November 28, 2006

Big Ten commits lead teams in Illinois finals

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - Last Saturday, several Division I prospects battled for Illinois state championships in classes 5A-8A, the larger enrollment classes.

In the Class 6A state final game, Normal Community (14-0) defeated Batavia (12-2) 30-20. Normal Community made its second consecutive state final appearance count this time, as the Ironmen took home the state title.

Normal Community senior quarterback Omar Clayton[db], a transfer from Plano (Texas) East, was 16-of-25 for 259 yards and two touchdowns. Clayton, who is touting a scholarship offer from DI-AA Eastern Illinois and is drawing recruiting attention from several Midwest D-I schools this fall, also scrambled for 69 yards and a touchdown in the victory.

Batavia senior two-way lineman [db]Mike Garrity, a three-star three prospect who committed to Illinois, basically never left the field for the Bulldogs in a losing effort. Batavia's backup sophomore quarterback Jordan Coffee (6-foot-5, 190 pounds) filled in for injured senior QB Alex Schroeder. Coffee showed flashes and will be an underclassmen name to remember for Batavia.

In the Class 5A game, Springfield Sacred Heart Griffin (14-0) won its second consecutive Class 5A state title with the 35-14 win over Marian Central Catholic (13-1). SHG senior quarterback Bobby Brenneisen wrapped up an outstanding career for the Cyclones by completing 18 of 25 passes for 295 yards and a touchdown in the win.

Over his final two seasons, Brenneisen threw for a total of more than 3,000 yards. He is drawing recruiting interest from various D-I and DI-AA schools this fall.

Marian Central Catholic four-star offensive lineman Bryan Bulaga - an early Iowa commitment - added three tackles and a sack. Junior two-way lineman Sean Cwynar (6-foot-3, 284 pounds) will draw serious recruiting interest in the Class of 2008.

In the Class 8A state title game, Wheaton South (14-0) and three-star ranked running back Dan Dierking (Purdue pledge) didn't disappoint on the state's biggest stage.

Dierking gained 139 yards and scored two touchdowns in leading the No. 1-ranked Tigers to an impressive 44-21 win over Chicago Mount Carmel (12-2). Dierking ended his senior season with 2,330 yards rushing and 33 touchdowns.

Dierking, who was begging his coaches all season to also let him play defense, finally got his chance toward the end of the game and had a sack for the Tigers.

Chicago Mount Carmel also featured several D-I prospects. Three-star guard prospect Arthur Ray Jr. , two-star defensive end Ron Newcomb and two-star inside linebacker Mark Oliver were all key contributors for the Caravan this season.

Junior linebacker Steven Filer, who will likely be the state's top ranked junior prospect for the Class of 2008, had eight tackles for the Caravan in a losing cause.

Chicago St. Rita (13-1) won its first state title since 1978, beating Lake Zurich (12-2) 35-21 in the Class 7A title game. St. Rita senior quarterback Pete Balsam added 103 yards of total offense and scored two rushing touchdowns in the win.

St. Rita senior two-star defensive end prospect Matt Conrath posted five tackles and a sack. Junior defensive end and D-I prospect Darius Fleming (6-foot-4, 225 pounds) also added four tackles and a sack for the Mustangs.

For Lake Zurich, senior two-star outside linebacker prospect and Northern Illinois commit Kyle Skarb played effectively on both sides of the ball. Skarb accumulated 62 yards of total offense and also added two tackles in a losing effort.

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