St. Laurence assistant coach Frank Lenti, a longtime fixture on the sidelines in state championship games when he was at Mount Carmel, fires up running back Aaron Ball before the Vikings take on Rochester for the Class 4A title on Nov. 24. Photo by Jeff Vorva

St. Laurence assistant coach Frank Lenti, a longtime fixture on the sidelines in state championship games when he was at Mount Carmel, fires up running back Aaron Ball before the Vikings take on Rochester for the Class 4A title on Nov. 24. Photo by Jeff Vorva

St. Laurence falls to Rochester, takes second in Class 4A

Spread the love

By Jeff Vorva
Staff Writer

As a four-year varsity player at St. Laurence, Corey Taubr experienced three losing seasons before the Vikings made a stunning postseason run this year.

They made it to the IHSA Class 4A final, where they lost 59-38 to Rochester on Nov. 24 at Hancock Stadium on the campus of Illinois State University in Normal. It was the highest-scoring game in 4A title-game history

“Right now, it stings, because it’s the last football game I’ll ever play with these guys,” Taubr said minutes after the game. “We made some lifelong memories. It’s been a tremendous four years.”

The Vikings can take some joy in the fact that it was only the third football team in school history to make it to the state title game, and the first since 1979. St. Laurence won a state title in 1976.

Aaron Ball, a senior running back who is headed to Illinois as a preferred walk-on, ran for 160 yards on 26 carries and two touchdowns. Senior quarterback Evan Les threw for 138 yards and a touchdown and also ran for two scores.

To get to the finals, the underdog Vikings played in a pair of see-saw nailbiters in the quarterfinals and semifinals, with Ball scoring late in a 24-20 win over IC Catholic and Cesar Chavez blocking an extra point attempt in the second overtime in a 31-30 win over Wheaton Academy.

“It’s good for us but pretty bad on my blood pressure,” Vikings coach Adam Nissen said of the close games. “There have been some crazy games. They were really good high school football games, and it started in Round 2 with Dixon.”

STL TROPHY scaled

St. Laurance players lift the Class 4A runner-up trophy on Nov. 24. The Vikings played in their first state title game since 1979. Photo by Jeff Vorva

The Vikings beat the Dukes by 10 points in that game, but the outcome was closer than the score indicates, Nissen said.

“Every game after Dixon there have been some very crucial high-level situations and some very high-pressure moments that our kids stepped up and made plays,” he continued. “It’s 100% them and its absolutely one of the most resilient groups I’ve ever coached. They never flinched, regardless of the situation.”

The Vikings (10-4) experienced an odd start to the season when they blew out Von Steuben, 77-0, then sat home the second week with a forfeit win over Chicago Noble Academy. They were blown out by Wheaton St. Francis, 42-28, in Week 3

They piled up four straight wins before a 20-9 loss to St. Rita and a season-ending 24-17 setback to Montini.

“Those were two good teams,” Nissen said of St. Rita and Montini. “Those weren’t two teams that were average teams. It was tough, but it also kind of brought us down to earth and humbled us a little bit and got us ready to go for our playoff run.”

The coach said he saw big things coming this year, despite the a combined 11-17 record over the previous three seasons.

“We knew we had a special group,” he said. “The seniors were eighth-graders when I got the job, so they have been with me since Day 1 here. They are just a very tight-knit group.

“I know that’s cliché to say that, but I’ve had teams in the past who have not been as tight-knit. But these guys have been very close, even outside of football. They collectively figure out how to get the job done.”

STL FANS scaled

Bundled St. Laurence fans go crazy after a big play for the Vikings in a 59-38 loss to Rochester. Photo by Jeff Vorva

Local News

Ray Hanania

The best pols are easy to attack

Spread the love

Spread the love. By Ray Hanania . I was first introduced to Mike Madigan in 1978 by then Mayor Michael A. Bilandic. The amayor told me, a cub reporter at the time, to keep an eye on him because he was a “rising star.” As it turns out, Madigan not only was a rising star,…

Rich Miller

Pritzker turns thumbs down on Johnson demand

Spread the love

Spread the love. By Rich Miller . An oft-repeated $1.1 billion demand from Chicago’s mayor would actually wind up costing state taxpayers $5.5 billion. And Gov. JB Pritzker is turning a big thumbs down. Chicago Public Schools made the huge mistake of putting a ton of temporary federal pandemic aid into its permanent spending base…

