Previewing the area's playoff matchups NOV 3-4 weekend

8 minute read


Here is a sneak peek at the area's Round 2 playoff matchups.

Class 8A

No. 11 Hinsdale Central (8-2) at No. 6 Loyola Academy (9-1)
When: 1 p.m. Nov. 4
Advancement: Winner plays winner of Marist/Curie

What to watch: A big test for Hinsdale. Loyola is arguably the gold standard in Illinois football currently, the 2015 Class 8A champion and 8A runner-up in 2013 and 2016. Loyola just did hold off New Trier 35-32 for its 11th straight first-round win. Quarterback Quinn Boyle ran for 82 yards and threw for 88, but left in the third quarter with an undisclosed injury. Running back Hamid Bullie and wide receiver Noah Jones are others to watch. Loyola has won nine straight games since a season-opening loss to Phillips. For Hinsdale, Luke Skokna and Garrett Oakey combined for 243 rushing yards in a win over Stevenson. Aidan Cruickshank scored a touchdown on a fumble and intercepted a pass. The Red Devils seek their first quarterfinal appearance since taking second in 8A in 2008.

Class 8A

No. 9 Oswego (9-1) at No. 8 Glenbard West (9-1)
When: 1 p.m. Nov. 4, at Glenbard East
Advancement: Winner plays winner of Lincoln-Way East/St. Charles East

What to watch: This game was moved from Duchon Field to Glenbard East, with rain in the forecast. Expect a physical matchup between two teams who love to run the football. Dre Thomas and Tyquan Cox both went over 100 yards in the Hilltoppers' first-round win over Bloom. What's the status of Glenbard two-way standout Ryan Diver, who tweaked an ankle last week? Oswego's 220-pound junior running back Charles Coleman ran for 336 yards and three touchdowns in a 28-14 win over Naperville North. Massive defensive tackle Noah Shannon, an Iowa recruit, anchors an Oswego defense that gives up just 6.8 points per game. Both teams have gamebreakers on the outside, Glenbard Alec Pierce and Oswego Jamal Fomby. Pierce just picked up an offer from Cincinnati.

Class 7A

No. 13 Wheaton North (8-2) at No. 4 Batavia (9-1)
When: 1 p.m. Nov. 4
Advancement: Winner plays winner of Lincoln-Way West/Alton

What to watch: A sneak preview of things to come, as these two will be part of the DuKane Conference starting next year. Two physical defenses set the tone. Ball-hawking safeties Jackson Gray and Trenton Hegranes have five interceptions apiece in front of Bo Neidballa for a Wheaton North defense that's kept four opponents to single digits. Besides a Week 9 anomaly against St. Charles North, Batavia has allowed just 38 points. The Bulldogs' own stellar safety, Michael Niemiec, is second on his team with 82 tackles and had 15 in a 21-7 first-round win over Glenbard North. Batavia's Riley Cooper is an unheralded quarterback, but gets it done. Wheaton North's Sam Singleton went over 1,500 yards rushing on the season last week.

Class 7A

No. 1 Hononegah (10-0) at No. 17 Benet (7-3)
When: 6:30 p.m. Nov. 4, at Benedictine
Advancement: Winner plays winner of Lincoln-Way Central/Hersey

What to watch: Sophomore Colin Gillespie continues his growth as Redwings' quarterback, since taking over for the injured Matt Boyle at midseason. He ran for 80 yards and threw for 136 with three combined touchdowns against Maine West. Michael Wymer, usually a linebacker, ran for 120 yards and a touchdown in his first activity of the year at running back. Hononegah's 10 wins are the Indians' most since 1996, which also happened to be the school's last quarterfinal appearance. Junior quarterback Ryan Van Schelven threw six touchdown passes in a game earlier this season.

Class 6A

No. 8 St. Laurence (7-3) at No. 16 Hinsdale South (6-4)
When: 6 p.m. Nov. 4.
Advancement: Winner plays winner of Normal Community West/Providence

What to watch: The Hornets, the last team into the playoff field, pulled off the stunner of the 6A bracket with a 28-20 win at No. 1 seed Crete-Monee. Justin Kolzow threw two touchdown passes to Destin Talbert and ran for a third score. To continue, Hinsdale needs to contain St. Laurence running back Toriano Clinton. He set St. Laurence single-game and single-season rushing records last week against Quincy, his 416 yards giving him 2,138 on the season. St. Laurence has a strong recent playoff track record, reaching the semifinals in Class 5A in 2015 and in Class 6A in 2016. Hinsdale's 8A-heavy schedule seems to prepare the Hornets well for the playoffs.

