No. 11 Glenbard South (5-4) at No. 6 Payton (8-1)
Game time: 7:15 p.m. Saturday at Lane Tech in Chicago.
Last week: Riverside-Brookfield 37, Glenbard South 7; Payton 23, Taft 20.
Outlook: George Klupchak, Naperville Central Class of 2004, is Payton's football coach and athletic director. He hopes the Grizzlies, 0-6 in the playoffs, muster belief and execute. Like Glenbard South quarterback Jack Crouch, who has passed for 1,306 yards, run for 633 and accounted for 19 touchdowns, senior Erik Haneberg is the key to Payton's offense. When not running jet sweeps or handing off to Salaar Pourkhalili he's thrown for 17 touchdowns. Eli Geleerd has caught 13 of them, sure to attract Glenbard South's secondary of Rod Rivera, Gavin Fitzpatrick, Kesji Ghini and Graham DiFranco. Raiders coach Ryan Crissey likes his team speed and physicality, both embodied by linebacker Nick D'Ambra.
Advancement: The winner advances to the second round against the winner between No. 14 Marian Central at No. 3 Antioch.
No. 12 Watseka (7-2) at No. 5 IC Catholic Prep (8-1)
Game time: 7 p.m. Friday.
Last week: Watseka 54, Iroquois West 20; IC Catholic 62, Fenton 7.
Outlook: Watseka coach Aaron Hilgendorf looks forward to the challenge posed by the defending 3A champions. When things are going well Watseka's up-tempo spread offense scores in bunches, averaging 38 points while Joe Jaskula and the 4-2 defense creates a plus-16 turnover ratio. Dual-threat quarterback Brendan Fletcher has accounted for 1,700 yards and gets the ball out quick to Jaden Downs and Blake Castonguay. That up-tempo pace may slow a mite in an attempt to keep the ball away from ICCP's own fast-paced offense that averages 41 points. The Knights are anchored on both sides of the ball by a slew of quality linemen like Ricky Mysliwiec, Dylan Packer, Ryan Kenneally and Michael Johnson.
Advancement: The winner advances to the second round against the winner between No. 13 Paxton-Buckley-Loda at No. 4 Peotone.