CLASS 7A#9 Lincoln-Way Central (9-1) at # 8 Hersey (9-1)
When: Saturday, 1 p.m.
How they got here: Lincoln-Way Central beat Rockford East 58-0. Hersey beat Rolling Meadows 28-6.
Advancement: Winner plays winner of Benet-Rockton Hononegah.
Outlook: Hersey has earned its first trip to the second round of the playoffs since 2002. And the Huskies are now looking to get to double-digit victories for only the third time in school history. Owen Goldsberry has rightfully earned most of the plaudits, especially in light of his performance last week. Goldsberry threw for 2 TDs, ran for another and had a pick-6 in the win over rival Rolling Meadows. Goldsberry's play has overshadowed that of the Hersey defense. Led by Nick Steger, Nick Wiley, Jordan Hansen, Caleb Augustyn, Colton Kamysz, Zakary Kaufman and Luke Cecala, the Huskies have allowed just 8.6 points per game. They have also pitched 3 shutouts. They will need that kind of effort to slow down a Lincoln-Way Central team that is averaging nearly 37 points. It is virtually the same Central team that lost to Rolling Meadows in last year's playoffs -- but with another year of seasoning under their belts. Central has been highly touted all season, finishing tied for second in the tough Southwest Suburban Conference. Their only loss came to Lincoln-Way East 28-14.
#10 Buffalo Grove (9-1) at #7 East St. Louis (9-1)When: Saturday, 2 p.m.
How they got here: Buffalo Grove beat Belleville West 17-7. East St. Louis beat Libertyville 62-7.
Advancement: Winner plays the winner of Mt. Carmel-Normal.
Outlook: Buffalo Grove will make the long trip downstate to take on the highly touted Flyers. This is the third time Buffalo Grove has traveled to East St. Louis in state playoff history, and both previous journeys were state semifinal games. The Bison lost to the Flyers 35-12 in 1984 and 33-7 in 1985. Surprisingly, both teams have a common opponent. East St. Louis beat Belleville West 32-26 in Week 6, while Buffalo Grove beat that same team last week. This year in the playoffs, Buffalo Grove got a huge bounce when Tom Trieb returned full time to the backfield last week. He had a touchdown catch, a touchdown run, an interception and rushed for 136 yards. The Buffalo Grove defense will have its hands full with an East St. Louis team that is averaging nearly 45 points.