No. 10 Fremd (5-4) at No. 7 Evanston (6-3)
When: 7 p.m. today at Lazier Field at Memorial Stadium
Last week: Fremd d. Conant 31-10; Evanston d. Glenbrook South 34-31
Playoff history: Fremd is making its 21st appearance and a Mid-Suburban League record 16th under Mike Donatucci. Last year it lost in the quarterfinals to 8A runner-up Marist. Evanston is making its 17th appearance but first since 2003 when it reached the second round.
Matchup history: First meeting.
Outlook: Both teams come in on a roll as Fremd has won four in a row and Evanston won its third straight in stunning fashion by coming back from a 31-0 deficit late in the third quarter against Glenbrook South. Evanston RB Rendell Massie (1,404 yards, 14 TDs; 1,280 yards last year) will test a Fremd defense led by LBs Alex Van Duch and Michael Sahli that has allowed only 34 points in its winning streak. "(Massie) is outstanding," said Fremd coach Mike Donatucci. "He's fast, strong and has great vision kind of on the same lines as (Schaumburg's) Shepard Little." The Wildkits also showed they could throw last week as QB Byron Dawkins had 2 TDs to 6-3 James Brown, who had missed two games with a foot injury. "We're pleased with what we're doing on both sides of the ball," said third-year Evanston coach Mike Burzawa, who led Driscoll to the last three of its state-record seven straight state titles. "The effort has been there and the kids want to be successful." Evanston's defense led by DT Andre Laden and CB Mark Williams faces a big challenge with RB Justin Wallace (1,101 yards, 10 TD) and freshman QB Sam Beutler (598 yards passing, 6 TDs, 0 INT in 83 attempts; 260 yards rushing, 6 TDs) operating behind the line led by Brian Bobek and Jack Konopka. Fremd lost 2 of its 3 fumbles on offense last week and also had a line-drive punt hit a player in the back for another turnover. "We had more mistakes last Friday than we did the previous three games," Donatucci said. "We have to get that out of our system and be ready to go."
Advancement: Fremd would host a second-round game against No. 2 Loyola (8-1) or No. 15 Whitney Young (5-4); Evanston would be on the road.