Central A&M is Irish Stew’s “School/Team of the Year” for what it achieved during calendar year 2019 in basketball in March and football during the fall. St. Teresa was right behind the Raiders for the seasons they had as well. Mount Zion is right there with them as the Braves enjoyed considerable success in football and softball. The Braves finished an undefeated regular season and won the Apollo Conference championship. They also won a thrilling and history-making overtime game over MacArthur before bowing out to Joliet Catholic. Joliet Catholic has won more state football titles than any other school in IHSA history. They finished third in the Illinois High School Association’s softball tournament.
All Central A&M did was finish third in the Class 1A boys basketball tournament last March and the football team placed second in the Class 1A football championships last Thanksgiving Weekend in Huskie Stadium on the Northern Illinois campus in DeKalb. Rob Smith’s Raiders basketball team achieved what most thought they would before the season started which was to play in Carver Arena in the state tournament. They lost in the semi-finals in what was not one of their better games that season, but they bounced back with a sound win to capture third place.
And then Brent Weakly’s Raiders ran the table with their undefeated regular season and four wins in the playoffs before running into a Lean-Winslow team that could possibly have won Class 4A and Class 3A and Class 2A as well as 1A with their two Division 1 recruits and an overall talented team. Interestingly, their closest test came against their rivals to the north, St. Teresa, when the Raiders captured a two-point win at Boehm-Davis-Munn Field.
(Read complete story in today’s online and print edition of the Decatur Tribune)