Let the one-game seasons begin.
All nine area teams that were eligible for postseason competition made the IHSA football playoffs, as the state tournament field was announced Saturday night.
Five of those teams will compete in the top half of the Class 8A bracket, led by No. 3 seed Palatine (8-1).
If the outright West champions and No. 6 seed Schaumburg can hold serve in their first round games, that would set up a second-round rematch of their Week 9 battle that Palatine won 51-18.
Pirates coach Tyler Donnelly doesn't know much about Palatine's first-round opponent, No. 14 seed Niles West, but it promises to be a fun matchup as his wife, Margaret, has taught science at the school for 18 years.
"It's a neat, little thing," Donnelly said. "We're just happy to not have to play one of our conference opponents in the first round."
Schaumburg gets No. 11 seed Glenbrook South in a rematch of a 2008 first-round matchup the Saxons won on their way to the state quarterfinals.
"They're tough and play hard-nosed football, so our kids are going to have to be ready to bring it," said coach Mark Stilling.
Despite a 49-6 defeat to Lyons on Friday, seventh-seeded Leyden (7-2) accomplished its goal of hosting a first round playoff game. The Eagles drew No. 10 Bartlett (6-3).
"We're just excited to be hosting a playoff game," said coach Tom Cerasani. "We want to redeem ourselves after Friday."
No. 8 seed Conant (6-3) avoided its third straight loss with a comeback with over Barrington on Friday and will face ninth-seeded New Trier (6-3).
"They're a solid opponent and it should be a nice matchup for both teams," said coach Bill Modelski. "We feel pretty good about it."
Perhaps the juiciest first round matchup is between No. 13 seed Fremd (5-4) and fourth-seeded Glenbard North (8-1). The Vikings and Panthers met in the 2007 state quarterfinals and after Glenbard North won in the final seconds of the game, the scene turned ugly with fan bases of both teams getting into verbal altercations. Despite being the lower seed, the Vikings will host the game due to IHSA sanctions placed against the Panthers.
"It's going to be a very emotional and physical battle," said coach Lou Sponsel. "There's a long history here. We haven't forgotten what happened. We're excited and this is exactly what we're looking for."
Mid-Suburban East co-champ and No. 13 seed Prospect (6-3) conquered its road demons on Friday at Elk Grove and will need to duplicate that performance at No. 4 seed Glenbrook North (8-1) in the 7A playoffs. The Spartans lost to Hersey 49-13 in Week 1 but have won their last eight games.
"It's an opportunity to play someone different," said coach Mike Sebestyen. "You always hope to get someone out of your conference in the first week and get a chance to see someone new."
A 14-10 loss to Prospect on Friday didn't spell doom for Elk Grove (5-4). The Grenadiers snuck into the playoffs as a #16 seed and will travel to top seeded Glenbard West (9-0).
"We're ecstatic," said coach Larry Calhoun. "We feel like we were resurrected. We aren't where we are supposed to be, but it was a nice surprise."
MSL East co-champ Rolling Meadows (7-2) will get a first-round home game in the 6A bracket. The No. 7 seed Mustangs will host No. 10 seed Lake Forest (6-3).
"Everyone is good this time of the year," said Meadows coach Matt Mishler. "We are going to do what we've done all year and just focus on us."
Though they lost 42-30 to St. Patrick earlier in the day, St. Viator (5-4) and coach Brandon New got some good news that they made the field as a No. 15 seed. The Lions will travel to No. 2 seed Lakes (8-1).
"I'm happy for the kids because it's a huge turnaround," New said.
All first-round games will take place on either Friday or Saturday; kickoff times will be released Monday.
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