Four Downs: News and notes from Week 12 in high school footballMichael O’Brienon November 14, 2021 at 7:30 pm

Maine South’s Cole Cichowski (5) reacts with Tommy Locascio (3) during the game against Warren. | Kirsten Stickney/For the Sun-Times

Maine South wins another big one, legendary coach Rich Zinanni retires, Lake Forest’s thriller and the last Public League team is eliminated.

Maine South, one of the state’s most storied football programs, has somehow flown under the radar a bit this season.

The Hawks have been highly-ranked in the Super 25 since beating Warren on the road way back in early September. But a loss to Palatine two weeks later knocked Maine South out of the ranks of the elite according to some observers.

Dave Inserra’s squad passed its biggest test of the season in the quarterfinals, defeating Neuqua Valley 14-13 on the road.

Next up for Maine South is a tough matchup at Marist in the semifinals, but the Hawks may be the area’s best road team so far this season.

Phillips eliminated

Richmond-Burton, winners of 32 consecutive games, beat Phillips 27-26 in the Class 4A quarterfinals on Saturday.

The Rockets led 14-0 early but Phillips had a big second quarter, led briefly and trailed 21-20 at halftime. The Wildcats fell short on a pair of two-point conversions in the game, but had a chance to win it on the final play.

Richmond-Burton picked off Tyler Turner’s pass at the goal line. Turner connected with Avante Savage on two touchdown passes in the game, including an 84-yarder.

Phillips was the last Public League team alive in the playoffs.

Rich Zinanni’s run ends

Undefeated Wilmington beat Bishop McNamara 45-25 in a Class 2A quarterfinal on Saturday. The Wildcats didn’t attempt a pass and ran for 427 yards and six touchdowns.

A tip of the cap to Fighting Irish coach Rich Zinanni, who retires after a tremendous career. Zinanni has coached Bishop McNamara since 1975. He won nearly 400 games and five state titles.

Mason Schweizer of the Kankakee Daily Journal wrote a nine-part series on Zinanni this fall. It’s free to read and worth your time.

Lake Forest thriller

What a game on Saturday in the Class 6A quarterfinals. Lake Forest drove 92 yards and scored with 14 seconds left to beat Prairie Ridge 22-21.

The winning touchdown was a pass from Leo Scheidler to Jake Milliman. Next up for the Scouts is another Fox Valley power, Cary-Grove, in the semifinals.

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