A statue from a monument lies on the ground at Resurrection Cemetery in Justice. (Photo by Carol McGowan)

EF1 tornado barrels through Justice and Bridgeview

Spread the love

Spread the loveBy Carol McGowan An EF1 tornado, packing winds of 90 miles per hour, swept through Justice and Bridgeview Monday night. Village of Justice Public Works Director Joe Cekus said he knew trouble was on the way. “I was looking in the sky for rotation and I heard a train,” he said. “I quickly…

Two pickup trucks in the 7400 block of Roberts Road in Bridgeview were destroyed by fire. (Photos by Steve Metsch)

Bridgeview family loses two pickup trucks, but house is saved

Spread the love

Spread the loveBy Steve Metsch A Bridgeview family in the 7400 block of Roberts Road knows first-hand the damage weather can do. When high winds hit around 9:30 p.m. Monday as a tornado blew through Justice, a cemetery and then into Bridgeview, two power lines were brought down near their bi-level house. One line fell…

Rihanna will open her first Savage X Fenty store in Illinois at Orland Square Mall on Friday. (Photo by Allie Baar)

Rihanna to open Savage X Fenty store in Orland Park on Friday

Spread the love

Spread the loveBy Bob Bong Barbados superstar Rihanna will open her first Savage X Fenty store in Illinois on Friday morning in Orland Square Mall in Orland Park. The singer, actor and businesswoman will open the store at the mall’s lower level near the Coach store at 10 a.m. Savage X Fenty will host a…

The Village of Palos Park encouraged residents to unplug their devices for a day at part of Unplug Illinois on July 13. (Supplied photo)

Palos Park encourages residents to unplug

Spread the love

Spread the loveBy Kelly White The Village of Palos Park encouraged residents to unplug their devices for a day at part of Unplug Illinois on Saturday, July 13. The day is a state-wide effort, started in 2014, to encourage everyone to “plug into” the amazing recreational opportunities offered by local park and recreation agencies. The…

Portillo's Hot Dogs (PRNewsFoto/Portillo's Hot Dogs)

Comings & Goings: Portillo’s coming to Orland Park

Spread the love

Spread the loveBy Jeff Vorva After the Orland Park Village Board voted Monday night to allow for a special use program, it set the wheels in motion for a Portillo’s Hot Dogs drive through to be built at 20 Orland Square Drive, the site of the shuttered Denny’s. It will be a 3,305-foot square building…

Orland Park Mayor Keith Pekau said that pre-concert problems caused by the weather on July 13 are fixable.
(Photo by Jeff Vorva)

Mayor says Centennial Park West concert snafus ‘easily solvable’

Spread the love

Spread the loveBy Jeff Vorva The weather gods hit Orland Park’s Pat Benatar concert with their worst shot. A major storm took place July 13 when the event at the refurbished Centennial Park West was scheduled to open the gates. That caused a delay in opening the gates for 40 minutes which resulted in massive…

reporter worth welcome sign

Worth approves $590,000 for street repairs

Spread the love

Spread the loveBy Joe Boyle A variety of projects ranging from street repairs and a new pump station for the golf course have been approved for the Village of Worth. A bid was awarded to Lindahl Brothers during the Worth Village Board meeting Tuesday night. Lindahl was the lowest bidder among four entries at $590,384.90 for future…

Funeral2

Obituaries July 18, 2024

Spread the love

Spread the lovePATRICIA MAE BRZOZOWSKI Patricia Mae Brzozowski, passed away suddenly at the age of 75. Loving sister of Paul (late Sarah), Felix (Angela) and the late Donald (late Virginia) Brzozowski; dear aunt of Michelle, Libby, Tracy, Karen, Don, Eddie and Michael. Visitation was held July 10 at the Richard-Midway Funeral Home, 5749 Archer Ave.…

Neighbors

A look inside the RNC: Photos from Milwaukee

A look inside the RNC: Photos from Milwaukee

By ANDREW ADAMS  Capitol News Illinois aadams@capitolnewsillinois.com MILWAUKEE – The Republican National Convention officially wrapped up Thursday night with Donald Trump accepting the GOP nomination for president in 2024.  Throughout the week, Capitol News Illinois’ Andrew Adams was photographing the action, catching moments from the Illinois delegation and other attendees as well as key speeches. …

At national convention, Illinois’ beleaguered GOP portrays calm amid internal storm

At national convention, Illinois’ beleaguered GOP portrays calm amid internal storm

