There is nothing like it this side of the state basketball tournament...24 hours of high school football, two days, eight championship games, sitting on the 50-yard-line in front of the television set, enjoying hot turkey sandwiches, sweet potatoes and pumpkin pie.
1A: Kudoes to Tuscola coach Stan Wienke for choosing values over ego, then suspending eight players, including some starters, for disciplinary reasons before Friday's state championship game against Galena.
Wienke's son, Michigan-bound quarterback John, may have been the best college prospect (size, great arm) on the field but Galena quarterback/defensive back/kick returner Gavin Kaiser was the MVP.
2A: Westville's Caleb Pratt set a lot of rushing and scoring records this season but Dakota's Curt Daughenbaugh was the MVP in this matchup.
What happened to sportsmanship? What about the Illinois High School Association's "Do the right thing!" and "Do what's right!" mottos? Color commentator Greg Bradshaw, who once quarterbacked Woodstock to a state title, was right. Dakota won the game, but lost some respect.
3A: It wasn't Arkansas/LSU and Luis Alvarado isn't Nick Nasti. But Plano coach Jim Green, who has turned chicken feathers into chicken salad in the last three years, proved he would win without Nasti, last year's all-stater.
4A: The Bloomington Central Catholic/Driscoll game was competitive until the fourth quarter before David Schwabe and Tim Franken took charge.
Here's hoping Schwabe and Franken will get a chance to perform at the next level and here's betting that Driscoll coach Mike Burzawa, who is 41-1 in the last three years, will be invited to build another winning program at a larger school. Maybe New Trier or Evanston?
5A: How does Metamora, a town of only 2,500, continue to produce outstanding high school football teams year after year? And Morris coach George Dergo proved he can build a state contender without his son, John, who was the Sun-Times Player of the Year in 2005.
6A: Is Joliet Catholic the No. 1 team in the state? The Hilltoppers made a good case for themselves with a stout defense, a devastating offensive line and four 1,000-yard producers in their backfield.
7A: In case you haven't noticed, Lake Zurich has quietly emerged as one of the elite programs in the state. Remember the name, coach Bryan Stortz. His teams are 25-3 in the last two years. And his defensive coordinator, Dave Proffitt, has Catholic League roots.
8A: Jordan Tassio may not be highly coveted by college recruiters but he proved he is an outstanding high school player, the Sun-Times Player of the Year, by leading Naperville North to the state title.
Prep Bowl: Catholic League dominaton of the all-city series only confirms what CPS football officials J.W. Smith, Roy Curry, Mickey Pruitt and Calvin Davis have been saying for years. The CPS has more and better athletes but the Catholic schools have more and better coaches.