No. 6 Cary-Grove (8-2) at No. 3 Nazareth Academy (9-1)
When: Today at 1 p.m., 1209 W. Ogden Ave., LaGrange Park
How they got here: Cary-Grove d. Crystal Lake Central 17-7; Nazareth d. Deerfield 35-7
Outlook: Two teams from tough football conferences bring workmanlike attitudes to this second-round clash. The Trojans tied for third in the competitive Valley Division of the Fox Valley and have advanced to the second round of the playoffs every year since 2004. They seek their third straight quarterfinal berth and sixth in seven years. The Roadrunners improved from a 3-6 team in 2010 to co-champions of the East Suburban Catholic Conference this fall. They are in the playoffs for the first time since 2008. This game will likely be decided by which team can limit the other's strong running game. Expect a true war in the trenches. "I think it's going to be very physical," said Nazareth coach Tim Racki, the former Driscoll coach. "Field position will be a big factor. Both offenses would like to drain the clock and keep the other team's offense off the field." Cary-Grove junior quarterback Quinn Baker has rushed for 1,024 yards and 18 touchdowns in the triple-option offense. The Trojans have rushed for 2,872 yards and have thrown for 386. They'll face a decorated Nazareth defense. Safety Kalium Ewing (5-10, 185) was named the defensive player of the year in the ESCC. Patrick Vitek (6-1, 200) was named ESCC defensive lineman of the year. "They've got some real speed on defense so we're going to have to block very well, especially on the perimeter," Cary-Grove coach Brad Seaburg said. C-G also possesses excellent overall speed on defense, which should be maximized by dry conditions on Nazareth's turf field. The Trojans will have to stop junior running back Joshua Moore, who last week ran for 160 yards and 4 touchdowns against Deerfield. "He's fast and he cuts really well," Seaburg said. "They like to run from tackle to tackle. They're not a real perimeter-based team. They have a big line and they're passing game is efficient. Numbers-wise, I think their offense is lot like ours." Seaburg isn't the only one who sees similarities between the teams. "As far as I'm concerned it's two teams looking in the mirror," Racki said.
Advancement: The winner will play the winner of today's contest: No. 2 Prairie Ridge (9-1) at No. 10 Glenbard South (7-3), 7 p.m.