Class 6A

No. 5 DeKalb (8-2) at No. 4 Willowbrook (9-1)
When: 1:30 p.m. Nov. 4.
Advancement: Winner plays winner of Prairie Ridge/Cary-Grove

What to watch: A tougher game for the Warriors. Willowbrook made short work of Deerfield in a 44-21 first-round win, getting out to a 44-0 halftime lead. Jack Jessen, over 1,700 yards on the season, needed just 12 carries to get 111 yards, and rested the second half with the rest of Willowbrook's other starters. DeKalb quarterback Noah Vanlin threw for 149 yards and ran for 113 in a 38-28 win over Montini in the first round. Jaylen Hobsen has rushed for over 1,200 yards for the Barbs, who reached the 6A semifinals last year.

Class 6A

No. 7 Danville (8-2) at No. 2 Nazareth (9-1)
When: 2 p.m. Nov. 4
Advancement: Winner plays winner of Sacred Heart-Griffin/Marmion

What to watch: First off, Nazareth's health. Devin Blakley left the Roadrunners' first-round win over Springfield with a turned ankle, and Michael Love went out, too. Nazareth's offense was sharp in the 55-37 win. Bobby Grimes threw for 137 yards and three touchdowns in a half, Alex Carrillo ran for nearly 100 yards and two touchdowns and Diamond Evans scored on a pass and punt return. Julian Pearl, a 6-foot-7, 245-pound Illinois recruit, is Danville's leading tackler at defensive end and also plays offensive tackle. Danville's Jerry Reed has run for 1,049 yards and 17 touchdowns. Quarterback Ernest Plummer has thrown for 1,016 yards and 13 touchdowns. Danville last reached the quarterfinals in 2011.

Class 5A

No. 5 Lakes (9-1) at No. 4 Lemont (9-1)
When: 6 p.m. Nov. 4
Advancement: Winner plays winner of Phillips/Solorio Academy

What to watch: The Indians began the playoffs in impressive fashion last week, holding Woodstock North to 18 yards of total offense and zero first downs in a 50-0 win. Marcus Mathias threw two touchdowns and ran for a third. It was the Lemont defense's fifth shutout over the last six weeks. Lakes is looking to match the furthest advancement in program history; the Eagels reached the quarterfinals in 2011. Lakes quarterback Jake Johnson threw for 179 yards and four touchdowns last week in a 48-22 win over Westinghouse. The Eagles' offense is potent, its 35.6 points per game average tops in the Northern Lake County Conference.

Class 5A

No. 14 Marian Central (6-4) at No. 11 Glenbard South (6-4)
When: 3 p.m. Nov. 4
Advancement: Winner plays winner of Sterling/Kaneland

What to watch: The Raiders, after getting the first-round win that eluded them last year, seek their first quarterfinal berth since 2009. Quarterback Jack Crouch is a play maker with his feet. An 81-yard touchdown was his first of five scores against Payton. The Raiders will grind it out with him and Nick D'Ambra, but it could be tougher against Marian Central. Marian Central, once 1-4, is battle-tested playing in the East Suburban Catholic Conference. Quarterback/running back Gavin Scott, injured much of the season, had 108 yards and two touchdowns and Hurricanes forced four turnovers to knock off previously unbeaten Antioch 31-9.

Class 3A

No. 5 IC Catholic Prep (9-1) at No. 4 Peotone (9-1)
When: 7 p.m. Nov. 3.
Advancement: Winner plays winner of Farmington/Wilmington

What to watch: Can anyone slow down the Knights? ICCP looked every bit like a defending champion in Round 1. Lazerick Eatman scored five touchdowns – in a half – and Kyle Franklin scored twice in a 55-6 win over Watseka. The Knights are beating teams by a 41-point average margin. Peotone's only loss is to Wilmington, a program ICCP beat in last year's quarterfinals. Peotone's best regular season since 1998 is highlighted by a Week 9 win over Herscher, which snapped the Tigers' 19-game regular season winning streak. The Blue Devils run a double wing offense with a three-headed attack of Chandler Gartner, Dillon Buege and Ryan Brewer.

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