Expect to see Naperville Central leading rusher Matt Randolph back on the field for the Redhawks' first semifinal appearance since 2001.
Randolph, who's rushed for 1,699 yards and 22 touchdowns, missed the second half of Saturday's 42-14 Class 8A quarterfinal win over Homewood-Flossmoor because of a hip injury.
Redhawks coach Mike Stine said Randolph could have played in the second half, but he rested for precautionary reasons.
A 35-7 halftime lead made the decision to rest Randolph much easier.
"He could have played," Stine said. "If the score got that close we would have put him back in. He was a little bit sore and we just decided we want to live to play another week. With the score the way it was, it wasn't worth taking a chance with him."
Backup running back Nick Thomas, who returned the game's opening kickoff 75 yards for a touchdown, filled in admirably while piling up 76 yards on 12 carries.
Randolph fully plans on being back in the lineup this week.
"I'm 100 percent, I'm ready to go," he said.
Future's now for Elk Grove: Elk Grove senior Dejan Basara had a simple message for his teammates before Saturday's Class 7A football quarterfinal at Lake Zurich.
"I told them this is the most important game of your life because nothing in the future is guaranteed," Basara said.
Despite a 17-10 loss, a 10-2 season was guaranteed to be one of the best in school history. The Grenadiers won a Mid-Suburban East title, hit double-figure victories for the fourth time and reached the quarterfinals for the sixth time.
But all does not appear lost despite the loss of seniors such as Basara, running back-linebackers Stefan Skoneczka and Darren Little, receivers Jeff Miceli and Fernando Lozano, linemen Greg Johnsen, Tom Jansen and Martin Diaz.
Two-way lineman Dan Egan returns up front with Brian Mack and Kevin O'Malley on offense and Johnny Assimakopoulos on defense. Sophomore Adam O'Malley has eight games of experience at quarterback.
Juniors Kishan Patel, Luke Dybicz, Luc Dimaso, Mike Maize, Alfonso Lavin, Travon Royal and Dylan Edwards also are back from one of the area's top defenses and punter Alex Tinkoff returns.
"Obviously it's bad we lost but this shows the younger kids what it's like," Basara said.
"We'll be pretty darn good next year," said Elk Grove coach Brian Doll. "Defensively we started seven (juniors and sophomores) so the future looks real bright.
"I'm proud of the program and the coaching staff and the principal (Nancy Holman) for being so supportive."
Official dates and times for this weekend's games
to be released Monday:
Bolingbrook (11-1) at Naperville (Central) (9-3)
Glenbard North (9-3) at Loyola Academy (12-0)
Wheaton Warrenville South (9-3) at St. Rita (10-2)
Lake Zurich (10-2) at Rockford Boylan (12-0)
Lemont (H.S.) (12-0) at Peoria (Richwoods) (9-3)
Prairie Ridge (11-1) at Batavia (12-0)
Springfield Sacred Heart-Griffin (12-0)
at Joliet Catholic (10-2)
Montini (10-2) at Kaneland (12-0)
Rochester (10-2) at Charleston (11-1)
Richmond-Burton (11-1) at Stillman Valley (10-2)
Mt. Carmel (11-1) at Greenville (12-0)
Tolono (Unity) (11-1) at Aurora Christian) (11-1)
Maroa-Forsyth (12-0) at Casey-Westfield (11-1)
Toulon Stark County (10-2) at Morrison (11-1)
Tuscola (10-2) at Mt. Sterling Brown County (11-1)
Dakota (10-2) at Freeport Aquin (11-1)