The 2012 Illinois High School Association (IHSA) Football State Championships are set to unfold on Friday and Saturday, November 23-24 at Memorial Stadium on the University of Illinois campus in Champaign. The Class 1A, 2A, 3A and 4A titles will be contested on Friday, with the Class 5A, 6A, 7A and 8A crowns to be decided on Saturday. The 2012 contests mark the 39th annual edition of the football state finals, the 12th season of the eight-class system and the 14th year with Memorial Stadium serving as the host.
For the first-time ever, the games will be broadcast in full High Definition (HD) by Comcast SportsNet Chicago. See links on righthand sidebar for channel information.
MAROA-FORSYTH TROJANS (12-1) vs. STOCKTON BLACKHAWKS (13-0)
A matchup many predicted on playoff pairing night has come to fruition, as both programs have rolled through the postseason. Stockton has outscored its four playoff opponents 203-to-56, while Maroa-Forsyth has been just as dominant, posting a postseason scoring margin of 183-to-32. Maroa-Forsth has is led by dual-threat sophomore quarterback Jack Hockaday (180-253, 2,354 yards, 27 TD, ), the third Hockaday brother (Luke, Joe) to play for a state title since 2006. Stockton looks to return the 1A state title to the Northwest region of the state for the third straight year (2010-Lena-Winslow, 2011-Dakota) and will be led All-State senior running back T.J. Knutson (2,337 yards, 35 TD).
MERCER COUNTY GOLDEN EAGLES (13-0) vs. ALTHOFF CATHOLIC CRUSADERS (10-3)
Mercer County makes its first state final appearance since the school came into existence in 2009 via a consolidation between three-time state champion Aledo High School and Westmer High School. Senior quarterback Matlick (114-183, 1,884 yards) has thrown 21 touchdown passes this season and run for 10 more. Althoff is back in the state championship game for the first time since the school won back-to-back titles in 1989 and 1990. The Crusader defense is led by senior linebacker Erik Furmanek, who has over 350 career tackles, and 6-3, 340-pound linemen Merrick Johnson, who is slated to continue his career at the University of Illinois.
AURORA CHRISTIAN EAGLES (12-1) vs. TOLONO UNITY ROCKETS (12-1)
Aurora Christian returns to defend its Class 2A state title after a season that saw its lone setback come against Class 5A qualifier Montini. Head coach Don Beebe’s son Chad ( 62 rec, 956 yards, 15 TD) has been the top target for Ryan McQuade (192-331, 2,913 yards, 42 TD) in the Eagles high-scoring offense. Tolono Unity continues to be the model of consistency, as the program makes its fourth state final appearance since 2000. A pair of juniors have made the Rockets go in 2012, as quarterback Justin Deters (1,272, 15 TD) and running back Connor Grace (1,462, 16 TD) have both rushed for over 1,200 yards this season.
ALLEMAN PIONEERS (12-1) vs. ROCHESTER ROCKETS (12-1)
Alleman looks for revenge in this rematch of the 2010 state championship game that Rochester won 24-7. The Pioneers boast a balanced triple-option attack that has seen three backs score 10 touchdowns or more this season, including signal caller John Tracey (893 rushing yards, 663 passing yards, 22 total TD). Many expected two-time defending Class 4A state champion Rochester to take a step back in 2012 with record-setting quarterback Wes Lunt departing for Oklahoma State, but the Rockets have reloaded behind two-way star Garret Dooley (1358 rushing yards, 30 TD, 117 tackles), who will line up at running back and linebacker.
MONTINI BRONCOS (11-2) vs. MORRIS REDSKINS (12-1)
Montini vies for its fourth consecutive Class 5A state championship and faces perennial power Morris, who owns three state championships of its own. Seniors Joe Boresellino (19 TD) and Mark Gorogianis (17 TD) are both listed as wide receivers, but will line up all over the field for the Broncos, while kicker Andrew Harte (long FG of 52 yards) can change the game on special teams. Senior Reese Sobol (1,450 yards, 18 TD) fills the role of the lead back in the Redskin offense this season, while 6-5, 250-pound senior Danny Friend (4 TD) is a difference maker at tight end and defensive end.
CARY-GROVE TROJANS (13-0) vs. CRETE-MONEE WARRIORS (13-0)
Cary-Grove looks to bring the Class 6A title back to the Fox Valley Conference for the third time in four seasons, a run that includes the Trojans 2009 crown. Little has changed offensively since that season, as the Cary-Grove option offense continues to hum along behind senior fullback Kyle Norberg (2,213 yards, 25 TD). Crete-Monee has a host of highly recruited players on its talented roster, but none more so than senior wide receiver/defensive back LaQuon Treadwell. Considered one of the best prep receivers in the country, the 6-4 Treadwell (75 rec, 1,339 yards, 15 TD) is a threat to score on every play and the top target for Marcus Terrell (219-326, 3,127 yards, 37 TD).
GLENBARD WEST HILLTOPPERS (13-0) vs. LINCOLN-WAY EAST GRIFFINS (13-0)
Fittingly, these two programs entered the postseason tied for the top spot in the Associated Press’ Class 7A poll and have seemingly been on a collision course all season long. Lincoln-Way East senior quarterback Tommy Fuessel (1,070 yards, 8 TD) is a dynamic runner (1,502 yards, 21 TD) who accounted for four total scores in the Griffins 42-19 win over defending 8A champ Bolingbrook in September. Glenbard West has a bevy of talented players, highlighted by 6-5, 220-pound senior tight end Nathan Marcus (51 rec, 884 yards, 7 TD), who caught the decisive touchdown in the Hilltoppers semifinal win over Lake Zurich.
GLENBARD NORTH PANTHERS (12-1) vs. MT. CARMEL CARAVAN (12-1)
Two of the strongest conferences in the state will be represented in this heavyweight bout, as the DuPage Valley Conference (Glenbard North) and the Chicago Catholic League (Mt. Carmel) have produced five state champions and eight runners-up since 2005. Glenbard North pounds opposing defenses with standout junior running back Justin Jackson (2,539 yards, 35 TD), who is averaging 206 yards per game in four postseason contests. Mt. Carmel’s Frank Lenti, the winningest coach in state history, continues to fell opponents with his veer option offense, which is led by quarterback Don Butkus (16 passing TDs, 13 rushing TDs) and junior back Matt Domer (1,290 yards, 20 TD) in 2012.
University of Illinois
Friday, November 23
Class 1A - 10:00 a.m.
Stockton vs. Marora-Forsyth
Class 2A - 1:00 p.m.
Mercer County vs. Althoff
Class 3A - 4:00 p.m.
Aurora Christian vs. Tolono Unity
Class 4A - 7:00 p.m.
Alleman vs. Rochester
Saturday, November 24
Class 5A - 10:00 a.m.
Montini vs. Morris
Class 6A - 1:00 p.m.
Cary-Grove vs. Crete-Monee
Class 7A - 4:00 p.m.
Glenbard West vs. Lincoln-Way East
Class 8A - 7:00 p.m.
Glenbard North vs. Chicago Mt. Carmel
Comcast Sports Net Chicago & the IHSA TV Network will broadcast the games in HD
Postgame press conferences will air LIVE on www.CSNChicago.com & www.IHSA.tv
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WJOL-1340 AM (Joliet)
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