Four Downs: News and notes from Week 5 in high school footballon April 18, 2021 at 5:37 pm

There are no Public League football teams in this week’s Super 25. That may be jarring to some, but it is my honest take on the current state of things.

I’ve detailed everything Public League football has been up against over the past year in recent stories. There’s enough talent on the high-level Public League teams to be ranked, but they just aren’t there right now and it’s important to keep the Super 25 legitimate. I’ve kept a Public League team or two in the bottom of the rankings most of the season, choosing to give the powerhouses from the city the benefit of the doubt. There are several highly-ranked suburban teams that haven’t been challenged at all either.

Phillips lost to Loyola 30-0 on Friday and Simeon squeaked past Kenwood 23-18 on Saturday. I was at both games and can safely say that the teams are just a few steps behind the rest of the area’s elite right now.

Dons aren’t done

Notre Dame opened the football season with a 34-13 loss to Marist and then dropped a 7-0 game to Providence at home in Week 2. Star quarterback Anthony Sayles isn’t playing this season, so that along with the two losses pretty much shoved the Dons out of the spotlight.

Welcome back Notre Dame. Mike Hennessey’s squad shocked Nazareth on Saturday, knocking off the Roadrunners 10-0. Dons quarterback Vincenzo Ricciardi connected with Conor O’Boyle for the winning touchdown.

Nazareth junior Tyler Morris left with an injury in the second half. He’s one of the state’s best players and a top 100 talent in the national Class of 2022.

What’s next?

Things are going to feel extremely odd this time next week. The football season, which just seemed to get going, will abruptly end. There will be a slew of undefeated teams and absolutely nothing settled.

The basketball season fizzled out the same way for most teams, but the Chipotle Clash of Champions provided a small bit of closure. There also weren’t a dozen or more highly-regarded undefeated teams with claims to lofty rankings.

That’s life during COVID-19. Maybe it is best to view this season as an appetizer for the fall.

Player of the Year/All-Area

The Sun-Times will select a Player of the Year and an All-Area team over the next week. Coaches and athletic directors, please email your nominations to mobrien@suntimes.com. I’ll be depending on the nominations more than ever this season since I wasn’t able to see nearly enough games due to the shortened season and all the cancelations.

This season has been a mess for a lot of teams and I’ve decided not to hold that against any player. If a kid had a tremendous career and could only play one or two games this season that’s fine, send over the nomination.

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