Sunday, November 26, 2006

Showdown turns into rout

After a weeklong vacation in Florida, I headed to one of my favorite spots: a state playoff high school football game.

I went to Champaign Saturday afternoon to watch my hometown Wheaton-Warrenville South Tigers thrash Chicago Mt. Carmel 44-21.

Everyone was expecting a tight game from two of the most storied prep football schools in the state, but Wheaton's talented group of seniors, led by Purdue-bound running back Dan Dierking (featured in Sports Illustrated recently), completely outclassed the school that produced Donovan McNabb and Simeon Rice.

It was the fifth state title for WWSHS, which regularly produces entertaining teams with wide open offenses that remarkably make few mistakes. This version of the Tigers was perhaps the best ever with a 2,000 yard runner in Dierking, talented receivers, a good quarterback and an electrifying backup running back (Jim O'Brien) who scored nearly every time he touched the ball in the playoffs, including twice against Mt. Carmel.

High school football is refreshingly simple and free of pretense and also of TV timeouts, which fatally interrupt the flow of play in college and pro football. I won't watch either without DVR.

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