Times and days of first-round games to be announced at 3 p.m. Monday at ihsa.org and at football.dailyherald.com.
No. 13 Dundee-Crown (6-3) at No. 4 Oak Park-River Forest (8-1)
Playoff history: Dundee-Crown makes its fourth playoff appearance overall, its first since 1994. The Chargers have never won a playoff game. OP-RF makes its 13th playoff appearance and second straight. The Huskies own a 9-12 postseason record.
The skinny: Dundee-Crown is Class 8A party crasher. Every other school in the 32-team field has made the playoffs in the last two years. D-C is in the playoffs for the first time since 1994. They take on a school with 734 more students and a more advanced postseason pedigree. Coach John Hoerster's Huskies play on a synthetic turf field. The Chargers played on turf only once this season, winning a 59-14 decision in Week 2 against non-qualifier Streamwood. A D-C offense that controls the clock via the running the game and averages 25.3 points per game will be challenged by an OP-RF defense that limits opponents to 12.1 ppg, the fourth-lowest average in the Class 8A field. D-C hopes safety Malik Dunner can return next week after missing the regular-season finale with an ankle sprain, however, three-year starting middle linebacker Tim Shanmier is doubtful after leaving Friday's game with a concussion.
Coach Vito Andriola says: "This is the best team we're going to play all year. They are fast and we have to play on turf. That will be difficult because we're not a fast team. But they run the spread offense and we just played against that (Friday against Jacobs), so hopefully we can see what we did wrong and get better at it."
Looking ahead: Winner plays either No. 12 Niles West (6-3) or No. 5 Maine South (7-2)
No. 11 Conant (6-3) at No. 6 Jacobs (7-2)
Playoff history: Jacobs makes its ninth playoff appearance overall and fourth straight. The Golden Eagles are 3-8 in postseason play. Conant makes its 21st playoff appearance and third in a row. The Cougars own a 18-20 postseason record.
The skinny: The Jacobs and Conant coaching staffs wasted no time once this matchup was revealed. The teams quickly agreed to an Internet film exchange via Hudl software, and the Jacobs staff was busy breaking down film and developing a game plan by 9:30 p.m. The Golden Eagles possess a potent offense that averages 29.9 points per game, led by senior quarterback Bret Mooney, senior receiver Hunter Williams and junior running back Josh Walker. They'll face a Conant defense allowing 20.3 ppg. The Cougars are led offensively by senior quarterback Danny Modelski, son of head coach Rich Modelski. They average 26.7 points per game. A Jacobs defense spearheaded by linebacker Greg McLeod limits opponents to 20 ppg. The teams faced one common opponent: Barrington. Jacobs lost to the Broncos 22-15 in the season opener; Barrington defeated Conant in Week 7, 32-20.
Coach Bill Mitz says: "(Modelski) is a very good athlete and he throws the ball very well. He's an elusive quarterback. They lost a couple of tough ones to Schaumburg and Barrington but got it back together at the end. We're just extremely happy and proud to be playing a home playoff game."
Looking ahead: Winner plays either No. 14 Machesney Park Harlem (6-3) or No. 3 Glenbard West (8-1)
No 9 Cary-Grove (6-3) at No. 8 Rockford Guilford (7-2)
Playoff history: Cary-Grove makes its 20th playoff appearance overall and 10th in a row. The Trojans own a 34-18 postseason record, highlighted by a Class 6A state title in 2009 and runner-up finishes sin 2012 and 2004. Guilford makes its 15th playoff appearance, its first since 2010. The Vikings are 7-13 all-time in postseason play.
The skinny: These teams last met in the first round of the Class 7A playoffs in 2008, a 47-0 Cary-Grove victory. A road win against the Vikings could potentially set the Trojans up with a second-round home game against top-seed Boylan Catholic. Guilford finished tied for second in the NIC-10 conference with Hononegah. Its defense shut out three opponents, however, the Vikings also gave up 47 points in a loss to Boylan and 42 in a loss to Hononegah. Cary-Grove played six teams that made the playoffs, tied for the most in Class 6A.
Coach Brad Seaburg says: "Beyond playing them in the playoffs in the first round five years ago, we don't really know a lot about them. I just know that it will be nice to play a team not from our area. It's good to see somebody different. I told a couple of our players on Senior Night that I hoped it wasn't their last game. Hopefully, that ends up being the case."
Looking ahead: Winner plays either No. 16 Belvidere North (5-4) or No. 1 Boylan Catholic (9-0)
No. 17 Hampshire (6-3) at No. 5 Kaneland (8-1)
Playoff history: Hampshire makes its 15th playoff appearance and first since 2008. The Whip-Purs are 21-11 all-time in the postseason. Kaneland has reached the playoffs 18 times, including the last six seasons. The Knights are 23-15 in postseason play.
The skinny: The top of half of the Class 5A brackets is filled with state powers, particularly the upper quadrant, where perennial state title contenders Marian Central (7-2), Montini (9-0) and Joliet Catholic (8-1) also lurk. Hampshire has no reason to look past Kaneland, however. Coach Tom Fedderly's Knights had won 35 straight regular-season games until they lost at Sycamore (9-0) two weeks ago. Kaneland made consecutive state semifinal appearances in 2010 and 2011 only to lose both times to eventual state champion Montini. The Knights were knocked out in the second round last year by Lincoln-Way West. Hampshire's next loss will be the last for retiring coach Dan Cavanaugh, who has led the Whip-Purs for 25 seasons, including the 1995 state championship campaign. Kaneland scores 39.7 points per game, the sixth-highest average in the 32-team field. Hampshire's defense, led by linebacker Damon Mull and defensive backs Trey Schramm and Mason Fleury, limits opponents to 22.7 ppg.
Coach Dan Cavanaugh says: "We were thinking it would be either Kaneland or Joliet Catholic, so either way it was going to be a tough first-round game. Kaneland is a great program that has been there for years, so we know we have our work cut out for us. The bracket is loaded but, of course, you have to look at the games one at a time and we're not looking past Kaneland."
Looking ahead: Winner plays either No. 13 Urban Prep Englewood (6-3) or No. 4 Joliet Catholic (8-1)
No. 15 St. Edward (5-4) at No. 2 Harvard (9-0)
Playoff history: St. Edward is making its fifth playoff appearance overall and third in five seasons. The Green Wave own a 1-4 postseason record. Harvard is making its fourth straight appearance and 16th overall. The Hornets are 11-17 in postseason play.
The skinny: St. Edward believes playing in the rough-and-tumble Suburban Christian Conference against Class 5A state contenders prepares the team for success in the Class 4A playoffs. The Green Wave gets a chance to prove it against the Hittin' Hornets, the undefeated Big Northern East champions, led by retiring football and wrestling coach Tim Haak. The 26-man St. Edward roster may have been diminished by one due to Friday's injury to running back/safety Mike Castoro. The senior's availability will be determined on Monday when he goes for a medical evaluation, according to his coach.
Coach Mike Rolando says: "First and foremost, we're just excited about the opportunity. This is only the fifth team in St. Edward history to make the playoffs and we're excited to be a part of it for the third time in five years. We talk about this for nine months of the year, getting that fifth win and getting to the postseason, so whoever we play it's a blessing. Obviously, Harvard is a solid football team that has learned to play and win close games with a veteran coach. I expect our guys to return to playing the way they did in the middle of the season when our backs were against the wall and we had to win."
Looking ahead: Winner plays either No. 10 Aurora Central Catholic (6-3) or No. 7 King (7-2)