No, I didn't overlook St. Laurence on my list of the top 10 teams I have seen in more than 40 years of watching high school football.
Under coach Tom Kavanagh and later under Mike O'Neill, St. Laurence fielded some of the finest teams and produced some of the finest players in the Chicago area in the 1970s...Tim Grunhard, Jeff Pearson, Paul Glonek, Kevin King, Pete Allard, Jim Kozlowski, Rob Mikel, Steve Mally, Jerry Skizas, Jerry Barnicle, Dan Gregus, Ron Prusa, Mike McQuinn, Pete Grogan, Dave Michalczewski.
However, the Vikings won only one state championship--in 1976, an overtime victory over Glenbard West. In my view, the 1976 team didn't match up to some of the school's best teams.
The 1974 team is mentioned. It was ranked No. 1 in the Chicago area before losing to Brother Rice in the final game of the regular season. Because only conference champions qualified to participate in the state playoff in those years, St. Laurence not only lost the conference title but failed to land a spot in the state playoff. It went on to win its third Prep Bowl in a row.
In my view, the 1973 team was best of all. Led by fullback Kevin King and linebacker Pete Allard, St. Laurence beat Phillips and Roy Parker 40-24 in the Prep Bowl. But even that team lost twice in the regular season.
When evaluating the best teams of all time, it is difficult to rate a team that has lost once or twice ahead of an unbeaten team, especially if the team went 14-0 en route to a state championship. And a lot of unbeaten teams made my short list but not the final 10.
Sure, caliber of competition must be taken into consideration. But teams don't go 14-0 in the largest classes without confronting strong opponents, regardless of what conference they represent.
Did you notice that not a single Mount Carmel team is rated among the top 10? Or Providence? And only one Joliet Catholic team. And only one from East St. Louis. And those four schools have dominated the state playoff since 1974.
Let the debate continue.