A quick review of the rules before we get into the final round:
• We're using a standard snake draft with a quarterback, two running backs, two wide receivers and a flex position.
• The player pool goes back to 2000, but a player must have played their final high school game to be eligible. So sadly, no, we weren't allowed to just draft East St. Louis' starting offense from this year.
• I left the criteria for how we would judge the best team extremely vague. I didn't want everyone to simply pull up the IHSA record books.
• We will post results round by round. Once completed, we'll compile the rosters and set up a poll so readers can vote for who they believe drafted the best team.
36. Joe Stevenson: Terrell (Geno) Hess II, FLEX, Peoria Central. As previously mentioned, fantasy is a numbers game and Hess had big numbers in the Lions’ crazy, fast-paced offense with 2,821 yards and 44 TDs in 2016. He also had rushing games of 567 and 420 in that season. That’s a fantasy dream right there.
37. Eddie Carifio: Mitch Bierman, FLEX, Newton. Again, a straight numbers game for me. I would have loved PJ Fleck here, but he rowed the boat two years too early. So I go with the state's 12th all-time leading rusher. He had the 13th best single season and the ninth most career touchdowns. So I'll stick with my apparent run-you-over strategy.
38. Kyle Nabors: Jahleel Billingsley, WR, Phillips. C.J. Fiedorowicz was going to be my pick here, but since Joe went ahead and stole Johnsburg’s finest from me, I’ll just take another high school wide receiver turned college tight end. Billingsley, now at Alabama, was one of those rare high school athletes where you watched pregame warmups and immediately thought, “Yep, this is going to be a thing.”
39. Josh Welge: Jordan Rowell, RB, IC Catholic Prep. Always espousing my fantasy theory that you can never have enough running back depth, I’m going to use my last pick on a pretty darn good RB3. This guy was a main pillar behind the Knights’ recent run of state championships. Rowell ran for 6,032 career yards, 11th most in IHSA history, with a Class 3A state championship game record 270 yards in the 2016 final. Can you say, wishbone offense?
40. Steve Soucie: Wes Lunt, QB, Rochester. I always wait in drafting a quarterback in fantasy football, so I followed that tact here. I had targeted two quarterbacks for selection in this draft figuring that maybe my opponents would make the decision for me. They all took quarterbacks, but didn’t take either of my targets (Riley O’Toole was the other). I essentially broke the tie by harkening back to the days where Lunt and his Rochester mates dismantled two of my former coverage teams in back to back weeks. The first week, Lunt completed a pass through a window I was confident did not exist and in the second he did that a few more times and completed an out route in such spectacular fashion that I still think about that to this day. More than happy to make Lunt the field general of my explosive squad.
41. J.T. Pedelty: Michael Hermosillo, FLEX, Ottawa. There are almost certainly more accomplished high school football players I could take with the penultimate pick in this draft. More dynamic, explosive or athletic, though? I don’t think so. A fast, elusive, strong and smart big-play machine, Hermosillo was not a give-him-the-ball-every-down back for the Pirates, but still racked up 2,003 rushing yards (averaging 10.3 per carry!) with 30 total TDs his all-state senior season before signing to play football at the University of Illinois — a scholarship he ultimately turned down when drafted and signed by the Los Angeles Angels, where he currently is an on-the-rise outfielder on the 40-man roster. Love this kid and won’t regret this pick a bit. To you, John ...
42. John Sahly: Brian Grzelakowski, FLEX, Hinsdale Central. I’m going old school again. This guy kicked my alma mater’s butt pretty much every time he touched the ball. A first team All-State selection in 2002 after 27 TDs and more than 2,300 rushing yards, a great addition to round out my team.