Round 1 High School Football Playoffs Capsule Previews
October 31, 2013 9:32PM
Quincy Woods, of Bolingbrook. | Gary Middendorf/For Sun-Times Media
Updated: December 2, 2013 12:42PM
Plainfield South (6-3) at Marist (6-3)
Kickoff: 7:30 p.m. Friday, High School Cube
Outlook: Marist, averaging 39.9 points per game against a strong schedule, will be the most explosive offense Plainfield South has faced. TE Nic Weishar is a Notre Dame recruit, WR Flynn Nagel is a Division I prospect and QB Jack Donegan and RB Peter Andreotti are adept at keeping the RedHawks offense moving. Marist has not scored fewer than 26 points, that coming in a season-opening 28-26 loss to St. Rita. The RedHawks also have lost to Joliet Catholic 49-27 and Notre Dame 45-35. They’ve faced six playoff teams. Plainfield South, coming off a 38-0 blanking of Plainfield East, would host Bolingbrook or Bloom in Round 2.
Bloom (5-4) at Bolingbrook (9-0)
Kickoff: 6 p.m. Saturday, High School Cube, WJOL-AM (1340)
Outlook: Bloom, which finished third in the Southland Conference, played four teams with winning records and scored no more than 13 points against any of them. Now the Blazing Trojans face the best defense they will see and certainly one of the state’s best. Bolingbrook is allowing 6.1 points per game, which includes yielding 24 in a 31-24 overtime victory over Homewood-Flossmoor that helped secure the SouthWest Suburban Blue championship. Raiders QB Quincy Woods is a serious running threat. Bolingbrook is in the playoffs for the 22nd straight year. The Raiders would host Marist or travel to Plainfield South in Round 2.
Plainfield East (6-3) at Lincoln-Way East (7-2)
Kickoff: 7 p.m. Friday, High School Cube, WJOL-AM (1340)
Outlook: Lincoln-Way East has qualified for the playoffs all 13 years of its existence. The Griffins will open their bid against a Plainfield school for the third straight year. They beat Plainfield South 35-7 in 2011 and Plainfield Central 47-22 in ’12. Plainfield East, a first-time qualifier, lost standout DE Daniel Jackson to a torn ACL two weeks ago and fell Friday 38-0 to Plainfield South. The Bengals’ quick-strike offense, led by QB Cole Kotopka, must deliver against a stingy Griffins defense that yields 12.2 points per game. Lincoln-Way East would travel to Belleville West or Oswego East in Round 2. Plainfield East would host either.
Romeoville (5-4) at Rich Central (8-1)
Kickoff: 7 p.m. Friday, High School Cube
Outlook: Rich Central lost to Crete-Monee 27-26 in overtime Saturday in the Southland Conference title game. The Olympians played a relatively weak schedule, finishing with 28 playoff points. Crete-Monee was the only opponent with more than five wins and six won three or fewer. QB Michael Hoover and RB Ahmad McClellan key Rich Central’s attack. Romeoville beat Oswego East 21-14 and Minooka 34-21 in Weeks 8 and 9 to make the playoffs for the first time since 2002. Spartans WR Charles Hunter has an area-leading 44 receptions for 894 yards. Romeoville would host Lincoln-Way North or T.F. South in Round 2.
Providence (5-4) at Crete-Monee (8-1)
When: 1 p.m. Saturday, High School Cube, WJOL-AM (1340)
Outlook: Providence’s strength is its offense. Crete-Monee’s strength is its defense. That should make for an interesting first-round battle. Providence’s offense is balanced enough to keep the Warriors physical and fast defense honest. Celtics QB Justin Hunniford has one of the area’s top targets in WR Miles Boykin. When it’s time to chew clock, RB Dominic Lagone provides the Celtics with a dependable option. For Crete-Monee, the key will be how sophomore QB Frank Douglass performs, especially when it’s time to go to the air. RBs DeShaun Smith and Trevon Smith must step up.
