The Great Rostradamus: GCMS vs. Sterling Newman Central Catholic

Come Saturday, Jerry Seinfeld won't be the only one who is unhappy when Newman enters his home.
I have viewed quite a few media outlets over the years, including television shows, movies and the Internet.
On the Gibson City-Melvin-Sibley school district's Twitter and Facebook pages, it seems like every post regarding its high school football team over the past few weeks has been accompanied with the hashtag #RoyStrong. 
When the football team entered the field prior to Saturday's game against El Paso-Gridley, members of the cheerleading squad ran out waving flags with the name Roy on them.
The hashtags and flags are just some of the ways GCMS's football team is in remembrance of Roy Roemer, who died at age 67 on Thursday, Oct. 26, after a short battle with esophageal cancer.
Roemer was a longtime fan of GCMS athletics. As an article in the Ford County Record's Nov. 1, 2017, edition written by Ross Brown stated, "Every game, every practice. Every team banquet, gathering and event. Roy Roemer attended them all."
If the GCMS football team wins the state title, doing so in Roy's honor would be the type of storyline with which the press would have a field day. 
Not to put words in, or take the words out of, the mouth FCR correspondent Ryan Ferguson, or any of my area collegues, but I would be surprised if the following phrase, or something of similar context, wasn't written or said in any of the local media outlets: Somewhere, Roy was smiling.
It would be appropriate to just say or state Roy instead of the full name, Roy Roemer, or just his last name because, as Susan Riley, GCMS High School math teacher, said in Brown's article, “Like Cher and Oprah, when you said ‘Roy’, everybody knew who you were talking about.”
If it isn't already movie worthy, this story would be if GCMS was able to win its state football title in school history. After all, many of the well-known sports movies tend to work out that way -- "Remember the Titans" and "Miracle," for example.
In such sports movies, the protagonist football team would have to face a big powerhouse -- likely, a team that has won many times before in the past and has certain advantages over the protagonist. 
At 2 p.m. Saturday, GCMS will host its IHSA Class 2A semifinal playoff game against such a team in Sterling Newman Central Catholic.
The Comets will come into Gibson City during what is their 17th consecutive playoff appearance. They have five state championships -- more than any other team in 2A -- and two runner-up finishes while the Falcons would be making their first state appearance with a victory.
Like GCMS, Newman is also undefeated. Newman's regular-season opponents were 47-34, compared to a 32-49 record for the Falcons' opponents.
The Comets have beaten a nine-win team in Orion twice -- including a 40-14 playoff win last Saturday -- along with eight-win eams in Taylor Ridge Rockridge and Chicago Hope Academy -- in the second round of the playoffs. 
In the regular season, they outscored their opponents 43.6-7.8, while GCMS outscored its opponents 47.1-5.1. While the 42-35.8 point differential advantage might favor the Falcons, Newman has faced tougher opponents along the way.
While Newman has yet to face a 10-win team, making GCMS its toughest opponent yet, the Falcons are certainly facing their toughest opponent of the season as they have yet to face a team with less than three regular-season losses and has had to have its starters in the game for all four quarters once.
Oh, and did I mention that Newman Central Catholic is a private school?
Well, it is. It's a private school from a town with a population of over 15,000, compared to 3,407 for Gibson City, the GCMS school district's most-populated town.
As a matter of fact, Newman is not the only school in its town with a high school football team playing in a state semifinal. Sterling High School is hosting a 5A semifinal game against Chicago Phillips.
Imagine that: A public school in Class 5A and a private school in Class 2A playing in state-semifinal games, and they're from the same town. There's nothing unfair about this at all, I would say sarcastically.
If this were a movie, I would -- with all due respect to Maroa-Forsyth and Shelbyville, who are playing in the other 2A state semfinal game -- think that this semfinal game would be the climax.
As I mentioned before, both teams have undefeated records and have won most of their games in dominating fashion. 
With Maroa-Forsyth and Shelbyville both with at least one loss to their belt, it could be argued that whoever wins the GCMS/Newman semifinal would be the favorite to win the state title the following Friday in DeKalb.
If this were a movie, it would be the perfect climax for the Falcons to beat the powerful Newman Central Catholic Comets at the same football stadium in which Roy used to cheer them on -- with the state-title game serving as an epilogue.
To make a reference to another show, Family Guy, there is an episode titled "Road to the Multiverse" in which Stewie used a parallel universe transporting device to send himself and Brian to explore a series of alternate universes.
