Goss: Rugged 4A Bolingbrook Sectional down the road for Lemont
By Dick Goss firstname.lastname@example.org January 3, 2013 9:56PM
Lemont's Joe Hehir (3) and Plainfield Central's Mitch Young (4). | Larry Kane~For Sun-Times Media
Updated: February 5, 2013 6:23AM
With the Christmas basketball tournaments in the books, area coaches and teams will devote full attention to their conference races, with an eye toward playing the best ball possible when regionals arrive.
Lemont (13-1) is impressive. I had my first opportunity to see the Indians in the championship game of the Romeoville Christmas Classic, in which they beat Plainfield Central 61-53.
The pieces are in place for a nice postseason run. You have to like the way the Indians run the floor, can take the ball to the basket and can shoot it. Every good team needs a point guard adept at running the show, and senior Juozas Balciunas is among the best.
But whatever noise Lemont can make in the postseason, it no longer will be in Class 3A.
The IHSA recently announced assignments and the Indians, whose enrollment has grown just enough to bump up a class, will be in the 4A Bolingbrook Sectional, where they will join the host Raiders, Neuqua Valley, Oswego, Benet, Geneva and Naperville North, among others. As outstanding a season as Lemont is enjoying, coach Rick Runaas’ team may be hard pressed to capture one of those coveted top-four seeds, and whoever wins the sectional certainly will have earned it.
Many of our large area schools are assigned to the Class 4A Thornton Sectional, which likewise provides major stumbling blocks in Marian Catholic, Bloom, Crete-Monee and Homewood-Flossmoor. Perhaps Joliet West, Joliet Central, Minooka or Plainfield Central can catch fire and make a run, but it will not be easy.
Our best bet for a supersectional entry? Perhaps it’s Providence in 3A. If the Celtics can reach the Joliet Central Supersectional, a possible opponent would be highly ranked Morgan Park.
At least, that’s the way things look at the halfway point of the season.
Under Armour football
The Joliet area will be well represented in the Under Armour All-America Football Game at Tampa, Fla., which will be televised at 4 p.m. Friday on ESPN. Joliet Catholic running back Ty Isaac, committed to USC, will wear No. 32 for the White team. Lincoln-Way West offensive tackle Colin McGovern (Notre Dame) will wear 60 for the Black team, and Lemont offensive tackle Ethan Pocic (LSU) will wear 77 for the Black.
Lemont coach Eric Michaelsen is an assistant for the Black. He is working with linebackers.
As the college football bowl season winds down, let’s review how several former area standouts played significant roles.
For example, Florida freshman inside linebacker Antonio Morrison (Bolingbrook), played much of the game and made three solo tackles in the Gators’ 33-23 loss to Louisville in the Sugar Bowl. He finished the season with 27 solo stops and 34 total. Florida was not up to form against Louisville, but from what I saw, Morrison did his job well.
Cincinnati senior defensive end Dan Giordano (Lincoln-Way East), a first-team All-Big East pick, made five solo tackles and six total stops in the Bearcats’ 48-34 victory over Duke in the Belk Bowl. In 13 games, the 6-foot-4, 260-pound Giordano made 56 tackles with six for loss and had five sacks, 12 quarterback hurries, two fumble recoveries and one forced fumble.
Yes, Giordano is a candidate to hear his name called somewhere along the way in the NFL draft in late April.
Senior offensive tackle Patrick Ward (Providence) concluded his stellar career at Northwestern, helping the Wildcats to their 34-20 win over Mississippi State in the Gator Bowl. He was an All-Big Ten honorable mention selection.
Bowling Green 268-pound sophomore defensive lineman Zach Colvin played in all 13 games, including the Falcons’ 29-20 loss to San Jose State in the Military Bowl in Washington. He finished with 15 tackles, one for loss and two quarterback hurries. Colvin began at defensive end and moved to defensive tackle midway through the season.
Sophomore Scott Secor (Lincoln-Way Central) kicked off for Ball State all season, including in the Cardinals’ 38-17 loss to Central Florida in the Beef “O” Brady’s Bowl. Dominique Ware (Plainfield North) and Perez Ford saw playing time, especially on special teams, in Northern Illinois’ 31-10 loss to Florida State in the Orange Bowl.
Finally, two outstanding seniors from the area concluded their careers and, who knows, may get a shot at catching on in the NFL.
Boston College finished just 2-10, but linebacker Nick Clancy (Joliet Catholic) was an All-ACC first-team pick, finishing third in the nation with 145 tackles in 12 games, including 81 solos and four for loss, with 10 pass breakups, a forced fumble and a blocked kick. The 6-3, 232-pound Clancy twice recorded 20 tackles in a game, the only time any ACC defender hit the 20 mark all season.
Princeton’s 6-2, 240-pound linebacker and captain Andrew Starks (Plainfield North) was a second-team All-Ivy League selection after finishing with 96 tackles in 10 games for the Tigers (5-5). Included were 46 solo stops with 111/2 tackles for loss, 2 1/2 sacks, an interception, a pass breakup, two passes defended and two quarterback hurries.