Bartlett quarterback AJ Bilyeu rears back to pass against Batavia earlier in the season No. 4 Bartlett will host No. 13 Lyons in the first round of the Class 8A playoffs next week.
Rick West | Staff Photographer
Jacobs and running back Caz Zyks (17) will tackle Wheaton North in the first round of the Class 7A playoffs next week.
Brian Hill | Staff Photographer
The wait for matchups is over. Let the game film dissection begin.
After nine grueling weeks of the high school football regular season, six Fox Valley area football teams learned the identities of their playoff opponents Saturday when the Illinois High School Association released the pairings for its 256 playoff qualifiers in eight classes Saturday.
Here's how the pairings look from a Fox Valley standpoint.
No. 13 Lyons (5-4) at No. 4 Bartlett (7-2): The Bartlett football players gathered for a pizza party at the Hitting Zone in Bartlett didn't know what to think when the matchup with Lyons flashed on the television screen.
"We actually didn't have all that much excitement because no one knows a thing about Lyons," Bartlett coach Tom Meaney said on his way to the high school to pick up game films for trade.
"But the kids are always excited to be in the playoffs no matter who we play. Everybody is good now, so you have to be totally prepared. We'll have coaches burning the midnight oil the next couple of days to get prepared."
Bartlett won the Valley Division of the Upstate Eight Conference for the second straight season. The Hawks were eliminated in the second round last year by eventual state champion Maine South, 36-12.
Lyons went 1-3 against playoff qualifiers. The signature win for the Lions was a 24-19 victory over Stevenson (7-2) in the season opener.
The playoff berth was the second straight for Bartlett and 11th in 12 seasons.
The winner will face the winner of No. 12 New Trier (6-3) at No. 5 Glenbrook South (7-2).
No. 10 Jacobs (7-2) at No. 7 Wheaton North (7-2): The Golden Eagles were hoping to land a first-round home game, but instead will travel to Jim Rexilius Field in Wheaton for an opening-round tilt with the Falcons.
It is the second straight playoff bid and seventh overall for Jacobs, which slid a bit further in the seedings than the coaching staff had hoped.
"I thought we'd be a No. 9 or 8 (seed). I didn't think we'd drop down to 10," Jacobs coach Bill Mitz said. "But we're excited to play against a good team like that. We've played some good teams this year, so I guess we're battle tested to play a team like this."
Wheaton North's signature win came in the season opener against Bartlett (7-2). The Falcons they drove the field in the final minute and completed the game-winning touchdown pass at the horn. Their only losses were at Geneva (7-2) and at Wheaton Warrenville South (6-3).
Jacobs' best win was against Cary-Grove (7-2). The Golden Eagles' only losses were to FVC Valley Division co-champions Prairie Ridge and Crystal Lake South.
The winner will play the winner of No. 15 Libertyville (5-4) at No. 2 Rockford Boylan Catholic (9-0). Defending Class 7A state champion Boylan has won 23 games in a row.
No. 14 Streamwood (6-3) at No. 3 Crystal Lake South (8-1): This is old hat for the Gators and unfamiliar territory for Streamwood.
CL South, which gained a share of the Fox Valley Conference's Valley Division title Friday night when Cary-Grove defeated Prairie Ridge, has reached the playoffs for the 11th straight year, the longest current string of any team in the northern Fox Valley area. It is the 17th playoff appearance for the Gators overall.
Streamwood is making it's sixth playoff appearance overall and first since 2002. The Sabres gathered at coach Cal Cummins home in Streamwood Saturday to watch the pairings show on a projection screen.
"It was great to see the kids sitting there with anticipation," Cummins said. "I had it up on the big screen in the basement and the kids all had their cellphones out and took pictures when our matchup flashed on the screen. They don't know a thing about (CL South), but they're excited because none of them has been to the playoffs before."
The Gators are pleased to be in Class 7A, away from familiar FVC Valley Division foes like Prairie Ridge and Cary-Grove, which both landed in Class 6A.
"I'm glad we're not playing either of them because we play them every single year and then face them in Round 2 or 3 of the playoffs every year," CL South coach Chuck Ahsmann said. "It's good to see different teams."
The winner will play the winner of No. 11 Carmel (6-3) at No. 6 Addison Trail (8-1).
No. 11 Crystal Lake Central (6-3) at Cary-Grove (7-2): The Trojans' overtime victory over Prairie Ridge Friday yielded the reward of another playoff game at Cary's Al Bohrer Field. They'll square off against the District 155 rival Tigers, who finished in a three-way tie for the title in the Fox Division of the Fox Valley Conference.
"I remember playing them last year and they beat us," Cary-Grove coach Brad Seaburg said of a 27-14 loss to CL Central in the 2010 season opener. "I don't really know a whole lot about them this year, but it's two local teams so I imagine it would be a pretty good game from a fan's standpoint."
Cary-Grove is in the playoffs for the eighth straight year and the 18th time overall. The Trojans have won their first-round playoff game each of the last seven seasons and have advanced to a quarterfinal or better three years in a row.
The winner advances in the 16-team lower bracket to face the winner of No. 14 Deerfield (6-3) vs. No. 3 Nazareth (8-1). Cary-Grove and Prairie Ridge (8-1) could meet again in the quarterfinals if both advance.
No. Burlington Central (7-2) at St. Francis (7-2): Burlington Central wanted the No. 8 seed and the requisite home game that accompanies it. Instead, the Rockets were placed in the No. 9 slot and must face the Spartans on the road in Glen Ellyn. The Wheaton Catholic school plays its home games on the turf surface at the College of DuPage.
"We were hoping we could slide up into that No. 8 spot and get the opportunity to play at home," Central coach Rich Crabel said. "Unfortunately, that didn't happen. The way we look at it now is that if we want a home game, we have to win this week to get one in the second round."
Burlington Central, making its first postseason appearance since 2007, is in the playoffs for the 15th time overall. The Rockets are 3-10 all-time in playoff road games; 7-4 in playoff games on Rocket Hill.
A win would likely advance Burlington Central to a date with Kaneland (9-0), the top seed in the Lower Bracket of Class 5A. The Rockets and the Knights played in the season opener every year from 2004-2010. Kaneland won the last six of those meetings, all by 13 points or more.
"It would be a great test for us if we're fortunate to get there," Crabel said. "We know they're a quality team and they run that (spread) offense very successfully."