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2018 Football State Championships - LegendsPlayHere.com

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The Illinois High School Association (IHSA) Football State Championships return to Champaign-Urbana in 2018, as the University of Illinois' Memorial Stadium plays host to the culminating games for the 17th time. The eight title games will unfold on Friday and Saturday, November 23-24, with kickoffs each day slated for 10:00 AM, 1:00 PM, 4:00 PM, and 7:00 PM.

Visit Champaign County has created a special website, LegendsPlayHere.com to enhance the experience for fans coming to the games.

Fans from competing schools will once again have team tents in the Tent City adjacent to Memorial Stadium as well.

The games will be broadcast on NBC Sports Chicago main and plus channel and streamed on NBC Sports and the NFHS Network. Click here for more on broadcasts or see links on righthand sidebar for channel information.

This year's broadcasts will also feature classic IHSA Football State Championship recaps between games as a part of the IHSA Greatest Games Championship Series.

A brief preview on each team competing in the 2018 IHSA Football State Finals is available below:

CLASS 1A
FORRESTON CARDINALS (11-2)  vs.
CAMP POINT CENTRAL PANTHERS (12-1)

After Lena-Winslow dispatched highly regarded Aurora Christian 57-14 in the quarterfinals, the defending 1A champs appeared to be a lock to be back in Champaign. Forreston upended the Panthers, who had beat them 36-16 in Week 2, 34-28 in the semifinals to setup a chance for the program’s third state title (2014, 2016) in Kyle Zick’s first season as head coach. The Cardinals have four backs with over 600 rushing yards, including Evan Kelsey (904 yards, 15 TD) and Dom Christiansen (699 yards), whose 75-yard kickoff return for a score was the winning TD in the semis. Camp Point Central has reached the semifinals twice before under eighth-year head coach Brad Dixon, but finally breaks through for the school’s first state final trip in 2018. The veteran Panthers start nine seniors on offense, including All-State senior running back/safety Cole Williams (1,220 rushing yards), who has 28 totaled TDs on the season. Camp Point Central had to beat three conference foes for a second time in order to reach Champaign, including Carrollton who ended their season in the playoffs the past three years.

CLASS 2A
GIBSON CITY-MELVIN-SIBLEY FALCONS (13-0)  vs.
MAROA-FORSYTH TROJANS (13-0)

There is no buildup necessary for this rematch after GCMS and Marora-Forsyth met a year ago in a classic state title game tilt. GCMS senior Bryce Barnes is back after his acrobatic TD catch with 68 seconds left a year ago lifted the Falcons to a 38-32 state championship victory. Maora-Forysth QB Ian Benner threw two touchdown passes in that title game and has followed up with a strong junior campaign (1,945 passing yards, 820 rushing yards, 31 total TD), while fellow junior Tanner Hetz (75 tackles, 2.5 sacks) has stepped in to anchor the defense. Jared Trantina (1,533) has taken over as the lead back for GCMS as a senior, while Barnes (DT) and Trantina (LB) both do double duty on a defensive unit that hasn’t allowed more than 12 points in a game this season, including six shutouts.

CLASS 3A
BYRON TIGERS (13-0)  vs. MONTICELLO SAGES (13-0)

Byron ended Monticello’s season in the Second Round last year in a 21-20 nail biter, and the two have appeared to be on a Champaign collision course since the playoff brackets were released. In a battle of contrasting titles, Monticello head coach Cully Welter, who won three of the five state title games he coached in at Carthage and Illini West, will depend on All-State QB Braden Snyder (3,131 passing yards, 52 total TD) to spread the ball around. Byron head coach Jeff Boyer counters with a trio of running backs who have run for 1,000+ yards this season, as 6-5, 295-pound All-State linemen Tyler Elsbury leads the way for Drake Snodgrass (1,480 rushing yards, 15 TD) and company. The game also features a pair of defensive coordinators who played in the NFL in Byron’s Sean Considine, who won a Super Bowl with the Baltimore Ravens, and Monticello’s Brit Miller. Considine led Byron to its lone state title as a player in 1999.

