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updated: 10/22/2016 9:52 PM

Breaking down DuPage County first-round football playoff games

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  • Neuqua Valley will host Glenbard West in a Class 8A first-round football playoff game next weekend.

      Neuqua Valley will host Glenbard West in a Class 8A first-round football playoff game next weekend.
    Daniel White | Staff Photographer

 
 

Class 8A

No. 13 Neuqua Valley (8-1) vs. No. 20 Glenbard West (7-2)

The lowdown: Neuqua won't have much time to regroup after its only regular-season loss last week. Late-season shifts bumped Glenbard West from 7A to 8A, making for a pretty great first-rounder. Can Neuqua's defense slow the Hilltoppers' ground game? Has Glenbard West healed enough to make another playoff run?

No. 2 Hinsdale Central (9-0) vs. No. 31 Waubonsie Valley (5-4)

The lowdown: The Red Devils survived the rugged WSC Silver to post their fourth 9-0 regular season. Balanced on both sides of the ball, this is one of their best groups. After an inconsistent couple of months, Waubonsie Valley clinched a playoff berth with Friday's win over Wheaton North. Can the Warriors recapture the energy of last year's magical semifinal run?

No. 14 Naperville North (8-1) vs. No. 19 Lyons Twp. (7-2)

The lowdown: Naperville North makes its first playoff appearance since posting 2-7 records the last two years. Behind the 1-2 running punch of Eric Wright and Cross Robinson, now the Huskies seek their first postseason victory since 2010. The Lions suffered both their losses in the WSC Silver, but they still boast one of the state's top quarterbacks in junior Ben Bryant.

Class 7A

No. 15 Glenbard North (7-2) vs. No. 18 Pekin (6-3)

The lowdown: A playoff regular, Pekin drives 166 miles north to play a tested Panthers squad owning tons of momentum after dealing Neuqua Valley its sole loss. The visiting Dragons, tied for second in the Mid-Illini Conference, offer 6-foot-5, 320-pound sophomore tackle Ethan Trumpy. Glenbard North is playoff-ready with tailback Vittorio Tricase and a vastly improved passing game.

No. 10 Quincy (8-1) vs. No. 23 Willowbrook (6-3)

The lowdown: Friday's loss to Leyden cost Willowbrook in seeding, which resulted in a 300-mile round trip to Quincy. The Blue Devils suffered their lone loss to Edwardsville in the season opener. Quincy, a qualifier for the fourth straight year, played the weakest schedule among 8-win qualifiers. The Warriors seek their first playoff win since 1994.

No. 11 Benet (7-2) vs. No. 22 Hoffman Estates (6-3)

The lowdown: The Redwings have leaned on a deep defense and experienced group of offensive skill players, and that won't change now. Benet came a win away from the ESCC title, so a deep run wouldn't be surprising in the program's unprecedented fifth straight playoff appearance. Hoffman Estates fell 51-0 to Fremd on Friday but rested a bunch of starters. Still, that's a tough way to enter the playoffs.

Class 6A

No. 8 St. Ignatius (7-2) vs. No. 9 Montini (6-3)

The lowdown: After Montini survived a 1-3 start who would want to play the five-time state champion now? Broncos coach Chris Andriano is a win away from 300 for his career, and on Friday tailback Prince Walker took his first reps since Week 3. Also a Chicago Catholic League team, St. Ignatius enters the playoffs with a solid 16-9 CCL White win over St. Laurence but is 0-2 in two playoff bids.

Class 5A

No. 6 Hillcrest (7-2) vs. No. 11 Glenbard South (5-4)

The lowdown: A Week 9 loss to Riverside-Brookfield lowered Glenbard South's seed, yet running back Sean Cooke and quarterback Jack Crouch make this an upset candidate. Hillcrest was the second-highest scoring team in the South Suburban Blue, losing only to 9-0 Lemont and 7-2 T.F. South. Its last playoff berth came in 2009 when as a No. 1 seed it lost to No. 16 Wheaton Academy.

Class 4A

No. 4 Aurora Central Catholic (8-1) vs. No. 12 Wheaton Academy (6-3)

The lowdown: Aurora Central last took 1 loss into the playoffs in 1995. Former Downers Grove South coach John Belskis leads the Chargers with son Johnny at quarterback. This is only Wheaton Academy's third playoff appearance but its second straight. This amounts to a Metro Suburban Conference crossover. ACC has wins over Glenbard South and Riverside-Brookfield, both of whom beat the Warriors.

Class 3A

No. 1 IC Catholic (9-0) vs. No. 16 St. Joseph-Ogden (5-4)

The lowdown: A pair of 2015 3A semifinalists. St. Joseph-Ogden has 26 straight playoff qualifications, five state runner-up finishes. The Spartans lost 48-12 to Wilmington, ranked behind only IC Catholic in 3A. State champs in 2002 and 2008, the Knights are 9-0 for the first time in history. Their defense allows 7.3 points a game; the offense tops the Spartans by 1,354 yards.

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