CLASS 8ANo. 6 St. Charles East (11-0) at No. 3 Palatine (11-0)
When: Saturday, 5 p.m.
Playoffs: St. Charles East beat Lockport 45-0, beat New Trier 17-10. Palatine beat Notre Dame 34-0, beat Lyons 20-17 in OT.
Advancement: Winner plays the winner of Lincoln-Way East/Maine South.
Outlook: Palatine looks to advance to the semifinals for a second consecutive year. Injuries have taken a toll on the Pirates, who added coach Rick Splitt to the report when he tore his Achilles' tendon last week. But after the loss of quarterback Zach Oles, DJ Angelaccio has continued to perform quite well. Angelaccio, who is only a junior, has done an admirable job in managing the Pirates' offense, leading them to 47 points in just over 7 quarters of football. Angelaccio's surrounding cast has given him a huge lift thanks to a solid crew of skill players in Josh Turner, Courtland Cornelius, Jack Orlando, Johhny O'Shea and Jack Grochowski, who is playing with an injury. The offensive line of Carson Walker, Andrew Martino, Ryan Garner, Basa Balanganayi and Zach Proctor has also provided plenty of protection. While the offense has had to make some adjustments, the defense has been nothing but solid. Led by Mckenzie Balanganyi, Scotty Elter, Dylan Tapia, Cortez Hogans, Brody Muck, Matt Garner and John Streepy, they have allowed just 17 points in two games and came up with a key stop in overtime to move the Pirates along. That defense will be challenged by a St. Charles East team that runs the triple option and is averaging nearly 40 points and 275 yards rushing per game. "We don't see this type of offense at all," Splitt said. "And they run it very well."
CLASS 7ANo. 11 Benet No. 3 (9-2) at Rolling Meadows (11-0)When: Saturday, 6 p.m.
Playoffs: Benet beat Hoffman Estates 29-13, beat Normal 38-14. Rolling Meadows beat Thornwood 44-12, beat Lincoln-Way Central 23-13
Advancement: Winner plays winner of East St. Louis/Willowbrook
Outlook: Rolling Meadows is making its deepest playoff run since 2006. The Mustangs have already set a school record for wins in season -- but they are hungry for more. "It has been a good run," Rolling Meadows coach Matt Mishler said. "We are happy to be back home. It will be great atmosphere." Meadows had its hands full, trailing at halftime 13-9 last weekend. But the Mustangs' defense, which has been spectacular all season, shut out a very athletic Lincoln-Way Central team in the second half. That defense, which is led by Willis Goodwin, Marco Perez, Nick Delporte, Justin Thompson, Kevin Haltman, Matt Ziemba and Devonte Amos, has allowed just 8 points per game. They know they're up against a tough test, as Benet's offense has averaged over 30. "They have been the catalyst to what we are doing," Mishler said. While Rolling Meadows' defense has done the dirty work, its offense has sparkled thanks to the play of quarterback Asher O'Hara, who has thrown 19 touchdown passes this season. Kevin Lacosse, who is coming off a 101-yard rushing performance, takes the pressure of O'Hara by being able to pound the ball on the ground for the Mustangs. Both teams have a common opponent in St. Viator -- Meadows beat the Lions 30-7 in the opening weekend of the season, while Benet beat St. Viator 33-14 in Week 4. "They are big and physical and take a lot shots down the field on offense," Mishler said. "It will be a good test for us.