CLASS 4A
IC CATHOLIC KNIGHTS (13-0)  vs.
BISHOP MCNAMARA FIGHTIN IRISH (12-1)

IC Catholic and head coach Bill Krefft take the step up to Class 4A this year in the Knights bid for a third consecutive state championship after winning Class 3A in 2016 and 2017. IC will face a familiar foe Friday night in Bishop McNamara, who has won five state titles under head coach Rich Zinanni. The two programs have split their last six games head-to-head, with IC Catholic edging Mac 21-20 when they met in Week 4 earlier this season. The Knights are led by two-way standouts in Purdue bound Khali Saunders and his twin brother Khalil, as well as sophomore running back Kyle Franklin (2,51 yards, 35 TD), while Mac senior running back Tyshon King (2,242 yards, 47 TD) toted the football 50 times for 344 yards and four touchdowns in the Fightin Irish’s semifinal win over two-time defending champ Rochester. 6-6, 265-pound junior offensive linemen Isaac Ruder is responsible for many of the holes King has run through.

CLASS 5A
MONTINI CATHOLIC BRONCOS (12-1)  vs.
JOLIET CATHOLIC ACADEMY HILLTOPPERS (9-4)

History tells us that this one should be fun, as these programs met for the 5A crown in 2009 and 2011. Montini used a TD and two-point conversion in the final seconds of the game to triumph in 2009, and pulled away in 2011, but not before Montini’s Jordan Westerkamp (12 rec, 353 yards, 5 TD) and JCA’s Ty Isaac (515 rushing yards, 6 TD) put on two of the greatest individual performances in state history. The head coaches of the perennial powers, JCA has an IHSA-record 13 of the combined 19 state titles between the schools, have turned over since those games, but the styles remain much the same. JCA relies on its ground game led by Purdue bound linemen David Monnot III and senior running back Keenan Hailey (2,541 yards, 32 TD), as the pair helped lead head coach Jake Jaworski’s squad to a Week 9 upset of Niles Notre Dame to sneak into the playoffs. Mike Bukovsky’s Montini team rotates quarterbacks in its spread scheme, but both look to get the ball to University of Illinois commit Nick Fedanzo (1,235 rushing yards, 17 total TD). Senior linebacker Jackson Bruscianelli (133 tackles, 6 sacks) anchors a Bronco defense that has limited seven opponents this season to seven points or less.

CLASS 6A
CARY-GROVE TROJANS (13-0)  vs.
CRETE-MONEE WARRIORS (10-3)

Another title game and another classic championship rematch from yesteryear. Crete-Monee outlasted Cary-Grove 33-26 in 2012 in a game where future Minnesota Vikings First Round NFL draft pick Laquon Treadwell did it all to will his team to its first state title. Crete-Monee opened the 2018 campaign 0-3 vs. a tough slate that included 8A finalist Brother Rice and 8A semifinalist Lincoln-Way East. John Konecki’s Warriors, led by All-State DT Deion Harry and WR Ricky Johnson (60 rec, 1,039 yards, 9 TD), have rattled off 10 straight wins since, including last minute come-from-behind playoff wins to beat Glenwood in the Second Round and Richards in the Semifinals. Brad Seaburg has guided Cary-Grove to two title games since 2012, but is still in search of his first championship after falling by 10 total points in those two contests. The Trojans operate their triple-option offense with precision, as senior quarterback Ben McDonald excels as a runner (1,380 yards, 24 TD) and passer (1,364 yards, 18 TD). Two-way All-State linemen Addison West will head to Western Michigan after his prep career concludes. The Trojans resume includes wins over two defending state champs (5A-Phillips, 6A-Prairie Ridge).

CLASS 7A
NAZARETH ACADEMY ROADRUNNERS (12-1)  vs.
ST. CHARLES NORTH STARS (10-3)

Nazareth was intercepted near the goal line on the final play of last year’s Class 6A title game, as the Roadrunners fell to two-time champ Prairie Ridge. Now in Class 7A, Tim Racki’s team has a chance to win its third state title in three classes (6A in 2014, 5A in 2015), while Racki can win his seventh title as a head coach. The Roadrunners offense relies on the dangerous senior wide receiver tandem of Diamond Evans (1,112 yards, 12 TD and wide Michael Love (1,087 yards, 24 total TDs). Robert Pomazak’s St. Charles North team has overcome the injury losses of its starting quarterback and running back en route to the school’s first state championship game appearance, tipping perennial power Mt. Carmel 27-21 in double OT in the semifinals. All-State senior wide receiver and Minnesota commit Tyler Nubin has 21 total TDs this season, including four rushing scores in the semifinal win. North Stars standout senior offensive linemen Alex Westendorf (6-4, 285) is slated to play at South Dakota State next fall, where he’ll be teammates with Nazareth’s Evans.