Urban Prep-Bronzeville (7-2) at Lincoln-Way West (8-1)
Kickoff: 1 p.m. Saturday, High School Cube
Outlook: SouthWest Suburban Red champion Lincoln-Way West is coming off an impressive 42-13 victory over Lincoln-Way Central that eliminated the Knights from playoff contention. Warriors RB Javier Montalvo has rushed for 1,646 yards and figures to be a load for Bronzeville to handle. The Lions lost 55-0 to Aurora Christian and 42-36 to Hyde Park. They averaged 25.1 points and allowed 18.8 against a softer schedule than West played. The Warriors, who average 34.3 and allow 16.1, lost their opener to unbeaten Sycamore and have won eight straight. West would travel to Glenbard South or St. Francis in Round 2.
Urban Prep-Englewood (6-3) at Joliet Catholic (8-1)
Kickoff: 7 p.m. Saturday at Joliet Memorial Stadium, High School Cube
Outlook: The opponent Joliet Catholic is facing in Urban Prep-Englewood is similar quality to what Lincoln-Way West will see in Urban Prep-Bronzeville. In fact, the two finished 6-1 atop the Chicago Public Windy City. Englewood lost 36-0 to Harper, 27-0 to T.F. South and 14-8 to Bronzeville. The Eagles, who average 20.4 points and allow 16.9, have won four straight. But they have not seen a Joliet Catholic-like offense. RB Mike Ivlow has 2,041 rushing yards. The Hilltoppers won the East Suburban Catholic and are getting healthy after a rash of midesason injuries. Joliet Catholic would host Kaneland or travel to Hampshire in Round 2.
Pontiac (6-3) at Peotone (7-2)
Kickoff: 7 p.m. Friday
Outlook: Pontiac finished fourth in the Corn Belt Conference, which traditionally sends a few quality teams to the playoffs. The Indians lost to Corn Belt champion Normal University, Mahomet-Seymour and Bloomington Central Catholic in succession in midseason. Pontiac averages 22.6 points and allows 21.8. Peotone’s keys are a solid defense led by DL Clay Dargert and LB Isaac Battiato, both of whom average more than 11 tackles, and RB Jake Rapson, who has rushed for 1,110 yards. The Blue Devils, whose only losses were 12-7 to Seneca and 25-21 to Plano, would travel to Quincy Notre Dame or Coal City in Round 2.
Coal City (5-4) at Quincy Notre Dame (8-1)
Kickoff: 1 p.m. Saturday
Outlook: Coal City qualified for the playoffs with wins of 49-6 over Westmont and 35-0 over Reed-Custer in Weeks 8 and 9. The Coalers, with QB Brennen Shetina at the controls, are averaging 27.3 points while allowing 14.7. Notre Dame won the title in its first year in the West Central Conference. The Raiders, who have won six straight, outscored the eight teams they beat 42.5-9.8 on average. So the Coal City defense, which opened 2013 with minimal experience, must step up. Notre Dame is in its 20th playoff, 11th in succession. Coal City qualified for the 24th time. The Coalers would host Peotone or travel to Pontiac in Round 2.
Kewanee (6-3) at Seneca (7-2)
Kickoff: 2 p.m. Saturday
Outlook: The 54-6 Week 9 loss at Manteno notwithstanding, Seneca, which had not been to the postseason since 2001, enjoyed a strong season beginning with wins of 34-21 over Sandwich and 12-7 over Peotone. The Irish’s other loss was 14-6 to Interstate Eight Small champ Wilmington. Seneca QB/RB Bo Taylor has rushed for 1,386 yards and RB Tommy Lovett has chipped in 848. Kewanee’s defense has yielded 26 or more points five times. The Boilermakers, who feature dual-threat QB David Washburn, tied Hall for second place behind Rockridge in the Three Rivers South. Seneca would travel to Robeson or Raby in Round 2.
Oregon (5-4) at Wilmington (8-1)
Kickoff: 6 p.m. Saturday
Outlook: Wilmington received what could be termed a wake-up call in Week 8, losing 43-22 to Plano. The Wildcats bounced back to finish the regular season in style, beating Herscher 42-19 as RB Nick McWilliams rushed for 172 yards and three touchdowns. Wilmington, whose defense has been solid most of the season, is in the playoffs for the 18th straight year and won its sixth straight Interstate Eight Small title. Oregon finished fourth in the always-tough Big Northern West. The Hawks’ four losses were to teams with a combined 33-3 record. Wilmington would host Immaculate Conception or travel to Aurora Christian in Round 2.
Compiled by Dick Goss and Pat Disabato