Countdown to FNL: Sacred Heart Griffin

Springfield-area Sacred Heart Griffin is one of the most talented down-state teams this fall, but they play a schedule that should prepare them for upstate teams come playoff time.

One of the most perennially successful down-state teams in the state of Illinois is Springfield's Sacred Heart Griffin. The alma mater of several division one football players over the years, and the current roster has players that should continue that trend.

Senior receiver Malik Turner returns from an injury that sidelined him all of his junior season to lead the offense. Getting him the ball is junior quarterback Gabe Green. And protecting green is fellow junior offensive lineman Quinn Oseland.

SHG has visited the state title game a few times in recent years, but they have tripped up midway through the playoffs the last couple of years. If the roster stays healthy, they have some of the necessary tools to contend for another title this year.

Despite playing teams in Central Illinois for the most part, SHG has a few tough games on their schedule that should test them thoroughly.

Toughest Game on the Schedule: 10/5 vs. Memphis (TN) Whitehaven

On a schedule full of in-state teams, SHG drew a tough opponent in Whitehaven. Home of several stellar athletes who have gone on to play college football, Whitehaven's roster is again loaded. The most notable athlete on the roster is Josh McMillon, a 2015 linebacker with numerous BCS offers. How will one of Illinois' best teams fare against one of Tennessee's best?

This One's Personal..: 9/6 @ Rochester

The rivalry between two potent offenses in SHG and Rochester has been heated the past few years. Oh, and the head coaches at each of the programs are father and son, respectively. So of course that makes for a good matchup. The son has gotten the better of his old man a couple times, but this might be the elder's year.

Two More Tough Ones: vs. Glenwood and v. Jacksonville

Glenwood has played in Champaign in the last 3 years at the end of the season, and they boast one of the top tight ends in the nation in Daniel Helm. Another athletic tight end/defensive end in Blake Hance for Jacksonville should be a tough matchup, but overall, SHG is a deeper team in both match ups as far as depth goes.

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