No. 9 New Trier (6-3) at No. 8 Conant (6-3)
When: 3 p.m. Saturday at Charles O. Feutz Field
Last week: New Trier d. Waukegan 35-30; Conant d. Barrington 41-36
Outlook: Conant avoided backing into the playoffs with a late comeback against Barrington last week and this week get a New Trier squad that finished second in the Central Suburban South. The Cougars are hoping to get off to a better start than the 28-14 hole they dug themselves into, thanks to 3 first-half turnovers. QB Danny Modelski rescued Conant with 3 of his 5 touchdown passes coming in the second half. A bright spot was Modelski spreading the ball around to WR's Mike Kos and Elias Gardner. Speedy RB Jacobi Sims ran for 112 yards last week and gives Conant balance on offense. WR Tim Manczko returned from an ankle injury and caught 2 touchdowns, including the game-winner with 25 seconds left. Conant will also need Manczko at safety against Trevian quarterback Nick Hendricks, who threw for 4 touchdowns last week. New Trier will also look to run behind junior RB Jordan Garrett, who carried 30 times for 162 yards. "They're pretty comparable to a lot of teams on our schedule," said Conant coach Bill Modelski. "It's a game that could go either way and you have to play well to win." The winner will likely face top-seed Maine South in the second round.
No. 4 Glenbard North (8-1) at No. 13 Fremd (5-4)
When: 6 p.m. Saturday at Hale Hildebrandt Field
Last week: Glenbard North d. Naperville North 21-14; Fremd d. Hoffman Estates 42-7
Outlook: Two similar styles square off in this rematch of the 2007 Class 8A quarterfinal in which Glenbard North won 32-28 on its way to 8A title game. Because of sanctions dating back to incidents at the conclusion of that contest, Fremd will host despite being seeded below the Panthers. The Vikings have won their last two games using the single wing offense. RB's Jeff McGlade (772 yards, 13 TD) and Jack Bossong lead Fremd's ground attack against a Panther defense that hasn't allowed more than 21 points since a 42-41 season-opening loss against still-undefeated Batavia. Fremd's defense is no slouch either, and its task will be stopping junior RB Justin Jackson and QB Brian Murphy, who led Glenbard North to the outright DuPage Valley title. "You have to make them try to drive down the whole length of the field," said Fremd coach Lou Sponsel. "Both teams will try to chew up clock, get their leads and play tough defense." Fremd QB Sam Beutler is a game-time decision this week after separating his throwing shoulder three weeks ago against Schaumburg.
No. 10 Bartlett (6-3) at No. 7 Leyden (7-2)
When: 7 p.m today
Last week: Bartlett lost to Neuqua Valley 42-14; Leyden lost to Lyons 49-6
Outlook: This one promises to be a smash-mouth, old-school type football game, which is a style that suits Leyden just fine. The Eagles are anxious to redeem themselves after a blowout loss to Lyons. The first area of improvement has to be on offense as 3 first-quarter turnovers were momentum killers for Leyden last week. Behind QB Mike Smith and RB Mickey Gulo, the Eagles will look to get ahead early and then rely on a defense that before last week had allowed just 7.4 points per game. LB's Ivan Nevarez and Adam Morrison lead the way and will be vital in stopping Bartlett RB Aaron Everson, who just two weeks ago ran for 262 yards against South Elgin. If Leyden can get up early and force Bartlett, who finished third in the Upstate Eight Valley, to abandon their running game, they should be in good shape. "It's going to come down to time of possession and who can move the ball to keep their defense off the field," said Leyden coach Tom Cerasani.
No. 14 Niles West (5-4) at No. 3 Palatine (8-1)
When: 2 p.m. Saturday at Chic Anderson Stadium
Last week: Niles West lost to Evanston 28-21; Palatine d. Schaumburg 51-18
Outlook: Palatine has battled through injuries all season and finally gets to play with the full roster. The results have been good all season for the outright Mid-Suburban West champs, but it can never hurt to add more weapons to an offense averaging 41.4 points per game. Cam Kuksa has been back for the last two games and provides another dimension alongside WR's Eric Theis and Alex Nawrot. S Jesse Bobbit has also been practicing on offense the last three weeks, and though he hasn't played that side of the ball all season, will be ready to step in if necessary. "It's playoff time, so there's no more of being precautionary on much of anything," said Palatine coach Tyler Donnelly. The Wolves, who finished fifth in the Central Suburban South, lost their last 4 games after a 5-0 start and are led on offense by WR Jeremiah Jordan and QB Tommy Galanopoulos.
