Whatever the reason, all that matters is the result.
Glenbard North's football team will play at home at 3 p.m. Saturday.
There was a bit of confusion about that fact following the 11th-seeded Panthers' Class 8A upset win over No. 3 Palatine last Saturday combined with No. 7 Stevenson's upset win over No. 2 Maine South.
IHSA rules state the team that's hosted the fewest number of playoff games gets to host the next round's game. If both teams have hosted the same number of games, the higher seed gets the home game.
Because of IHSA infractions by Maine South last season, however, the Hawks were penalized by having to play their first two playoff games on the road. As a top seed in 8A, their opening-round game against Curie and their second-round game against Stevenson should have been at home in Park Ridge.
The penalty forced Maine South to play both games on the road, which initiated the confusion about this week's quarterfinal matchup.
Stevenson physically played at home against Maine South, but the game could have been deemed an official road game because of Maine South's infraction. If the IHSA declared Stevenson's win to be on the road, the Patriots (9-2) would have hosted Glenbard North (8-3).
Instead, the IHSA determined that last Saturday's game was a physical and official home game for Stevenson. That means this Saturday's game will be in Carol Stream.
In a release sent out by IHSA Assistant Executive Director Matt Troha, the decision was explained.
"Stevenson has hosted two playoff games, and Glenbard North one," the statement reads. "Stevenson hosted the second-round game against Maine South due to a penalty that prevented Maine South from hosting, but the contest did count as a home game in determining hosts for future rounds."
It's rare to see a running clock in a second-round playoff game, but No. 9 Naperville Central (8-3) put it in effect during last week's 43-3 win over No. 16 Belleville East in Class 8A.
The stunning score came a week after the Lancers upset top-seeded Waubonsie Valley 14-7. Considering Waubonsie Valley beat Naperville Central 21-7 in the season opener, the Redhawks' big win over Belleville East showed how much they've improved since August.
"That was so long ago, and our kids' mindset has really changed since then," said Redhawks coach Mike Stine. "Improvement isn't only physical. It's mental. These kids are feeling pretty good about themselves right now."
Naperville Central plays host to No. 12 Homewood-Flossmoor (8-3) in the 8A quarterfinals at 7 p.m. Friday.
By Tuesday afternoon, Wheaton Warrenville South football coach Ron Muhitch finally got down to the business of playoff football.
Up until that point, he spent much of the early part of this week working out the logistics of the eighth-seeded Tigers' trip to No. 5 East St. Louis (9-2) for a 1 p.m. Saturday game in the Class 7A quarterfinals.
Last season the Tigers (8-3) played their 7A semifinal game at Belleville East, a late-afternoon contest that allowed the team to travel downstate early Saturday morning and be back home by late that night.
Because the East St. Louis game is at 1 p.m. Saturday, however, the Tigers had a decision to make. Should they head downstate extremely early Saturday or drive down Friday afternoon and stay overnight?
After some discussions, the team will head downstate Friday and stay overnight.
"We talked about it and decided that's the best way to handle it," Muhitch said.
One of the advantages of heading down Friday is that Muhitch and his coaches will be able to scout the Tigers' possible semifinal opponent. Third-seeded St. Rita (9-2) plays at No. 2 O'Fallon (10-1) at 7 p.m. Friday.
Muhitch admits some nervousness about his team's overnight trip, but he knows his team will be focused. In 23 playoff appearances, last season's visit marked the program's first trip to the St. Louis area. The Tigers handled it brilliantly with a 41-7 victory over Belleville East en route to their seventh state title.
"We took the maiden voyage last year down south and it was fine," Muhitch said. "I'm sure we'll be ready to play."
Road sweet home:
Downers Grove South has a nickname for Bolingbrook High School.
"We call it Downers Grove West," said Mustangs coach John Belskis. "Our kids love playing there."
The 6 p.m. Saturday Class 8A quarterfinal showdown marks the third straight familiar foe for the No. 3 Mustangs (10-1). After meeting Naperville North for the eighth time in the playoffs, and Brother Rice for the third time, Downers South faces No. 2 Bolingbrook (10-1) for only the second time in the playoffs.
In the regular season, though, Downers South played Bolingbrook in Week 1 each year between 2007 and 2010. The Mustangs won only the first of the four meetings, but they claimed the 2009 second-round playoff rematch 22-20.
The five games have been extremely close: a total margin of only 15 points and no margin greater than 7 points.
"Our kids love the challenge of playing them, and we play them pretty well," Belskis said. "We're very familiar with each other. This is as close to a home game we can have without actually being at home."
Taking it indoors:
Montini had a bomb scare at school Wednesday. It forced teachers and students outside in the cold, wind and rain and rendered the school day basically useless, Montini football coach Chris Andriano said.
Wednesday night Montini (9-2) went back indoors to prepare for the sixth-seeded Broncos' Class 5A quarterfinal Saturday against No. 3 Marian Central (11-0).
Montini practiced Tuesday and Wednesday in the McCook Athletic & Exposition Center, or as Andriano called it, the "Max Dome."
"It's awesome," he said. "It's a huge facility. In fact, who was there last night was Nazareth. Nazareth was there practicing on the other side. It's that big, like two 100-yard fields."
Nazareth also practicing in preparation for its Class 6A game against Prairie Ridge allowed Andriano to catch up with Nazareth coach Tim Racki, formerly of Driscoll.
"We relived a few of the old days," Andriano said. "He's doing a great job this year."
Andriano can relive days old and new with Marian Central coach Ed Brucker. Due to playoff games and conference affiliation, Saturday will mark Montini's sixth game in three seasons against the Hurricanes, their 14th meeting since 2004.
Andriano said such familiarity favors the defense, knowing the opponent's offensive tendencies and formations.
"It's harder to deal with offensively," Andriano said. "I think the defenses get a little bit of an advantage."
Oh so close:
St. Francis coach Greg Purnell had been there before, beating Vernon Hills 22-21 with four seconds left early this season and winning with six seconds remaining when he coached at Linn-Mar High School in Marion, Iowa.
Last Saturday's second-round 5A playoff game at Kaneland was another story, a 31-28 loss when Nick Donati's apparent 40-yard touchdown pass to Jeff Rutkowski with no time left on the clock was negated by penalty.
Purnell was still waiting to see film from a decisive angle at the time of this discussion, he said. Whether or not Rutkowski was forced out of bounds before making the catch, the veteran coach credited the officials with properly administering the penalty on a judgment call.
"It was a tremendous play by Jeff Rutkowski, a tremendous catch," Purnell said. "If we would have had a little more time I think we would have got her done. We had tremendous momentum, but I've got to reiterate -- you can't be down 31-7 at halftime."
Purnell praised the resiliency of senior leaders Rutkowski, Donati, Nate Baratta, Steve Flaherty, James Ferguson and Hunter Bolin.
"When you're down 31-7 at the half you sure don't think it's going to end up being a last play of the game call. That's why I'm so proud of the kids," Purnell said.
"There were a lot of tears in the locker room, but life goes on. This is just one of many peaks and valleys that these kids will have throughout their life."