With a spot in the Illinois High School Association playoffs assured after a 46-16 victory Friday at Maine East, the Highland Park High School football team is anything but satisfied.
“We expect to be in the playoffs,” Coach Hal Chiodo said. “Just getting to the playoffs is not our goal. Winning the conference championship is our goal.”
A Central Suburban League North Division title is within reach and the Giants control their path to the crown. With two games left in the season both Highland Park and Glenbrook North have 3-0 league records. They play each other Oct. 25, the final date on the league calendar. The other four teams in the circuit are not in contention.
Highland Park travels to Niles North at 7 p.m. Friday before returning to Wolters at 7 p.m. Oct. 25 for a game which will most likely be for the league title. “It would be great if we could play (Glenbrook North) for all the marbles,” Chiodo said.
There is more at stake in the Giants’ next two games—history. Two more victories will make them the winningist football team the school has ever had. The 1964 team finished the year with a 7-1 record. A win over Niles North equals the best ever mark and two more victories sets a new standard.
“This is part of the fabric of our student athletes,” Chiodo said. “No one is accusing us of wasting any of our talent.”
Friday’s game was one where the entire squad got to display its prowess. After Highland Park built a 40-0 halftime lead, the starters got the rest of the night off and the remainder of the Giant roster took the field. “It was great to see them have fun playing football,” Chiodo said.
Chiodo called the first half an outstanding demonstration of the game. Kelshawn Shields ran for a pair of touchdowns and Tommy Sutker threw for two, one to Grant Paley and the other to Jack Maguire. Chiodo gave much of the credit to the blockers.
“The offensive line is getting better every week,” Chiodo said. “They (the opposition) know we’re going to throw and they throw new schemes at us every week. We had one sack early and that was it.” Sutker completed seven of his nine passes for 184 yards in a half of football.
Defensive standout Jared Korn had a pair of touchdowns as well. He ripped the ball out of the hands of the Blue Demons fullback and took it 35 yards to the end zone in the first half. In the second half he got to play offense and had the lone score after the intermission.
"He has so much grit to do that," Head Coach Hal Chiodo said. "Their fullback is 6-3, 225 pounds and he (Korn) is 5-7, 170 and he took the ball away from him twice, once for a touchdown."