No. 6 Stevenson Patriots (8-2) at No. 3 Glenbard North Panthers (9-1)
When: 1 p.m., Saturday
Last week: In first-round action, Stevenson def. St. Charles East, 35-7; Glenbard North def. New Trier, 35-10.
Playoff history: Stevenson is making its 25th-straight playoff appearance, with its best year coming in 2002. That year, the Patriots advanced to the Class 8A state title game but lost to Lockport, 35-14. Last season, Stevenson lost in the second round to Glenbard North, 23-14…Glenbard North has qualified for the playoffs in 12 of the last 13 years, with the lone miss being in 2002. The Panthers finished second in 2000, 2007 and 2012. They've eliminated Stevenson the last two seasons, including in the quarterfinals in 2011.
Skinny: Stevenson is hoping the third time is the charm. Glenbard North has eliminated the Patriots from the playoffs the last two seasons. "It is too bad this is not a quarterfinal, semifinal or state championship game because anyone who attends the game on Saturday is in for a thrill…a great 8A IHSA playoff football game," Stevenson coach Bill McNamara said. Two Big Ten recruits will be the headliners: running back Justin Jackson of Glenbard North and wide receiver/cornerback Matt Morrissey of Stevenson. Jackson, who committed to Northwestern, is coming off a first-round explosion last week against New Trier in which he rushed for 340 yards and 3 touchdowns. "Obviously, Justin Jackson is the main man at Glenbard North," McNamara said. "He will carry the load as he has for the past three years. You cannot stop him. But it is our goal to slow him down. Our hope is to limit the number of touches Justin has."…Stevenson was able to slow down and limit St. Charles East last week. The Saints were averaging 34 points per game and were held to just 7 points against Stevenson. Morrissey, who is headed to Michigan State, picked off a St. Charles East pass in the end zone. He also caught 2 touchdowns and a total of 6 passes for 87 yards from quarterback Willie Bourbon (18-of-30, 248 yards). Cameron Green (8 catches for 100 yards) gives the Patriots another big-time target. Just a junior, Green is already getting major Division I offers. "Our skill players are all capable of playing great," McNamara said. "It is very tough to focus on any one player as all can make big plays."…Glenbard North's only loss is to Batavia, which is also 9-1. That occurred in the season opener (29-26).
-- Patricia Babcock McGraw
No. 2 Barrington Broncos (9-1) at No. 10 Warren Blue Devils (7-3)
When: 6 p.m., Saturday
Radio: WRLR (98.3-FM) will be broadcasting the game with pre-game coverage beginning at 5:30 p.m. The broadcast can also be heard on www.WRLR.FM
Last week: In first-round action, Barrington def. Evanston, 23-8; Warren def. Glenbrook South, 33-17.
Playoff history: Barrington is making its eighth playoff appearance in the last 12 years. The Broncos missed last year and haven't advanced past the quarterfinals since placing second in the state in 1998…Warren has made the playoffs 12 of the last 14 years. Last year, the Blue Devils lost in the first round to Stevenson, 26-13.
Skinny: Last week, Warren finished well. But a habit of starting slow has head coach Dave Mohapp concerned. His team has been down by double-digits in each of the last two weeks, including a 10-point first-quarter deficit to Glenbrook South. "That's certainly not the way we like to do things," Mohapp said. "It's been taking us a little bit to get on track and we don't plan to start games like that. I think our kids have confidence that we're in every game. But we don't want to (play from behind). We've got to eliminate turnovers and mistakes and not put ourselves in that position."…Barrington, on the other hand, was up 10-0 after the first quarter of its game against Evanston last week. The Broncos, who average 32.1 points per game and have held opponents to 13.9 points per game, a Mid-Suburban League West low, forced 4 Evanston turnovers. "This is a 9-1 team that comes from a very good football conference," Mohapp said of Barrington. "It's a very complete team, with a good offense, defense and kicking game." Broncos quarterback Daniel Kubiuk completed 9-of-18 passes last week for 132 yards and 3 touchdowns. Wide receiver Scott Miller caught all 3 touchdown passes. He totaled 5 catches for 102 yards. "They've got a nice scheme and are very balanced on offense," Mohapp said. "They use a lot of different formations and really put stress on a defense."…Warren hopes to stress out Barrington with its balance. Last week, quarterback Andrew Nickell threw for a whopping 431 yards, completing 21-of-34 attempts. He connected with receiver Daniel Rockingham for 3 of his 4 touchdown passes. Meanwhile, running back Max Sorby (55 yards last week) is always a threat to pile up significant yardage. He had a 295-yard rushing game this season against North Chicago. "For us, we've got to be able to run and throw," Mohapp said. "We've been having success in the throw game and that has opened up our run game."
-- Patricia Babcock McGraw
No. 8 Rockton Hononegah Indians (8-2) at No. 1 Lake Zurich Bears (9-1)
When: 1 p.m., Saturday
Last week: In first-round action, Rockton Hononegah def. Highland Park, 35-14; Lake Zurich def. Elk Grove, 35-6.
Playoff history: Rockton Hononegah is making its 10th playoff appearance in the last 12 years. Last year, the Indians were eliminated by Lake Zurich in the second round, 17-6…Lake Zurich is making its 12th straight playoff appearance. The Bears won the 2007 Class 7A state title and finished as the Class 7A runner-up in 2006 and 2010. Last year, Lake Zurich lost in the semifinals to Glenbard West, 19-13.
Skinny: It will be a bit of déjà vu for the Bears, who took down a very similar-looking Rockton Hononegah team last year in the second round. "Most of their players are back from a year ago, and we struggled with a lot of them," Lake Zurich coach Dave Proffitt said. "They are a very powerful team and they run the ball as well as anyone." In their last three games, the Indians have rushed for more than 400 yards each time. Last week, two veterans carried the bulk of the workload. Seniors Alex Martin and Jake Wilson each rolled up 205 yards and 2 touchdowns apiece. Senior quarterback Alec Smith passed only 4 times, for 25 yards. "They're a downhill team, and they'll come right at you and wear you down," Proffitt said of Hononegah. "They run the Wing-T and we don't really see any Wing-T teams anymore. You always get concerned about getting knocked off the ball and about getting confused by all the misdirection in the backfield. We are going to have to be very disciplined."…Proffitt also wants balance on offense. The Bears, traditionally a running team, have been trying to pass more this season. Quarterback Noah Allgood has tossed 9 touchdown passes so far. Last week, Allgood was kept out of the end zone and attempted only 8 passes but that's because Lake Zurich's run game was so effective. The Bears rolled up 367 rushing yards, 117 by Allgood and 96 by Ben Klett. "We feel good (about the balance on offense)," Proffitt said. "We know we have to throw the ball, but teams that usually have success in the playoffs are teams that can run, especially with the weather starting to get bad here in Illinois. You can't count on the weather to be good. It's easier to run the ball (in the elements)."…Allgood will be busier than normal this week. He'll handle his usual duties at quarterback, but he'll also play more reps on defense at inside linebacker. "Noah is one of our best inside linebackers and when you're playing a strong running team like (Hononegah), you've got to have your best inside linebackers on the field. We feel that what gives us the best chance to win is being able to control their offense." Being healthy will also help Lake Zurich's cause. But that is something the Bears have been struggling with all season. Standout running back Sean Lynch carried the ball only four times last week because he is still banged up, as are many of his teammates.
-- Patricia Babcock McGraw