CLASS 7A#25 Rolling Meadows (6-3) at # 8 Hersey (8-1)When: Friday, 7 p.m.
Previous meeting: Hersey 21, Rolling Meadows 20
Outlook: No secrets. That's what both teams have from each other after playing an epic game just two weeks ago. This time it will be all about adjustments and which team can answer two key questions. 1) Can Hersey stop Rolling Meadows quarterback Arek Kleniuk from completing long passes that led to all three of the Mustangs' touchdowns? 2) Can Rolling Meadows slow down Huskies quarterback Owen Goldsberry, who rushed for 3 touchdowns against Meadows in the last meeting? Look for another huge battle up front from Rolling Meadows' stout defensive front of Andrew Neville, Nate Pedraza and Mick Szylak against the Hersey offensive line of Austin Korbs, Jake Mailloux, Will Ebert, Lujke Roos, Ryan Derrig and Brendan Watson. Hersey won the MSL East outright for the first time since 1991, while Meadows had won or shared the East title the previous five years.
#23 Bellville West (6-3) at #10 Buffalo Grove (8-1)When: Saturday, 2 p.m.
Previous meeting: 1st meeting
Outlook: Buffalo Grove was 1-8 two seasons ago and on the outside looking in. Now the Bison are 8-1 and looking to stampede in the playoffs for the first time since 2003. Buffalo Grove is averaging 29 points thanks to the play of their superb junior backfield. Connor Adams has thrown for 1,542 yards while competing 71 percent of his passes, and running back Tom Trieb, who returned after being sidelined with a back injury, rushed for 137 yards last week, bringing his season total to 753. But it is the Bison defense that has reaped even more praise. Trieb, along with Justin Gold, Patrick Conlon and Evan Lindborg lead the defense with help from Sean Jacobs and Zack Sheasby. Belleville West will make a long trek to Buffalo Grove to make a sixth consecutive playoff appearance and its ninth in the last 10 years. The Maroons, who play in the Southwestern Conference, are averaging 30 points.