SouthWest Suburban Conference shifts Stagg, Lincoln-Way Central
By Tina Akouris firstname.lastname@example.org November 13, 2012 7:38PM
Updated: December 15, 2012 6:13AM
Beginning next season, the SouthWest Suburban conference will realign with Lincoln-Way Central going to the Red Division and Stagg to the Blue Division.
Stagg athletic director Bob Fabrizio said per the conference’s guidelines, the league realigns every two years based on student enrollment.
“We knew it was coming based on our Sept. 30 enrollment figures,” Fabrizio said. “It’s going to be a tremendous challenge for our athletic program, that’s for sure. Any time you get to participate and play high school athletics, it’s a great thing. But we’re going to have to raise the bar. The offseason is going to be very important.”
Basically, Stagg and Lincoln-Way Central are swapping out in the conference, Fabrizio said. The Blue Division will include Joliet Central, Joliet West, Lockport, Lincoln-Way East, Stagg, Bolingbrook, Homewood-Flossmoor and Sandburg. The Red Division will be: Lincoln-Way Central, Bradley, Andrew, Thornton, Thornwood, Lincoln-Way West, Lincoln-Way North and Thornridge.
The realignment is for all sports, but already is being felt in football. Lincoln-Way East has canceled its Week 2 series with Montini in favor of playing Lincoln-Way Central.
Time was too short
Lincoln-Way West senior Lavonte Blackful transferred from Bloom, but he wishes he had more time to make an impact on the New Lenox school. Even though the school opened in 2009, the Warriors have made three consecutive playoff appearances.
Advancing to the quarterfinal round was the furthest the program has gone. The Warriors lost to Joliet Catholic 21-20 in overtime Saturday, and Blackful wasn’t surprised West got that far in the postseason. A second-round victory over previously unbeaten Kaneland also helped boost the Warriors’ — and Blackful’s — confidence.
“As soon as I transferred the coaches told me this year we would win a state title, that was how much talent we had,” Blackful said. “I was naive, I didn’t believe it, but as we started playing the first week I was on the bandwagon and felt we had a shot.
“Through the playoffs, teams doubted us, but we knew we were good. We just fell short. It happens. I just wish I was a junior.”
Contributing: Pat Disabato