They're No. 1.
Batavia, Kaneland and Aurora Christian all landed top seeds in their football playoff brackets, the Illinois High School Association announced Saturday night.
"Really, it's an honor," said Batavia coach Dennis Piron, besieged by "about 10" interviews including a live call-in during the IHSA's televised pairings show on Comcast SportsNet.
"It's pretty neat," said the 9-0 Bulldogs coach, who will host No. 16 seed Notre Dame (5-4) in a Class 6A opener. "But I don't know you can take much away from it other than you get a little extra publicity out of it, like tonight."
Batavia's draw looks somewhat favorable. Should it get past Notre Dame, awaiting is the winner of 7-2 teams No. 8 Lake Forest vs. No. 9 Fenton, though No. 4 Antioch (8-1) is a potential quarterfinal opponent.
"The hope would be that if the pairings make any sense you would benefit from having an undefeated season by getting schools that might give you a better path," Piron said.
Also in Class 6A, No. 15 seed and 2010 state runner-up Marmion (5-4) opens on the road against No. 2 Prairie Ridge (8-1), which eliminated the Cadets in both 2007 and 2009. Batavia and Marmion Batavia beat the Cadets 36-7 in Week 1 wouldn't meet until the semifinals.
In Class 5A, Kaneland (9-0) drew the No. 1 seed in the northern bracket after beating Morris on Friday. Morris also drew a 5A No. 1 seed in a torturous southern bracket, a potential state championship rematch in the making,
"That means that we did what we're supposed to do," said Kaneland coach Tom Fedderly, scrambling to get info on his first-round visitor, No. 16 Belvidere (5-4).
Should the Knights advance, they'd get the winner of No. 8 St. Francis (7-2) against Kaneland's longtime rival No. 9 Burlington Central (7-2). Lurking in the bottom of Kaneland's bracket is two-time defending 5A champion Montini (7-2), a sixth-seed Kaneland could face in the semifinals.
"We feel pretty good," Fedderly said. "We feel like we've been tested these past few weeks and have played some pretty good playoff teams, and that's what we want to do, is be playing our best ball going into the playoffs."
That's the case for Aurora Christian (8-1), a No. 1 seed in a Class 3A bracket broken down into quadrants. Coach Don Beebe's Eagles, the 2008 4A runner-up and a playoff qualifier 10 straight years, will host No. 8 Kewanee (5-4).
"Going to the playoffs never gets old," Beebe said. "All the kids are over at my house and it was a neat thing to see them jumping for joy when they saw that we got that No. 1 seed."
Geneva (7-2) drew a No. 9 seed in Class 7A, but could face a No. 1 if it beats No. 8 Lake Zurich (7-2), the 7A runner-up in 2010 and the 2007 champion, on the road. The Vikings would host a potential second-rounder against No. 1 Glenbard West (9-0).
"What a great opportunity, again," Geneva coach Rob Wicinski said. "We get to play the best in the state. Lake Zurich has got a great tradition over the last five, six years. To go there, what a cool experience. It'll be great."