I'm sure that GCMS will be the 2017 state champions in at least one parallel universe because the IHSA decided a while ago to hold separate postseason classes for public and private schools. In this same universe, Paxton-Buckley-Loda and Monticello would have each had a chance to be the 3A state champions in 2016.
In this universe, however, a nine-win PBL team lost 65-0 in the second round and the then-undefated Sages lost 48-6 in the semifinals of the 2016 playoffs to Elmhurst IC Catholic, a private school from a western suburb of Chicago with a population estimated to be 45,171 by July 2012.
IC Catholic would go on to defeat Carlinville 43-0 in the state title game, and is now going into the 2017 Class 3A semifinals with an 11-1 record and facing another undefeated team in Byron, a team to which I will wish good luck because it will need it.
As for GCMS, the key to claiming a state berth in this universe will be to come out firing. 
In a 35-21 win in week three over Orion, Newman rushed for over 300 yards and attempted just two passes. In last Saturday's victory, the Comets relied heavily on the ground game again with 428 rushing yards on 58 carries.
One way to stop Newman's ground game is to get an early lead, which could force the Comets to pass the ball. With quarterback Nathan Garard throwing to a receiving corps that includes the likes of Ryland Holt and Bryce Barnes, the Falcons are certainly capable of getting that early lead, as they have proven many times before, including their 42-0 lead at halftime over El Paso-Gridley last Saturday. 
With Newman's defense allowing only 7.8 points per game during the regular season, that might be a difficult task.
But then again, what do I know? I'm the same guy who predicted PBL to win 34-28 over GCMS in week one, and the Falcons proved me wrong with a 39-7 victory.
I promised that I would shave my beard if I was wrong. Since keeping my word on that, I have not shaved my beard.
However, if I'm wrong about my prediction here, it will be a cold winter for my face -- and in the upcoming movie, Roy will probably look down on me with his grin and say, "Looking good."
Predicted score: Newman 22, GCMS 21
First Round
Game 1 — Sterling Newman Central Catholic 27, Aurora Christian 18 
Game 2 — Chicago Hope Academy 49, Chicago Orr 0
Game 3 — Orion 40, Rockford Christian 0
Game 4 — Clifton Central 43, Aledo Mercer County 22
Game 5 — GCMS 50, Eastland-Pearl City 14
Game 6 — Savanna West Carroll 40, Fieldcrest 0
Game 7 — El Paso-Gridley 29, Taylor Ridge Rockridge 26
Game 8 — Knoxville 66, Chicago Marshall 20
Game 9 — Hamilton West Hancock 36, Auburn 7
Game 10 — Bismarck-Henning/Rossville-Alvin 37, Carmi-White County 34
Game 11 — Maroa-Forsyth 56, Carthage Illini West 28
Game 12 — Eldorado 38, Red Bud 13
Game 13 — Westville 42, Deer Creek-Mackinaw 0
Game 14 — Carlyle 32, Bushnell-West Prairie 14
Game 15 — Tri-Valley 42, Bunker Hill 6
Game 16 — Shelbyville 44, Villa Grove/Heritage 6
Second Round
Game 17 — Sterling Newman Central Catholic 41, Chicago Hope Academy 22
Game 18 — Orion 24, Clifton Central 21
Game 19 — GCMS 24, West Carroll 6
Game 20 — El Paso-Gridley 28, Knoxville 22
Game 21 — Hamilton West Hancock 28, Bismarck-Henning-Rossville-Alvin 12
Game 22 — Maroa-Forsyth 48, Eldorado 6
Game 23 — Westville 46, Carlyle 28
Game 24 — Shelbyville 50, Tri-Valley 35
Game 25 — Sterling Newman Central Catholic 40, Orion 14
Game 26 — GCMS 42, El Paso-Gridley 7
Game 27 — Maroa-Forsyth 20, Hamilton West Hancock 16
Game 28 — Shelbyville 51, Westville 44
Game 29 — #1 Sterling Newman Central Catholic (12-0) at #2 Gibson City-Melvin-Sibley (12-0), 2 p.m. Saturday
Game 30 — #4 Maroa-Forsyth (11-1) at Shelbyville (10-2), 1:30 p.m. Saturday
Game 31 — Winner Game 29 vs. Winner Game 30 at DeKalb (Huskie Stadium), Friday, Nov. 24, 1 p.m.
