Friday, October 03, 2014
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Numbers don’t lie: Central State Eight is the best in IL

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[October 03, 2014]  By Benjamin Yount

LINCOLN  --  Lincoln High School is the middle of the toughest two weeks of football in all of Illinois.

That’s a fact.

Numbers do not lie.

The Railsplitters will square off Friday night against the Rochester Rockets, the defending Class 4A State Champions.

“They’ve got a lot of good athletes,” Lincoln Head Coach Andy McDonald said Thursday. “They’re going to spread the field out. They’ve got good running backs and a quarterback who likes to throw.”

That is observation, not fact.

These are the facts that show the Central State Eight is the best football conference in the state of Illinois.

The CS8 is the only conference in the state with two defending state champions.

Sacred Heart Griffin won the 5A title last year, Rochester the 4A crown.

You have to go back to 2008, in the Suburban Catholic Conference when Elmhurst’s Immaculate Conception won the 2A Championship and Wheaton’s St. Francis won the 5A title.

But it is not just that Illinois has gone six years without dual champs in a single conference.

Rochester High School has won four straight state titles (2010, 2011, 2012, 2013).

Before 2013, Sacred Heart Griffin’s last title was in 2006. But the Cyclones were in the football final four in both 2012 and 2011.

And SHG set a scoring record last year. The Cyclones racked-up a record 744 points in 14 games last season. They appear to be on the same pace this season.

“Our kids realize (this is the toughest conference in the state) and I think they take some pride in playing at this level each week,” Coach McDonald said.

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But Lincoln is struggling.

The Railers have scored just 28 points this season, while giving up 248.

Rochester has scored 213 and surrendered just 71.

SHG has proven even tougher, scoring 274 points and giving up just 37.

But Lincoln scored six points against SHG last week, accounting for 16 percent of the points the Cyclones have surrendered this season.

If there is a silver lining for the mighty green it is that the two other teams who have faced the dual champions in back to back weeks have fared better against Rochester.

Decatur Eisenhower faced both, and lost. But the Panthers scored 28 points against the Rockets. They scored just seven against SHG.

Springfield High School gave up 43 points to Rochester but allowed SHG to rack-up 49 points.

Lincoln will face the Rochester Rockets in Rochester Friday night. Kickoff is at 7 pm.

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