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November 15, 2012The Comcast Network Game of the Week Public League Championship: Morgan Park vs. Simeon
CHICAGO - The one thing that Chicago Public League football teams know when they get knocked out of the IHSA playoffs is that their seasons are not necessarily over.
There is still a fight for the city championship and a berth in the Prep Bowl at Soldier Field over Thanksgiving weekend on the line. That is what Morgan Park and Simeon are playing for Friday at Gately Stadium in a game that will be broadcast by CN100. The game will be shown at Noon and 4 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 17, and at 7 p.m. on Monday, Nov. 19. You can also find the game throughout Chicagoland with Xfinity On Demand.
"It's great for the Public League," Simeon coach Dante Culbreath said. "We can look at it as a second opportunity. As a kid, you know that season's not over once you get knocked out of the playoffs. There are other options." The Wolverines have won the city title three of the past four seasons, and they enter Friday's rematch with Morgan Park at 9-2 overall. The Chicago Public Illini Red Bird champions rebounded from a loss to Mt. Carmel in the second round of the Class 8A playoffs with a 20-6 win over Harper last week to reach the city title game. Simeon has some massive Division I talent on both sides of the ball. Offensive lineman Kendall Moore has whittled his college wish list down to Illinois, Iowa State and Purdue. Linebacker Reggie Spearman has a verbal commitment to Illinois, but his recruitment is still open. Quarterback Elcee Burke triggers the offensive attack for the Wolverines and is a threat with his arm and legs. Running back Sharoid Roach, who also plays baseball at Simeon, has carried the load as of late. Burke's top targets in the pass game are John Gardner and Gerrod Jenkins. "Their quarterback has gotten more confidence," Morgan Park coach Wesley Yates said. "Confidence is one of the things that will put you over the edge."
Yates came out of retirement to take over the Mustangs (7-4 overall) just before the start of the season. He had to deal with the teacher's strike that knocked Week 4 off the schedule, a 13-6 loss to Simeon at Gately in Week 3 that had to be delayed after a brawl in the stands interrupted the game and a 45-0 loss to Lemont in the Class 6A second round. Yet, Yates has the Mustangs in the city title game for the first time since 2007.
"We feel very privileged," Yates said. "One thing about it, they continue to believe. We had the strike and other factors. Simeon is not facing the team they faced before. I have more weapons available to me now that I didn't have the first three weeks. We're looking forward to a great contest between the two schools."
Defensive tackle Khiry Bailey has played only six games, but has 55 tackles and 10 sacks, drawing the interest of Arizona, Michigan State and Notre Dame, among others. Ball hawking cornerback Timothy Smith has 10 interceptions, which leads the city. He took four of those picks to the house.
Offensively, quarterback Andre Newell is a two-way threat throwing and running (688 pass yards, 15 touchdowns, 255 rush yards, six touchdowns). Junior running back Charles Bournes has had a huge year with 1,658 total yards and 21 touchdowns between rushing and receiving. Receiver Devon Bright has 30 catches for 455 yards and eight scores.
"The young men know they're coming from a legacy and tradition," Yates said. "I feel this (game) is very important about what we are. It's a part of history."
?Be sure to tune in to see Edgy Tim's "Keys to the Game." Get more Edgy at edgytim.com - Paul Johnson, CN100 Correspondent
Stay up to date on all of CN100's games this season by visiting www.cn100.tv/game_of_the_week.aspx or at www.facebook.com/gameoftheweek. Find us at twitter.com/CN100GOTW. Also, check out the Battle of the Fans section at www.facebook.com/battleofthefans to see who has the biggest and wildest fans. Each week, catch up on the best in Chicagoland prep sports with CN100 Sports Weekly. Check it out at http://www.cn100.tv/sports_weekly.aspx or at www.facebook.com/sportsweekly.