Category                    SNCC      GCMS
Record                                12-0         12-0
Enrollment                       381.15         328
Opponents’ record    47-34    32-49
Playoff-bound opps.            5             4
Avg. ppg.                   43.6        47.1
Avg. opp. ppg.       7.8       5.1
Avg. point diff.                 35.8         42.0
Cons. playoff app.              17             5
Playoff record                 63-23         13-16
NOTE: Averages are based on the regular season.
Newman CC
Record — 12-0
How they got there:
Week 1 — Newman CC 47, Kewanee (6-4) 0
Week 2 — Newman CC 46, Princeton (3-6) 0
Week 3 — Newman CC 35, Orion (9-3) 21
Week 4 — Newman CC 54, Morrison (4-5) 0
Week 5 — Newman CC 22, Taylor Ridge Rockridge (8-2) 21
Week 6 — Newman CC 55, Manilus Bureau Valley (4-5) 6
Week 7 — Newman CC 48, Spring Valley Hall (6-4) 16
Week 8 — Newman CC 34, Fulton (7-4) 6
Week 9 — Newman CC 51, Port Byron Riverdale (3-6) 0
First round — Newman CC 27, Aurora Christian (5-5) 18
Second round — Newman CC 41, Chicago Hope Academy (8-3) 22
Quarterfinals — Newman CC 40, Orion (9-3) 14
Players to watch:
Cade Gorzny — He rushed for 202 yards and three touchdowns on 28 carries last Saturday against Orion.
Luke Olson — He had 154 yards and two touchdowns rushing on 10 carries last Saturday.
Easton Bianchi — Although he was held to 53 yards on 12 carries last Saturday, he also gained 197 yards on 10 carries in the Comets' meeting with Orion in week three.
Record — 12-0
How they got there:
Week 1 — GCMS 39, PBL (6-4) 7
Week 2 — GCMS 42, Fisher (6-4) 6
Week 3 — GCMS 45, El Paso-Gridley (7-5) 18
Week 4 — GCMS 47, LeRoy (3-6) 9
Week 5 — GCMS 41, Eureka (6-4) 7
Week 6 — GCMS 49, Tremont (2-7) 0
Week 7 — GCMS 47, Ridgeview/Lexington (3-6) 0
Week 8 — GCMS 61, Flanagan-Cornell/Woodland (0-9) 8
Week 9 — GCMS 53, Heyworth (1-8) 0
First round — GCMS 50, Eastland-Pearl City (5-5) 14
Second round — GCMS 24, West Carroll (7-4) 6
Quarterfinals — GCMS 42, El Paso-Gridley (7-5) 7
Players to watch:
Mitch McNutt — He had 95 yards and two touchdowns on eight carries in the first half of Satuday's game against El Paso-Gridley.
Jared Trantina — He had 93 yards, including a 56-yard touchdown run, on six carries last Saturday.
Bryce Barnes — As part of a GCMS defense that shut out EP-G during the first three quarters of Saturday's game, he returned an interception 25 yards for a touchdown.


Categories (3):Prep Sports, Football, Sports


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thethurth wrote on November 18, 2017 at 10:11 am

I understand you have papers to sell and articles to write, but there may be some stereotypes and presumbtions about Newman that are not true. Newman is from a town of close to 15,000 and yes they are a private school. However I feel the article leads poeple to believe Newman is the same as other private schools in the Chicago area. Newman is not the same as those schools, their student body comes from mainly 4 catholic elementry schools in the Sterling, Rock Falls, and Dixon area. They come from Catholic families who choose to have thier children recieve a Catholic edusation. Some may equate that to familes that are weathly and can afford to send their kids to private school, false. The areas median income is $39,000, half of the US median income. People in that area do not have dispolisbale income, but make ends meet to give their kids the best oppurnunity. Newman's enrollment is 231 compared to 328 at GCMS, all smaller student body to pull from. Especially when considering the success Sterling and Dixon high school's have had recently. Newman's success on the field is not some long historic run. Thier susses only goes back to 1980 when Mike Papoccia become Newman's head coach. There were no titles before that, Papoccia has instilled a mindset and culture of winning in the program. Newman has been lucky that he has not left for a bigger school and has choosen to make his coaching career there. This should be a great game, physical, and close. You find Newman fands friendly and respectful. They are not the big bad monster you presume.