With the regional opening of Class 3A Monday throughout Illinois, the preparations coordinator COLIN LIKAS offers an overview:
Bulldogs Mahomet-Seymour n ° 2 (19-10)
Players to watch: Grant Coleman (father); Luke Koller (Soph.); Cole Lener (Sr.).
Regular season: The Bulldogs have torn apart in their last 10 games before their Friday final with Mattoon, losing only to state-classified Lincoln and eliminating Dunlap, Normal Community and Urbana.
Perspective: M-S has a goal on its back in a region full of teams who know each other, but also has the confidence to maintain its role towards a regional title.
No 3 Urbana Tigers (16-14)
Players to watch: Chris Cross (father); Bryson Tatum (Sr.); Jermale Young (Jr.).
Regular season: The Tigers had the toughest calendar of the area’s big schools and have two wins against Centennial and one against Champaign Central, but the late defeat against Mahomet-Seymour still stings.
Perspective: Trying to consolidate last season’s regional title – the first on the program since 1989 – Urbana will be very motivated to take revenge on M-S in a potential regional final.
Centennial Chargers # 5 (17-13)
Players to watch: Termarion Howard (Sr.); Axel Laby (father); Amareon Parker (Jr.).
Regular season: Since their six-point loss to Urbana on January 24, the Chargers have won eight of 11 – including a tilt of rivalry with Champaign Central – and have played State-ranked Peoria Notre Dame with two points in one of three defeats.
Perspective: The success of Centennial depends heavily on its ability to play its defensive style. If the chargers can get into this rhythm, they become difficult to beat. A choice of sleeper for the regional list of titles.
Champaign Central Maroons n ° 6 (14-15)
Players to watch: Pryce Punkay (Sr.); Isaiah Roosevelt (Jr.); Khailieo Terry (Jr.).
Regular season: The Maroons played a generally tough schedule that ended Friday with Proviso East and was on the wrong side in many close games, including against Moline, Morton, Normal Community and Centennial.
Perspective: Central is a viable threat to Mahomet-Seymour in the regional semi-finals. If the Maroons can get ahead early and close in such a situation, they may be able to run.
N ° 9 Rantoul Eagles (5-26)
Players to watch: Kamryn Rome (Sr.); Bryant Shaw (father); Colin Wilkerson (Jr.).
Regular season: The Eagles have lost their last eight games and have only one victory over a Class 3A enemy, won against Rochester on December 27.
Perspective: Rantoul would need his best performance of the season to defeat Champaign Central in the quarterfinals.
N ° 4 Danville Vikings (15-15)
Players to watch: Nathanael Hoskins (Jr.); Tevin Smith (Jr.); Robert Stroud (Sr.).
Regular season: The Vikings were severely hampered by an injury to Smith and a long illness for Hoskins, dropping them from 9-3 and receiving state ranking interest as bad as 10-13 before a late rally.
Perspective: Smith finally returned in last week’s game with Rantoul, and he made the Vikings a completely different team. Lincoln, seeded, would be a real challenge in the regional final, but Bloomington, number 7, is beatable in the semifinals.