Zion-Benton Zee-Bees (3-4, 2-3) at Warren Blue Devils (3-4, 3-2)When: 7:30 p.m., Friday
Last week: Zion-Benton lost to Lake Forest, 35-15; Warren def. Waukegan, 42-7.
Skinny: This is a crucial game for both of these programs. The winner will remain alive in the playoff race, potentially being able to qualify for the playoffs on points with five wins. The loser will be eliminated from playoff contention. Warren would have a great chance with five wins. With 36 playoff points, the Blue Devils have the second-most playoff points in the North Suburban Conference … Warren is on a roll. The Blue Devils have won two straight games and went off for 42 points last week, their second-highest point total of the season … Warren had two 100-plus-yard rushers last week in Melvin Pettis (22 carries, 191 yards, 1 touchdown) and Rashad Walker (10 carries, 104 yards, 2 touchdowns) … Zion-Benton has lost three of four games and is allowing 28.1 points per game, third-most in the North Suburban. The Zee-Bees have stayed competitive with a high-powered offense that is averaging 33.3 points per game, second-most in the conference.
Lake Zurich Bears (5-2, 4-1) at Libertyville Wildcats (4-3, 3-2)When: 7:30 p.m., Friday
Last week: Lake Zurich lost to Stevenson, 17-14; Libertyville def. Mundelein, 28-0.
Skinny: Two of the best defenses in the North Suburban Conference will tangle in Lake Zurich and Libertyville. Lake Zurich is the stingiest defense in the league, allowing a league-low 12.7 points per game. Libertyville ranks second with 17.4 points per game allowed … Lake Zurich's four-game winning streak was broken with last week's loss to Stevenson, but the defense was again stellar, holding Stevenson's top-scoring offense in the league (34.4 ppg) to just 17 points. Libertyville broke its two-game losing streak with a shutout victory over Mundelein. It was the Wildcats' second shutout of the season after a Week 1 shutout of Elk Grove (29-0) … Offensively, Lake Zurich again rode the back of running back Joey Stutzman. Last week, he rolled up 155 yards and a touchdown on 33 carries. He accounted for 61 percent of the Bears' total yards on offense … Libertyville used a balanced offense to roll up 470 total yards against Mundelein. Running back Brendan Bazar racked up 230 yards and 2 touchdowns on 20 carries. Meanwhile, quarterback Jack Ruskell completed 5-of-13 passes for 124 yards and 2 touchdowns, both to Brandon Rule. Both of Rule's receptions (2 for 94 yards) were touchdowns.
Waukegan Bulldogs (1-6, 0-5) at Stevenson Patriots (6-1, 5-0)When: 7:30 p.m., Friday
Last week: Waukegan lost to Warren, 42-7; Stevenson def. Lake Zurich, 17-14.
Skinny: Stevenson continues its quest to run the table in the North Suburban Conference, and faces a trap game this week. On paper, this game shouldn't be close. These two teams are on opposite sides of the spectrum … Stevenson has won six straight games and averages 34.4 points per game, most in the league. Waukegan has lost six straight games, averages only 9.7 points per game (fewest in the league) and is also allowing a league-high 37.4 points per game. The last two weeks, the Bulldogs have scored only 7 points in each game. Of course, Stevenson is coming off its lowest point total of the season. But the 17 points it scored against Lake Zurich, in a win, came against the stingiest defense in the NSC … Stevenson got another big performance last week out of quarterback Aidan O'Connell. He completed 18-of-40 passes for 248 yards and 2 touchdowns, one to each of the Marchese twins (Henry and Michael). The Patriots' cinched their win over Lake Zurich in the final seconds on a 29-yard field goal by Jack Worwa … Waukegan managed just 5 first downs and 77 total yards last week against Warren.
Lake Forest Scouts (4-3, 2-3) at Mundelein Mustangs (2-5, 1-4)When: 7:30 p.m, Friday
Last week: Lake Forest def. Zion-Benton, 35-15; Mundelein lost to Libertyville, 28-0.
Skinny: Lake Forest is trending in the right direction and has a chance to qualify for the playoffs as an at-large team if it wins out. The Scouts have won two of their last three games and are coming off a 35-point output against Zion-Benton, their most points of the season … Mundelein has lost two straight games and was shutout last week for the first time this season. The Mustangs are averaging only 16.4 points per game, second-least in the North Suburban Conference and are allowing 30.4 points per game, second most in the league … The Lake Forest offense is led by quarterback Charlie Reinkemeyer. Mundelein quarterback Anthony Norris is a threat to pass or run the ball. Aaron Woolford is also dangerous from multiple areas. He is one of Mundelein's top rushers and receivers.