No. 11 Glenbrook South (5-4) at No. 6 Schaumburg (7-2)
When: 7 p.m. today at Gary Scholz Stadium
Last week: Glenbrook South lost to Maine South 35-14; Schaumburg lost to Palatine 51-18
Outlook: Schaumburg played about as poor a first half as it possibly could have in last week's game against Palatine, and the Saxons can't afford to put themselves in much of a hole against a tough Glenbrook South squad that finished third in the Central Suburban South. The Saxons hope for a result similar to a 2008 first-round matchup that they won on the way to the 8A quarterfinals. The Titans had undefeated Maine South on the ropes, up 14-0 in the second quarter, as Brett Laurie returned an interception for a touchdown to give Glenbrook South an early lead. "As much speed on the perimeter as we've seen. Disciplined offensively. We'll have to be disciplined, trust our reads," said Schaumburg coach Mark Stilling. It's unclear who will see the majority of reps at quarterback but Nick Anzelmo and Stacey Smith have both been reliable. The Saxons will look to feed RB Sadarriss Patterson and hope WR-DB's Juwaan Richard and Cole Reyes can make plays.
No. 16 Elk Grove (5-4) at No. 1 Glenbard West (9-0)
When: 1 p.m. Saturday
Last week: Elk Grove lost to Prospect 14-10; Glenbard West d. Downers Grove North 26-0
Outlook: It was somewhat of a surprise that Elk Grove got in, but now that they're part of the party, they don't intend to go quietly. The Grenadiers have shown an offensive balance all season long and have leaned on RB Mikey Maize in big games. QB Adam O'Malley will need to be a factor if Elk Grove wants to keep pace with a Hilltoppers team scoring 39.3 points per game. Junior RB Scott Andrews and QB Henry Haeffner lead the way for the outright West Suburban Silver champs. "We have our work cut out for us," said Elk Grove coach Larry Calhoun. "Having said that, while our record isn't what we want it to be, I think we can play with anyone that we step on the field with. We're going to give them our best and see where that puts us."
No. 13 Prospect (6-3) at No. 4 Glenbrook North (8-1)
When: 7 p.m. today
Last week: Prospect d. Elk Grove 14-10; Glenbrook North d. Maine East 49-0
Outlook: Prospect accomplished two firsts at Elk Grove last week: winning on the road and winning on grass. Now, the challenge is to repeat both of those feats against a Glenbrook North squad that has won 8 in a row after a 49-13 season-opening loss at Hersey. The Spartans are led by star RB Grant Rushing, who ran for 411 yards in Week 6 against Niles North. What makes Glenbrook North even tougher to defend is QB A.J. Spitz, who is equally comfortable throwing and passing the ball. "They are an 8-1 football team for a reason and they are a very confident team," said Prospect coach Mike Sebestyen. "They play smart, attacking football. It makes a lot of sense why they're at where they're at." The Knights will need Andrew Hajek to step up like he did in last week's game in registering 19 tackles that gave them a share of the Mid Suburban East. QB Devin O'Hara leads the offense and has WR Nikko Gountanis along with RB's Stevan Isteefanos and Jack Tuttle to make plays.
No. 15 St. Viator (5-4) at No. 2 Lakes (8-1)
When: 7:30 p.m. today
Last week: St. Viator lost to St. Patrick 42-30; Lakes d. North Chicago 62-0
Outlook: St. Viator may have qualified for the playoffs on points but the Lions were not pleased with the way they played in Week 9 against St. Patrick. Dropped passes and overall sloppy play have left plenty of room for improvement this week against a Lakes squad that has eclipsed 60 points on three occasions and is averaging 43.7 points. The key to shutting down the North Suburban Prairie champs is stopping bruising RB Direll Clark, who ran for 158 yards on 13 carries in the big win over Prairie runner-up North Chicago last week. "If we can't tackle this running back, it doesn't matter how many points we score because we won't have the ball much," said Viator coach Brandon New. Having David Kujawa and Jimmy Murphy back in at linebacker will help. QB Bobby Calmeyn will need targets Kevin Hammarlund, Ben Dickey and John Balas to step up and an offensive balance to complement RB Mayo Arogundade.
No. 10 Lake Forest (6-3) at No. 7 Rolling Meadows (7-2)
When: 7 p.m. today at Robert A. Hoese Athletic Field
Last week: Lake Forest d. Mundelein 42-7; Rolling Meadows d. Buffalo Grove 48-21
Outlook: After a Week 7 setback to Elk Grove, Rolling Meadows seems to be hitting its stride. The Mustangs know that for them to make a run in the state tournament, they need QB Jack Milas to be on top of his game. And he was last week against BG, throwing for 253 yards and 4 touchdowns. RB Steven Royster helps alleviate pressure with his powerful running style while Alex Niecikowski can run and catch the ball. Lake Forest, which finished fourth in the rugged North Suburban Lake, gave Lakes its only loss of the season in Week 3 and also was forced to forfeit their Week 4 contest against first place Lake Zurich due to a teacher's strike. The Scouts' two other losses were by a combined 9 points. Senior QB Andrew Clifford leads an offense that is very similar to Meadows-- heavy emphasis on passing. "This team challenges us in the air as much as any team that we've seen so far," said Meadows coach Matt Mishler. "I think that's something that we're focused on. They are similar to us."