As we have said in the past, not all games are created equal. Certain date of the season take on expanded and deeper meanings and consequences.
Last Thursday was one of those classic, “circle the date” days on the calendar.
Two games in the western suburbs set up the new rankings. In Elgin, previously ranked no. 7 Naperville North continued its torrid play with a 3-0 victory over top-ranked Elgin, which played a portion of the game a man down.
Then in a match involving two top-four teams, Oak Park and River Forest rode the continually astonishing play of Easton Bogard to take out York 3-1.
Results matter, and sometimes it is necessary to point out that certain teams make the leap, simply creating a body of work against sharp competition that is too hard to ignore.
Such was the case with the Huskies, the new no. 1 after capping a week of capturing the Joe Novy Classic at Addison Trail and delivering the road victory over the Dukes.
In an interesting piece of symmetry, York defeated Elgin in the opening round of the Streamwood Fall Classic on Saturday.
Those two teams played a great supersectional game last year, with York prevailing in a penalty shootout.
The night Elgin and York lost marked something else new, their respective first losses during the regular-season in two years.
The teams were also each undefeated, owning a couple of ties, when they collided last year.
The nerve centers, established so far, are in the North Shore and western suburbs
It seems clear the two best conferences are the West Suburban Conference Silver Division and the Central Suburban League South Division.
Oak Park and River Forest, York, Hinsdale Central and Lyons are top 19 teams.
Evanston, New Trier and Glenbrook North, with a combined record of 23-0-2, occupy nos. 4, 5 and 7 respectively. And Glenbrook South and Maine South are in the “look out for” (honorable mention) teams.
Naperville North is moving up with a proverbial bullet, winners now of seven straight after defeating another ranked program, Marmion, on Saturday.
This iteration of the Huskies is different than their famed forebears that won three-consecutive state championships from 2016 through 2018.
Those teams, featuring the all-world play of keeper Tom Welch, had size, power and annihilating force.
This is probably the most athletic team the Huskies have ever had.
“They have that big striker on top (Noah Radtke) and those two players on the outside, and they are just impossible to slow down,” Elgin coach Jimmy Romano said.
Jaxon Stokes and Hindo Allie are electric at the top of the formation.
Naperville North does not seem to have the same deadball and set piece, specialists of those state championship teams, but the Huskies may not need them.
“We’re a very athletic team, but we are also very technical,” Stokes said.
Glenbrook North and New Trier played Monday night (Sept. 11), and the Trevians travel to Evanston next week.
On Sept. 21, no. 2 Morton and no. 3 Naperville North clash in a high-profile game that was postponed from the first week.
As we approach the close of the first month of the season, the games are becoming ever more valuable and so are the stakes.
Editor's note: HM-ranked in honorable mention list last week; NR-not ranked in last week's poll.
|1||3||Oak Park and River Forest||7-0-0||Cameron Smith is stellar at keeper|
|2||2||Morton||6-0-1||Ivan Ramirez is an elite and disruptive center back|
|3||7||Naperville North||7-1-0||Niko Ladas helps unlock the attack|
|4||10||Evanston||8-0-0||Statement win over Naperville Central|
|5||5||New Trier||7-0-1||Gael Morales is a talented midfielder|
|6||8||Stevenson||8-0-0||Cole Dirks is a skilled two-way talent|
|7||9||Glenbrook North||8-0-1||Sam Lappin is a shutdown defender|
|8||4||York||5-1-0||Forward Aaron Jobi has emerged of late|
|9||1||Elgin||5-2-0||Forward Danny Perez is quick and explosive|
|10||6||Bloom||8-1-0||Off day against Boylan|
|11||16||Reavis||5-1-2||Frank Wojtanek helps slow down Morton|
|12||21||West Aurora||9-0-0||Leads all 3A schools with 9 wins|
|13||19||Palatine||7-0-2||Karol Noga saves the day against Barrington|
|14||20||Mount Carmel||5-1-1||Emerging as team to beat in CCL|
|15||11||St. Charles North||6-2-0||Stefano Nava is a standout stopper|
|16||12||St. Charles East||6-2-0||Omar Ontiveras keys rout of Sycamore|
|17||HM||Streamwood||7-2-0||A.J. Sabanovic is a big-timie scorer|
|18||25||Hinsdale Central||5-2-1||Martin Montoya is dangerous in the middle|
|19||NR||Lyons||5-2-1||Declan Kracker solidifies the middle attack|
|20||15||Solorio||6-2-0||Taken down by Lyons in shootout|
|21||HM||Lane||5-1-0||Grayson Trinter is dangerous up-top|
|22||HM||Round Lake||5-2-0||Fast, athletic team|
|23||17||Stagg||4-2-0||Sharp win against Waukegan|
|24||18||Marmion||4-1-2||Diego Tellez is a standout defender|
|25||22||Oswego East||4-1-2||Dylan Drendel is a talent to watch|
Look out for: Naperville Central, Plainfield East, Bolingbrook, Taft, Romeoville, Hersey, Maine South, Glenbrook South, Prairie Ridge, Dundee-Crown, Niles North, Leyden, Lincoln-Way Central, West Chicago, Neuqua Valley