By PETER HANCOCK & HANNAH MEISEL Capitol News Illinois news@capitolnewsillinois.com MILWAUKEE – Illinois Republicans appeared upbeat and optimistic as the GOP’s national convention got underway Monday, calling for unity and showing little sign of the internal party struggles that have been brewing for years. “Everybody’s got a lot of energy. We’re all really hopeful and…

State’s largest privately owned water utilities seek rate increase amid lawmaker scrutiny

State’s largest privately owned water utilities seek rate increase amid lawmaker scrutiny

By ANDREW ADAMS  Capitol News Illinois aadams@capitolnewsillinois.com The two largest privately owned water utilities in Illinois are seeking to raise rates for a combined 1.5 million customers around the state.  Illinois American Water, which serves 1.3 million people, is seeking a $152.4 million rate increase. That corresponds to a $24 per month increase in water…

On party infighting, Illinois’ new GOP chair says ‘start calling those people out’

On party infighting, Illinois’ new GOP chair says ‘start calling those people out’

By HANNAH MEISEL Capitol News Illinois hmeisel@capitolnewsillinois.com MILWAUKEE – In the parlance of Washington D.C. Republican strategists, deep-blue Illinois is sometimes referred to as an “orphan” state – along with other Democratic strongholds like California, New York and Hawaii. In both 2016 and 2020, Donald Trump lost Illinois in the presidential election by 17 percentage…

After years of controversy, state pauses CO2 pipeline construction, for now

After years of controversy, state pauses CO2 pipeline construction, for now

By ANDREW ADAMS Capitol News Illinois aadams@capitolnewsillinois.com New safety requirements for carbon dioxide pipelines as well as a temporary ban on their construction are now in effect after Gov. JB Pritzker on Thursday signed a bill that passed the General Assembly earlier this year. The law issues new regulations for carbon capture and sequestration, a…

State GOP leaders pass the torch as national convention wraps up

State GOP leaders pass the torch as national convention wraps up

By PETER HANCOCK, HANNAH MEISEL & JERRY NOWICKI news@capitolnewsillinois.com MILWAUKEE – Illinois Republicans marked a changing of the guard Thursday morning as delegates met for breakfast ahead of the final day of the GOP national convention. State party Chair Don Tracy officially steps down this week after nearly 3 ½ years in that post, handing…

RNC Day 4 live updates from Capitol News Illinois, part 1

RNC Day 4 live updates from Capitol News Illinois, part 1

By PETER HANCOCK, HANNAH MEISEL ANDREW ADAMS & JERRY NOWICKI Capitol News Illinois news@capitolnewsillinois.com MILWAUKEE – The CNI news team is on the scene for day four of the Republican National Convention in Milwaukee. U.S. Rep. Darin LaHood, of Peoria, and Ohio Senate candidate Bernie Moreno were the speakers at today’s Illinois delegation breakfast. Donald…

Sangamon County Sheriff’s deputy charged with first-degree murder

Sangamon County Sheriff’s deputy charged with first-degree murder

BETH HUNDSDORFER Capitol News Illinois news@capitolnewsillinois.com A Springfield woman’s call for help ended with her death and the indictment of a Sangamon County Sheriff’s deputy on first-degree murder, aggravated battery with a firearm and official misconduct. Sonya Massey called police to investigate a prowler at her home in the 2800 block of Hoover Avenue near…

On party infighting, Illinois’ new GOP chair says ‘start calling those people out’

On party infighting, Illinois’ new GOP chair says ‘start calling those people out’

By HANNAH MEISEL Capitol News Illinois hmeisel@capitolnewsillinois.com MILWAUKEE – In the parlance of Washington D.C. Republican strategists, deep-blue Illinois is sometimes referred to as an “orphan” state – along with other Democratic strongholds like California, New York and Hawaii. In both 2016 and 2020, Donald Trump lost Illinois in the presidential election by 17 percentage…

Amid heavy rainfall in southern Illinois, Nashville dam system breached; hundreds evacuated

Amid heavy rainfall in southern Illinois, Nashville dam system breached; hundreds evacuated

MOLLY PARKER & BETH HUNDSDORFER Capitol News Illinois news@capitolnewsillinois.com Two days of heavy rainfall caused water to overflow and breach the dams of Nashville’s city reservoir on Tuesday, resulting in extensive flooding and the evacuation of about 200 people from their homes in the small southern Illinois town of about 3,000 residents. Initially described as…