Providence Catholic is turning Catholic League Blue football into green.
The Celtics are doing it with defense, and with a pair of brothers who have become the best-known athletic siblings in Chicago: Quarterback Joey Houlihan and defensive back/wide receiver/kick returner Peter Houlihan.
Providence slapped a rare shutout on Catholic Blue power St. Rita last week, and earlier this season held once-beaten Loyola to only a fourth-quarter field goal.
"People have been doubting us all year," Peter Houlihan told the Chicago Tribune after the Celtics’ 10-0 win over St. Rita. "St. Rita has one of the best offenses in the state, but we earned some respect tonight."
At 4-0 in the Catholic Blue and 6-1 overall, the Celtics already have a league championship wrapped up, despite having a game with Catholic Blue rival Mount Carmel still on the calendar for Oct. 23. St. Rita, the 2008 league champ, had averaged nearly 40 points per game before meeting Providence, and had not been held under 35 points this year. The Mustangs had not been shut out in 12 games. Providence figures to be one of the favorites in the Class 6A playoffs. The Celtics finished 8-5 last year, and had four shutouts.
Three of Joey Houlihan’s five touchdown passes have gone to Peter Houlihan, an Eastern Illinois recruit. Peter has been a menace to opposing quarterbacks, a constant threat to intercept passes; Joey Houlihan has completed 57-of-98 passes for 860 yards.
* Whitney Young, which is a defending state champ in boys basketball and, well, you know, the place where First Lady Michelle Obama graduated, will go after a Public League soccer championship Thursday night. The Dolphins (16-4-1) advanced to the title game against Juarez with a 2-0 win Tuesday over Kelly on goals by Justin Taylor and Victor Mensah; Juarez (18-6-1) edged Lane Tech 3-2 in overtime in Tuesday‘s other semifinal.
* Add Illinois to a growing list of states holding lacrosse tournaments. The Illinois High School Association‘s Board of Directors approved this week the addition of state lacrosse boys and girls tournaments beginning with the 2010-11 school year, so long as there are a minimum of 45 girls teams and 60 boys teams registered with the IHSA.
"We feel like the IHSA‘s endorsement of the sport will help bring more legitimacy to club and intramural programs around the state, and that many more schools will field squads in the coming years," IHSA Executive Director Marty Hickman said in a statement. Illinois is the 18th state to add lacrosse as an official sport, and it currently has 45 girls and 60 boys teams competing. Lacrosse has traditionally been very strong on the North side of Chicago, especially at New Trier (the four-time "unofficial" state champ) and Loyola Academy, which has lost to New Trier in the last four "unofficial" state title games.
* Newly installed stadium lights at Oak Park-River Forest High School have bothered three Oak Park residents so much that they have filed a lawsuit in Cook County Circuit Court, requesting the lights be removed or the school do something about the lighting and noise conditions affecting the neighborhood. The suit also seeks an injunction preventing the use of the stadium for evening events, the Chicago Tribune reported. News of the suit precipitated comments from hundreds on an Internet forum who are in favor of the lights, and against the suit brought by three residents of townhouses located near the stadium.
* Bolingbrook Brad Geever passed for four touchdowns and ran for two scores in Bolingbrook‘s huge 46-24 win over previously unbeaten Lincoln-Way East in the Southwest Suburban Blue. Geever‘s 317 passing yardage was a career high.
* Hinsdale Central QB John Whitelaw completed 8-of-13 passes for 162 yards and two touchdowns, his sixth game this year in which he threw for multiple TDs, and he also ran for 206 yards and two touchdowns in a 41-13 win over Downers Grove North.
* Maine South RB Matt Perez, an Indiana recruit, rushed for 222 yards and four touchdowns in a 45-0 victory over Waukegan.
* Naperville Central‘s Chris Prince scored three goals Tuesday, leading the Redhawks to a 4-1 boys soccer victory over Wheaton Warrenville South, which was previously unbeaten in DuPage Valley play. Central is 12-3-2 overall, 4-2 DuPage Valley; WW South dropped to 16-3-2, 4-1-1. Prince’s 23 goals this season is a school record.
* Sandburg’s girls cross country team knocked off two-time Class 3A champion Geneva in the Blackhawk Stampede last Saturday at Waubonsee Community College, scoring a team title by 10 points. Sandburg seniors Kim Christensen and Alexis Goldsmith finished No. 3 and 4, respectively.
Central Suburban South showdown: Glenbrook South (6-1, 3-0 Central Suburban South) will attempt to do what no football team has done since 2007: defeat Maine South (7-0, 3-0). Both teams enter Saturday’s 1:30 p.m. battle at Maine South with 3-0 league records. Maine South has won 21 consecutive games, and is the defending Class 8A champion, but the Hawks may get a challenge. As powerful as South’s offense is, led by Indiana recruit Matt Perez at running back and Tyler Benz at quarterback, Glenbrook South has actually scored more points this season, 336 to Maine South’s 335.
Battle of the Valley: Glenbard North (7-0, 5-0 DuPage Valley) will put its unbeaten record on the line at 7:30 Friday night at Carol Stream, when it meets powerful Wheaton Warrenville South (6-1, 5-0). The Tigers’ only hiccup this season came in a Week 2 loss to Maine South. WW South whacked defending DuPage Valley champ Naperville North 38-7 three weeks ago and in the last three weeks has averaged 40 points per game. But the Tigers haven’t played a defense like this; Glenbard North has shut out four opponents, including Naperville North, and has yielded just 12 points in its last six games.
Recruiting: St. Ignat's Egwu opts for Illinois
Nnanna Egwu, a 6-foot-10 junior center at St. Ignatius, gave a verbal commitment to Illinois last Friday. A native Nigerian, Egwu didn’t even play basketball until he was in the eighth grade. He blossomed into an effective shot-blocker last season for St. Ignatius. Egwu chose Illinois over Purdue, and also had offers from Northwestern, DePaul, Wisconsin and Oregon State.
"He’s like a kid at Christmas every time he’s in the gym because he’s always learning something new," Illinois Wolves club team coach Mike Mullins told the Chicago Tribune.
Paul Bowker, a sports journalist for 25 years who has worked at newspapers nationwide, covers the Chicago area for MaxPreps. He may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.