Soucie: What we learned from Week 3

Just 74 schools were able to reach the 3-0 plateau this past weekend.

The list is littered with the teams you’d likely expect to find there. It includes eight teams we saw playing for state championships at the end of 2019. The list of undefeated teams that played for state championships in 2019, however. is actually 10. Nazareth and Newman Central Catholic have played just two games at this point and are 2-0.

And while the list is filled with teams that have long resumes of success, it also has teams one might be surprised to find at 3-0.

Crystal Lake Central: It’s not that the Tigers have struggled in recent seasons. It’s what they just accomplished to remain on the list that warrants their inclusion into the discussion of surprise teams.

Central pulled off what could be considered the biggest upset of the season to date with its win over Prairie Ridge on Thursday night. It was a victory that was hard to see coming. While Crystal Lake Central has been a fairly solid program, the Tigers hadn’t beat the Wolves since 2012, and most of the recent installments of the series have been rather lopsided.

When the Fox Valley schedule was released and the squads were put in two different pools with each pool winner set to square off in Week 6 for an unofficial league title game it would have been hard to imagine a scenario where the pool that included Cary-Grove, Crystal Lake Central, Crystal Lake South, Prairie Ridge and McHenry wouldn’t have produced a winner that was either Prairie Ridge or Cary-Grove based on history and tradition alone.

But with just one result, Crystal Lake Central has opened a path to the title game. The Tigers will obviously need to continue their success by toppling Cary-Grove in Week 5 to clinch that berth, but considering Prairie Ridge and Cary-Grove are scheduled to scrap in Week 4, things could already be close to decided prior to the Week 5 game.

St. Bede: The Bruins have surprised in getting to the 3-0 grouping and have largely gotten there due to sparkling play on defense.

St. Bede last made the playoffs in 2016, but had stumbled to win a combined eight games over the previous three seasons.

It isn’t going to take long to find out if the strong start is fully legitimate as the Bruins will lock horns with Three Rivers Conference powerhouse Newman Central Catholic in Week 4.

Wauconda: If you were to project teams to bet on that would be 3-0 at this point, Wauconda likely wouldn’t have ranked very high on the list.

The Bulldogs haven’t finished above .500 since 2007. They need only one more win to secure that status for the 2021 season. They will easily face their biggest challenge to date as the Bulldogs are one of just 10 teams from the 3-0 group that will face another 3-0 team in Week 4. Wauconda will square off with Antioch this week.

There were other teams not among the 74 teams that reached 3-0 that did things worthy of note:

• Lockport’s 42-14 victory over Bolingbrook was impressive in a lot of ways on Saturday.

It marked an important distinction for the 2-1 Porters, proving that they are all the way back from a low water mark for the program in 2018, where they scuffled to an 0-9 mark.

Beating one of the SouthWest Suburban Conference stalwarts in Bolingbrook is a feather in the program’s cap. But resting on its laurels is something Lockport can’t afford to do. The conference’s gold standard, Lincoln-Way East, is next up on the docket.

• East Moline United has struggled mightily as a member of the Western Big Six Conference.

But the spring season has already given the Panthers a chance to experience something they hadn’t in some time.

With a 49-36 win over Moline on Friday, East Moline snapped a 47-game losing streak in league play.

Steve Soucie

Steve Soucie has been the Sports Editor at the Joliet Herald News since August of 2018. Prior to that, Soucie worked at the Kankakee Daily Journal and for Pro Football Weekly.