CLASS 8A
BROTHER RICE CRUSADERS (13-0)  vs.
LOYOLA ACADEMY RAMBLERS (10-3)

Conference rivals Brother Rice and Loyola make their way to Champaign after successfully navigating a loaded Class 8A playoff field. Coming off last season’s 2-7 campaign, Brother Rice wasn’t on anyone’s preseason radar to be playing on the final day of the season, but the Crusaders announced their arrival with a 35-3 regular-season win over Loyola in Week 4. After appearing in five title games since 2011 (winning in 2015), Loyola was 4-3 at one point in the season, before starting its current seven-game win streak that culminated with a 24-16 triumph over nationally ranked defending state champ Lincoln-Way East in the semifinals. Brother Rice has DI talent on its lines, highlighted by University of Illinois offensive line commit Evan Kirts (6-5, 265). Crusader senior wide receiver Dylan Summers (931 yards, 14 TD) is set to play collegiately in the Ivy League at Cornell, and could matchup there again with Loyola senior safety Jake Gonzalez (124 tackles, 2 int), a Penn commit. Gonzalez’s unit is allowing just 7.5 point per game in the playoffs, while an offense that was ravaged with injuries early in the year has finally found its footing with senior Jack Fallon (1,210 passing yards, 12 TD) settling in behind center.

TOURNAMENT HISTORY
45th annual State Playoffs
17th year at U of I


SITE

Memorial Stadium
University of Illinois
Champaign-Urbana
Directions


LEGENDS PLAY HERE
Tent City, Gameday and Visitor Information


HOST
University of Illinois
Illini Athletics
Visit Champaign County


SCHEDULE
Friday, November 23
Class 1A - 10:00 a.m.
Forreston vs. Camp Point Central

Class 2A - 1:00 p.m.

Gibson City-Melvin Sibley vs. Maroa-Forsyth

Class 3A - 4:00 p.m.
Byron vs. Monticello

Class 4A - 7:00 p.m.

IC Catholic vs. Bishop McNamara


Saturday, November 24
Class 5A - 10:00 a.m.
Montini vs. Joliet Catholic Academy

Class 6A - 1:00 p.m.

Cary-Grove vs. Crete-Monee

Class 7A - 4:00 p.m.
Nazareth vs. St. Charles North

Class 8A - 7:00 p.m.

Brother Rice vs. Loyola


TICKETS
$10 per day (no re-entry)


WATCH

TV: NBC Sports Chicago

Stream: NBC Sports Live App  &  NFHS Network


LISTEN
CLASS 1A
WFPS 92.1 FM (Freeport)
Forreston home call
Internet Broadcast

WLLT 107.7 FM (Polo)
Forreston home call
Internet broadcast

GearedUpBroadcasting
Camp Point Cent. home call
Internet broadcast


CLASS 2A
WDZ 1050 AM (Decatur)
Maroa-Forsyth home call
Internet Broadcast

WGCY 106.3 FM (Gibson City)
GCMS home call
Internet Broadcast

WDKR 107.3 FM (Maroa)
Maroa-Forsyth home call

WZNX 106.7 FM (Decatur)
Maroa-Forsyth home call
Internet Broadcast


CLASS 3A
Byron:
WLLT 107.7 FM (Polo)
WRHL 1060 AM (Rochelle)
WNTA 1330 AM (Rockford)

Monticello:
WEZC 95.9 FM (Clinton)

CLASS 4A
WXNU 106.5 FM (Kankakee)
Bishop Mac home call
Internet Broadcast


CLASS 5A
WJOL 1340 AM (Joliet)
JCA home call
Internet Broadcast


RESULTS & BOX SCORES
IHSA Football Homepage


SOCIAL MEDIA
#IHSA on Twitter
Twitter - @IHSAstate

Instagram - @IHSA_IL

Facebook.com/IHSA.IL

Classic IHSA YouTube Video



OFFICIAL STATE FINAL
Gear from Minerva

Photos from VIP

Balls from Wilson

IHSA Program



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Country Financial

Wilson Sporting Goods

Gatorade

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Biaggis

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HISTORY & RECORDS
2018 Playoffs

Record Book & Past Champions