty Quinn

After stops in Kentucky, Florida, California and Louisiana, Marty Quinn returns home.

Quinn is De La Salle’s new coach, replacing Mike Boehm, who stepped down after eight seasons.

Quinn played at Mount Carmel and Lake Forest College before embarking on a coaching career that included stops at his alma mater and Marist, high schools in California (Orange Lutheran) and Louisiana (St. John’s Catholic in Plaquemines ) and two colleges (Ave Maria in Florida, where he was a head coach, and Kentucky Wesleyan).

De La Salle’s manager Tom Schergen, who was at Marist’s during Quinn’s time there, approached him about the Meteora job and the chance to return to Chicago was too good to turn down.

“Go back to family [was important]said Quinn, whose most recent job was in Louisiana. “My mother, my brother, my nephews and nieces, my cousins ​​and a lot of friends are still in the area.”

De La Salle has had eight IHSA playoff berths in total, two since 2009. But Quinn sees similarities with Marist, who took off after hiring Pat Dunne in 2008. “Everyone thinks De La Salle can be a program who can take it to the next level. “, said Quinn.

Jack Lausch a wild cat

For a very long time, Brother Rice quarterback Jack Lausch thought he was going to Notre Dame to be a favorite extra in football and baseball.

But just before the first signing period, the Sun-Times Football Player of the Year was offered a scholarship by Northwestern coach Pat Fitzgerald. Lausch has signed and will continue the homegrown talent pipeline to the Wildcats.

“A leader in the community, in the classroom and in competition, @jack_lausch stays HOME,” Fitzgerald tweeted after Lausch signed. “(They build them differently on the SOUTHSIDE)”

Jahleel Billingsley goes to Texas

Former Phillips star Jahleel Billingsley, who entered the transfer portal following Alabama’s loss to Georgia in the national championship game, announced on Twitter that he was moving to Texas.

The junior tight end will reunite with former Alabama offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian, who is the head coach of the Longhorns.

Billingsley had a stellar season under Sarkisian’s watch as a sophomore in 2020, catching 18 passes for 287 yards and three touchdowns. Last season he had 17 receptions for 256 yards and three touchdowns.

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