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Football: Championship weekend previews

Richards' Hasan Muhammad-Rogers (8) runs ball against Argo Oak Lawn Saturday November 9 2013. | Jim Boyce/For Sun-Times Media

Richards' Hasan Muhammad-Rogers (8) runs the ball against Argo in Oak Lawn Saturday, November, 9, 2013. | Jim Boyce/For Sun-Times Media

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Updated: December 30, 2013 12:30PM



CLASS 6A STATE TITLE GAME
Richards (12-1) vs. Batavia (12-1)

When: 1 p.m. Saturday at Northern Illinois University

Outlook: Rematch from Week 2 when the Bulldogs departed Batavia with a 31-25 win. The “revenge” factor for Batavia can’t be underestimated. Neither can the task required of Richards to beat the same team twice in one season. Batavia’s offense is extremely dangerous, having outscored opponents 560 to 186. Quarterback Micah Coffey (151-of-241, 2,237 yards) is capable of picking apart secondaries from the pocket or on the go. His top two targets consist of receivers Jordan Zwart (35 catches, 670 yards, 5 touchdowns) and Michael Moffett (42, 600, 7). Both are tall — Zwart is 6-foot-3, Moffatt 6-1 — which could pose some matchup problems for Richards. Running back Anthony Scaccia (246 carries, 1,725 yards, 25 TDs) has the versatility to pick up tough yards inside or turn the corner for big gains for Batavia. Defensively, linebacker Anthony Thielk (99 tackles) and safety Forest Gilbertson are top playmakers for Batavia. Richards’ offense, namely its passing attack, has been sidetracked by inclement weather as much as the opposing defenses the past two weeks. With clear conditions forecast for Saturday, QB Hasan Muhammad-Rogers (136-of-259, 2,199) and WRs Tacari Carpenter (45-886), Spencer Tears (33-427), Ryan Willett (20-350) and Dedrick Shannon should be ready to get back to business. The Bulldogs will need a big day from RB Romeo Johnson (65-498) to prevent Batavia from keying on the Bulldogs passing attack. Richards’ defense, led by Savon Robinson, Romel Hill and Andrew Venerable, has allowed just 127 points on the season and recorded six shutouts.

Capsules compiled by Pat Disabato.

CLASS 7A STATE TITLE GAME
Mount Carmel (12-1) vs. Lake Zurich (12-1)

When: 4 p.m. Saturday at Northern Illinois University

Outlook: What stands out in matching the Caravan and Bears is the size differential. Mount Carmel’s offensive line averages 6-feet-2 and 271 pounds. Lake Zurich’s defensive line averages 5-11, 193. It’s nearly as lopsided on the other side of the ball with the Caravan’s defensive line at 6-1, 282 and the Bears’ O-line at 6-feet, 215. Lake Zurich is giving up major pounds, aka muscle. However, the Bears have built a tremendous tradition, winning the 6A title in 2007, finishing runner-up to St. Rita in 2006 and Wheaton-Warrenville South in 2010 and falling in the semifinals the past two seasons. The Bears have dominated the competition this season to the tune of a 383-97 scoring advantage. Like the Caravan, the Bears prefer to run with the pigskin, relying on RBs Ben Klett (100 carries, 625 yards, 10 touchdowns), Dylan Schassler (78-588, 4), Sean Lynch (90-503, 6) and Zane Lodico (90-375, 2). QB Noah Allgood might not be “all good” after he faces the vaunted Mount Carmel defense, but he’s completed 85-of-135 passes for 1,342 yards. When he goes to the air, he prefers hooking up with WR Brent Sweetwood (29-422, 2) and Klett (15-366, 7). Defensively, linebacker Colton Moskal (85 tackles) and safety Sean Lynch (82) are top producers. The Caravan scored 34 points Saturday against Edwardsville without attempting a single pass. RBs Matt Domer (154-1,299, 14) and Jimmy Mickens (182-1,118, 13) provide a vicious tandem for any defense to contain. QB Marko Boricich is a threat with his legs (85-345) and arm (52-of-97, 695) but his real asset is in his decision-making. Linebacker Sam Connolly (14 sacks), Enoch Smith Jr. (14 sacks) and Steve Richardson lead a defense that has allowed just 96 points and has recorded five shutouts.

PREP BOWL
St. Rita (11-2) vs. Simeon (9-4)

When: 11 a.m. Friday at Soldier Field

Outlook: The Mustangs hope to end their season on a winning note and claim their seventh Prep Bowl championship. Simeon dumped Dunbar 23-14 to garner the Public League championship and earn its berth in the game. Two of the Wolverines’ four losses were to Southland powers — Homewood-Flossmoor (27-13) and Crete-Monee (14-12). A 27-20 loss to Neuqua Valley in the second round in Class 8A eliminated Simeon from the state playoffs. St. Rita will be a tough challenge with QB Tommy Mister (193 carries, 1,594 yards, 27 touchdowns), RBs Jovaughn Sparks and D.J. Miles and WR Julian Crum (23 catches, 525 yards, 6 touchdowns) posing serious threats to a Wolverines defense that has allowed 166 points on the campaign. Linebacker Sam Connolly and defensive back Lamar Dawson lead an aggressive Mustangs defense that has allowed just 10 points each of the past two weeks.



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